8th November 2009

Mego Memories: Scott Neely’s 1974 Christmas!

{EAV:f6f317fdffca24bd} My publisher recently received an Email from the very talented Scott Neely. Scott is an approved “Scooby-Doo” and Cartoon Network artist, working on such licensed properties as “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Cow and Chicken,” “Johnny Bravo,” “Courage The Cowardly Dog,” “The Grim Adventures of Billy And Mandy,” “Powerpuff Girls” and “Ed, Edd, and Eddy”. He has also worked on “Pokemon,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Strawberry Shortcake,” “Bratz” and “The Lil Learners Club.”

Scott wrote:

When I was down in Baltimore for the con I bought a bunch of books from Eric at the booth and got this INCREDIBLE Mego Toys book by Benjamin Holcomb. What a tremendous book it is! I scanned these pics of myself from pics at Christmas time in Dec of 1974 when I got the batcave and quite a lot of figures from Santa. I though Benjamin might like to see them since I also work for DC Comics on the side as well. Ha! I’ve attached them so you could see them.

Here are his FANTASTIC images depicting vast Mego Super-Hero goodness, including Batman, Robin, Superman, Spider-Man, Penguin, Joker and Riddler, as well as the Bat-Cave, Batmobile and Batcycle. Quite the haul, but Scott! No love for Aquaman or Mr. Mxyzptlk? Hey, you weren’t the only one. Heh.

-b

posted in Batcycle, Batman, Batmobile, Christmas Memories, Joker, Mego Batcave, Mego Memories, Penguin, Riddler, Robin, Spider-Man, Superman, Vintage Toy Photos, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

23rd May 2008

Mego Price Stickers: King’s

I don’t know much about King’s history in the world of retail and/or Mego, but they did sell this 4th Version (4-digit/Old logo) Batman box:

Price Sticker

The sticker reads:

  • KING’S
  • 7 75 19
  • 310 M 24
  • 861
  • $3.27

Post your comments below. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Benjamin

Exclamation Want to learn more about Mego and the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes?
Pick up a copy of Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys from Amazon.com today! All sales support the author and help finance the blog. How cool is that?

posted in Batman, Daily Mego Adoration, King's, Price Stickers, Window Boxes, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

16th May 2008

Strange Mego Logo!

While Mego was world-renown for shameless self-promotion to the toy industry (have you heard about Mego’s extravagant Toy Fair parties for retail buyers?), Mego was very poor at self-promotion aimed at its end-users… also known as ‘kids’.

How many of us, as kids, knew that a company called “Mego” manufactured our favorite action figures? Sadly, very few.

While 1970s Christmas catalogs are filled with recognizable logos from larger manufacturers such as Kenner (the ‘Stretch Armstong’ and ‘Star Wars” dudes), Hasbro (the ‘Super Joes’ dudes) and Mattel (the ‘Barbie’ dudes), Mego logos and/or attributions rarely appear in 1970s retail Christmas catalogs.

That’s what makes the 1977 Aldens catalog particularly special. Not only does it feature a Mego ‘logo’ attribution, it is not actually a Mego logo. But it is cool, and it properly credits Mego for making some hot toys:

Mego Logo

This strange Mego logo appears twice on the same page of Aldens’ 1977 Christmas catalog, which offered a Batman & Robin 2-pack ($6.99 for both!) and the Mobile Bat Lab ($13.99)

Aldens

Holy Zap!

Did you grow up in the Chicago area? Do you remember shopping at Aldens or perusing an Aldens Christmas catalog? Post your comments below. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Benjamin

Exclamation Want to learn more about Mego and the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes?
Pick up a copy of Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys from Amazon.com today! All sales support the author and help finance the blog. How cool is that?!

posted in Aldens, Batman, Christmas Memories, Daily Mego Adoration, Robin | 2 Comments

13th May 2008

Mego Price Stickers: Kresge vs. Kmart!

In World’s Greatest Toys (page 59), I discuss retailer S.S. Kresge, and their transition into Kmart:

Founded in 1899, S.S. Kresge was a five-and-dime retailer. In 1977, the company officially changed its name to Kmart Corporation, but Kresge stores operated in America until 1987.

During the 1970s, Kresge and Kmart orders were fulfilled through several different consolidation facilities, such as See-Pak in New Jersey. Orders came from “the individual stores,” recalled Mego warehouse manager Ray Demato. Mego’s warehouse employees would stage the entire order, separated by region. To fulfill orders for East Coast and Midwest stores, for example, Demato explained that Mego would “put them on a See-Pak truck that went to a Kmart breakdown point. See-Pak handled a specific region of the country,” adding, “There was a ‘See-Pak,’ a ‘See-USA,’ and others. [Kmart] had like five distribution points” covering the entire country.

