They’re hard to find and may be expensive but Dr Vincent Wan of Central Brisbane Dental and First Dental Studio has a huge collection of pop culture collectibles.
“I own two practices in Brisbane, and at Central Brisbane Dental, I have Star Wars character heads running along a wall in the waiting room. There’s Yoda, Darth Vader, Boba Fett and a Stormtrooper, and they look like they’re smashing through the wall. At my other practice, First Dental Studio, I have a selection of Matrix statues on display. Each one is about 30cm tall and includes Neo, Trinity, Agent Smith and Morpheus. They’re a great icebreaker with patients.
“I was a bit nerdy at school—sport wasn’t a big thing for me. I was more interested in computer games and movies, and now I mainly collect things from my childhood such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. I have a lot of Terminator, Rambo and Rocky stuff and I also collect NBA collectibles related to players such as Shaq, Jordan and Kobe. That’s about as close to playing sport as I get!
“I’m a huge fan of Star Wars Lego. I’ve put together many of the larger sets and have them on display. When I built a Lego Death Star with over 4000 pieces, it took forever to complete. A lot of collectors buy Lego sets and keep them in the box so they retain their value. I’m not like that—I take everything out of the box, build it and put it on display.
“While it’s easy to buy collectibles online, I prefer to hunt around in comic book stores and specialty shops. A Brisbane store called ZiNG Pop Culture carries a huge selection of stuff. My family is from Hong Kong so when we visit, I hit the stores over there. I always come home with a collectible or two.
“Just before COVID-19 hit, we visited the Gold Coast for Supanova, a huge comic-con and expo. The place was packed with really awesome stuff. There were some beautifully crafted busts of the Terminator, Batman and some of the Avengers characters. I have to limit what I buy because it’s getting difficult to find room for everything. There was a life-sized Terminator endoskeleton that was very cool but at $10,000, it was a bit rich for my blood.
“Even though some people sneer at it, I look at pop culture collectibles as art. The finer examples are all handmade and handpainted, and the detail on them is unbelievable. They are miles away from the cheap plastic toys that are mass produced for kids. You just need to appreciate the art form.”