Friday, January 9, 2015

BAB Firsts: Doug Says: "Check out some of my Stuff!" Part 1

This post was originally published on July 31 2009

Periodically I'm going to discuss bits and pieces of my collection. Chances are, some of you readers have similar artifacts, if not the very same mementos of your childhood. A few years ago my wife and I decided to finish our basement for our teenagers and their friends. As part of the renovation, I lobbied for and was awarded my very own Sanctum Sanctorum! The pictures below are snapshots of my collection, and I'll show more in the coming weeks and months.

MEGOS -- They weren't called The World's Greatest Super-Heroes for nothing!!

I loved Megos!! I was fortunate enough to receive as a Christmas present the very first Mego Batman, complete with removable cowl! And beneath said mask was a pretty generic-looking Bruce Wayne, but who cared?! What a cool action figure. I never did acquire the Superman, but as you can see, I did have quite a few other characters, both Marvel and DC. My sister owned Wonder Woman, but I have no idea what ever became of her (WW, not my sister -- I know where she is!). Also not pictured, primarily because I don't know what ever became of them, are the Penguin, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and Tarzan figures. I never cared for Tarzan's skin-toned body suit underneath the leopard skin. Also, that skin was over-the shoulder -- Johnny Weismuller wouldn't have been caught dead in it! I guess the quality control or people or censors thought that by the time Conan was produced they didn't need the cover-up. By the way, I clearly recall finding the Tarzan figure in my Easter basket when I was 9. (Note - every Mego in the picture was sold in my auctions, around three months ago. And as-is, I got a tidy sum for the collection!).

Funny story -- those of you who remember Megos will recall that they were initially held together by thin pieces of elastic. Elastic isn't too strong, and of course repeated use (in a rough, super-villain crunching manner, of course) will weaken it quickly. Of my initial collection of 8-10 Megos, almost all of them "exploded" -- and again, if you had any in this style, you know what I'm talking about. When that elastic broke, blamm-o -- arms and legs all over the place! About the time the last one broke, my mom had had enough. She got an empty shoebox, threw all of the pieces, costumes, and accessories in it and wrote a "can't you do a better job with the durability?" letter to the powers-that-be at Mego. That was that. UNTIL, about a month later I got a huge box in the mail. I had no idea what it could be. But opening it was like Christmas in July, baby!! There, inside, were brand-spanking new carded (the originals had come in a window box) figures of all the ones my mom had sent in!! Wow!! I was eternally grateful, and really thought Mego was a great company for having not only improved their technology with thick rubber bands, but standing behind their initial product.

A couple of random comments: My Captain America shield is long gone. No idea where it went to. I had a friend who had the Mr. Fantastic figure. We used to put his costume on the Aquaman figure and use him as our Johnny Storm -- I mean, seriously -- why is every action figure of Johnny in "flame on!" mode? I had a friend who showed me a neat trick with the Hulk's pants -- of course they came all clean and almost pressed. The tattering at the bottoms was pretty stiff and straight. But, by dunking the Hulk's legs into water and then letting the pants dry, they would shrink, wrinkle, and the bottoms would really look a mess. Much more authentic, we thought (as 8-year olds!).

Buttons -- Now where the heck did I get these??

I have no idea how I acquired the buttons you see. The "Ron Riley's Batman Club" button was a tie-in to the hit television show that aired in the late 1960's. Ron Riley was a DJ on Chicago's "Big 89", WLS radio. You can read more about the history of that radio station, as well as see a membership card that accompanied the button, at this link:

The "Send Batman to Vietnam" button is in pretty good shape, and would again date to the late '60's. I have seen buttons with the same saying but without the Bat Signal on online auctions for prices ranging anywhere from $35-85. Not sure how much mine is worth...

The Superman button also dates from 1966. You can see a better image of it and get a little background here:

Next time we'll discuss Marvel's calendars of the late 1970's, as well as take a foray into the world of Secret Wars action figures and maybe even Slurpee Cups!


Doug: Well, since we've had the past two days out of school due to the extreme wind chills (and today, too), I had some time to tend to business down in the comic book room that has long needed tending to! It took a couple of hours, but I was able to do some dusting, rearranging, unshelving, and reshelving. And I came to a conclusion: I have a ton of books! To be honest, over the past several years I've been able to buy myself a book after each high school sports season. I am the timer/PA for boys soccer, I keep the score book for boys basketball, and am the PA announcer for baseball. So I get a nice check of extra money three times a year. I've also used a little of the proceeds from my comics sales. Anyway, there are brand new photos below, and I took Edo's advice from long ago and took the action figures away from the shelves' edges. You should have a pretty clear shot of what's there -- and if you don't, just ask! Oh, and if you don't feel like counting, there are right around 350 reprint books (hardcovers and trade paperbacks).



Anonymous said...

