Aditya Ravi Shankar
Part-time collector, Full-time Troll.
Aditya Ravi Shankar; a self-certified geek and comic-book lore lover has amassed quote a collection of action figures, statues, Legos and comic books from DC comics. "My prime focus has ALWAYS been on The Goddamn Batman, I have been a serious collector for almost 3 years now, but I must say the passion for this hobby was there since I was 5 years old. (Me and Batman go way back ;))" says Adi.
It all started with the Kenner Batman Animated series line of figures, like a lot of Indian kids of that era! "My mom and I made a deal where in could buy one figure for every A+ I got in my class tests. And over my school years I had only 3figs..hehe…I am a huge fan of the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher Batman movies and always hummed to the theme song as I played with my figures and continue to do so even today when I unbox my stuff. I am lucky enough that my parents understand this crazy obsession I have with batman, and support me in this hobby!" exclaimed Adi, as we wished all parents understood the appeal and the love for these characters (and shared some stereotypical desi parent jokes!)
Since he has been in the hobby for quite sometime now, we asked him his thoughts on how the scene has changed over the years; and does he like that change or not. "Not really sure on what to say about this, as I’m relatively a new collector. It definitely has become very difficult now with the recent changes in custom policies and GST." He continued " ....this has also made it tough to import stuff, leading us to pay more than the cost of the article itself, just for shipping and duty, sometimes even double. But with onset of e-Commerce sites like eBay, Amazon and Flipkart, people are encouraged to get into this hobby as they provide good deals and offers on toys. I must also take this as an opportunity to thank the admins of the two biggest groups in our community, Indian Toy collectors (run by Harsh Vardhan) and The Collector life (Run by Varun Rawal, a fellow collector of which even I am an admin of ;) ), who have created a platform for like-minded collectors, old and new, to interact and help each other out.
This led us to another topic in the same vein, about his thoughts on how he sees the hobby develop in the coming....eh 5 years?
"I feel there is great potential for the market to expand and it is. Superhero movies is what every kid these days talk about and its good time for them to start collecting this early. We have guys trying hard to cater and deliver to the needs of the collectors in India, like Nerd Arena (Run by Gautam Bajaj and Team), Curious (run by Arup Biswas), Entertainment store, The Comic Factory, Superhero Toy store etc. Hopefully one day we not only get a wide range of products and but also match the international prices, which is the ultimate dream for all collectors in India."
And Aditya himself isn't behind in this endeavor of making Pop-culture relevant. He, along with a group of 7 other collectors is a content creator on India's premier collectible review channel; "The Collector Life" .
"We try to review as many collectibles as we can, starting with exclusive and hard to find collectibles, and going forward, the upcoming collectibles that will keep releasing! Go show some love, and subscribe to us on Youtube!"
We finally directed our attention to the main course, the collectible talk!
Mind you, it's hard to stop talking about collectibles and collection stories,
so we got done with the basic ones first. ;) Now to the good stuff!
"What is the most surprising or outrageous collecting story you have heard?".
"The lengths that collectors go to get their stuff in hand safe and sound is really astounding from “sweet talking” to the customs officers, to literally begging strangers to carry stuff from abroad and completing the entire collection of a particular line(having an OCD in this hobby is deadly)!" Adi exclaimed, laughing.. ..then let us in on a secret.
"Well, when I was a kid I once visited my friend’s house and stole all his looney toons, BTAS and The Mask tazos collection he had.(He didn’t care for them anyway :P) I had also flicked my cousins entire McD happy meal toys, as back then there was no McD in Chennai and only the one in CP,Delhi. To this date they have no clue who or what hit them!!
So yeah, collectors BEWARE. Think twice before you invite me to your homes!! :D :D ". Told yáll these stories and talks can go and on and on.. ;)
After that confession, we HAD to ask him if he could pick ONLY ONE item from his collection to keep, what would it be, and why.
"Each and every thing I own is dear to me and it would literally kill me if I had to part with even 1. If it ever comes to that situation, I would keep my Kotobukiya Artfx+ Spider Man statue (I know, shocking rightt?) Only because, my dad is a big fan of Spider-Man and the Tobey McGuire Spidey was the first superhero movie I saw with him. I don’t collect any Marvel/MCU stuff (no hate…..umm…..maybe a little) except for this, as i bought it just to cherish that moment."
That's some father-son bonding right there, if ya ask us!
After marvelling at his amazingly jaw-dropping collection, talks veered towards his friends in the collector community and IF he could have one item out of someone else’s collection, what would that be.
''Everything from everyone’s collection. Rachit Sharma’s entire DC Direct line of statues and figures, as a fellow DC fan I’m most jealous of Rachit uncle’s collection. A couple of Batman Black and White statues and DC direct figures from my good friend Dhiraj Sharma, Ramnath Rokkam’s entire Kingdom Come line of figures and his recently acquired Red Son Batman and Wonder Woman PF. Just to name a few.'' he said, smirking. Guys, beware!!
But what is the holy grail of HIS collection, or if he's still looking for it then what it is?
''Oh this is a tough one!'' He says and thinks for a moment ''I see this term being loosely used most of the times in our community, because the Holy Grail can just be ONE. And especially in this hobby, it’s extremely difficult to pick that ONE. So with me the funda is very simple, if I really love something and I feel it would look good in my collection, I try and go for it. But, if one did exist it would be a custom statue of Batman made exclusively for me as per my design in 1/4th scale. That would be the center piece of my collection.'' he says. Now THAT would be really cool, wouldn't it?
After all this enriching conversation and a walk through of his collection, we came to the last question of the day;
What advice would you give a new collector starting out today?
"Don’t take any advice! :P :P'' He laughs heartily, but continues ''...follow your passion and buy what you love. Don’t jump onto the bandwagon and buy something you’ll regret later, just because your friends and fellow collectors are. Try not to get influenced by anyone, do consider their opinions, but let the final decision be yours. We might not all have the same tastes, and that is OK (Koto’s are awesome btw)!!! Ultimately these pieces of art will be with you to cherish for throughout your life and not to satisfy others.
For any technical clarifications or doubts there a lot of YouTube review channels internationally and our OWN Indian channel, The Collector Life (shameless plug ;)), who provide in-depth info on all kinds of statues and figures you can always follow them. You can always count on anyone in our groups,TCL and ITC.
We all belong to a close knit community with a lot of genuine guys out there who really are willing to help out. Over the years I’ve made some great friends who have become part of my regular life now and it all has been possible thanks to this hobby.
Save Spend Repeat!
PS: Please follow me on Instagram @adityashankar91 :P :D"
He says and signs off, ushering us out of his man-cave. We tried swiping one collectible off when he wasn't looking, but alas! But what we DID get was tonnes of knowledge, insight and a great conversation!