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Catching up with Tesco Vee and his Lansing Collectable Toy Comic and Record Show

Vintage pop-culture event returns, with masks

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After an 18-month hiatus, The Lansing Collectable Toy Comic and Record Show returns Sunday, but with some precautionary measures, said host Tesco Vee. 

Presented by Tesco’s Toys, a company owned by the Lansing-punk legend, this show will, as usual, be stacked with plenty of fun figurines, albums and paper goods. However, this time around, Vee said there will be more room to browse the tables. Beyond that, Vee said he also has a simple request for those who plan to attend.  

“First and foremost: wear a mask,” Vee said. “We are following state mandated ‘retail rules’ and have spaced the show out much better. A few dealers decided to wait until fall, and that is allowing us to spread things out and make the layout more socially distanced. We also have a couple dealers setting up outside on the front patio.”

The free-admission event, which features 100 tables of toys (about 17 less tables than previous events), boasts not only rare action figures and old-school toys (from Frankenstein to Star Wars), but also stacks of obscure comics, movies, old magazines, vinyl records and posters. It’s tables full of both pop culture classics and hard-to-find rarities. Like before, it’s spread out over two floors, with dealers from several states. 

As for Vee himself, like many, he spent 2020 just “surviving,” but also celebrated a milestone year, career wise. 

“I finally retired from my job,” he said. “So, pandemic notwithstanding, that has been great. I worked from home for the last six months anyway, but after 20 years at Sparrow, it was time.”

Of course, he’s also kept up with his collecting routine. His rapidly growing archive of treasures is a masterfully curated collection. He never stops hunting, and it’s apparent when looking at both his personal items, and the cases of vintage gems he sells at shows.  

“I never stop buying, it’s in my blood,” Vee said. “I have been going through my record collection of the last 40 years and plucking some gems to add to the six big totes I will be bringing to the show. I’m still collecting robots and monsters, and I’ll have a good selection of monster toys at the show as well.”

For those who grew up watching Vee front the wildly tongue-in-cheek band The Meatmen, or reading his now-legendary “Touch and Go” punk zine, this newer collector venture might seem like an about face. But it’s a change the entrepreneurial Vee welcomes, though he said it’s tough to compare the two worlds. For him, both are passion projects. 

“The toy shows are more fun, but the thrill of being on stage is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” he said. “I was fortunate to do the punk rock thing on-and-off for 40 years. Now it’s time to sling pop culture for fun and profit.” 

For newbies looking to get into the collector game, Vee has some advice for entering the always fluctuating market.  

“The sports card market has gone nuts in the last few months and comic books are very strong, as well,” he said. “Superhero toys are extremely popular right now. My advice is: collect what you like and always with an eye for what something might be worth down the road. And vinyl is vinyl. Vinyl rules.” 

The Lansing Collectable Toy Comic and Record Show

Sunday, May 9 

Okemos Conference Center

2187 University Park Drive, Okemos. 

FREE, all ages, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

facebook.com/TescosToys

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