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

2nd April 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Poster Fun with 2nd Issue 1975 Marvel Cards!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Wednesday, April 2, 2008:

Poster Fun: 2nd Issue ©1975 Marvel Cards!

Here’s a new addition to my Poster Fun series. Today, we truly marvel (ahem!) at every Marvel character Mego issued on a 2nd Issue ©1975 card, in chronological order of release. Originally, I didn’t want to present this poster, because I cannot show the original, ©1975a card for each character.*

But Dan Crandall, whom we all can thank for most of the cards pictured below (thank you, Dan), suggested it would look cool anyway. So, this one’s for you, Dan. You were definitely right. There are 13 such cards. Enjoy!

*All cards below are ©1975a cards, except Spider-Man, Hulk and the Fantastic Four, which are the ©1975b cards.

Daily Mego Adoration

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

Exclamation!In keeping with today’s Marvel theme, Brian Heiler has a great look at vintage Spider-Man goodness over at Plaid Stallions. It’s great stuff!

Benjamin

p.s. If anyone out there owns a ©1975a Spider-Man, Hulk, Thing, Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic or Invisible Girl, please send me pictures and I’ll update the poster!

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, Acknowledgements, Captain America, Conan, Daily Mego Adoration, Falcon, Green Goblin, Hulk, Human Torch, Invisible Girl, Iron Man, Lizard, Mego Corporation, Mego Packaging, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Mr. Fantastic, Posters!, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Thing, Thor, World's Greatest Toys | 1 Comment

25th March 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Poster Fun with 1st Issue Cards!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Wednesday, March 26, 2008:

Poster Fun: 1st Issue Cards!

Here’s a new addition to my Poster Fun series, wherein I create large, composite photos of appropriate groupings of Mego figures and packages. These are the types of images I couldn’t fit into Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys!, but they’re an awful lot of fun to look at!

Mego issued numerous “1st Issue” card variations, yet manufactured just 17 characters using this exquisite packaging style. Here’s a composite of all 17 characters produced on 1st Issue cards, in chronological order of release. 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 1st Issue Blister Cards, Aquaman, Batgirl, Batman, Book Production, Captain America, Catwoman, Daily Mego Adoration, Green Arrow, Joker, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Penguin, Posters!, Riddler, Robin, S.S. Kresge, Shazam!, Spider-Man, Supergirl, Superman, Tarzan, Wonder Woman, World's Greatest Toys | 8 Comments

24th March 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Poster Fun with Loose Mego WGSH Figures!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Tuesday, March 25, 2008:

Poster Fun with Loose Mego WGSH Figures!


I wish I had been granted more pages in the Mego book, Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys!

At 256 pages, it’s already chock full of Mego goodness. But had it been longer, I would have included a whole bunch of other Mego goodness, such as large, composite photos of appropriate groupings of Mego figures and packages.

Sigh.

Since I didn’t have enough room to include such indulgences, I have decided to start a new Blog series to showcase my intended goodness, and I’m callin’ it Poster Fun!

Up first, a composite of every 8″ Mego World’s Greatest Super-Hero figure, in chronological order of release. Between 1972 and 1982, Mego issued 37 different Super-Heroes. 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 Aqualad, Aquaman, Batgirl, Batman, Book Production, Captain America, Catwoman, Conan, Daily Mego Adoration, Falcon, Green Arrow, Green Goblin, Hulk, Human Torch, Invisible Girl, Iron Man, Isis, Joker, Kid Flash, Lizard, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Mr. Fantastic, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Penguin, Posters!, Riddler, Robin, Shazam!, Speedy, Spider-Man, Super-Foes, Super-Gals, Supergirl, Superman, Tarzan, Teen Titans, The Fantastic Four, Thing, Thor, Wonder Woman, Wondergirl, World's Greatest Toys | 6 Comments

19th March 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Counter Display Boxes!

Here is our Daily Mego Adoration for Wednesday, March 19, 2008. Daily Mego Adoration
This is one of my favorite Mego subjects, so strap in, and let’s talk about Mego’s awesome Counter Display Boxes!

Mego Catalog Mego first promoted the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes line with a late addition to their 1972 Toy Fair catalog.

Mego staffers inserted a photographic one-sheet (shown at right) into leftover copies of the original, bound ‘72 catalog. The page features the actual prototype Superman figure (see page 17 of the book for a detailed view of the Superman prototype).

