Usually, it's very easy to pick out a bootleg action figure - all you need to do is look for the slightly tweaked code name, costume or secret origin and you can be pretty sure that you're dealing with a cheap doppelganger. But despite all appearances to the contrary, the Super Fantastics aren't bootlegs - not entirely, anyway.

A legitimate toy line from a legitimate Spanish toy manufacturer called Airgram, the Super Fantastics and Super Diabolics are blatant rip-offs of Marvel and DC Comics icons - Bird Man is Batman, Red Masker is Spider-Man, Panther Man is some bizarre mixture of Wolverine and Hawkeye. In that regard, these figures encroach upon bootleg territory. But on the other hand, the figures aren't cheaply made and there was enough advertising invested in them that an actual television commercial was filmed. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself.

I can't say I have any recollection of these characters from my childhood. Frankly, I don't think I missed out on much. But it goes to show that a pure bootleg isn't always so easy to spot - sometimes, bad ideas come to life thanks to a genuine marketing push. Go figure.

[Link via Weird Toys]