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

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

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

28th March 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Removable Mask Robin!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Friday, March 28, 2008:

Removable Mask Robin!

Perhaps the finest WGSH Mego I have ever owned — and by that, I mean both the toy and its condition — is a Removable Mask Robin, packaged in the rare “1st Window” box (discussed on page 58 of World’s Greatest Toys!). I acquired the piece during my ‘crunch’ period of preparing the final book for the printer in Hong Kong.

Due to time constraints, I could not include this exquisite specimen in the book. The book does feature a very high-grade Robin in the same box variation, but it is the more common “Painted Mask” version.

I regret not including this particular RM Robin in the book, but at least I can show it to you now.

RM Robin

Pretty cool! Just look at how tightly that mask fits! The whole figure just has the ‘crispness’ you all know and love… that untouched perfection of a “new” Mego. Yum.

I don’t own this piece any more, but it went to a REALLY good home, and that makes me happy. The new owner absolutely adores it.

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 Book Production, Mego Packaging, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Robin, Window Boxes, World's Greatest Toys | 2 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

23rd March 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: DC “2nd Issue” Cards (part 3)

Here is our Daily Mego Adoration for Monday, March 24, 2008.
Let’s finish up with these lovely 2nd Issue DC Cards!

This post wraps up my 3-part series of Daily Mego Adoration blogs about Mego’s “2nd Issue” DC cards. Today I want to show ‘detail’ photos of each card’s distinguishing features, which I discussed in yesterday’s blog.

On the front of each card, Mego printed a “Country of Origin” statement, a legal requirement for all goods manufactured outside the United States. These statements comprise some of the packaging distinctions, as demonstrated below. Most notable is Mego’s cessation of the phrase “THE BRITISH COLONY OF” from later cards.

Note, too, the ©1977 Wonder Woman’s “Country of Origin” statement; the typography is unlike any other card! Incidentally, the trademark (â„¢) on the Mego logo helps chronologically place the mysterious Wonder Woman card before the ©1979 card.

2nd Issue DC Card-Front Variations: Country of Origin
Above: ©1976 “Country of Origin” Statement
Above: ©1977a “Country of Origin” Statement
Above: ©1977b “Country of Origin” Statement
Above: ©1977c “Country of Origin” Statement
Above: ©1977 2nd Issue Wonder Woman “Country of Origin” Statement
Above: ©1979 “Country of Origin” Statement

On the back of each card, there are three areas of distinction: Batgirl’s purse, the WGSH masthead and Penguin’s coloration. Following are pictures that demonstrate the differences between Batgirl purses and WGSH mastheads.

Batgirl’s purse started out yellow-on-gray. The ©1977c card is red-on-black, while both the Wonder Woman and ©1979 cards are black-on-red.

The trademark (™) on the WGSH mast started out white. On the ©1977c card, it is black, while both the Wonder Woman and ©1979 cards replace the trademark with a white registration (®) mark.

2nd Issue DC Card-Back Variations: Batgirl Purse and WGSH Masthead
Above: ©1976 card
Above: ©1977a card
Above: ©1977b card
Above: ©1977c card
Above: ©1977 Wonder Woman card
Above: ©1979 card

The Penguin illustration in the lower right corner on the back of each card also changed along the way. With the introduction of the ©1977c card, Mego finally added the character’s skin color that is missing from earlier packaging variations:

2nd Issue DC Card-Back Variations: Penguin Coloration
Above ©1976 card Above ©1977a card Above ©1977b card
Above ©1977c card Above ©1977 WW card Above ©1979 card

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

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, 2nd Issue DC Cards, Batgirl, Batman, Copyrights and Trademarks, Daily Mego Adoration, Mego Corporation, Mego Packaging, Mego Questions, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Penguin, Robin, Wonder Woman, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

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