Monday, December 11, 2006

Goodbye Marvel Legends



It's Christmas so let's talk toys.

The 90's were over. That decade was the biggest for action figures. In 1990 I was starting college and more interested in guitars than superheroes. I only bought a couple of figures from Tim Burton's Batman movie. The company that produced them was a little start-up named Toy Biz and the next year they shifted to Marvel, rolling out a line of unimpressive superheroes. Walker and I picked those up almost casually.

Then two things happened. Toy Biz created an X-Men line (the first in history) and the X-Men cartoon premiered on FOX. Suddenly the company exploded. Within five years there would be lines based on Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, even Ghost Rider. Hundreds of characters I dreamed about owning as a kid were on the pegs for five bucks.

Other companies followed suit. DC widened their character selection with animated series figures from the Bruce Timm shows. Todd McFarlane started his own company to release figures of Image Comics heroes. Playmates launched Star Trek figures at the height of the franchise. And Kenner brought back Star Wars. By the end of the decade, I was not only a full time collector but I was working at Art Asylum, helping create toys myself.

But it all ended. Toy Biz shifted to wrestling figures. McFarlane made KISS and Metallica figures. And Star Wars focused on Episode I. Things dried up so fast I went from working at Art Asylum to working in a museum.

Then came Marvel Legends.

It was a strange experiment. Sculpting 6 inch figures with over 40 joints. Suddenly Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America were the most poseable figures anyone had ever seen. Even Japan didn't have toys this well engineered. For the next four years, everything would change.

More tomorrow.

2 comments:

Renee said...

Why are saying "Goodbye"? EVERYONE knows you are not stopping buying them or giving them away.....:)

You are a good boy, because you have cleaned up that pile if twisted plastic body parts by the time I got home! Just kidding! I love the pitter-patter of the little plastic feet!

Monica said...

ummm, your posts are getting decidedly geekier....it's scaring me!