Kind of an obsession


Quinton Huebner/Legacy Media

Michael DelDonno holds his most prized action figure, Warbird. DelDonno’s collection takes up an entire room in his house, along with his garage.


“I’m kind of always on the hunt for them. Everywhere we go, I have to stop and look. Even if we go to the drug store or something, I go straight to the toy aisle. If we go out to eat, if there’s a Toys R Us nearby, I’ll sneak over to the Toys  R Us. It’s just kind of an obsession.

I think I’m probably a little extreme. We watch the series ‘Hoarders,’ and it always makes me a little afraid of myself when I watch ‘Hoarders.’ I love going to yard sales and buying loose action figures from people like that. I set aside some Saturday mornings for ‘action figure hunting’ is what I call it. I’ll wake up early in the morning and I’ll tap my wife and I’ll say, ‘honey, I know it’s early but I’m going action figure hunting’ and I’ll be gone all morning.

I have a few older ones, these two, ‘Fantastic Four,’ are probably my oldest, but they’re not that old, they’re probably from 1992. The new stuff, the art is always better, It has more points of articulation. in geek talk that means he has a lot of points where you can pose him in different poses. I still like these old ones, but the new ones are my favorite for sure.

I usually let my students in on it after I’ve had them for a while, it’s not something I say the first day usually. And, the funny thing, if you’re in my classroom and you look around I’ve got a lot of action figures in my classroom, so usually that’s what starts the conversation, some student will say ‘oh Coach DelDonno why do you have all these action figures,’ and I’ll just go into a story. I’ll just tell them, ‘you have no idea.’

I tell this story about, one time I was in a Toys R Us, and they had all the ‘Iron Man’ figures half off, so my heart was racing. I went to the front and got a cart. I started filling it up with these ‘Iron Man’ figures and I felt so lucky. There was a little boy there with his mom and he was looking at the action figures. She was going to let him get one action figure, and I felt like a hog. I said, ‘hey, why don’t you look through here and pick whichever one you want.’ So he started looking through my cart of ‘Iron Man’ action figures and he found one that was really great and said, ‘I want this one.’ I said, ‘take it.’ I was thinking, ‘man, I wanted that one.’ Fifteen minutes later I ran into him in the store and he had changed his mind. He said, ‘I want that other one instead,’ and I said, ‘that’s great, go for it.’ I just don’t want to feel like I’m taking toys away from a kid.

I don’t think I would ever completely let go of it. If I had to sell everything, the next day, I’d be looking for an action figure. I know I would.

I think it just keeps me connected with my childhood. I’m 47, but I think a part of me is still 11. I think just fun. Just play. I just remember being a kid, I just remember being in the car with my parents and thinking, ‘I can’t wait till we get home so I can go to my room and play.’ I feel the same way still.”