MEGO World's Greatest Toys!

Press & Media

Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys! has been featured in several high-profile publications, including:

Entertainment Weekly
Obsessive Fan of the Week! (August 31, 2007)

The article reads:

When it comes to Mego (the creator of action figures for Marvel Comics and others), Benjamin Holcomb of Glendale, Calif., wrote the book -- literally. A longtime buff of the "charming, cloth-costumed superheroes," Holcomb could never find enough info about the now-defunct toymaker to quell his voracious passion. The solution? Put his social life "on hold for four years" and put pen to paper. "What sets me apart is how my obsession motivated me into life-changing action," he says. Indeed.

ToyFare Magazine
World's Greatest Book? (Issue 124, December 2007)
A Mego fan chronicles the World's Greatest Super-Heroes in pictures

ToyFare Magazine

The article reads:

Benjamin Holcomb loves Megos so much, he decided to write a book about them. What followed was four years of hard work. But now the massive hardcover is finally coming out from TwoMorrows Publishing in November. We asked Holcomb about his obsession.

ToyFare: Which do you prefer, Marvel or DC Megos?

Benjamin Holcomb: That's like asking a father which child he prefers! If pressed, I would say that Batgirl is my favorite Mego; Riddler is my second favorite. A lot of collectors are partial to the Marvel figures simply because many of them came later and benefited from Mego's improved tooling and manufacturing techniques.

Do any of Mego's non-8-inch Super-Heroes products appear in the book?

BH: The Pocket Heroes are discussed, but they aren't a focal point. The Elastic figures, 12-inch figures, die-cast figures, Bend N' Flex figures… Mego was so prolific in the production of Super-Heroes, it would be implausible to examine them all in one book. 256 pages was barely adequate to cover just the 8-inch Heroes!

Do you have any ideas for your next book?

BH: Additional Mego books are really contingent upon fan interest, but I'm currently working on a global examination of Jumbo Machinders, the 24-inch Japanese characters that Mattel issued in America as Shogun Warriors during the 1970s.

Toy Collector Magazine
Mego: The Making of the Book (October 2007)
Benjamin Holcomb's new publication is poised to earn fan approval
Written by J.C. Vaughn

TwoMorrows Publishing is largely known for its excellent specialty volumes on comic book and comic strip artists, writers and characters. Until now, there had been only one instance in which they turned their attention to a detailed history that appealed to toy collectors, as well (that previous example was the superb Captain Action: The Original Super-Hero Action Figure by Michael Eury).

This month the company is set to release Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys! by author Benjamin Holcomb, a lavishly illustrated volume with literally thousands of charts, checklists and color photographs. Billed as "an obsessive examination of legendary toy company Mego and the extraordinary line of super-hero action figures that dominated the toy industry throughout the 1970s," the book features a chronological history of Mego, interviews with former employees, and thorough coverage of each figure and packaging variant.

Click here to read this article IN LIVING COLOR (Flash plug-in required) in the October 2007 issue!

Holcomb comes to his authorship and expertise naturally enough. Raised in Ann Arbor, Mich., he was born in 1970, which made him almost exactly the right age for the heyday of Mego action figures and playsets. He took to them, and it seems they to him.

Action Jackson, inherited from his older brother, was his first Mego figure. Batman, Robin and Shazam were his first Mego Super-Heroes.

"I vividly recall the excitement of Christmas 1975," Holcomb said. "My family had a tradition of allowing each kid to open one gift on Christmas Eve. My mother gift-wrapped all three boxed Super-Heroes, stacked together as one gift ... an obvious attempt to throw me off the scent. I rooted them out effortlessly, and it was the best Christmas Eve ever!"

Holcomb said Aquaman was one of his early favorites. "I had more Aquaman figures than any other character, including the typical favorites, Batman and Spider-Man. I had a nasty habit of including Aquaman in the nightly childhood ritual called 'bath time.' I ruined countless polyester Aquaman costumes and sticker emblems. Fortunately, my mom was willing to replace them fairly consistently," he said.

"Growing up in Michigan, we had S.S. Kresge stores, significant to Mego fans because the retailer, which eventually became K-Mart, ordered massive quantities of Mego toys throughout the 1970s. Kresge orders were large enough that they initially sold Mego figures packaged on owned-brand blister cards, known as Kresge cards to collectors," Holcomb said.

