One of my favorite aspects of Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! is its documentation of vintage photographs of Mego figures in the proverbial wild.
On the heels of blogging the six-part series of vintage, childhood photographs from Mike Armes, I want to continue by discussing one of the vintage pictures that appears in the bookâ€¦ along with one that does not appear in the book.
Andi Jones is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I met Andi while I was still in high school, and he inspired me to pursue my creative interests and join him at the University of Michigan School of Art. Many years later, while working on the book, Andi mentioned that he probably had childhood pictures of himself with Mego figures. Sure enough, a few days later, Andi sent me two incredible photos:
The image of Andi holding his RC Batman in 1973 (right) does not appear in the book, but it is a wonderful picture. The picture of Andi holding his Spider-Man (left), however, does appear in the book. Not only is it a great photo (that’s a Big Wheel steering wheel in the foreground, by the way), it is highly unusual documentation of one of the four, scarcest Mego Spider-Man costume variations, known as “Circle-Suit” Spider-Man costumes.
I talk about the “Circle-Suit” Spider-Man (or “CSS”) outfits in World’s Greatest Toys! Here’s a snippet from the book (page 81, for those reading along), followed by a scan of the cited page-spread:
Among the numerous patterns, the most desirable and fascinating are the four â€œCircle Suitâ€ designs. The earliest product photography, appearing in Captain Company (Warren Publicationsâ€™ mail order division) and Marvel Merchandise (which ultimately became Heroes World) ads, suggests a Circle Suit preceded all others. The design in Captain Company ads is likely a never-produced prototype, since no specimens have surfaced. The other three designs were demonstrably produced, as there are known specimens for each pattern. Produced only on Type 1 bodies, Circle Suits are quite rare and mysterious to collectors.
Aside from the Circle Suit patterns, several significant variants exists among the more common outfits. Earlier versions of the Type 1 suit feature very tall boots, reaching the knees. Subsequent boots are much shorter, reaching only the calves. The spider emblem on the chest can also be one of many different designs. Some spiders are solid black while others are hollow, revealing the base blue color (particularly on Type 2 outfits). Earlier suits tend to have spiders with short legs, while later designs usually feature long-legged spiders. The webs may be thick or thin. Around the abdomen area, the red dickey may taper toward the belt or flare out from the chest. The reality is that there are too many variants to properly catalog.
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The CSS outfits are truly unique and incredibly rare. Here’s an enlarged detail of the four chest patterns that define each Mego Spider-Man costume variation:
The “Standard” pattern earned it’s pedestrian name simply by being the most common of the four patterns; the “Warren Prototype” pattern, for example, has never been seen outside the black-and-white Warren Publishing ads that appear in magazines such as Eerie, Creepy and Vampirella, wherein toys were sold (via mail order) under the name “Captain Company.”
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posted in Acknowledgements, Book Status, Captain Company/Warren Publications, Christmas Memories, Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, Mego Retailers, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Vintage Toy Photos, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off