It wasn’t long ago that we considered comic books, fantasy novels, and science fiction films niche. But these days superhero movies, as well as TV shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, dominate pop culture. You know that fandom has gone mainstream when words like Wakanda, vibranium, and infinity gauntlet become household words. Even though superhero movies dominate the box office, when it comes to pop culture obsession, nothing comes close to the love and passion of Star Wars’ fans.
Star Wars fandom is second to none. And that level of fierce devotion brings out the best and the worst in people. In a recent article for Popular Mechanics, friend of the site Alexander Huls nails Star Wars fandom’s highs and lows. His article, The Great Star Wars Heist, looks at Star Wars collecting enthusiasts and details how one high-profile scandal cast a shadow over the entire community. The story is riveting from beginning to end. Here’s a little taste:
Star Wars collecting became a hobby, then a passion, then a worldwide industry with insurance policies protecting collections worth millions and collectors chasing the rarest and most elusive pieces. In 2017, that hobby would be tested by an aspiring collector, a thief hidden in plain sight, and a rare plastic action figure worth more than your average car.
Huls is a pro. Even if you don’t know Princess Leia from Princess Peach, he does a masterful job laying out the key players in the collecting community and the central items’ values. Huls’ story has the dramatic tension of a murder mystery and its equal parts fun and informative. But most impressive is how he approaches the story by examining the incident from both sides. The way Huls humanizes the story’s “villain” kept the piece on my mind long after I finished reading.
It’s almost impossible to log onto social media without coming across some new case of public shaming, faux outrage, or righteous indignation. Amidst the noise, we rarely hear both sides of what happened. Huls takes his time with his story before revealing the toy thief’s mindset. And his willingness to hear out the other side feels like a breath of fresh air. We don’t have to like or agree with liars and thieves, but in many cases, we’re better off for knowing what drives their behaviour.
The Great Star Wars Heist offers a gripping read and a great jumping off point for healthy discussions about right and wrong and the murky territory that exists between.
You can find the entire article at Popular Mechanics.