Hey Doug, i thought i might ask a question, since you seem quite knowledgable about Megos. I just picked up a Spidey Mego from salvation army, for $1.50. I'm pretty psyched (i'm an 80s baby and i missed out on Megos, but alwys thought they were awesome). The head says C. MARVEL 1972, while the body says 1974. I figure it's the 1974 Spidey, but the 74 Spidey's i've seen on the MEGO sites have flesh colored torso's, but this one's a red torso (with red hands, flesh arms and legs.) Any idea about that? anyway, it's in great shape, and i'm a happy digger today.

btw, your stuff is fantastic, i'm jealous/envious (i forget which one)


Doug said...

Starfoxxx --

First off, GREAT price! What a coup!

I wish I was an authority on Megos, but I know I'm not. Like you, I check out many of the Mego sites on the 'net (Mego Museum is a good one), and I am dying to get the Mego book from TwoMorrows -- I looked at it in a comic shop once and have coveted it ever since.

Anyway, in answer to your question -- I've not seen the colored torso. Colored hands, yes (on several characters). Also, in the second generation of figures many had blue trunks.

But that's all I got for you...



Anonymous said...

Thanks, Doug, i checked out Mego Museum again, and with a little more intense search, i found a page w/ a comparison of the different mego spideys. looks like i got a type 2.

And you've answered my next question, if you have the Mego book. Looks like i'll have to hunt that down, hopefully from library (it's a little pricey right now). Anyway, thanks, and i'm loving the Avengers-centric blogs!


david_b said...

Doug, just checkin' out your stuff again.. Any updates being presented anytime soon..? The Mego story you shared about your mom's letter was **incredible**.

I'm finishing up getting my Mego FF's (with the new, younger Aquaman as Johnny Storm..), and am buying the 3-story Dida Display Baxter Building to display 'em.

..Not sure how to explain to the wife why I need a Baxter Building display up in my man-cave.., I simply must. :)

Doug said...

David -

I'd post again, but I don't have any new "stuff"! I may see what I can come up with, though.

I hope to be able to sit down and read the Mego book I got for Christmas, and then do a book review here on the blog. Stay tuned!


Doug said...

Sorry for the two hour delay in publication today, kids. I was amending the post last night during a prolonged reading spell (polished off The Winter Soldier complete trade in one sitting -- page turner!!), and never hit "Publish"!

Stupid old man...


The Prowler said...

Hey Doug, question about "collecting" comics born out of my recent scanner breakdown. Since I could not scan my comics, I decided to read them, first comic out of the box to last one, cover to cover. (I found I am not that impressed with Wildstorm.) Reading through my old Marvels, I would save the Bullpen Bullitens and letters pages to the end. I really enjoyed the glimpses into Marvel history. And some if the letters were a laugh riot! That should be "of" not "if".

Do you ever find yourself missing these or is it since they're not there in the collections, what's there to miss?

(Sometimes you just have to say What The Heck and take a chance).

The Prowler said...

Bulletins, bulletins, bulletins, bulletins! Dang blasted 167 lbs fingers!!!

(Second prize is a set of steak knives).

Garett said...

Nice collection of books Doug. I'd like to get that Tales of the Batman by Len Wein. I have the Archie Goodwin one-- nice to see the early Howard Chaykin Batman story. Chaykin had a wildness to his art early on that can be appealing. Also in there is the Manhunter story by Simonson and Goodwin. Reading that one again, and it's excellent.

Hmmm...maybe Doug's a Legion fan?? : ) Have you reviewed that oversized Legion book by Grell? Also what are the 3 oversized mags to the left of your Dini/Ross books?

Last question, have you read those Hercules miniseries by Layton?

david_b said...


Funny as this may sound..

Almost 4yrs later (nearly to the day..) I STILL HAVEN'T opened up that FF Mego Baxter Building. I still have in it's mailing container.

Waiting to close on the new home on Tuesday.., it'll be PRIMO in the new-and-improved 'Dave-Cave'.

Doug said...

Hi, everyone --

Garett, the three big books are DC's "Limited Collectors Editions" -- the two Legion books (is the one where Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl marry the oversized Grell book to which you're referring?) and the Batman book that reprints the Neal Adams Ra's al Ghul issues.

I have not read either of the Layton Hercules books, and regularly chastise myself each time I see them on the shelf. Of course everyone knows that they come highly recommended.

Prowler, since I have the DVD-ROMs for four of Marvel's series, I don't worry about not having "complete" reprints in my tpbs and hardcovers. If I wanted to look up a given month's Bullpen Bulletins, it would be a multi-step process, but I could do it. I'd recommend to you, though, if you don't already have it the book "Stan's Soapbox". That is a nice collection of all of Stan's columns. I have it, but didn't picture a couple of other shelves that are also full of what I call "reference" books.

David, this exercise of re-posting old topics does provide a bit of a time capsule for you long-timers, doesn't it? Give us a photo of the Baxter Building once you're settled, please!