His passion grew up with him. "I never really stopped looking for Mego figures, even after the figures were no longer produced. During shopping trips with my mom throughout the 1980s, I looked forward to hitting Child World and Children's Palace, in hopes of finding a carded Mego Super-Hero. I had no idea Mego was out of business! My last in-store purchase was in 1983 (the year Mego dissolved, as it turns out). I discovered an end-cap display of carded Hulk figures at a Toys 'R Us and I bought two of them. I still have them both in the original packaging!" he said.

"I experienced a Mego drought for the next three years, and my interests wandered toward girls, Redline bikes and checkerboard shoes. In 1986, I stumbled across my beloved, dog-eared Heroes World catalog. On a lark, I called the number and was shocked to learn that they had one Mego left. I immediately ordered their last Mego, but sadly that Hulk figure never arrived," he said. In 1988, he found an ad for a "doll lady" living in a neighboring town. From her he purchased a mint-in-box Catwoman, his first Mego in five years.

"My family has always accepted my quirks as a toy geek. On my 16th birthday, in April 1986, my mother waited patiently while I hand-picked an entire case of Kenner Super-Powers figures on clearance at our local K-Mart. I was one of the lucky few to find the scarce third wave, including Shazam and Cyborg. My father tells me I came home and announced my intentions to one day open a toy store. While I have since sold some of those figures, I still have the original Super-Powers shipping case, including the Ann Arbor K-Mart address label."

All of this led to Holcomb's new book. "Its genesis can be traced, quite precisely, to July 5, 2003. On a toy-hunting road trip with my buddy Rob Chatlin (the book's editor), we discussed my 2003 attempt to catalog the different Mego Batman box variations. He suggested I do the same for each of the Mego Super-Heroes. Initially, we considered the creation of simple Web pages. What started out as a "fun little project" evolved into a publication that has dominated four years of my life!" he said.

As frequently seems to be the story with priceguides and histories, Holcomb said he waited for years for someone else to write the definitive guidebook. "There are several books and articles about Mego, which are wonderful and passionate. Yet none of these publications features the level of detail or photographs that collectors crave. Rob Chatlin made me realize that, with my Mego knowledge and design background, I might be the guy to actually pull it off," he said.

The response to the announcement of the book has been fantastic, he said. "The message boards at the Mego Museum (www.MegoMuseum.com/community) comprise the largest Mego collector presence in the world. The Mego Museum community has been incredibly supportive, and instrumental in the book's evolution. Without their support and contributions, creating such a book would be an impossible endeavor," he said.

Holcomb said developing this book was, without exception, the hardest thing he's ever done. The real struggle was not with publishing constraints, deadlines or fan expectations, though. "The difficulty was the amount of work and dedication required to create an experience every fan will cherish," he said. "I traveled across the country, interviewed people as far away as France, and took over 5,000 photographs. This project has been a labor of love from the outset, and I'm proud to say I never compromised my vision."

His family was not surprised. His brother and sister-in-law work in publishing and have guided him from the outset of the project, and his parents consider the book an alternative to the toy store he once declared to be his destiny.

"Tracking down historical information about Mego was exhausting, but my research was surprisingly fruitful," Holcomb said. "Most of the Mego insiders I interviewed enthusiastically recalled the days of old. It's important to understand that, aside from a massive surge in the mid-1970s (mainly due to the popularity of the World's Greatest Super-Heroes), Mego was a small, family-owned business that had been around since the 1950s," he said. "I'm thrilled that this book features intimate recollections and memorabilia from those who experienced the company's explosive growth – and subsequent demise – firsthand."

There are stories about Mego that could fill a very different volume, but Holcomb's focus has always been the super hero action figures and his goal has been to capture a childhood innocence and adoration toward these toys. "To paraphrase filmmaker Cameron Crowe, this book is my love letter to Mego," he said.

When Holcomb undertook the project, he said he had no sense of how prolific the company was. In just 10 years, Mego produced a startling number of packaging and figure variations for its line of World's Greatest Super-Heroes. He pointed out that it's important to keep in mind that Mego pre-dates the modern trend of variants that are intentionally manufactured to increase sales. Each Mego variation, on the other hand, has a specific story behind it. Holcomb's new book illuminates each of those stories. And discoveries are still being made about the company's output.

"My original intention was to catalog Mego's Super-Heroes, which required a certain level of archeology. Since no one bothered to document the history of Mego, I had to gather information from a variety of sources. It is one thing to catalog a defunct line, an entirely different accomplishment to document such a line. This book hits on all cylinders," he said.

