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10 Things I Needed to Know

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  • megoscott
    Founding Partner
    • Nov 17, 2006
    • 8710

    10 Things I Needed to Know

    There's so much in the book that makes me think, that I didn't know. Here's 10 things that the book taught me.

    10. There's a Kitchen Sink Franken Captain America? I had no idea. Really? Wow.

    9. I'd never noticed that the Batman and Robin belts came in 2 lengths, and that it started with the Fist Fighters. It's amazing to me that something short lived like the fighters would have lasting effects on the WGSH line.

    8. Okay, I am not always the most observant Megohead, as you may have noticed. I had never thought about the fact that Green Arrow does not appear on anyone else's BOX. As the 7th DC character, there's no room for him on a 6 panel box, so his is unique. Yeah, I know, DUH, but I'd never put that together. That's cool. I always though that box was special.

    7. The Tarzan chapter is incredible, I'm so thrilled to see original documenting letters between the liscense holders and Mego and Stan Weston. I had never really thought about ways they might have expanded Tarzan---Like the Tree House. Why they didn't simply repackage AJ's Jungle House is beyond me. It's a shame they didn't take advantage of the opportunity they had in getting the license so cheaply.

    6. Maddie and David Abrams would have been responsible for the Alter Egos at Montgomery Wards. Fascinating. Is this why Dick Grayson's outfit has a Maddie Mod label? Strange coincidence.

    5. The Jokermobile was something DC asked for and tried to introduce into the comics? I knew about the Spidermobile being a clumsy cross-over with Marvel, but this was new to me.

    4. I'm obsessed with Mego catalogs and Christmas catalogs, so the box about the timeline for getting product into Christmas catalogs is filled with things I didn't know--directly from the source. knew catalogs were important, but I never appreciated how critical they were to so many decisions Mego made.

    3. The reasons for the rarity of the Carded Iron Man, Lizard and Falcon really becomes clear. It's heartbreaking to consider how briefly they were released on cards. It makes me question how long they were released in boxes or what the ratio of cards to boxes was during the transition, because these characters themselves are not that rare, it's just that package that's impossible.

    2. The decline of the WGSH is vividly, sadly illustrated here. WGSH was cancelled before Mego went bankrupt. I did not know that. Mego cancelled the WGSH--Damn them! Then they deserved to go bankrupt! Just kidding...kinda. It makes the 1978 Reimagine project all the more interesting to me, because that truly was the crossroads moment when they could have expanded and energized the property, but instead it began to go fallow. The book beautifully laments this loss.

    1. I mentioned it before, but it's still the fact that blows me away the most and is central to the whole WGSH story. Stan Weston took this idea to FIVE DIFFERENT manufacturers before little pip-squeek Mego picked it up. Superheroes today are a multi-billion dollar industry with a marketing machine that is truly terrifying. In 1972 they could be had for a mere $50,000 and turned a novelty company into a giant. They may have miscalculated in declining Star Wars, but they said yes at the right time to Superheroes. Weston's role in this line has been forever enshrined in this book and that's a great service.

    Thanks, Ben!
    This profile is no longer active.
  • palitoy
    live. laugh. lisa needs braces
    • Jun 16, 2001
    • 59223

    #2
    Great topic Scott [/suckup]

    A couple of points
    7. The Tarzan chapter is incredible, I'm so thrilled to see original documenting letters between the liscense holders and Mego and Stan Weston. I had never really thought about ways they might have expanded Tarzan---Like the Tree House. Why they didn't simply repackage AJ's Jungle House is beyond me. It's a shame they didn't take advantage of the opportunity they had in getting the license so cheaply.
    Yes, that chapter interested me most in that I am a Tarzan fan. I think that Tarzan's lack of expansion was arrested because of the projects mentioned, blow molded dolls (never made it past concept) and Super Softies (huge bomb) weren't winners.

    Plus Tarzan was a way more viable license in the coming years than he was in the early 70's. If Mego had him during the Filmation years, he'd have likely recieved the Shazam treatment.

    2. The decline of the WGSH is vividly, sadly illustrated here. WGSH was cancelled before Mego went bankrupt. I did not know that. Mego cancelled the WGSH--Damn them! Then they deserved to go bankrupt! Just kidding...kinda. It makes the 1978 Reimagine project all the more interesting to me, because that truly was the crossroads moment when they could have expanded and energized the property, but instead it began to go fallow. The book beautifully laments this loss.
    That one I certainly didn't know either and it came as a shock, I mean it was their first, biggest success!

