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).