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

29th July 2009

Compare-and-Contrast 8″ WGSH: Vintage Mego & Modern Mattel

Green Arrow Comparison A quick animation, comparing two head sculpts: Mego’s Vintage 8″ Green Arrow, and Mattel’s Modern 8″ Green Arrow.

Focus on: 1) Beard (Mattel will shorten the beard, considerably); 2) Sideburns (Mattel will shorten the beard, considerably) and; 3) Pupils (need I say more?!).

Ain’t it funny: Fashion is ever-evolving (yet CLEARLY cyclical). What was hip then is not hip right now. Conversely, what is hip NOW would surely not have been hip THEN.

It’s a big round wheel: What is hip RIGHT NOW will be passe for about 20 years. But don’t fret: Whatever is hip RIGHT NOW will become hip again… in approximately 2029!

-b

posted in World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

29th July 2009

Mattel World’s Greatest Super-Heroes: High-Quality Prototype Photos!

I took my fiancee, Chelsea, to San Diego Comic-Con this past Saturday. Beyond anxious to see the recently announced MattelWorld’s Greatest Super-Heroes” line of 8″ Mego-style action figures, we made a bee-line to Mattel’s massive trade show booth.

Locating the gorgeous prototypes, I was pleased to hear a voice behind me… belonging to none other than Paul Clarke — A.K.A. “Dr. Mego” — one of the driving forces responsible for the retro line’s genesis.

Above, the proud Doctor (right) poses with me before the wonderful accomplishment he helped create.

The Good Doctor, my future wife and I spent the next hour talking (high-fiving, really) about Mattel’s latest action figure line… how it came to be, where it stands now, and where it *might* go (naturally, Paul cannot divulge any information that Mattel has not formally announced).

The first wave includes the MattyCollector.com-exclusive Green Arrow (reportedly available around Fall ‘09) along with the following Toys “R” Us exclusive characters: Superman, Green Lantern, Sinestro and Lex Luthor.

Along the way, I took some shots with the same trusty camera I used to create Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! (still available on Amazon; click here to buy it!). I shared the primary photos with MegoMuseum.com’s Brian Heiler; for this blog, I did some zoon-in details and clever crops to illustrate my discussion with Paul. Enjoy the pics, along with pertinent notes and recollections from my conversation with Dr. Mego.

Up first: MattyCollector.com-exclusive GREEN ARROW!

Sadly, the bow had fallen down by the time I arrived, but Paul noted that Mattel will cast GA’s removable Bow accessory (including the infamous “boxing glove” arrow, ready to fire!) in GREEN plastic, as compared to Mego’s original BROWN plastic.

Green Arrow’s head is an updated version of Mego’s original sculpt. The sculptor did some notable work updating the beard and sideburns.

Note the ROUND belt buckle, as compared to Mego’s original SQUARE belt buckle. Nice touch!

I love the rubber-lined felt shoulder pads; just like the original Mego outfit! Paul mentioned merging the shoulder-strap Mego used for their “Robin Hood Merry Men” line, with Mego’s original GA Belt/Quiver accessory. Brilliant! Also, Mattel will produce the gauntlets using a green Pleather (Faux-Leather) material, adding detail of the cut-outs down the forearm… this is a HUGE improvement over Mego’s original felt cuffs. Paul assures me that the factory will attempt to COLOR MATCH the Pleather gauntlets to the Plastic boots… I love that!

Up next: SUPERMAN (available at Toys “R” Us around Easter 2010)!

Remember, these are PROTOTYPES! Stop asking yourself why Superman’s emblem appears to have some inkjet printer residue. It does have some inkjet printer residue. Get over it.

Seriously, though: Paul told me that Superman’s emblem will be produced using the ‘heat-sealed vinyl’ technique that Mego (brilliantly) used for their Fantastic Four and Teen Titans emblems. How sweet is that?!

Mattel is clearly taking this line VERY SERIOUSLY. Case-in-point: the tooling required by “Wave 1″ alone! The Superman hand details above represent the “standard” hand sculpts that most figures will use. However, add Green Lantern’s and Sinestro’s custom hands (those darned rings!) and you’re looking at FOUR different hands, right out of the gate! We all know that Mego — in the early going, at least — would have ignored these details in lieu of the ‘cookie-cutter’ methodology that worked so well for them.