To catalog the line, he said he used a variety of resources, including internal Mego documents, manufacturer and retail catalogs, mail order material such as Heroes World and Warren publications (such as Eerie), as well as comic book ads and industry magazines. He supplemented this information with first-person interviews and additional corroborative research.

In illustrating his book, Holcomb said he relied heavily on the Mego collector community. "Beyond my own collection, 'supercollectors' like Rob Chatlin and Dan Crandall supplied many of the incredible specimens featured in the book," Holcomb revealed. "The selfless collectors in the Mego Museum community filled in the gaps, providing additional information and images. I actually documented a chronological history of Heroes World for the book, but I ran out of space. The book includes an assortment of Heroes World goodness, but I simply could not fit everything into this one volume. I plan to publish a history of Heroes World later. At the very least, this information will be published on the book's official website, www.WorldsGreatestToys.com.

TV Film Memorabilia (UK)
A History of Mego Toys (July 2007)
Written by Spencer Peet

Benjamin Holcomb has written a definitive account of the WGSH line entitled, "Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys!" and will be available to purchase around November [2007], published by TwoMorrows. If the samples printed here, which the author kindly provided us with, are anything to go by, then I'm sure that all Mego collectors will be incredibly enthusiastic by it's arrival.

For those of you who are interested in more, in-depth study of the Mego range of figures than what is available [in this article], we highly recommend you pay a visit to www.megomuseum.com, which is the best source of information for all things Mego and a great place to make acquaintances with fellow enthusiasts.

Diamond Galleries' Scoop!
Sizing Up Mego Figures (June 23, 2007)

Author and collector Benjamin Holcomb was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. By having the foresight to be born in 1970, he managed to arrive at almost exactly the right age for the heyday of Mego action figures and play sets. Not surprisingly, as a child he loved the action figures. This passion followed him into adulthood, though, and eventually resulted in the latest book from the prolific TwoMorrows Publishing line, Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys!

We asked Holcomb to tell Scoop about the project and how it happened. Here's what he had to say:

Growing up in Michigan, we had S.S. Kresge stores, significant to Mego fans because the retailer, which eventually became K-Mart, ordered massive quantities of Mego toys throughout the 1970s. Kresge orders were large enough that they initially sold Mego figures packaged on owned-brand blister cards, known as "Kresge cards" to collectors.

I lived in Ann Arbor long enough to attend The University of Michigan. After graduation, I moved to Boston ("followed the girl," so to speak). I moved to California in 1997, and now reside in Los Angeles where I am the Art Director of a design company.

I never really stopped looking for Mego figures, even after the figures were no longer produced. During shopping trips with my mom throughout the 1980s, I looked forward to hitting Child World and Children's Palace, in hopes of finding a carded Mego Super-Hero. I had no idea Mego was out of business! My last in-store purchase was in 1983 (the year Mego dissolved, as it turns out). I discovered an end-cap display of carded Hulk figures at a Toys 'R Us and I bought two of them. I still have them both in the original packaging!

I experienced a Mego drought for the next three years, and my interests wandered toward girls, Redline bikes and checkerboard shoes. In 1986, I stumbled across my beloved, dog-eared Heroes World< catalog. On a lark, I called the number and was shocked to learn that they had one Mego left. I immediately ordered their last Mego, but sadly that Hulk figure never arrived.

In 1988, I found an ad for a "doll lady" living in a neighboring town. From her, I bought a Mint-in-Box Catwoman, my first Mego in five years. Actually, I still have the yellowed print-out of her inventory list. I bought several Mego Super-Heroes from her, including Spider-Man and Tarzan. Over the years, I have taken breaks from active collecting, but I think I have always been a Mego collector.

My transition from child (i.e. receiving toys) to collector (i.e. buying toys) is a little muddy. The first Mego I tried to buy as a collector was the Hulk from Heroes World in October 1986. The first Mego I successfully bought, from Lee Hoekje in Cross Village, Michigan in January 1988, was the boxed Catwoman.

Action Jackson, inherited from my older brother, was actually my first Mego. As a kid, Batman, Robin and Shazam were my first Mego Super-Heroes. I vividly recall the excitement of Christmas 1975. My family had a tradition of allowing each kid to open one gift on Christmas Eve. My mother gift-wrapped all three boxed Super-Heroes, stacked together as one gift... an obvious attempt to throw me off the scent. I rooted them out effortlessly, and it was the best Christmas Eve ever!

Without any hesitation, Aquaman was one of my early favorites. I had more Aquaman figures than any other character, including the typical favorites, Batman and Spider-Man. I had a nasty habit of including Aquaman in the nightly childhood ritual called "bath time." I ruined countless polyester Aquaman costumes and sticker emblems. Fortunately, my mom was willing to replace them fairly consistently.

