Best Museum for Geeks Phoenix 2012 - Arizona Popular Culture Experience
John W. Edwards has never met an action figure he didn't like. Or didn't want to immediately buy, for that matter. The 54-year-old's sprawling collection of more than 13,000 figures and toys, all of which are housed in a cavernous location at Desert Ridge Marketplace, is evidence of this. Edwards, who grew up wanting to be an astronaut, has been accumulating out-of-this-world playthings since childhood, and his haul includes toys from every geek-friendly franchise imaginable. The rooms and halls are filled from floor to ceiling with mint-on-card figures from Star Wars, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, and Doctor Who, as well as mannequins sporting screen-worn costumes from Stargate and Caprica. And that's just the first floor. Upstairs is a twisting maze of racks containing plastic representations of sports heroes and rock 'n' roll icons, as well as numerous G.I. Joe dolls. More than just a gigantic nerdatorium and museum, the Arizona Pop Culture Experience is an example of the joys of a second childhood, as well as a massive monument to one man's various obsessions. For instance, Edwards apparently is a die-hard DC Comics supporter, as superheroes like Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash widely outnumber their Marvel counterparts on the walls and inside a case filled with custom figures. We're sure Superman would approve.