Garett said...

Yes that's it, the legion book with the marriage by Grell. I have it but haven't read it yet. I wasn't a big legion fan, but I like Grell and always wanted the big Collectors Editions when I could get my hands on them.

Doug said...

I haven't read that story since I got the book as a kid. I really don't recall any of the circumstances! I treasure the first Legion book more, with the Jim Shooter/Curt Swan Mordru story. Karen and I reviewed that on the BAB a few years ago. I love the Silver Age Legion as they got closer to the Bronze Age. That era, and on through Cockrum and Grell, was so much fun.


Doug said...

Oh, wait, Prowler -- that Stan's Soapbox: The Collection book is in today's photos. Bottom right.


Humanbelly said...

Doug,Doug-- your picture is changin' by the minute! It's like a real-life version of that "accelerated aging" episode of Star Trek TOS. . . !

My own basement comic book room is also my restricted Keep Out Til After Christmas fortress, where I do all the gift stashing and wrapping and so on. It had honestly become an impassable mess until this year (after more than a decade of use!) it occurred to me that storing the longboxes end-wise on the deep shelves (as opposed to sideways) creates 33% more available storage space. Y'know, like-uh- every single LCS in the world does. . .

It has given me a new love of my space down there, though-- no question!


Edo Bosnar said...

HB, I'm sure you mean that part of the episode when McCoy finds a cure and Kirk reverts from being an old man to his spry, studly 30-something self... ;)

Otherwise, yes! Look at the unimpeded view of all of those books. So many books. Glorious. And I'm (still) quite envious of your complete collection of the Fireside reprint collections, especially Greatest Super-hero Battles.
As for Hercules, I have the paperback "Prince of Power" book that collects the first two mini-series. I read the first one way back when, but never read the second (although I did read the Full Circle graphic novel). Anyway, you should really get around to reading those, and post some reviews - that'll give me an excuse to finally read my book...

The Prowler said...

Every time I would walk by the shelves, my eye would always key on that one Legion book with the dropped name. Who would do that? 13 books and one HAS to be different than the rest? But then, one day I would walk by and not key on that Legion book and I would think: Wow, Prowler! Today is the first day of the rest of your life! I AM GONNA DO THAT SIT UP!!!

And then the next day, I would walk in, key on the Legion book and realize I'm right back to who I was! Such is life! C'est la vie....

(You want to talk to God? Let's go see him together, I've got nothing better to do).

Garett said...

Doug will you be reviewing the Winter Soldier TPB? Also looking at your shelves, I'm curious to hear about your experience reading Swamp Thing when you do.

Doug said...

Garett --

Funny you should mention a Winter Soldier review, as Karen and I had a lengthy conversation about the storyline today. I think our days of full-blown plot synopses with tons of art are behind us as neither of us presently (still) has the time to commit to that sort of thing. However, it's my sense that folks haven't minded the transition to the "Arc of Triumph...?" series. So that is most likely the route we'll take. I think we can get that going once February hits.

Anyone wanting some homework ahead of time, we're talking about Captain America (2005) 1-9 and 11-14. This is collected in tpbs in a couple of different editions. I got a version that has the whole shebang between two covers.

Prowler --

I have also always wondered whose idea it was to craft that obnoxiously strung out Legion logo on the spine of volume 6. It doesn't fit with any other Archive I've ever seen.


Robert L. said...

I was very disappointed in my comic shop when I ordered those Marvel Comics on DVD.

I ordered Spider Man and Fantastic Four and both of them came to the shop open. Well.........

I discovered the owner copied my discs and I refused to do business with him again. I was paying $50 each for them and he refused to give me any discount because they were open and out of it's wrapper.

Needless to say a few years later, he got in trouble for blatantly pirating DVD's. He paid a heavy fine for it and is no longer running the store.

Doug said...

Hmmm... I was looking at this post again and noticed that there are two photos I did not include -- the shelf containing Thor and the X-Men books. I'll see if I can get that corrected.


Doug said...

As I mentioned, I've now included two images of a shelf I'd neglected. Look for the Thor and X-Men books. The large book on the far right of that shelf is Art Spiegelman's "In the Shadow of No Towers".


Garett said...

I loved that big Thor Omnibus 2, partly for all letter pages they included. Sgt. Fury was also a nice Lee/Kirby treat.

How is Zot, Doug? I never read that one, but know it's by Scott McCloud.

Doug said...

I've never read that, either, Garett! I think one time when I joined the Science Fiction Book Club I needed one more book to fill out the initial purchase. Zot! was it. I have thumbed through it and it looks fun.

Can anyone else speak to it?


CG said...

Have to say I'm a bit jealous, the price of some of these are just so much. The older collections were much fairer in price. I was lucky to get a copy of Origins Of Marvel for $5, the sequels however are impossible to find outside Amazon

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