Another interesting tidbit: Paul assured me that the “standard” hands will feature the requisite “U” shape (curve of the thumb and fingers) necessary for figures to hold accessories. Good thinking! Another major improvement over Mego’s original line…!

I love this photo, as it shows the clearly hand-cut belt buckle; this dearly reminds me of the Mego Superman Prototype (the only original WGSH prototype photo known to exist)! Paul stated that this detail will use the same ‘heat-sealed vinyl’ technique as the Superman emblem.

Next we have: (HAL JORDAN) GREEN LANTERN (available at Toys “R” Us around Easter 2010)!

Next we have: SINESTRO (available at Toys “R” Us around Easter 2010)!

Paul tells me Sinestro’s boots will be modified (Star Trek) Andorian boots.

Finally: LEX LUTHOR (available at Toys “R” Us around Easter 2010)!

I am awfully excited for this brave and bold new toy line from Mattel!

-b

posted in World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

14th July 2009

Kudos, Long Overdue: Roberto Ligotti

I am going through old Emails tonight, and I came across something too good not to share.

Here’s the background: Back in summer ‘06, I hit the proverbial wall trying to publish this book. Things went south with the first publisher that offered me a contract, and I thought the sky was falling. I wrote a couple of cryptic Blogs about my broken heart. The first was “Bad Day” from August 9, 2006. Realizing things were grim, I posted another rant two days later: “I have been offered a publishing contract” from August 11, 2006:

After posting these two “woe is me” Blogs, I got this amazing Email from fellow Mego-head, Roberto:

[August 12, 2006 8:14am]

Hey Benjamin,

Don’t know if you’ve tried this publisher yet:

http://www.twomorrows.com/

When you hit “contact us” on the homepage there’s even a phone number to call them and actually get to talk to a human being on the other end.

This was the company that I told you about at the Megomeet.  They published the Captain Action Collectors book:

http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=52&products_id=197

And have published many other books and all of them have to do with Marvel/DC/Gold Key and other comic book companies.  I’ve met Roy Thomas who is in charge of the Alter Ego Magazine that they publish and have emailed Michael Eury the author of the Captain Action Book.  At the time I emailed Michael Eury he had told me that Twomorrows was either starting or thinking about a Mego book…but that was 3 years ago.

It seems that they would be a better outlet for your book…the only problem I see is that I don’t know if they have ever done any Hardcover books.

Give it a shot and see if you can get it done with them.  I and all the guys/gals on the Museum want to see this book in its entirety…so don’t give up on this book.  It looks too DAMN!!! Nice to let it go now.  Let me know if you need any other help.  I’m gonna be going to the Big Apple Comic Con in September.  I’m already putting Mego Museum Cards on the table before you get into the show…if you want me to put some Postcards on the table just say the word and send me some to put on the table and I’ll do it.

Keep up the great work…and DON’T GIVE UP!!!

Thanks.
Roberto Ligotti
yellsub69 (at) yahoo.com

As you probably know, TwoMorrows did in fact publish the book, and it is available as a HARDCOVER edition only (a negotiating hill upon which I was willing to die). Thanks, Roberto! Mego-heads around the world thank you for your generosity and tenacity!

posted in World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

8th April 2009

Who’s Reading World’s Greatest Toys?

It’s been over 9 months since I posted a new blog. Didn’t think I ever would write another one… not, at least, about the book.

Tonight, however, I got a heart-warming note and photo from fellow Mego-Head (and Micronauts expert) Ray Miller.

Ray wrote:

“Heya, Ben! Here’s a shot of my youngest - Anya, 7 - enjoying WGT last summer after Collette won the copy you donated to Mego Meet!”

Anya

See you on Facebook.

-b

posted in Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

27th June 2008

Our Last Goodbye

I posted news of this blog’s demise (not ‘greatly exaggerated’) last night, but I wish to post a coda.

It was important to me that I document the entire journey of making this book, and this blog was a wonderful outlet for that endeavor. It was a catharsis for me, and a whole helluva lot of fun.

