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

30th April 2008

Interview: Mego-Head F.J. DeSanto!

F.J. DeSanto is a film producer and certified toy geek. F.J. Emailed me a while back, inquiring about a tattered and well-loved toy he still has from childhood, which he thought might have been a Mego product. Turns out it is actually Empire Toys’ Batcopter toy vehicle (shown below, tricked out with an 8″ Mego Batman figure, from the 1977 JC Penney catalog).

F.J. DeSanto

F.J. has been involved in some very important film projects, most recently his very first co-producing effort: Will Eisner’s The Spirit.

And F.J. absolutely loves him some Mego! Discussing our shared passion, F.J. shared this amusing Mego vignette:

My aunt, who was the ‘cool’ aunt who bought all the ‘cool’ toys, once surprised me in the mall [by buying me] the Mego Hall Of Justice playset. I freaked out with the box, running around to anyone in sight yelling “SHE GOT ME THE HALL OF JUSTICE!!!!” This story is legendary in my family and one my 9 year-old nephew loves to hear. When I bought your book, I showed everyone, including my nephew, the photos of the Hall of Justice. This brought a lot of laughs.

F.J. further recalled:

Before the preceding story happened, my folks bought me a Mego Green Arrow figure, which I was very excited about, as my family and I were about to go on a trip. While at the airport, an older kid (probably late teens) was impressed with my figures, which travelled with me, of course. [The older kid] told me Mego was planning to make an 8″ Green Lantern figure. I suspected he was lying to me, but I secretly hoped he was right. I patiently waited for said figure, which never arrived. I thought that older kid was a dirty liar!!! Seems as though he was fooled by the HOJ artwork as well** (which I don’t remember cause I was probably too busy playing with it)! Poor guy. I wish I could apologize to him.

  • **Editor’s Note: F.J. was referring to a Hall of Justice mention in World’s Greatest Toys (page 186) which discusses Neal Adams’ addition of Green Lantern to the playset’s exterior artwork).

I think it’s safe to say all Mego-heads share F.J.’s Mego Green Lantern pain and disappointment. I recently sat down to talk turkey toys with F.J. and we enjoyed an… ahem… SPIRITed discussion:

WORLD’S GREATEST TOYS: You have been involved with a variety of super-hero/comic book properties, including “Batman,” “Constantine” and, most recently, “Will Eisner’s The Spirit.” What sparked your interest in super-heroes?

DESANTO: I think a lot of it had to do with the BATMAN TV series re-running when I was a little boy in the 70’s. I took it VERY seriously. That certainly led to my now thirty-five years of weekly comic buying. My mother tells me that by three, I was teaching myself to read comics; things like the Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams BATMAN run, because I was so frustrated having to wait for my dad to read them to me. Around the same time, my folks bought me the Mego Super Hero toys as well as the STAR TREK toys, which I also played with incessantly.

WGT: When did your appreciation of Mego begin? Are your passions for film and toys related in any way?

DESANTO: I couldn’t even tell you when but it was VERY early on. I honestly can’t remember my childhood without Mego toys being a part of it. Both are completely related. Film and toys sparked my imagination at such an early age that I knew. Super-Heroes, Star Trek and Star Wars all converged at the right time in my life. Without these things, my life would be very different. I certainly wouldn’t be producing movies based on comic books or writing Star Trek manga stories for Tokyopop.

WGT: What are some of your all-time favorite super-hero toys? Do you collect both vintage and modern toys?

DESANTO: I loved the Mego playsets: the Batcave, the Hall of Justice (which led to a very frustrating, and ultimately disappointing, search for a Mego Green Lantern figure!), the Star Trek Bridge. I was obsessed with the Wayne Foundation and would brag about the fact that I had a black Batcycle, which no one else I knew had! I have very clear memories of playing with that as a kid. I was also very big on the Corgi Batman vehicles. But literally, until “Star Wars” came out, I didn’t play with anything besides Mego Super-Heroes. I’m a Robin/Dick Grayson fanatic, so I played with my Robin figure more than any other figure. Today, my apartment is filled with original Robin/Nightwing related art from the likes of George Perez, Nick Cardy, Alex Ross and the late Marshall Rogers. Mego toys played a big part in all this.

I really don’t buy a lot of vintage or modern stuff now, mostly because I’m a pack rat and still have a lot of stuff, but I am a huge fan of the stuff DC Unlimited puts out. I just love what they do, and they capture that same feeling I had when I was a kid. What they do appeals to that same little kid who loved Mego.

WGT: Why do you think the Mego line continues to enjoy such popularity? I work in Burbank, CA (home to numerous studios), and I’ve noticed that a lot of hipsters in the film industry have a particular fondness for super-hero toys, and Mego specifically. Presuming you agree, why do you think this is true?

DESANTO: I think it’s very simple. The Mego toys influenced an entire generation of kids who, in the last few years, have become the adults making waves in the entertainment industry. The Mego Generation was able to play with a lot of their favorite heroes for the first time and take them on unique adventures. It had never happened before on that level. There was nothing like the Mego figures and I am sure they inspired many creative people and have provided many wonderful memories to people everywhere. There are probably hundreds of writers, directors, artists, etc. in the entertainment industry who grew up with Mego super-hero toys.

F.J. DeSanto

WGT: Your latest film project is “Will Eisner’s The Spirit,” which comes out on January 16, 2009 and already has fan-boys frothing at the mouth. What is your involvement in the project, and can you tell us why you, personally, are excited about the movie?

DESANTO: I’m a co-producer on the movie and what excites me most, besides the fact that movie is turning out wonderfully, is being able to work with people who truly love, respect and understand the world and characters that Will Eisner created.

WGT: Frank Miller is linked to two of the most unique, highly stylized films I’ve ever seen (”Sin City” and “300″). Can you reveal anything about his aesthetic or stylistic treatment for “The Spirit?”

DESANTO: I can’t reveal anything specifically, but I can say that people are going to surprised and excited by what Frank has done with this movie. He’s a true artist both in comic books and in cinema and “THE SPIRIT” is going to blow people away.

WGT: Do you have any exciting plans or promotions for Comic-Con in San Diego this year?

DESANTO: I think it’s going to be a very spirited convention this year…

WGT: Where can WGT readers learn more about your upcoming projects?

DESANTO: Stay tuned….

WGT: (Laughs). “Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel,” eh…?

Many thanks to F.J. DeSanto, for taking time out of his incredibly hectic schedule to speak with us, and best of luck to the highly anticipated movie, Will Eisner’s The Spirit!

RELATED LINKS: Colouring Book Theatre: Will Eisner’s The Spirit at Plaid Stallions

posted in Acknowledgements, Batcopter, Film & Television, Green Arrow, JC Penney, Mego Questions, Pop Culture, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

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

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

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