Since the retailer’s transition occurred during Mego’s heyday, it’s fun to track the varying prices and toys offered by the two (very different) stores. In all my years of collecting, I have encountered relatively few “Kmart” price stickers, while I have seen countless examples of “Kresge” stickers, thank to the Kresge-branded “1st Issue” cards.

Kresge ordered ‘owned-brand’ packaging (i.e. pre-printed price stickers) for only a few years (1973-1975), but they continued to sell Mego products for years afterward. Here’s a cool comparison of a “Kresge” and a “Kmart” price sticker, both of which appeared after Kresge stopped buying ‘owned-brand’ packaging:

Price Sticker

The $3.33 “Kresge” sticker (above left) is affixed to a “1st Issue” (6th Version) Robin card (see page 189 ofWorld’s Greatest Toys), while the $3.97 “Kmart” sticker (above right) is affixed to a 2nd Issue “©1977b” Batman card (see page 225 of World’s Greatest Toys).

The packages were issued about a year-and-a-half apart, which explains the $0.64 price increase.

posted in Batman, Daily Mego Adoration, Mego Memories, Price Stickers, Robin, S.S. Kresge | Comments Off

5th May 2008

USPTO: Fist-Fighters!

Fist-Fighters As collectors, it’s easy to get down on Mego for failing to further expand the WGSH line. Despite Mego’s then-unprecedented production of 37 unique characters, we wish there were even more!

“Where’s our Flash?” we plead. “Why didn’t Mego make a Green Lantern? Or a Dr. Doom?!” we lament.

As the line started to die around 1977-1978 (no, that’s not a typo), collectors now question why Mego failed to push the envelope in an effort to revitalize the line… especially during that critical period exacerbated by George Lucas’ introduction of “Star Wars” to the Pop Culture lexicon.

In fact, Mego did attempt to ‘flip the script’ at least twice. But neither concept had much of an impact on children of the 1970s. Mego’s final attempt at pumping life into a fading line was the introduction of “Fly-Away Action,” a contraption included with some 12″ WGSH figures, which allowed action figures to traverse a zip line.

Several years earlier, while the Mego’s WGSH line was arguably in its prime, Mego also went outside the proverbial box in developing a brand new body style intended to enhance play-value. Mego introduced the “Fist-Fighting Power Fist” Super-Heroes in 1975.

Fist-Fighters

I love Mego’s submissions to the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), and I have previously discussed this informative documentation. In World’s Greatest Toys, I discuss the Fist-Fighters (page 147) as well as Mego’s dealings with the USPTO (pages 7-9), depicting just one of the four USPTO Fist-Fighter submissions.

Here is Mego’s “Fist-Fighter” submission in its entirety (NB: Click Images to EMBIGGEN toward legibility!):

PAGE 1 and PAGE 2:

USPTO

PAGE 3 and PAGE 4:

USPTO

Exclamation Want to learn more about Mego and the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes?
Pick up a copy of Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys from Amazon.com today!
All sales support the author and help finance the blog. How cool is that?!

posted in Batman, Captain America, Copyrights and Trademarks, Falcon, Green Arrow, Iron Man, Joker, Lizard, Riddler, Robin, Spider-Man, Superman, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

29th April 2008

Vintage Photos: Mego Christmas 1976

Our collection of Mego Christmas photos is growing!

Scott Tipton is an author and scholar — a life-long comics N’ toys geek — who operates Comics 101, which includes his amazing “Comics 101 with Professor Scott Tipton” blog. These fun, informative sites are definitely worth bookmarking, if you haven’t already.

Thanks to Scott Tipton, we now have these wonderful memories of his Mego Christmas in 1976. Below, we see Scott (with red hair), holding the Mego Supervator playset, the Mego Robin box and the Mego Batman box, while his brother, Dave, opens Kenner’s Six Million Dollar Man and a Mego Spider-Man box.

Scott Tipton

Scott Tipton

Scott Tipton

Scott Tipton

Scott Tipton

When Scott sent these photos, he wrote:

“The great thing was, my entire interest in comics and toys was all kicked off by my getting the Mego Batman and Spidey, and the fact that it was captured on film is amazing.”

Indeed.

I like the fact that Mego’s Supervator playset, issued in 1974 only, was still hanging around toy stores in 1976. I guess it really WAS a peg-warmer toy!

Thanks for the great memory pics, Scott!

posted in Batman, Captain America, Christmas Memories, Mego Memories, Robin, Scott Tipton, Spider-Man, Vintage Toy Photos, Window Boxes | Comments Off

18th April 2008

Mego Price Stickers: JC Penney!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Friday, April 18, 2008:

Mego Price Stickers - JC Penney!

This week is all about vintage 1970s Mego price stickers, so today we keep on rockin’ memories of retail toys in the good ol’ days.