Upon returning from my recent vacation, I decided to shutter the blog and shift my focus onto new and exciting projects. I did so last night.

I came home tonight to find my very first Royalty Payment for the book (!)… a hefty little check. This coincidence was not lost on me, confirming my decision to move on. I now feel the book is finally DONE, and I finally know the book was a success.

Before I go, I want to acknowledge those who made this journey so much fun.

My deepest appreciation goes out to all who:

  • Purchased the book
  • Contributed to the book and/or the blog
  • Took the time to write to me about Mego
  • Continue to support my favorite sites: Mego Museum, Plaid Stallions and The Aquaman Shrine.
  • Continue to love and appreciate Mego (both the company and their toys)

In parting, I’ll post the final few “What In The (Mego) World?” contests I had already prepared for the coming months. Perhaps you know the answers, perhaps not. Regardless, I thank you for joining me on this roller coaster ride over the past two years!

Here are the final contests, in order:

What in the (Mego) World?!

July 2008

What in the (Mego) World?!

What in the (Mego) World?!

August 2008

What in the (Mego) World?!

What in the (Mego) World?!

September 2008

What in the (Mego) World?!

“Come on, Lika… we’re going home.”

— Jack Paar’s last words as host of “The Tonight Show,”
calling to his dog sitting in the audience.

Best to all of you,

Benjamin

p.s. Hit “Reload” on your browser to see one last masthead graphic… a little love from Mego’s Green Goblin.

posted in World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

17th June 2008

AFTER 2 YEARS: CLOSED FOR BUSINESS!

I’m shuttering the blog for good.

There are two years’ worth of blog archives covering the making of the book, as well as plenty of other geek stuff.

It’s been a lot of fun documenting this journey, and I thank you for reading.

Benjamin

posted in Random Musings | Comments Off

17th June 2008

Contest: What in the (Mego) World?

It’s been almost a month since the last contest (which was reportedly far too easy), so here’s the next What in the Mego World? contest. Hopefully, this one is a little more difficult. Good luck!

What in the (Mego) World?!

Correctly identify each of the following four Mego-related items:

What in the (Mego) World?!

Contest starts at noon EST (9am Pacific) today, June 17, 2008. Eligible answers must be posted in the comments section below. First correct answer wins! Answers will be posted the following day. Previous winners are ineligible. I look forward to your answers.

_____

Update: June 18, 2008 7:30pm PST
The contest has officially ended. To recap:

The Winner

There was no winner

Here we go:

The Anwers

What in the (Mego) World?!

The correct answers are:

  1. Bruce Wayne Suit
  2. Aquaman Gloves (would have accepted Robin Gloves)
  3. Green Goblin Satchel
  4. Detail of Hall of Justice Playset (floor)

Thanks to Jay, Bryan and Scott for playing.

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 Contests, Daily Mego Adoration, What in the Mego World?, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

16th June 2008

New Article: Mego Retailers!

Today, we gather the collective knowledge of Mego Museum members, who contributed their memories in an effort to catalog every retailer that sold Mego toys back in the day! Sadly, most of these stores are long-gone, but that’s partially what makes visiting the past so much fun… it’s the only way we can go back in time.

I recently blogged my compilation of Mego WGSH Item Numbers, which is a helpful resource for collectors, fans and historians alike. While that article may be interesting only to hard-core collectors/historians, I believe this new article is fun for anyone (those raised in the ’70s, at least) to browse.

Without further ado, I present:

Mego Retailers: Stores from the Good Ol’ Days!

Retailers

You can read the article here.

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 Daily Mego Adoration, Mego Memories, Mego Packaging, Mego Retailers, Price Stickers, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

13th June 2008

Incredible Mego WGSH Auctions on eBay!

41 year-old Joseph A. Zyskowski is a real estate agent in Nevada, and he has one of the most incredible stories in the history of Mego collecting.

This week, Joe started auctioning his staggering collection of Mego WGSH figures. Joe started buying these toys as a prescient 11-year old kid, way back in 1978. In just three years, Joe managed to acquire nearly every 8″ Super-Hero toy Mego ever produced, including several of the rarest packaging examples known to exist.