My family has always accepted my quirks as a toy geek. On my sixteenth birthday, in April 1986, my mother waited patiently while I hand-picked an entire case of Kenner Super-Powers figures on clearance at our local K-Mart. I was one of the lucky few to find the scarce third wave, including Shazam and Cyborg. My father tells me I came home and announced my intentions to one day open a toy store. While I have since sold some of those figures, I still have the original Super-Powers shipping case, including the Ann Arbor K-Mart address label.

All of this led to my new book, Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys!

Its genesis can be traced, quite precisely, to July 5, 2003. On a toy-hunting road trip with my buddy Rob Chatlin (the book's editor), we discussed my 2003 attempt to catalog the different Mego Batman box variations. He suggested I do the same for each of the Mego Super-Heroes. Initially, we considered the creation of simple Web pages. What started out as a "fun little project" evolved into a publication that has dominated four years of my life!

My appetite for Mego information has always been voracious. Like most collectors, I could never get enough. For years, I waited for someone else to write the definitive guidebook. There are several books and articles about Mego, which are wonderful and passionate. Yet none of these publications feature the level of detail or photographs that collectors crave. Rob Chatlin made me realize that, with my Mego knowledge and design background, I might be the guy to actually pull it off.

The response has been fantastic. The message boards at the Mego Museum (www.MegoMuseum.com/community) comprise the largest Mego collector presence in the world. The Mego Museum community has been incredibly supportive, and instrumental in the book's evolution. Without their support and contributions, creating such a book would be an impossible endeavor.

Developing this book was, without exception, the hardest thing I've ever done. The real struggle, however, was not with publishing constraints, deadlines or fan expectations. The difficulty was the amount of work and dedication required to create an experience every fan will cherish. I traveled across the country, interviewed people as far away as France, and took over 5,000 photographs. This project has been a labor of love from the outset, and I'm proud to say I never compromised my vision.

As a first-time author, I did have trouble navigating the publishing world, but I was extremely fortunate to connect with TwoMorrows, one of the best publishers in the business. My publisher, John Morrow, has been incredibly accommodating of my vision for this 'definitive guidebook.' In fact, ...World's Greatest Toys! is the first full-color hardcover book TwoMorrows will ever publish, a testament to John's faith in the project.

I understand that fan expectation is extremely high, but I am my own worst critic. I started the project with the objective of creating a book that would satisfy the critic inside myself. Standing at the finish line, I can honestly say that this book exceeds even my own wildest dreams.

My family was not surprised. Not even a little bit. My brother and sister-in-law work in publishing and they have guided me from the outset. I think my parents consider the book an alternative to that toy store I once declared my destiny. To my parents, my "toy store" has 256 pages and carries only one toy line, but it is probably the best toy store in the world!

Tracking down historical information about Mego was exhausting, but my research was surprisingly fruitful. Most of the Mego 'insiders' I interviewed enthusiastically recalled the days of old. It's important to understand that, aside from a massive surge in the mid-1970s (mainly due to the popularity of the World's Greatest Super-Heroes), Mego was a small, family-owned business that had been around since the 1950s. I'm thrilled that this book features intimate recollections and memorabilia from those who experienced the company's explosive growth - and subsequent demise - first-hand.

I learned things about the company so shocking they cannot be printed. There are stories about Mego that could fill a very different volume, but my focus has always been pure. I hope to capture a childhood innocence and adoration toward these toys. To paraphrase filmmaker Cameron Crowe, this book is my love letter to Mego.

When I started this journey, I had no sense of how prolific the company was. In just ten years, Mego produced a startling number of packaging and figure variations for their line of World's Greatest Super-Heroes. Bear in mind, Mego pre-dates the modern trend of so-called 'variants' that are intentionally manufactured to increase sales. Each Mego variation has a specific story behind it, and the book illuminates each of those stories.

In the book's foreword, I marvel at the fact that still today - more than thirty years after the company disappeared - discoveries are made. I truly hope that this book brings forth even more discoveries and revelations. At the risk of sounding coy, the book is filled with surprises, facts and revelations. However, you'll have to check out the book to learn about them!

My original intention was to catalog Mego's Super-Heroes, which required a certain level of archeology. Since no one bothered to document the history of Mego, I had to gather information from a variety of sources. It is one thing to catalog a defunct line, an entirely different accomplishment to document such a line. This book hits on all cylinders.