Given the impressive WGSH sales generated by Mego’s ‘test marketing’ (conducted at stores operated by retailer E.J. Korvette during Christmas 1972), it’s not surprising Mego scrambled to promote their sizzling new line as quickly as possible… even if it meant manually inserting a one-sheet into each catalog distributed throughout the year (after Toy Fair, which was held each February).

From the outset — before the other three original figures were developed, even — the one-sheet reveals that Mego planned to: 1) sell figures in individual Solid boxes (i.e. no acetate window) and; 2) ship each case of 24 boxed figures inside an “Overall Printed Counter Merchandizer” (AKA the “Counter Display Box”).

By the time the next Toy Fair rolled around in February 1973, Mego’s WGSH line had already proven to be tremendously successful, and the company was finally able to show the entire range of four characters (shown below), which included Batman, Robin and Aquaman, in addition to the Superman figure depicted in 1972 (note the earliest costume variations, including the Large ‘S’ Superman emblem, ‘Skinny’ boots, Robin’s cloth belt and the removable masks for Batman and Robin):

Mego Catalog

Mego was also able to show the revised Counter Display Box. The prototype Counter Display Box depicted in the post-1972 Toy Fair catalog (shown below left) includes just eight individual boxed figures, while the 1973 catalog (below right) boasts a fully-loaded Counter Display. Interestingly, Mego modified the die-cut opening between 1972 and 1973, as demonstrated in the comparison below.

Mego Catalog

Just look at all those Solid Boxes! Like, Zoiks, Scoob!

Mego’s 1973 WGSH Assortment Number (1310) was identical to 1972, as was the case-pack assortment:

(9) Superman
(9) Batman
(4) Robin
(2) Aquaman

Now you know why Aquaman is the rarest of the early Mego Super-Heroes!

By Toy Fair in 1974, Mego had expanded the super-hero offering to include four new characters: Captain America, Tarzan, Spider-Man and Shazam. Mego granted this 2nd Wave of Mego Heroes a new Assortment Number, 1311.

Mego Catalog

Mego also modified the Counter Display graphics, to accommodate all eight heroes:

Mego Catalog

Above: the 1974 1310/1311 Counter Display box, as depicted in the 1974 Mego catalog (left) includes a strange assortment of boxed figures, including 2nd Wave heroes Captain America, Spider-Man, Shazam and Tarzan, along with three of the four Super-Foes wave (no Joker) and one Batman. The same Counter Display from my personal collection (right) is filled with a slightly more appropriate combination of 1310 and 1311 figures.

The 1974 Assortment Numbers are as follows:

Asst. 1310:
(4) Superman
(10) Batman
(6) Robin
(4) Aquaman

Note that the quantity of Superman figures dropped from nine to four… in just one year! Until the “Superman” movies started appearing, the Mego Superman figure just was not as popular as collectors once assumed.

Asst. 1311:
(4) Captain America
(4) Tarzan
(12) Spider-Man
(4) Shazam

Note the confidence Mego had in Spider-Man (half of the entire assortment!), not to mention the ambivalence Mego suffered in guessing the other three characters’ potential popularity. “4… and 4 and, ummm… 4? Yeah, that sounds good.”

Mego’s 1974 “1310/1311″ Counter Display Box looks great either open or closed (below):

Counter Display Box

1974 also marked the first year Mego promoted their new Super-Gals and Super-Foes lines.

In 1974, Mego offered retailers the option of receiving Super-Gals packaged in 1st Issue blister cards or window boxes, the latter of which included a wonderful Counter Display Box:

Mego Catalog

The 1974 boxed Gals Assortment (1340) included the following case-pack quantities:

(7) Wonder Woman
(3) Supergirl
(7) Batgirl
(7) Catwoman

Now you know why Supergirl is the rarest of the four Gals!

That year, Mego offered retailers the same packaging options for the Super-Foes:

Mego Catalog

The 1974 boxed Foes Assortment (1358) included the following case-pack quantities:

(8) Penguin
(8) Joker
(4) Riddler
(4) Mr. Mxyzptlk

Oh, if only Mego had predicted kids’ distaste for Mr. Mxyzptlk. Riddler might not be so rare today!

Sidebar The Counter Displays for both the Gals and Foes waves are extremely rare: an example of the Super-Gals Counter Display, auctioned on eBay on February 9, 2008, sold for $7,100; an example of the Super-Foes Counter Display, auctioned on eBay two days earlier, sold for a whopping $9,600.

