By Christopher Smith
Fans of the "Re-Mego" 8" figure trend spearheaded by the likes of Doc Mego and his EMCE Toys imprint have gotten an embarrassment of riches over the last several years, including painstaking reproductions of the Star Trek and Planet of the Apes figure originally produced by Mego Toys in the 1970s, as well as some updated and new-to-the-format DC character as part of the sadly-cancelled Retro-Action Super Heroes line EMCE designed for Mattel. While DC fans pined for a while, they thankfully are promised a comprehensive take on the DC Universe's Pre-Crisis glory days thanks to Figures Toy Company. Marvel fans, however, have been out of luck when it comes to a Mego reissue or revival, until now.
This week, Marvel announced on its website that Diamond Select Toys, home of the Marvel Select line of uber-detailed, slightly-oversized figures found in comic shops and places like Disney Stores, is officially collaborating with EMCE (as they did for the Trek and Apes lines, the former of which brought new characters like Lt. Sulu to life) to reissue Marvel Megos.
Already announced are Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Captain America, with a new addition to the lineup in the form of Wolverine.
As fans often debate whether to buy an exact reproduction of a vintage figure or look for an updated version, EMCE has pleased both camps, releasing a reproduction of the earliest "circle suit" Spidey in a boxed set with a more modern costume, a Peter Parker costume more true to his Romita years than Mego's exceedingly rare red-turtlenecked version of his alter ego, and a set of newly sculpted heads, hands, and feet. The end result, somewhat reminiscent of the Captain Action toyline, is a customizable figure set that's limited to 3000 pieces, and which retails for approximately $80.00.
While I, and other collectors, would definitely be happy with a lower-priced series of single-figure releases, this is a remarkable start to what will hopefully be a long-running series. While Toy Biz attempted an updated Mego aesthetic with its '90s Famous Covers line, it ended a bit prematurely; similarly, Hasbro (upon first receiving the Marvel license in 2006) released a well-made Signature Series line of 8" Spider-Man characters and offshoots such as Daredevil and Punisher, but presumably pulled the line due to low sales. Since then, nothing has followed; the prospect of Marvel Mego reissues is periodically raised, though, as the likes of Figures Toy Company began their rollout of reissued Batman figures late last year.
Collectors are already chomping at the collective bit with a list of figures the venerable '70s toy company never released, such as Dr. Doom, Dr. Strange, and the rest of the Claremont/Cockrum-era X-Men. If Diamond Select sticks to the multi-pack format of costumes and alternate heads, as well, there's a lot of potential for new characters. Wolverine, for instance, could include his yellow and blue costume, a set of civilian clothes, and a brown and tan suit with an unmasked head for those who'd like to appear as did in the classic Chris Claremont/Frank Miller '80s miniseries.
Stay tuned to this site for further developments in Marvel Mego madness!
Christopher Smith teaches composition at Columbus State Community College and has spent about two thirds of his life being obsessed with comics, music, and the strange, somewhat overlooked corners of pop culture. He lives with his wife, son, and two devious cats. He's also the columnist on 'Four Color Roots' for Bleeding Cool.