To catalog the line, I used a variety of resources, including internal Mego documents, manufacturer and retail catalogs, mail order material such as Heroes World and Warren publications (e.g. Eerie), as well as comic book ads and industry magazines. I supplemented this information with first-person interviews and additional corroborative research.

To document the line photographically, I relied heavily on the Mego collector community. Beyond my own collection, "super-collectors" like Rob Chatlin and Dan Crandall supplied many of the incredible specimens featured in the book. The selfless collectors in the Mego Museum community filled in the gaps, providing additional information and images.

I actually documented a chronological history of Heroes World for the book, but I ran out of space! The book includes an assortment of Heroes World goodness, but I simply could not fit everything into this one volume! I plan to publish a history of Heroes World later. At the very least, this information will be published on the book's official website: www.WorldsGreatestToys.com.

A Mego memory that resonates for me is the fact that Mego figures were available even in airport gift shops. During the 1970s, it was a challenge for manufacturers to distribute toys through typical outlets like department stores and mom-and-pop toy shops, let alone ancillary channels like duty-free gift shops. Once your product is available at the 'departure' gate, I think it's fair to say you have truly 'arrived.'

The reason Mego figures stand the test of time is self-evident: with multiple points of articulation, removable accessories and the adversarial relationships between heroes and villains, Mego toys were a tactile experience for kids. Mego created a veritable exercise in imagination.

Furthermore, as one of the founding fathers of licensed merchandise, Mego simultaneously held the licenses for DC, Marvel, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. (Tarzan) and Filmation Associates (Isis) characters. To date, this feat has not been replicated, and it's unlikely it ever will. Mego captured that proverbial "lightning in a bottle" that delights those who experienced it, and will continue to thrill generations to come.

My two favorites are Aquaman and Batgirl. I adore Aquaman because he was integral to the bathing of my filthy, trouble-making childhood. I love Batgirl for a more embarrassing reason... a memory I just can't shake: As a seven- year-old in 1977, I was reveling at Montgomery Ward's giant Mego display inside Arborland Mall. With a variety of choices before me, I was drawn to the carded Batgirl. I was transfixed because of a comic book panel in some random comic book I had read, in which Batgirl - perched on Robin's back, I think - flicked her leg and fired her yellow boot at the villains, effectively using her costume as a weapon. I was desperate to open the pink blister card and study the texture of that yellow boot! When my mother arrived to scoop me up, she invited me to pick one Mego to take home. Mistakenly believing no self-respecting boy would choose a "girl" doll, I defied my desire for that Batgirl. I walked out of there with another brand-new Mego Aquaman, though, so it wasn't a total loss.

Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys! will be available in comic shops in October. It will be offered in the July Previews (normally August would be the month for an October-shipping item, so please note the anomaly). For more information, visit www.TwoMorrows.com.

Toy Shop
World's Greatest Toys (February 2008)

The article reads:

Mego's World's Greatest Superhero fans — you have found your ultimate book. Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys by Benjamin Holcomb, is a 256-page historical look at the great action figure line with photots that will knock your socks off. The hardcover book ($49.95) could be considered the definitive book for Mego's Super-Heroes line. The book contains interviews with former employees (including factory photos, concept drawings, etc.), a chronological history and painstaking details on each character depicted in the line. Once you get past the company history and an overview of the different body types used (all pictured), Holcomb has compiled awesome photos of the figures from every angle, background on the figures (when he or she appeared, different versions, advertising campaigns, etc.) and even packaging variations throughout the years.

The Ann Arbor News
'World's greatest toys' get their due (November 3, 2007)

by Jenn McKee, The Ann Arbor News

Ann Arbor NewsThe article reads:

Ann Arbor native Benjamin Holcomb, who graduated from Huron High School in 1988, and the University of Michigan (B.A. in graphic design) in 1992, recently had his book "Mego 8-inch Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys!" published by North Carolina-based publisher, TwoMorrows Publications.

In an E-mail message, Holcomb defined his book as an "obsessive" - yes, that seems the right word - "examination of a legendary (yet sadly defunct) toy company called Mego, and a line of 8-inch Super-Hero action figures that dominated the toy industry throughout the 1970s."

The 256 page hardcover is available through www.twomorrows.com, as well as www.barnesandnoble.com and Amazon; the Amazon list price is $49.95.

Holcomb, who is now an art director in Los Angeles, did all of the research, interviews, writing, photography, and graphic design for the book. To learn more, visit www.worldsgreatesttoys.com.

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