    1. I mentioned it before, but it's still the fact that blows me away the most and is central to the whole WGSH story. Stan Weston took this idea to FIVE DIFFERENT manufacturers before little pip-squeek Mego picked it up. Superheroes today are a multi-billion dollar industry with a marketing machine that is truly terrifying. In 1972 they could be had for a mere $50,000 and turned a novelty company into a giant. They may have miscalculated in declining Star Wars, but they said yes at the right time to Superheroes. Weston's role in this line has been forever enshrined in this book and that's a great service.
    It would be fun to see how the others would have handled the license. Hasbro would have no doubt used the Joe body where Mattel the Big Jim or possibly (ugh) the Sunshine Family body. Kenner is a mystery though....
    Places to find PlaidStallions online: https://linktr.ee/Plaidstallions

    Buy Toy-Ventures Magazine here:
    http://www.plaidstallions.com/reboot/shop

    Comment

    • imp
      Mego Book Author
      • Apr 20, 2003
      • 1579

      #3
      Originally posted by MegoScott
      2. The decline of the WGSH is vividly, sadly illustrated here. WGSH was cancelled before Mego went bankrupt. I did not know that. Mego cancelled the WGSH--Damn them! Then they deserved to go bankrupt! Just kidding...kinda. It makes the 1978 Reimagine project all the more interesting to me, because that truly was the crossroads moment when they could have expanded and energized the property, but instead it began to go fallow. The book beautifully laments this loss.
      Originally posted by palitoy
      That one I certainly didn't know either and it came as a shock, I mean it was their first, biggest success!
      I agree with you guys. I always find it amusing when casual fans attribute Mego's demise specifically to missing the Star Wars license. Not just because it's inaccurate, but because it seems to miss the bigger point, which is that Mego would not have been on anyone's radar in the first place had they passed on Weston's WGSH concept.

      Aside from the fact that Mego was one of countless toy companies that struggled to compete against Kenner's lucrative Lucas license, it seems a disservice to ignore Mego's truly prescient decision to produce Super-Hero toys.

      …especially given the fact that all the 'big guys' passed on Super-Heroes before Mego took the leap. We never read about what a massive error that was, do we? [Then Kenner president] Bernie Loomis certainly recognized the mistake; it's unfortunate that casual fans insist on remembering one missed opportunity, rather than heap praise on the brilliant decisions Mego did make.

      Benjamin

      Comment

      • LovetheLizard
        Veteran Member
        • Oct 15, 2005
        • 346

        #4
        [QUOTE=MegoScott;82527]There's so much in the book that makes me think, that I didn't know. Here's 10 things that the book taught me.

        3. The reasons for the rarity of the Carded Iron Man, Lizard and Falcon really becomes clear. It's heartbreaking to consider how briefly they were released on cards. It makes me question how long they were released in boxes or what the ratio of cards to boxes was during the transition, because these characters themselves are not that rare, it's just that package that's impossible.

        I was once told by Mark Huckabone that the Marvel 75a list that you mention were manufactured in the following overall numbers...roughly 95% were boxed and only 5% came on cards. Also, correct me if I am wrong here Benjamin, but as far as the cards go, the Falcon, the Lizard, and Iron Man were packed 4 per case while the Green Goblin was short packed at 2 thus making him "the rarest" Marvel card.

        Aaron

        Comment

        • dumbldor
          Talkative Member
          • Jun 9, 2002
          • 5418

          #5
          I would say it was more like 99.95% were boxed and 0.05% were carded, based on survivors.

          Comment

          • Dave Mc
            Administrator
            • Oct 20, 2002
            • 17827

            #6
            Only 10 things Scott?

            As I pour through the book (and I'm taking my time with the actual reading part) I find something I didn't know in each section. I ran out of fingers counting things I needed to know and didn't, and have moved on to toes.

            Comment

            • Flynne
              Permanent Member
              • Jan 22, 2003
              • 3008

              #7
              Originally posted by Dave Mc
              As I pour through the book (and I'm taking my time with the actual reading part) I find something I didn't know in each section. I ran out of fingers counting things I needed to know and didn't, and have moved on to toes.
              I am also now giving the book a slow read, and I'm keeping a written running list of things like this which I'll pop up here as soon as I am done wit the read. I just finished the Tarzan chapter last night, and the marketing rights section of the chapter is fascinating in itself, but the copies of the actual legal documentation add a sense of fascination that mere text just doesn't provide even in the most interesting of subjects.

              One side note - I received the DC Action Figure Archive from Amazon this week. If you intend to buy this book you had best make sure that it is not located anywhere near your copy of "World's Greatest Toys!". Chronicle's newest offering will suffer untold agonies in comparison. The gentlemen at TwoMorrow's really know how to find and publish quality work like Ben's masterpiece.
              An old Irish Blessing - "May those who love us, love us; and if they do not love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He does not turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles, that we may know them by their limping"

              Comment

              • palitoy
                live. laugh. lisa needs braces
                • Jun 16, 2001
                • 59223

                #8
                …especially given the fact that all the 'big guys' passed on Super-Heroes before Mego took the leap. We never read about what a massive error that was, do we? [Then Kenner president] Bernie Loomis certainly recognized the mistake; it's unfortunate that casual fans insist on remembering one missed opportunity, rather than heap praise on the brilliant decisions Mego did make.
                That is an excellent point I'd never thought about but will definitely remember.
                Places to find PlaidStallions online: https://linktr.ee/Plaidstallions

                Buy Toy-Ventures Magazine here:
                http://www.plaidstallions.com/reboot/shop

                Comment

                • AcroRay
                  Persistent Member
                  • Apr 17, 2005
                  • 1010

                  #9
                  Originally posted by MegoScott
                  TStan Weston took this idea to FIVE DIFFERENT manufacturers before little pip-squeek Mego picked it up.
                  The same thing was true of MICRONAUTS - although Mego was far from pip-squeek at that time.

