- About Happybeeps
It all started with a one-page list.
Back in 1992, I never imagined myself as a Star Wars collector. I owned no Star Wars merchandise, except for two items my parents hadn’t thrown out or donated…a 12-inch Chewbacca and a hardcover edition of The Star Wars Storybook (Random House). But then I found Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire on a paperback rack in the Orlando International Airport, and instead of donating it or tossing it after I was done, I kept it. A few years later Bantam publishing had released over a dozen hardback and softcover books under the Star Wars label, and I found myself reading (and keeping) all of those. Then I met a good friend who told me there were these incredible comics that had been released by a company called Dark Horse, and that the Bantam authors were getting a lot of their information from a role playing system by West End Games. Suddenly I had thirty or forty bits of Star Wars publishing merchandise on a shelf. I wrote them down so I didn’t forget what I had.
Fast forward about thirty years, and in retrospect things have truly gone bonkers. The THX trilogy re-release in 1995, the Special Editions in 1997, the prequels over the following six years, then the Clone Wars television debut in 2008, and finally the Disney acquisition announced in 2012…every few years since the late 1980’s “Renaissance”, the Star Wars brand got a boost, and publishing (both fiction and non-fiction) got a boost right along with it. I kept reading, and I kept writing everything down. Of course before too long, the plain text lists weren’t enough, so I moved to spreadsheets. Now I could search, sort, and categorize things more easily – and for the first time I could easily see how close my collection of books, comics, and magazines was to being “complete”. This, naturally, only intensified the insurmountable desires all collectors know well: to fill in gaps, and discover areas of Star Wars storytelling I hadn’t had known much about before, like classic TV, souvenir programs, video games, and commentary.
My Star Wars collection flourished – it was a blast to behold. Against what might have been my better judgment, in the midst of the prequel era I finally also started picking up action figures and Lego sets that my kids and I liked, as well as a bunch of posters and collectible trading cards to round things out. Before I knew it, we were now talking about thousands of publications, toys, and artwork, and my two-dimensional spreadsheet was causing me problems and wouldn’t do what I needed it to do. When single-issue comic books received multiple variant covers, and short stories were packed in with paperback reprints of major novels, and action figures and vehicles were getting repackaged, repainted, and collected all the time…suddenly it wasn’t nearly so easy to figure out what I had and didn’t have anymore. And if I wanted to know answers to really specific questions, like “What authors did Marvel have writing comics between 1980 and 1983”, or “How many versions of Princess Leia in her Boushh disguise has Hasbro released”, or “What Lego minifigs can only be found with the 2016 Lego Death Star”…well, let’s just say my spreadsheets couldn’t do that.
And thus the idea for Happy Beeps was born. How about a model for Star Wars content and merchandise that existed in multiple dimensions, which could be sliced, sorted, and grouped any way a fan or collector could dream up? One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that there are as many styles of collecting and fandom are there are collectors and fans…some people focus their attention on a particular type of merchandise, like Legos or Funko Pops; others need every toy, comic book, and artwork related to Luke Skywalker, or the Clone Wars, or the Mos Eisley Cantina; others only want anything and everything produced prior to 1983 or after 2014 but nothing else. Happy Beeps delivers one model, one site, one custom-tailored experience for fans and collectors no matter what their specific interests – for anyone who loves Star Wars like we do. And we’re here to help you find what’s out there, what you already have but might not know it, and how close you are to having it ALL 😊.
In addition to the Catalogs themselves, which are now available for Toys and for Publishing, we’ve added some bells and whistles to this first version of Happy Beeps just for fun. Check out our interactive Box Office History model to see how the various Star Wars movies have performed relative to one another, in both raw numbers and adjusted for 40-year changes in ticket prices. Our Chart of the Day feature provides a series visual representations of production phenomena we bet you’ll find fascinating. And the Collector’s Galleries for registered users offers a visual insight into our community of fellow collectors and what they love.
You’re looking at a “beta” release of Happy Beeps for now, which means we’ve still got work to do. You’ll notice a lot of our images aren’t uploaded, and there’s still plenty of toys we want to add to the catalog, as well as look-and-feel we’d like to tweak. All that stuff will come in time as we get closer to Star Wars Celebration 2019 and the rest of the amazing stuff planned for this year. Most of all right now, we're dying to hear what you have to say, what you like and don’t like about the Happy Beeps experience. So please, create a free account and take a moment to contact us or visit our suggestion box, and let us know how we can improve.
Thanks for visiting, and May the Force Be With You.
President and Founder, Happybeeps.net