Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No Joking

For Christmas around 1973, I received 3 Mego action figures -- Batman, Robin, and Tarzan. I'm not sure how that combination was decided upon, Tarzan being the odd man out. Mego licensed lots of different characters in addition to DC and Marvel Superheroes. I recall getting a Zera(!) from Planet of the Apes from my brother, because that's what any 8-year-old boy wants to play with -- a female chimp doctor. I do recall having fun squishing her rubber face into different expressions.

But back to the original 3. The Batman figure had a removable cowl which was cool because you could turn him into Bruce Wayne, albeit still in his Bat suit. Oh sure, he could go commando, but that would have raised eyebrows. Tarzan was kind of odd as well. He had the standard leopard-skin, one-shoulder strap jumper, but it was painted on a skin-toned body suit. Not sure why he couldn't just wear the jumper over his bare body. Perhaps that too would have raised eyebrows. But that was Mego. They had some freaky looking action figures. In fact, I never bought Spider-man, who was my favorite character, because he just didn't look right. I recall standing in K-Mart staring at a display of them, puzzled by their poor quality. Spider-man's head had no webs painted on it and he had plain red hands that stuck out of his suit like skeleton hands.

Despite their quality, they were it if you wanted action figures of your favorite characters and over they years have built quite a following and value.
I was at a garage sale last Wednesday, stopping on my way to work, when I came across a lone Mego Joker figure.
I snatched him up and tried to contain my fervor as I asked the owner, an elderly man, how much it was. A quarter.
I asked him if they had any others and he said they had gotten rid of them a long time ago.

That's when it struck me. I think I was standing at the same house where I had experienced one of my greatest garage sale regrets years ago. It was back in the early 90's (yes, I remember all of the garage sales I go to. I know it's weird, but I can't help it). This sale had a huge garbage bag full of Mego characters, vehicles and playsets like the Batcave. It was marked at $5. I was newly married and unemployed at the time, and being this was pre-eBay, I passed on it, regretting it ever since. I think I may have managed to pick up the lone character left out of that original sale.

I didn't hang on to the Joker very long. I listed it on eBay and sold it for $30. If I'd still had my original Batman and Robin, I may have had to keep it just to finally provide the villain I'd wanted all of those years ago.


  1. I love your description of squishing the head. I probably did the same!

    1. Yes, that was a popular amusement for me with many action figures and dolls with vinyl faces.


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