Mego Super Heroes
Synopsis of Toy
It was a pretty good deal, being super in the 70’s. Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk got prime time shows. The Super Friends ruled the Saturday morning airwaves. Superman starred in one of the biggest movies of the decade. And nearly every major player in superheroland ended up immortalized in one of the great action figure lines, Mego’s Official World’s Greatest Super Heroes.
Starting in 1972, the cream of the crop from DC and Marvel comics worlds joined Mego’s 8-inch revolution of poseable, clothed action figures. Actually, the original four dolls were all DC properties—Superman, Batman and Robin, Aquaman—but their cross-company superfellows soon joined the action. Over the next two years, such comic book notables as Spider-Man, Captain America, The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler and Green Arrow could be bought and played with by kids everywhere, but surprisingly, so could Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Catwoman. Toymakers had long theorized that action figures were boys’ toys, and boys just weren’t that interested in female heroes. Mego’s line of “World’s Greatest Super-Gals!” proved them wrong.
The 8-inch action figures were the bedrock of Mego’s Super Hero line, but no self-respecting hero would be caught dead without a killer vehicle and a secret fortress. Mego obliged the super ones with everything from the Bat trilogy—Batmobile, Batcycle, Batcopter—to playsets like the Superman Adventure Set and Hall of Justice. Even Captain America and Spider-Man got into the vehicle business, manning the shield-shooting Captain Americar and the Amazing Spider-Car (complete with rear-mounted Web Trap).
When true-to-the-comics vehicles ran out, Mego simply invented new ones: three-wheeled wonders like the Robin-Shuttle, Hulk-Explorer and Spider-Mobile; the programmable Bat-Machine and Spider-Machine; and even a set of vans like the Jokermobile (they gave him a license?) and the Hulk Van (they gave him a license?!). For those second-banana superheroes who may have felt left out, the company also released the “Supervator: Super Action Flyby,” which sent any 8-inch hero sailing down a string line to snatch up the included “Nasty Secret Plans.”
Aside from the 8-inch figures, Mego also took its superhero licenses into several other forms: 5-inch “Bend ‘n Flex,” large-size 12-inch figures (including some with magnetic hands and feet), cuddly Super Softies (and Talking Super Softies), limited edition die cast figures, and a Stretch-Armstrong-like line of Elastic Super Heroes. But of the many non-8” figures, the most popular were the less expensive 3¾" Comic Action Heroes.
These smaller figures had their share of famous heroes, but they also had their own playsets and accessories: a smaller Spider-Car, a flying Batcopter (with ripcord action), the villain-munching Mangler and more. Possibly the coolest additions to this line were the playsets—Tower with Invisible Airplane, Exploding Bridge with Batmobile, and Exploding Tower. Using the low-tech innovation of the “Comic Action Activator” (a glorified air pump triggered by a dynamite plunger), doors exploded, buildings collapsed, and towers crumbled, all ready to be rescued by your Comic Action heroes.
Kids snatched up the various Mego Super Hero toys during their super heyday, but by the end of the 70’s, many had moved on to smaller plastic figures with the words “Star Wars” on the box. The World’s Greatest Super Heroes line officially went into retirement in 1982, when Mego declared bankruptcy. Both the Marvel and the DC heroes moved on to new action figure lines, but that didn’t dampen fan enthusiasm for the Mego figures. Today, these classics of the super 70’s can fetch very high prices on the collectibles market, proving that it’s never really a bad time to be super.
Release History of Toy1972 - World's Greatest Super Heroes
1974 - Bend 'n Flex Super Heroes
1974 - Super Softies
1975 - Comic Action Heroes
1978 - DC and Marvel 12" Super Heroes
1979 - Elastic Super Heroes
1979 - Die Cast Super Heroes
1979 - Pocket Super Heroes