KENOSHA, Wis. — Edmond Goss was 5 years old when he watched as a gigantic sea creature towered over city buildings, its rows of hand-like plates from head to tail lighting up as it roared and spit fire across the sky.
"Godzilla is my favorite," said Goss, a seventh-grader at Dimensions of Learning Academy, who was drawn to Godzilla memorabilia at the April 8 inaugural Buster-Con Toy Show at the Kenosha Union Club.
The Kenosha News reports that the event, coordinated by local toy collector Paul Johnson, included 14 vendors selling everything from American Girl Dolls to superhero action sets and the popular Pop Vinyl figures. The show also featured comic books and professional wrestling paraphernalia. A second event is planned for June 10.
At the show, Goss chatted with Karl Ausdembruch, a Racine collector who had several stacked boxes filled with Godzilla items. The two discussed the monster's different incarnations, starting with the 1954 original.
Goss said it was the original movie that got it all started for him.
"He was watching it and it wasn't even in English," said his mother Janette. "He just loves it."
"I love toys and comics," Edmond said. "So I decided to check it out."
Ausdembruch said Godzilla is one of those characters that are timeless.
"He's been around forever," he said. "He's a classic."
Ausdembruch was one of numerous dealers who are also collectors. He said he has been collecting action figures and comics off and on for 25 years.
"I was just a collector, but at some point you have to start getting rid of stuff," he said. "I sell here to make a little money, but it feeds into buying other stuff, too. My philosophy is that I sell what I collect, generally."
Ausdembruch said he'd have a hard time parting with some items, such as a plush Chewbacca from "Star Wars" that was given to him as a birthday present when he was teenager.
"That's one of the few things that I still have that my parents didn't sell," he said.
Johnson also brought his collection, which included numerous "Star Wars" figures. But he was also on the lookout for hard-to-find items, particularly the "Jason Unmasked" figure from the "Friday the 13th" slasher movies.
He consulted with fellow collector Russell Plate of Gurnee, Illinois, who said he didn't have one yet.
"If you could get me it for a decent price, you'd be a hero," Johnson told Plate.
The collectible has sold for as much as $570 at other shows, however.
Plate, who had dozens of Pop Vinyl figures for sale, said he has some rare collectibles, notably the Holographic Darth Maul Pop Vinyl figure, which is worth thousands.
"I refuse to take it out of my safe," he said.
Johnson said Buster-Con was named after his dog, Buster, an English setter, who he hopes to have at one of the future shows.
An AP Member Exchange shared by the Kenosha News.