These days, thanks largely to the current movie landscape, when one thinks of superheroes it is the characters from Marvel and DC Comics that immediately spring to mind. However, comic books and it’s colorful heroes and villains have enjoyed a long, rich history to extends far beyond the big two publishers.
There’s a huge catalog of characters that sprang from the minds of writers, artists and publishers during the Golden Age of Comics who made a splash on the superhero scene, but then faded into obscurity as Marvel and DC rose to prominence.
Not one to let these great characters fade away completely, Bill Murphy of Fresh Monkey Fiction is looking to get some of these characters produced in action figure form via a Kickstarter campaign. Through the Amazing Heroes Kickstarter, It’ll be the first time most of the characters received the plastic treatment.
As of this writing the campaign is 50% funded will be ending on Monday, August 25th, 2014. So, there’s still time to get onboard and see these great characters receive the action figures they deserve in a format that should look very familiar to long time collectors.
Action Figure Insider took the opportunity to check in with Bill about Amazing Heroes, it’s origins and it’s possible future.
AFi: So, when did you first dream up the idea of the Amazing Heroes line?
Murphy: Amazing Heroes has been in development in one form or another for 6 years. It started out as a JLU-like animated line, then morphed into a 4″ articulated line and now into a retro 80’s line. We’ll be doing an Amazing Heroes development update on the Kickstarter next week and we’ll show an early look at some of the designs starting many years ago to where it is today.
AFi: Obviously, the line is very nostalgia driven. The line shares a name with, arguably, the greatest comic book-related publication ever, Fantagraphic’s Amazing Heroes magazine that was published throughout the 1980s. Was that intentional?
Murphy: No, not at all, although I will say I loved Fantagraphic’s Amazing Heroes magazine back in the day, it’s my all time favorite comics magazine.
AFi: With some many classic comic book characters how did you ever whittle things down to the Series 1 lineup?
Murphy: Let me tell you it was tough. There are so many great public domain heroes out there. As you can see from the figures, they all share a basic body style, so that drove what characters we could do as we were trying to keep the costs at a place where folks could afford the figures and have the Kickstarter fund. Given those limitations I think we were still able to get some really great characters into the line up.
AFi: Most of the characters started in comics, but have never been an action figure before. But, one character, Captain Action, started as an action figure and has also enjoyed a life on the comics page over the years. What prompted you to include Captain Action in Amazing Heroes?
Murphy: We were looking to bring a little name recognition to the line and I thought Captain Action would fit perfectly into the world we were trying to create for Amazing Heroes. I was a big fan of the latest re-launch of Captain Action so I contacted Ed and Joe at Captain Action Enterprises and they were all for it.
AFi: with so many other retro-styled figure projects coming out using the 70s/80s Kenner template…how did you arrive at the strong Secret Wars influence for Amazing Heroes?
Murphy: It comes down to my love for the 80’s Secret Wars line. It was my favorite line as a kid by far. I love the proportions of the base figure design, although there was a tremendous amount of part re-use, I still think the line is fantastic. It kind of reminds me of an animated look in a way, kinda a pre-curser to JLU. Plus, I really wanted to do something that had a bit of a different retro vibe then the other retro toys that are happening these days.
AFi: If Series 1 makes it’s funding, what are the plans for the line after that? Would a potential Series 2 be another Kickstarter or would you take it to retailers, Diamond, etc?
Murphy: Well wave 2 will be more golden age/pulp heroes and if we’re lucky we’ll try to add a few more licenses. I would like to stick with the Kickstarter route, but doing a licensed property on Kickstarter is tricky, some licensors are into it and some are not. Either way I would still approach retailers like Diamond if we could work out the numbers. This first run of Amazing Heroes figures will be pretty limited, like 300-500 figures per character, so we’d have to see how the math would work out for retail.
AFi: In a related question, will these figures be available to non-backers after they get produced?
Murphy: Yes, our plan is to offer the figures in the Fresh Monkey Fiction web store, but they’ll be limited quantities for sure.
AFi: You partnered with online retailer Big Bad Toy Store to take pre-orders for the figures for those who don’t wish to go through Kickstarter. How did that come about?
Murphy: Joel at BBTS hit me up about offering the figures and he was willing to work with us even though the assortment was contingent on the Kickstarter funding. Plus we wanted a way for folks who were unaware or unsure of Kickstarter to be able to get the figures. I cannot say enough good things about BBTS, they truly are really awesome guys.
AFi: Do the BBTS pre-orders factor into the Kickstarter funding at all?
Murphy: Yes, they do for sure. Although that said, if you pledge directly to the Kickstarter, you have the option of getting some exclusive figures that won’t be offered at retail, like The Champion of Mars and Silver Streak.
AFi: I’m sure you’ve got much more swirling about your head than what we’ve seen thus far. Where do you hope Amazing Heroes goes in the future?
Murphy: I do have BIG plans. I would love to see a female figure produced for the line and to get some licensed characters such as Flash Gordon and The Phantom into the mix, that would be AMAZING.
AFi: That would be amazing indeed!
Thanks, Bill, for taking some time to share about your project with us. All of us here at AFi wish you the very best with this project and your future plans as well.
For more information on the Amazing Heroes line check out the following links:
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