Courtesy of extraordinary Mego-head Don Cassetori, we have this vintage JC Penney price sticker, which is affixed to a “4-Panel” 1st Issue/3rd Version Batman box (for more information about this Mego packaging variation, please see page 61 of World’s Greatest Toys!):

JC Penney

The sticker reads:

  • JC Penney
  • 655 2B
  • 15869-1
  • 3630 144
  • $2.99

I don’t know much about Penney’s internal item code nomenclature, but I noticed the price sticker illuminates one interesting fact about catalog sales during the 1970s:

Retailers felt compelled to offer products at reduced prices in their Christmas catalogs.

In other words, in the ’70s, it was actually cheaper to purchase a product through a retailer’s Christmas catalog than from their actual ‘brick-and-mortar’ stores.

I find this selling paradigm eerily consistent with today’s internet sales. Jeez, I desperately miss those big, fat printed Christmas catalogs, arriving in my mailbox every winter. But I suppose the internet is the new Christmas catalog.

Sigh.

It’s just not the same thing. At all. Anyway, I digress. I discuss this issue on page 52 of World’s Greatest Toys!, in an interview with Linda McNett, who was Mego vice president Neal Kublan’s Personal Assistant during the 1970s:

Working directly for Kublan, McNett had plenty of experience working to appease each store. “Everyone hated doing catalog items,” she declared in a 2006 interview with the author. “Retailer demands would often force Mego to minimize regular items, in order to sell them at a price in the catalog that allowed retailers to maintain their margin. Sometimes a plain brown package could be enough to make the difference. More often, pieces or equipment from the original retail items were subtracted until the cost came out to what the buyer expected.”

“So how, exactly, does this price sticker illuminate that little factoid?!” you might ask.

Simple: Mego issued this particular box variation around Fall of 1973, and the price sticker reads, “$2.99.” However, JC Penney didn’t offer any Mego WGSH toys in their catalog until the following year’s Christmas catalog (distributed in late 1974):

JC Penney

The price of a Mego Batman in the 1974 JC Penney catalog shown above?

$2.77 ea. figure, any 2 for $5.00

If anything, Mego prices should have gone UP between the Fall 1973 release of this packaging style and the Christmas 1974 JC Penney catalog… but, in fact, JC Penney reduced the price by $0.22!

Cool stuff!

Incidentally, JC Penney was actually pretty expensive at the time! Future blogs will demonstrate that several of Penney’s competitors offered Mego Super-Heroes in the same “4-Panel” box for much less money: West-coast department store chain Mervyn’s offered Tarzan for $1.88 and Canadian retailer Simpson’s offered Spider-Man for $2.49.

Big thanks to Don Cassetori (AKA “DCSting” on the Mego Museum message boards)! More great “DCSting” price sticker blogs are coming soon.

I am actively seeking more contributions to my Price Sticker Library, so if you have access to vintage price stickers affixed to Mego toys, I want to hear from you! Please post in the comments below, or send me an Email.

Benjamin

posted in Batman, Christmas Memories, Daily Mego Adoration, JC Penney, Mego Retailers, Price Stickers, Window Boxes, World's Greatest Toys | 2 Comments

15th April 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Mego Price Stickers!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Tuesday, April 15, 2008:

Happy Birthday To Me!

It’s my birthday today, so I’m writing a Blog that is probably only interesting to me. That’s my prerogative, right?

I adore vintage price stickers. A veritable time capsule to better days, I especially love price stickers that adorn my beloved Mego toys. I’m not as crazy about price stickers that cover ‘important’ packaging design elements — such as those that cover the character logo — but I love them all.

For several years now, I have been collecting and archiving images of Mego price stickers. I get tremendous satisfaction from comparing printed prices to particular packaging variations, studying the evolution of Mego wholesale-versus-retail pricing.

A self-styled Mego archaeologist, I also find myself trying to decipher each retailers’ unique (if utilitarian) item codes, intended to define each product.

By the way, I am actively seeking contributions to my Price Sticker Library, so if you have access to vintage price stickers affixed to Mego toys, I want to hear from you!

This blog, surely the first in an ongoing series, focuses on Mego’s original packaging style: The “Solid” Box design, discussed on page 16 of World’s Greatest Toys!

Here are two different retailers’ Solid Box price stickers, each issued in early 1973:

Barkers

Price Sticker

The Barkers price sticker above, affixed to the front of a Solid Box Batman, reads:

  • Barkers
  • DP 77 373
  • 021 1310
  • $1.99

Note the recognizable “1310″ citation, denoting Mego’s original assortment code; the “1310″ assortment included Superman, Batman, Robin and Aquaman… I have no idea what the “021″ refers to.

BIG D

Price Sticker

The BIG D price sticker above, affixed to the top panel of a Solid Box Superman, reads:

  • BIG D
  • $2.19

What’s interesting to me is the $0.20 price difference between Barkers and BIG D; clearly Barkers ordered larger quantities, ensuring better wholesale pricing, which is notably reflected in the final retail price. Fascinating!

