Cool and Collected

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Most of the toys are prominently displayed on shelves inside Denny's home office, which he calls his "oasis." His office/toy showroom also functions as his game room. He has every version of the Nintendo game system, from the eight-bit original to GameCube, as well as a Sega Genesis and a Sega Dreamcast. He even owns an Atari 2600!

On one of the walls, Denny has erected shrines to Speed Racer, Spawn, and bobblehead dolls. On the top shelf sit three Speed Racer cookie jars, a Speed Racer DVD, and a rare Hot Wheels version of Speed Racer's car, the Mach 5, in its original package. The second shelf is lined with various bobbleheads of Hermey the Elf from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Shrek, and several athletes. On the third shelf are his favorite Spawn action figures carefully arranged in menacing poses.

Denny's oldest toy, a Fred Flintstone bank from the early Seventies, stands tall among several other interesting characters, including a sixteen-inch Chewbacca doll circa 1978. Fred Flintstone and Chewbacca are displayed on a shelf underneath Denny's shrine of South Park memorabilia consisting of various plush dolls of Kyle, Kenny, Stan, and Cartman; a South Park mousepad and mouse; a Kenny watch; and other South Park trinkets. "I like to keep everything neat and clean," Denny says. "All the action figures I had when I was a kid are still in good quality."

A regular customer of Ralph Vega's, Denny is the guy who will lay out every action figure on the floor at Outland Station and investigate every single detail in the toy before selecting one. When he can't find what he is looking for, he'll ask Vega to hunt down his desired toy online. Take Denny's Galhound PVC statue. Galhound was the first in a series of exclusive figures based on the artwork of manga artist Masamune Shirow. Outland carried Galhound only in the white color scheme; Denny wanted her in the purple color scheme. "It took about a month for him to get it," Denny recalls. "I was there to pick it up the same day Ralph finally got it in."

These days Denny is trying to decide where he is going to display his new set of action figures sculpted by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane. The Canadian comic book artist, who parlayed his skills into a lucrative toy franchise, is producing Clive Barker's Infernal Parade and Twisted Fairy Tales.

Infernal Parade is based on a gruesome bunch of carnival characters from the man who brought us Lord of Illusions. The other action figures are McFarlane's macabre and sadistic interpretations of children's favorites, such as Peter Pumpkin Eater, who carries a bloodied ax and a pumpkin stuffed with an unfortunate victim's body parts. "I've always loved Clive Barker," Denny says. "I see the Infernal Parade and Twisted Fairy Tales as pieces of art. They are pretty bizarre, but I'm a bizarre person myself."

Denny may end up relocating his vast DVD and VHS collection, which he catalogues by genre and alphabetical order, to his living room so he can accommodate his toys.

Renee finds her husband's latest collection a bit disturbing. "That stuff is a little morbid for me," she admits. "I prefer his anime statues. Those are cool."

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.

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