X-Men ultra-fan Eric Jaskolka has entered the Guinness Book of Records. His 16,000-piece collection of X-Men memorabilia is officially the largest in the world.
Jaskolka first began following X-Men comics in 1989. This was the heyday of the X-Men comic book franchise, with 1991's X-Men #1 setting the record as the bestselling comic book of all time. In 1992, the X-Men Animated Series launched on the Fox Network. Marvel's merry mutants were more popular than ever before, and it didn't take Marvel long to realize that merchandise rights were tremendously valuable. Jaskolka followed them all, picking up everything from action figures and helmets, to inflatable hammers and promotional watches. By the end of the decade, Fox was launching the X-Men film franchise. Jaskolka scooped all the promotional items up.
Now, 28 years later, he's collected a whopping 16,000 pieces of X-Men memorabilia. The Guinness Book of Records evaluated his collection as the largest in the world, and produced a thrilling video in which Jaskolka guided curious fans through his collection. It's an amazing collection, sure to leave X-Men fans jealous. Most delightful of all, it's clear Jaskolka's family have entered into his hobby. Jaskolka proudly shows off a Wolverine sculpture made for him by his son when he was in 4th or 5th grade.
Jaskolka stresses that he was drawn to the X-Men because of their social message. He was pointed to the comics by his Synagogue Sunday School teacher, who thought he'd enjoy them because of their tie to Judaism. Magneto, one of the franchise's most complex characters, is explicitly tied to the events of the Holocaust. The X-Men's central theme is the battle against prejudice, and several plots have alluded to actual cases of antisemitism. The central message resonated with the young reader, and he soon began to collect the comics.
As he's grown, Jaskolka has continued to find strength from the X-Men's message of social inclusion. For Joskalka, the X-Men represent every man and woman's attempt to fit into society - irrespective of height, or weight, or hair color, or lack of hair. Professor Xavier would be proud.
Don't think you can catch up with Jaskolka's collection; it includes some pretty rare items. Take, for example a promotional watch dating back to the year 2000, given out to the cast and crew of Fox's first X-Men film. Another highlight is a prototype animated watch that was never released. Even Jaskolka has only ever seen three of them, and naturally he owns one of the three.
No doubt the best years of Jaskolka's collection are still to come. If Disney's bid to purchase the bulk of 21st Century Fox is approved by regulators, the X-Men are expected to enter the MCU. Marvel will surely celebrate this homecoming with a massive range of merchandise - and Jaskolka is ready and waiting for it.
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