I’ve heard of Barkers before (though I don’t think we had them in Michigan, where I grew up), but I’ve never heard of BIG D… perhaps a small regional store?

Do you remember either Barkers or BIG D from your childhood? If so, how would you classify each retailer (i.e. “Department Store,” “Five-and-Dime,” “Drug Store,” etc.)? If you know, please post in the comments below.

Also, I look forward to hearing from fellow Mego sticker-heads. Please send me pics of your Mego price stickers!

Benjamin

p.s. It’s not only my birthday, it’s also Tax Day. Don’t forget to tip Uncle Sam for letting you live in this glorious-yet-troubled country! If you are one of the many ‘International’ Mego Collectors not beholden to our tax system, take a moment to send me good birthday wishes. I could use it.

posted in BIG D, Barkers, Batman, Mego Packaging, Mego Retailers, Price Stickers, Superman | 6 Comments

1st April 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: New Mego Discovery!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Tuesday April 1, 2008:

New Mego Discovery: 2nd Issue ©1977a Superman Card!

I am not all that surprised to finally find this specimen, but it is still incredibly exciting!

Sometime around Summer 1977, Mego produced a mysterious packaging variation, presumably a “filler” piece, which appeared between the “©1976″ and “©1977b” cards. This transitional card variation boasts a totally unique ‘butterfly’ peg hole, and the back uses uncoated card stock. It is as mysterious as it is different.

Until today, it was believed that Mego issued only four characters on this card: Batman, Robin, Shazam and Green Arrow. We now know Mego issued Superman on this card, too.

April Fool's Day

With the odd assortment of figures previously known to exist on this card, it’s not surprising that Mego produced other characters (especially the popular Superman!) on this card. I discuss this particular packaging variation on page 224 of World’s Greatest Toys!, as presented below:

“1977a” 2nd Issue/2nd Version (DC) Card—Summer 1977 (c2-DC-77a)

April Fool's Day This card was produced between the ©1976 and the ©1977b card, which includes more characters. The card has a 1977 copyright and new illustrations, but bears the same Country of Origin statement as the ©1976 card. The graphics on the back of the card remain identical to the ©1976 card. These elements suggest it preceded the more common ©1977b card.

This variation has several striking differences from every other 2nd Issue card. First, the card stock is glossy only on the front; the back of the card has an uncoated matte finish. This card also boasts a peculiar “butterfly” peg hole not seen on any other WGSH package. The die cut shape is different than the Teen Titans’ butterfly peg hole.

To date, only four characters are confirmed to exist on this variation: Batman, Robin, Shazam and Green Arrow. Presuming these are the only characters produced on this card, one guesses Mego issued these cards to fill an immediate need for those characters. For this to be true, it would mean that inventory of the ©1976 cards was depleted. This is not unreasonable, given the relatively low production quantities of both Shazam and Green Arrow. The existence of Batman and Robin is surprising, but could reflect the immense popularity and constant demand for them. Only time will tell if other characters appear on this extremely rare card.

Most of the new “1977″ artwork is redrawn from the work of legendary comic book artist Neal Adams. A testament to his popularity, this is among the most popular artwork used on Mego packaging.

One more thing: Happy April Fool’s Day! Yep. Just funnin’ ya… A ©1977a Superman has not been discovered. YET.
Want to learn some things that are actually true? Buy Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! Just $32.97

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: Fake images published by Benjamin Holcomb and TwoMorrows Publications. All rights reserved. Fake images may not be reprinted or published without prior written consent from the publishers.

posted in 2nd Issue Blister Cards, April Fool's Day, Batman, Daily Mego Adoration, Green Arrow, Mego Packaging, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Robin, Shazam!, Superman, World's Greatest Toys | 0 Comments

26th March 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Poster Fun with 2nd Issue ©76 DC Cards!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Thursday, March 27, 2008:

Poster Fun: 2nd Issue ©1976 DC Cards!


Here’s a new addition to my Poster Fun series, wherein I create large, composite photos of different groupings of Mego Super-Heroes and packages. Today, we marvel (ahem!) at every 2nd Issue ©1976 DC card, in chronological order of release. There are 13 such cards. Enjoy!

Daily Mego Adoration

Want to learn more? Buy Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! Just $32.97

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: Images published by Benjamin Holcomb and TwoMorrows Publications. All rights reserved. Images may not be reprinted or published without prior written consent from the publishers.

posted in 2nd Issue Blister Cards, Aquaman, Batgirl, Batman, Book Production, Catwoman, Daily Mego Adoration, Green Arrow, Joker, Mego Corporation, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Penguin, Posters!, Riddler, Shazam!, Supergirl, Superman, World's Greatest Toys | 10 Comments

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