PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

The PopCult Toybox: We Go MEGO

Mego colujm 001MEGO Meet 2014 is just about six weeks away in Wheeling, and we will be reminding you about it as it approaches, but there is a ton of news on the MEGO front to report.

If you aren’t in the loop about MEGO, the term is used these days to idenitfy 8″ action figures in cloth outfits, done in the classic style used by the 1970s toy company, MEGO. MEGO dominated the action figure aisles in the early and mid 1970s with a slew of licensed figures in this scale. Every major superhero from Marvel and DC, plus characters from hit TV shows and movies like CHiPs, The Waltons, Star Trek and Planet of The Apes turned up in MEGO form. A devoted fanbase keeps these toys alive over at MEGOMuseum and their related forums.

In recent years the MEGO-style action figure has seen a resurgence, with many new companies springing up to reproduce and continue the classic MEGO lines, plus all sorts of great new properties like The Venture Brothers and Flash Gordon. Some of the new companies bearing the MEGO standard are EMCE Toys, Figures Toy Company (FTC), Zica Toys, Cast-A-Way Toys and NECA, with several others entering the fray.

Today we’re just going to touch on a few of the cool new MEGO style toys coming our way.

The Diamond Select/EMCE Toys Spider-man
The Diamond Select/EMCE Toys Spider-man

Just yesterday Diamond Select announced that, with EMCE Toys and Marvel, they will bring the Marvel characters back to the MEGO scale. This is very cool, but the price point (apparently necessitated by Marvel’s licensing agreements with other toy companies) is a bit intimidating.

The first release, scheduled to retail for eighty bucks, will feature Spider-man with two additional outfits with extra heads and hands you can switch out. In this package you will get one Spider-man figure with the “circle” outfit (a rare early and highly sought-after variation of the original MEGO Spidey), along with a complete Peter Parker outfit and a complete, accurate, modern Spider-man outfit and head.

Fans are excited to see Marvel back in MEGO scale, but they are complaining about the price and the fact that you only get one figure to go with your three outifts at such a high price. By comparison, Figures Toy Company is releasing DC figures at roughly twenty-five dollars a pop. That means you can get three complete DC figures for less than you can get this one Spider-man set.

However, EMCE Toys makes the highest-quality MEGO-style figures on the market, and they also make headless bodies available pretty cheap. So it’s not such a bad deal if you take comic book store discounts into account. This will be sold exclusively through comic book shops and many of them offer discounts. I know that, through Westfield Comics, I expect this set to be discounted to around sixty-five dollars.

10175952_618020438291673_1963604783112050870_nSpeaking of Figures Toy Company, FTC is releasing some very limited two-figure packs of their retro Batman figures (two series of which have been released so far) and the card backs for those show some very, very ambitious plans for a major expansion of the DC Comics line. The release of their repro Teen Titans set of figures is due any week now, and from the back of the two-pack card we can see that they plan to extend that series to include the 1980s members of the Teen Titans, as well as many classic DC characters, The Superman Family and the original Captain Marvel, with the rest of the Marvel Family (now dubbed “The Shazam Family) and their arch enemy, Dr. Sivana.

Things to come from FTC
Things to come from FTC

It is my hope that there’s a reasonable amount of time between releases so that we don’t go broke buying these.

There are more cool MEGO type figures on their way as well.

A fuzzy image of the elusive Captain Canuck
A fuzzy image of the elusive Captain Canuck

Odeon Toys, in conjunction with EMCE, will be bringing the great Canadian Superhero, Captain Canuck, to the MEGO parade with an 8-inch figure of his own. We go to the Press Release, “Following his new animated web series, Canada’s own iconic champion, Captain Canuck gets the action figure kids have been looking for since his debut in 1975 with a new release from Odeon Toys.

“He’s been on a postage stamp, even the cover of Time, but for decades, Superman had one thing over Canada’s Superhero… an action figure. Canadian toy maker Odeon toys in creative partnership with EMCE toys and Big B Comics are righting that wrong. The 8 inch tall figure which will retail for $24.99 will have the look and feel of a toy released when the first issue of Captain Canuck, by creator Richard Comely, hit news stands in 1975.

“We were looking for an iconic Canadian character for our first release, and I can think of none better than Captain Canuck, ” said Sam Noir, project coordinator at Odeon. He added “I was one of those kids who looked for a Canuck figure on toy shelves in the 1970s, I must admit, we’re pretty excited to be doing this.”

Captain Canuck will be available sometime soon from MegoMuseum and Captain Canuck.com.

Mars Attacks from Heroes In Action, coming later this year
Mars Attacks from Heroes In Action, coming later this year

There are plenty of other new MEGO figures on the way. Biff Bam Pow! will be releasing retro-style figures of Ace and Gary, the Ambiguously Gay Duo from Saturday Night Live. Heroes In Action is coming out with a Mars Attacks line.

Distinctive Dummies has struck a deal with Sara Karloff to produce four limited edition 8″ action figures of her father, the master of horror, Boris Karloff.The first figure will appear in July with the second in September. The four characters chosen are Hjalmar Poelzig from “The Black Cat,” Edmond Bateman from “The Raven,” Morgan from “The Old Dark House” and Dr. Fu Manchu from “The Mask of Fu Manchu.”

We will be bringing you more MEGO news and also the long-awaited reviews of the FTC Batman figures in The PopCult Toybox soon.