Joe’s childhood collection includes Window Boxes, one 1st Issue card (perhaps the rarest) and several 2nd Issue cards.

There are precious few holes in Joe’s collection, all of which befuddle him. I recently Emailed Joe, asking about Speedy and Kid Flash, two figures curiously lacking in his collection. Joe wrote back:

When I was 12 I wrote the words “1979 Hero Obsolite” on the bottom of this card and Wondergirl’s. The word “obsolite” was meant to indicate that the figures were discontinued and no longer being sold in stores. The Teen Titans figures were EXTREMELY difficult to find. I was only able to purchase Aqualad and Wondergirl and never found the rest of them in stores after that. Which was quite a bummer because I really wanted Speedy and Kid Flash, too.

Tonight, I replied to Joe, in an attempt to shed some light on his other mysteries. If he replies, I’ll discuss it further on the blog. Until then, here’s what I wrote:

—

Hi Joe,

Thank you for the wonderful response. I wanted to pass on some information I gathered while researching my Mego book, which you might find interesting:

First, the likely reason you were never able to find Tarzan as a kid, is that you started collecting in 1977. Due to contract disputes between Mego and Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. (ERB), Mego lost the rights to produce Tarzan figures in 1976… the year BEFORE you started collecting. Under the terms of the agreement, ERB allowed Mego to sell off existing inventory, but clearly the stores near you (wherever you grew up) had already run out of Tarzan inventory when you started hunting down Mego toys.

Second, regarding the other two characters you couldn’t find as a kid (Speedy and Kid Flash): The truth is, all four Teen Titans were poor sellers (aka “Peg Warmers”), and could be found on “clearance” at Toys “R” Us stores well into the 1980s. However, you purchased most of your figures through Heroes World (by the way, did you shop at one of their mall stores, or did you order figures through their comic book catalogs? I’m really curious!), and Heroes World evidently sold out most of their Titans inventory very early on: The Titans first appeared in the April 1977 Heroes World catalogs. By the time Heroes World issued their very next catalog, mere months later (Fall 1977), they offered only Speedy and Wondergirl.

Based on that fact, I’m surprised you were able to acquire Aqualad from Heroes World. I would have guessed Aqualad and Kid Flash would be the two you couldn’t find, but the point is that HW either: 1) Ordered lightly on the Titans wave; 2) Sold the figures briskly; 3) Sent you one of the last Kid Flash figures in their inventory or; 4) Some combination of the above.

Next, in your “1st Issue” (aka “Kresge”) carded Shazam auction, you commented:

“The funny thing about this figure is that I can’t remember Kresge’s at all! In my mind’s eye, I remember buying this figure at a K-Mart, but that obviously wasn’t the case. I must have been more concerned about where the toy isle was vs what store I was shopping at! Thanks for your interest in my collection.”

Your memory of buying this figure at Kmart is most certainly correct. S.S. Kresge (the five-and-dime store that created Kmart) was an early Mego supporter, ordering sufficient quantities to warrant ‘owned-brand’ packaging (i.e. true “Kresge” cards). However, by the time Mego issued your particular Shazam card, Kresge no longer ordered sufficient quantities to receive owned-brand 1st Issue “Kresge” cards. Kresge still offered Mego toys, but the lion’s share of inventory was routed to more profitable Kmart stores.

In other words, you don’t remember “Kresge” for a reason; you likely bought the toy at Kmart, as your memory suggests.

I hope this information sheds some light on the mysteries of your truly astonishing attempt to “Collect ‘em All” as a kid.

Finally, I would really love to correspond with you after the auctions are completed. I find your story absolutely fascinating, and I’d love to hear your memories, and document them on my book blog.

—

My fingers are crossed that Joe replies. I can’t wait to talk to him again!

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?

Current Music: ‘Til I Gain Control Again, Emmylou Harris

posted in 1st Issue Blister Cards, 2nd Issue Blister Cards, Daily Mego Adoration, Mego Memories, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, S.S. Kresge, Tarzan, Teen Titans, Window Boxes, World's Greatest Toys, eBay Auctions | Comments Off

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