I really adore the Mego Counter Display Boxes. Adding one to my collection was a significant moment in my life as a toy collector. I discuss Mego “Shipping and Counter Display Boxes” in World’s Greatest Toys.

Here’s a snippet from the book (page 233, for those reading along), with a scan of the cited page:

World's Greatest Toys!With each case of 24 boxed figures, Mego shipped a graphical Counter Display box, designed to help retailers merchandise the figures. To prepare the box for display, retailers took the following three steps: 1) Remove and discard the perforated portion (see photo 1); 2) Fold the exposed front and top flaps together (see photo 2) and; 3) Tuck the front flap behind the figures, allowing the top flap to stand upright, becoming a display header card (see photo 3).

All very scarce, there are at least eight* different Counter Display boxes:

1] 1972/73 1st Wave (#1310)
2] 1974 1st and 2nd Wave (#1310 and #1311)
3] 1974-76 Gals (#1340/51340)
4] 1974-76 Foes (#1358/51358)
5] 1975/76 DC Assortment #1 (#51310)
6] 1975/76 Marvel Assortment #2 (#51311)
7] 1975/76 Marvel Assortment #3 (#51312)
8] 1976 Assortment #4 (#51313)

Most boxes are white. 1975/76 Marvel Assortment #2 (Spider-Man, Captain America, Lizard and Green Goblin) boxes are reportedly orange, while 1975/76 Marvel Assortment #3 (Hulk, Tarzan, Falcon and Iron Man) boxes are sky blue. 1976 Marvel Assortment #4 (the entire 4th Wave), boxes are tan.

*If one differentiates boxes with “old” versus “new” Mego logos, there are likely eleven variations. It is unknown whether Mego created Counter Display boxes for the 1975/76 Fist-Fighters (#51601); if so, there is likely only one such version, with the “old” Mego logo.

Want to read more? Buy Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! Just $49.95

Perhaps it’s the cool graphics on each Counter Display Box. Perhaps it’s the scarcity of surviving specimens. Or maybe it’s just the fact that these utilitarian packages were intended for retailers to merchandise the products… not for kids (or adults) to covet and collect.

Regardless of the reasoning behind their desirability, Counter Display Boxes are very special. And I just love ‘em all.

Now if I could just Collect ‘Em All.

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 Aquaman, Batgirl, Batman, Book Production, Captain America, Catwoman, Counter Display Boxes, Daily Mego Adoration, Joker, Mego Corporation, Mego Packaging, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Penguin, Riddler, Robin, Shazam!, Spider-Man, Super-Foes, Super-Gals, Supergirl, Superman, Tarzan, Wonder Woman, World's Greatest Toys | 6 Comments

18th March 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Otto Lange’s Captain America Oil Painting!

Daily Mego Adoration

Here is your Daily Mego Adoration for Tuesday, March 18, 2008: Otto Lange’s Captain America Oil Painting!

While working on the book, I was fortunate enough to meet Otto Lange, a brilliant artist with a shared passion for vintage toys… especially Mego. Otto is a successful fine artist, well-known for his pop culture-oriented oil paintings that are priced reasonably enough for those of us who appreciate unique works of art — but lack the requisite funds — to actually acquire.

Otto painted one such piece of fine art that got me hooked… a gorgeous representation of the Mego Painted Cowl Batman head. After purchasing the original painting, I contacted Otto and told him about World’s Greatest Toys!, which was then only halfway done. Otto immediately signed on to create some original works of art for the book, and I’m just thrilled with his contributions. One of Otto’s paintings in the book is a full-body, oil-painted portrait of Mego’s Captain America:

Daily Mego Adoration

It’s hard to capture Otto’s wonderful detail in a JPEG, but here are some exquisite details, which give you an idea what the piece looks like in person. Take, for example, the neckline (below left), which includes a ’stray’ thread. If a stray thread doesn’t say “Mego,” I don’t know what does.

Daily Mego Adoration

Painted in 2006, “Mego Captain America” is 8.25″ x 10.75″, Oil on Gessoed Panel. If you are interested in acquiring the ORIGINAL OIL PAINTING, please contact me.

You can see more of Otto’s gorgeous work at his Web site: OttoLange.com. While you’re at it, be sure to check out his hysterical blog, Making Art the Otto Lange Way.

Benjamin

posted in Book Status, Captain America, Daily Mego Adoration, Mego Corporation, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Otto Lange, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

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