Searching through bins of G.I. Joe figures carefully placed in plastic bags is not something Ian Pokluda does every Saturday morning, but that's what he found himself doing on the first Saturday of January.
The 33-year-old says he was caught up in nostalgia after finding a toolbox full of G.I. Joe figures his parents had carefully stashed away in their attic after he had decided he no longer wanted to play with them. They were treasures he had forgotten about, as many adults do. Now that he is grown, out of college, and has disposable income, he wants to seek out and collect as many Hasbro G.I. Joe figures made between 1982 and 1994 as he can -- a task that is getting harder and harder to complete unless he goes to special toy shows like the North Dallas Toy Show.
The show happens every first Saturday of the month at the Dallas Event Center in Farmers Branch. Vendors pack tightly into two halls, with merchandise ranging from Hot Wheels, action figures, comic books, Pop! vinyl figures and more, according to show organizer Doug Kale. The vendors are all collectors from the local area as well as from Oklahoma, Louisiana and as far as New Mexico, all coming together to trade, barter, buy and sell collectibles that pique their interests.
Binh Tran comes to the show every chance he gets to browse boxes of carefully packaged comics. He has been collecting since the early '90s and says he has more than 5,000 comics. Binh is not in it for the storylines, however. He is interested in one thing: The cover art, particularly from favorite artists Adam Hughes and Alex Ross. He displays some in his home but has to rotate them out because of the number of comics he has.
Buyers' interest in comics is a great thing for Chad Crutchfield, owner of Crutchfield Comics and a vendor at the North Dallas Toy Show. Crutchfield has been to the show five times in the past three years and says he has seen it grown from having four to five vendors in a hall to more than 20.
The North Dallas Toy Show takes place the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dallas Event Center in Farmers Branch.