If there’s one way to tell how talented Marvel fans are, it’s by seeing the detailed Marvel customs they produce.
While icons such as Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk are well represented in the toy industry, many obscure characters are left under appreciated. Fans could settle with officially sanctioned figures, but some go the extra mile and actually build their own creations from scratch. Piero Cassandra is one such fan, and his work shows just how creative collectors can get.
Similar to many of us, Cassandra got into the Marvel franchise when he was just nine years old. However, it wasn’t until he became a father that he started collecting figures. Although he had put his love of comics aside during his days at university, it was his son’s interest in superheroes that reignited Cassandra’s fire for Marvel.
“It was really weird to see how, after so many years, he was reading Spiderman as I was doing about forty years before,” Cassandra says. “When I discovered that Eaglemoss was selling Marvel Comics figures, I started buying them all.”
Despite amassing over two hundred figures to put on display, Cassandra was discontent that so many characters weren’t being represented by his collection. This was the point when Cassandra began his work as a Marvel customs creator.
“First I was customizing Eaglemoss figures, and later I started customizing toys from companies such as Hasegawa. Lately I sculpt and paint figures from scratch.”
Today, Cassandra has made over 400 custom figures. His custom creations have become so prolific that he has virtually ceased collecting official Marvel merchandise.
Cassandra does not sell his creations, though he does like to show off his work on his website. People from all over the world offer to buy his customs, but he has never considered selling his collection.
“My two sons would kill me,” he jokes.
Based on the offers he does receive, he estimates his figures are worth 30-50 euros apiece, or approximately $33 – $55. Cassandra has many favorites in his collection, though he says the Texas Twister is his most popular figure.
In addition to his website, Cassandra likes to share his work on online message boards. These include virtual communities based in Italy, Spain, and the United States. He dreams to one day go to Comic-Con when his sons are older.
Though friends and co-workers have requested Cassandra to make custom statues for franchises such as Lord of the Rings, he refuses to create anything outside the Marvel universe. Despite the scale and diversity of his collection, he does not believe he will ever be “finished” creating new figures.
“In 70 years, Marvel Comics has created more than 9000 characters. Every year they create new ones. I have a room practically dedicated to my 600 figures; at least one day per week is spent rearranging the collection and removing dust. I think I need a bigger boat!”
“My Marvel Comics character collection will never be complete. I hope my sons continue it one day.”
Piero Cassandra’s website can be found here: http://skifmarvelcustoms.blogspot.com/
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