It’s Pez Week here at Collectors’ Quest, and I still have fond memories of the Pez Convention that I attended about a year ago. I admit that I wasn’t especially knowledgeable, or even exceptionally interested, in Pez. Of course, after a weekend where every other word is ‘Pez’, you either develop a nervous twitch anytime someone says the word on the outside, or you fall in love with the little open-throated things.
There’s myriad different Pez dispensers out there, and variations on heads, stems, logos, origins, packaging, springs, doohickeys, thingamabobs and whatsits triple that number. I’m not a hardcore Pez collector, though – so while I know about all of that stuff, I find myself focusing on things that I like. If you’re not delving deep into the history of Pez products and concentrating on the things that you find in the checkout aisle, it’s a very cheap collection to begin and maintain. My entire Pez collection is housed in an airtight, plastic container – only because my residence is prone to mold and mice. Thanks, upstate NY, for the flora and fauna that you try to ruin my collections with.
As you’ll see in our Community, people will devote entire rooms, and even entire houses, to Pez displays. Clearly, this is the mark of insanity. That space could easily be dedicated to Batman, after all.
When my mom gave me 4 new Batman Pez dispensers the other day, I cracked open my collection and realized that I have a LOT more than I’d originally thought. The newest Batman Pez set, released in honor of the upcoming movie, includes The Joker, The Riddler, Two Face and Batman himself – all done in classic style. Pez has a general policy of not including the images of real, living people in their general Pez collection, though exceptions have been made for Elvis, the Orange County Chopper guys, and a few other instances. Still, I’m happy to see ‘classic’ Batman stuff instead of newfangled movie stuff. It would also be in pretty poor taste to make a Heath Ledger Pez dispenser at this point, and no one wants to eat out of the neck of Christian Bale anyhow.
Please also note the following basic rule of Living on Planet Earth, which reads as follows : if your friends or family ever see that you own a single Pez dispenser, you’ll get them as gifts for the rest of your life. It’s a cheap, interesting thing to give, and it’ll usually be handed over to you with an inquisitive ‘Do you already have this one?’ Inasmuch, the collection will perpetuate itself, much akin to rabbits, or a rash.
Some of the greatest Pez sets come in quartets, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Incredibles – the latter of which is missing Violet, my favorite character (who remains a favorite only because she was voiced by my crush object, Sarah Vowell). Pez is also a rare example of a product that features both Marvel and DC characters – two things that are usually kept at a certain distance, lest they touch and another poorly-written crossover occur.
I have a special love for The Psychedelic Eye, a dispenser from 1967 which came in a wide variety of colors. Mine is a green eye in a black hand, on a purple stem, and while I don’t know if it’s especially rare or unique, it makes the Muppet Pez uncomfortable, and that’s enough for me. They have a strange relationship with hands.
The glowing skull and Darth Vader are other favorites, because evil makes things taste that much better. Never did Emperor Palpatine anticipate that I’d be eating candy out of the Death Star, a machine of genocide and planetary destruction. Alas, the only thing that this Death Star is destroying is my craving for strawberry Pez. It’s not Alderaan, but it’ll do, and for a dollar, it’s a guiltless purchase.
Serious Pez collectors should already know that the Wall-E and Eve dispensers were released exclusively in Europe, and if you live in the US and want to get them, they were ONLY available from Pez.com. Also, expect a Star Trek Original Crew (with Starship Enterprise) in October.
While maybe not in the true Pez spirit, here’s my formal request for Gorillaz, Metalocalypse, Venture Bros and Hellboy Pez. It’s a collection with no end in sight, and as long as neat things exist, Pez will cut off their heads and stick them on plastic stems stuffed with candy for our enjoyment.