Batman made his first comic book appearance in 1939, but it wasn’t until 1972 that the Mego Corporation got the bright idea to mass-produce a line of toys featuring the superhero and all his gadgets, vehicles, sidekicks, and adversaries. Ever since then, the character has been a staple of the toy aisle, even during the years when his comics weren’t selling so well.
Everyone loves trivia about their favorite animated features and series, but with over 100 years of animation history behind us right now, there’s always some new obscure fact to learn. That’s why ComicsAlliance is going deep into the minutiae of your favorite names in cartoons in this continuing video series. You think you know cartoons? Well, here’s a few things you might not know!
This week we're taking a look at MASK, the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand!
In 1977, Star Wars changed the game completely, not just for movies, but for toys as well. The impact of George Lucas' landmark sci-fi epic is well documented, but perhaps nobody knew just how vital to the industry Star Wars was than Kenner. As the sole licensed toy manufacturer at that time, Kenner was acutely aware of Star Wars' successes at retail. As such, the company was eager to line up licenses like Ridley Scott's Alien in an attempt to recapture that magic with a whole new audience and brand.
While a complete line-up for Alien toys was planned, including 3.75" figures much in the vein of Kenner's own Star Wars collectibles, only an 18" Xenmorph made it to market. But not for long. Deemed too scary and creepy to be a children's toy (which makes complete sense given HR Giger's design), the Alien toy was yanked from shelves. The rest of the Alien line never saw the light of day outside of Kenner's doors (though those designs were revived and released a few years ago by Super7 and Funko). Even with that misstep, Kenner hadn't given up on the idea of making the Alien franchise a Star Wars-like success.
In 1992, Kenner released a series of action figures based on the sci-fi film franchise Alien. This was just ahead of the release of Alien 3, but Kenner's plans focused primarily on the action-packed 1986 sequel, Aliens. With its army of Xenomorphs battling against the force of the Colonial Marines, it was a much better match for a toy line than the upcoming third film, even though kids couldn't technically watch any of the movies in the series. Now, some 30 years after the release of Aliens and 20 odd years after the toy line collapsed, NECA is back with a reminder of what once was and shall never be again.
It's been some years since Kenner held the rights to either Alien or Predator, but current rights-holder NECA has been steadily paying homage to the Kenner Predator era with a few different releases. Soon, it will be venturing into Kenner's Alien line as well, but to kick things off, NECA is releasing a two-pack through Toys 'R Us commemorating the original Kenner set.
Since the dawn of time, mailaway action figures have been a staple of the scene. That is, if you consider the dawn of time to be the day Kenner started releasing Star Wars figures. Though the trend has died down significantly in the era of the Internet, exclusives are still a very important part of toy collecting. As one of the final companies to offer mailaway incentives, the now defunct ToyFare magazine was one of the last bastions of trend.
Say what you will about the Wizard magazine empire, but for a long time, it's brand of geek culture coverage was all many of us had. ToyFare in particular was a great place for collectors to see what was coming, learn the history of industry, and to see how the sausage was made. What made the magazine even more special were the brand partnerships that allowed ToyFare to offer a variety of different collectibles based on Marvel, DC, animation and indie comic characters. Plus, you didn't have have cash and a dozen UPCs to send in to get your hands on something as rudimentary as a William "Refrigerator" Perry figure.
If you weren't quite satisfied with the initial wave of heavily watermarked prototype images teasing Funko and Super7's 60+ figure strong line of Kenner-style 3.75" action figures, we've got you covered. Every one of the announced toys was on display at Funko's Toy Fair 2014 booth (albeit heavily backlit), so we put together a quick video that scans all of the plastic versions of characters from The Rocketeer, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Predator, The Terminator, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Back to the Future, Escape from New York, Firefly, Scream, The Goonies, Universal Monsters, Pulp Fiction, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, Trick 'R Treat, Halloween and The Crow. You can take a look after the cut.
General Alien enthusiasts and action figure trivia fans unite! Kenner's abandoned 1979 Alien action figure line is being revived by Super7, giving generations of fans their first proper crack at picking up vintage-style versions of Ripley (with flame thrower), Ash (with motion detector), Dallas (with flame thrower), Kane (in Nostromo spacesuit) and a surprisingly horrifying 3...
Art: Mondo and Sideshow Collectibles team for a limited edition Super Powers print remembering Kenner's fan-favorite '80s action figure line.
Characters: Chris Illuminati looks at some classic Batman covers and ponders Robin's worth as a sidekick...