                  Larry Jones took Microman to every major toy retailer at the time. They all said 'kids don't want to have to build their own toys' and 'its too wild for American kids'. Only Mego considered kids to be imaginative and creative enough to go for it.

                  Only Mego had faith in us kids...
                  Micronauts Collector, Historian, Consultant
                  AcroRay's Laboratory - My Micronauts Blog
                  The Micropolis Embassy - My Micronauts Group
                  Rockets, Robots & Dinosaurs - My Blog for Other Interests

                  Comment

                  • megowgsh
                    Customego HoF Curator
                    • Nov 19, 2003
                    • 7420

                    #10
                    …especially given the fact that all the 'big guys' passed on Super-Heroes before Mego took the leap. We never read about what a massive error that was, do we? [Then Kenner president] Bernie Loomis certainly recognized the mistake; it's unfortunate that casual fans insist on remembering one missed opportunity, rather than heap praise on the brilliant decisions Mego did make.

                    Originally posted by palitoy
                    That is an excellent point I'd never thought about but will definitely remember.
                    The reason why we dwell on the negative is because we are sad. We are saddened by Megos demise and the toy lines we love and we are all looking for the "culprit" of the sadness. The loss of the Star Wars license is an easy target.
                    Check out ALL my customs at https://www.facebook.com/megowgshcustoms

                    Comment

                    • imp
                      Mego Book Author
                      • Apr 20, 2003
                      • 1579

                      #11
                      Originally posted by LovetheLizard
                      I was once told by Mark Huckabone that the Marvel 75a list that you mention were manufactured in the following overall numbers...roughly 95% were boxed and only 5% came on cards. Also, correct me if I am wrong here Benjamin, but as far as the cards go, the Falcon, the Lizard, and Iron Man were packed 4 per case while the Green Goblin was short packed at 2 thus making him "the rarest" Marvel card.
                      I do not have documentation of case pack quantities from 1977, but I have no reason to doubt the assessment, at least in theory. Mark may actually have documentation of the assortment quantities from that particular year. But even if he were speculating, known examples of those specific figures support the assertion that Green Goblin (and possibly Iron Man, too) was short packed.

                      Benjamin

                      Comment

                      • MIB41
                        Eloquent Member
                        • Sep 25, 2005
                        • 15631

                        #12
                        One curious omission from the book (so far) has been the artist credits for the illustrations. I've seen many of them in the comics like Falcon and Green Goblin, but I haven't found any mention of how the companies came to pick who did what or if the companies simply submitted this work to Mego without recognizing the artist individually.

                        Comment

                        • imp
                          Mego Book Author
                          • Apr 20, 2003
                          • 1579

                          #13
                          Originally posted by MIB41
                          One curious omission from the book (so far) has been the artist credits for the illustrations. I've seen many of them in the comics like Falcon and Green Goblin, but I haven't found any mention of how the companies came to pick who did what or if the companies simply submitted this work to Mego without recognizing the artist individually.
                          Yes, the Marvel and DC provided sample drawings to Mego, which Mego generally traced, redrew, modified, etc. At the time, 'creator rights' was a pipe dream, and the companies owned the artwork outright.

                          When I presented the book to, and discussed Mego with, Neal Adams (truly a pioneer in fighting for creator rights), he went through the book pointing out (quite disgustedly) everything that was "poorly traced" by Mego. All the while, he was citing the original artists by name, but it was clearly the work of amateurs.

                          As you are aware, comic-savvy fans on these boards have located the source artwork for much of the WGSH packaging, but Neal Adams confirmed that nearly all packaging illustrations (save for the few he was actually hired by Mego to create) are simply tracings done by Mego's in-house creative department.

                          In other words, there is no artistic credit to give, insofar as Mego packaging is concerned. It's a shame, but standards were very different back then, and DC never made an issue out of Mego's illustration/production decisions. Furthermore, the artists couldn't lay claim to the original work.

                          Benjamin

                          Comment

                          • MIB41
                            Eloquent Member
                            • Sep 25, 2005
                            • 15631

                            #14
                            Thanks Benjamin. Very interesting but not at all surprising. I was accepted to the Joe Kubert School of Art back in the mid-80's and it was that experience that drove me away from my childhood dreams of being a comicbook artist. I saw first hand how so many of these legends in the industry were working other jobs to sustain their living. When I was a kid I always thought these artists like Romita and Kirby lived very casual lives drawing and talking comics all day. Boy was I wrong. I guess at that point in time, if your name wasn't John Bryne, you didn't make enough contributions to one comic or a series of comics to keep yourself afloat financially. It was a big reality check for myself and I crawled back from New Jersey to Louisville to get my degree in business. While I was up there I met Stan Lee when he was more of an iconic personality just in comic circles than his worldwide image today. Without question, he was the foundation for J.J. Jonah Jameson's personality. Thanks for the background on the artwork!

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