Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mego Museum Spotlight on Pocket Superheroes

Mego's “Comic Action Heroes” were the first licensed 3 3/4" line to be produced, while trendsetters in 1976, the figures squatting bodies needed updating to fit into the Star Wars marketplace of 1979 and the Pocket Superheroes were born.
The line changed it's name in 1978 but the transition Pocket Super Hero pieces (such as Spidercars and Batmobiles) used Comic Action figures, this move was no doubt to get rid of excess inventory.

Series One:

Series One was sold in foreign marketplaces and briefly in the US as the “Pocket Heroes” line, they are aptly called “Blue Jean” cards because the cards resemble the back pocket of a child’s jeans.

Superman, Batman, Robin, Spiderman and Hulk were retooled Comic Action Heroes now with straightened legs.

Only Batman, Superman, Hulk and Spiderman were released in this line. Carded examples have been found in Canada, Italy and the UK and are extremely rare.

Series Two:

The second series is known as the “Red Cards”, the figures all came on generic red cards that do not state which character the figure is. Red cards are the most common.
According to insiders, Mego had fallen behind on an order and had to rush the figures to marketplace, the packaging suffered

Shazam was pictured on the red cards but was never released.

Also released were Lex Luthor, General Zod and Jor El to capitalize on the success of the Superman movie although the figures feature a movie likeness but comic costumes.

These three figures’ sculpts looked hastily done and were poor sellers.

Series Three:

In 1980, Mego followed up with the second series known as the white cards. Captain America, Green Goblin, Aquaman and Wonder Woman now joined Superman, Batman, Robin, Hulk and a redesigned Spider-man.

Gone were the Superman Movie characters but they are pictured on the DC card artwork.

Not only was the card art a noticeable improvement, but the 4 new figures were complete re sculpts and improvements over their previous counterparts.

Characters such as Spider-man and Batman, while common on the red cards, are almost impossible to find on white cards.

Playsets and Vehicles

unproduced Fortress of Solitude
Mego attempted to reissue the “Fortress of Solitude” and “exploding Bridge” play sets to coincide with the Superman movie but buyers who also squashed a “Marvel Superheroes Alley Playset” met all items with lukewarm interest.

Batcave Playset
: This Vacuform playset is very similar to the Star Trek Enterprise bridge Mego released for the Motion Picture line of toys. The cave features computers, a bat pole and a jail cell for villains.

Batmobile and Spidercar Deluxe Sets- The first items to be released under the “PSH” name. Window boxed gift sets featuring the vehicle and two figures. Early “pocket Superheroes” deluxe sets featured two comic action figures instead.

Batmachine and Spidermachine: Programmable tank like vehicles developed by Mego Electronics, these vehicles didn’t factor into comic book continuity.

The Shuttles: Mego recycled Micronaut vehicles for these releases. Batman, Robin and Spiderman had their own spacey looking vehicles while the Hulk enjoyed his “Hulk Explorer”. Mostly the shuttles are found overseas.
There were two US releases of the Shuttles, which came in photoboxes and are identical in colour to their Micronaut counterparts.

Mego attempted to sell more unsuccessful Micronauts vehicles under the “pocket Superheroes” banner in 1982 but we never got to see “Lex Luthor and Ampzilla” or “Green Goblin and Lobstros” because Mego filed for Chapter 11 the same year.

Collector Interest has grown in the pocket Heroes line as many collectors begin to expand past Mego’s 8” offerings.

The Mego Museum has a pocket hero forum called the Microverse, there you can discuss, buy, sell and trade Mego 3 3/4" figures.

Custom of the Day

A pair of Legion of Doom Members from Austin.

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