Taking My Hacks

"Super" Memories

Joe Orlando

When you talk to men who grew up during the 1950s and 1960s, it is not uncommon to hear them tell stories about wanting to be Mickey Mantle when they were boys. Each generation has its share of idols, and many of them are region-specific too. There is something about being young and impressionable, letting your imagination run wild, dreaming of hitting the game-winning home run, catching the game-winning touchdown pass or making the buzzer-beating shot on the court.

From decade to decade, young boys have emulated the likes of Babe Ruth, Joe Montana and Michael Jordan. They have wanted to move like Muhammad Ali and throw like Johnny Bench, run like Walter Payton and dunk like Blake Griffin. This feeling may get locked away, but it doesn't disappear entirely. That is part of what draws grown men to collecting in the first place, the connection to their youth and the memories that remain vivid in spite of how many years have passed. Our outer shell may change as we age, but we always carry that young boy with us.

The same feeling is true for those who grew up fantasizing about being their favorite super hero like Batman, Superman or The Hulk. How many times have you seen pictures of children with sheets wrapped around them, acting as homemade capes, or kids wearing their Halloween costumes around the house on non-Halloween days? Young boys created many anxious moments for their parents as they jumped from bed to bed, coffee table to couch, chair to beanbag, pretending to fly through the air. These antics would often result in bumps and bruises but, when you're a kid, you tend to feel fearless and indestructible.

I remember playing with my little brother, pretending we were super heroes, when I was about five years old and he was around three. We lined up a bunch of chairs and proceeded to jump from chair to chair with our homemade capes draped around our necks. We were laughing hysterically until my brother missed that last jump and struck his head on the pointed base of the chair. The back of my brother's head started to bleed. My mother came rushing into the room and almost had a heart attack when she saw the blood flowing from his head. Yet, there was my brother, still laughing hysterically in his ridiculous Aquaman Underoos.

Even though his head wound required a few stitches and we were all nervous at the time, my brother was fine. He just failed to realize that flying was not amongst the super-human abilities Aquaman possessed. Aquaman just talks to sea creatures like The Incredible Mr. Limpet and Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. My brother still blames Aquaman for his flying debacle, but when we think back on the incident, we all laugh and remember how much fun we had. We were kids being kids, losing ourselves in imagination.

That is what a big part of collecting is about, especially when it comes to collecting items that pertain to the super heroes that dominated our youth-and still dominate today. There is a rich history of super heroes being depicted on trading cards. From comic-related artwork to television shows to movies, super heroes have been part of the trading card world for decades, and the entire genre is getting more and more popular. Part of the reason is because it's based on fantasy, not the harsh reality we have to face with real-life heroes who sometimes fall from grace. Superman will not be reprimanded for using steroids. Batman will not be jailed for speeding. Aquaman will not be accused of sexual harassment by Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

In 2012, there is a great chance that most of the top grossing movies will be ones featuring super heroes. The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spiderman and more will all be released this year, and their following is staggering. Why? Because little kids have a blast watching their super heroes in action, and the big kids remember what that felt like too.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief


Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.