It’s not often that a bootleg line has much originality, let alone a concept/theme that attracts someone to collect them. Mostly they’re collected because they’re bootlegs and that’s it. However, there’s at least one standout exception in that realm of collecting, and that standout is Brazillian company Gulliver Juguetes’ "Future Warriors."
To give a brief background on Gulliver, they were founded in 1969 by Mariano Lavin Ortiz. They are mostly known for releasing un-articulated Super Powers figures that consisted of a rubbery-type material and creating the original "Captain Lightning (El Ray)" as a part of their releases. What isn’t widely known is that they also released Mattel’s Secret Wars figures as well, yet they were very much like their American counterparts with the standard articulation in slightly different packaging.
After that, they decided to create and release their own original line of comic-inspired action figures, and the Future Warriors were born. The line was made by ‘kit-bashing’ existing Secret Wars figures into new characters and creating molds based on the prototypes they came up with. Each figure came with a stand and with weapons either pilfered from Secret Wars or ones that seem to come from nowhere (like that wacky silver scimitar). I’ve used the "Darklord" character to illustrate this, and it’s pretty obvious where they borrowed the parts from.
Here’s the front and back of the carded Darklord figure, one of the "Viper Aliens" (the bad guys) :
Other than the obvious resemblance to Marvel Comics’ Deadpool, fans of the Secret Wars line will notice how simply this figure has been assembled :
Darklord has a Baron Zemo head with similar parts accented :
He shares the same torso as Captain America, Daredevil, Spider-man and most other Secret Wars releases :
His legs both are taken off of Dr. Doom’s right leg :
As you can see, a lot of the sharp detail of the original Secret Wars figures has been lost, which is a result of the molds being produced from actual released figures and not wax or acetate sculptings that usual prototypes are made from. However, not only does this add to the charm of the line, but the great card artwork signed by the ‘as-yet-to-be-seen-in-my-kitchen’ virtually unknown (meaning I could find no info online at all) artist known only as "Marchi" more than makes up for it. As fellow AFI member Jayson Zachary said to me, "What if Image Comics tried to do Secret Wars?" I had to chuckle a bit at that line, because the card back artwork does look like some sort of Jim Vallentino/Rob Leifeld hybrid.
Very little info is out there as far as how many of the vehicles in this line were released, if any at all. If they exist in collector’s hands, they have not been revealed in either images online or message board posts. Here are images from the card back of all the vehicles, each repaints of their US Secret Wars counterparts :
The line had 8 total figures, with four of them being heroes ("Eternity Defenders") and four villains ("Viper Aliens"). It’s not known how many full sets exist, but I believe between loose and carded examples there can’t be more than 5-10 total of each character out there. Some collectors don’t advertise that they collect this line or are attempting to put together a set due to the rarity and fierce competition that can result from more than a couple obsessed people both vying for one truly rare piece. I know of two major collectors that could possibly have complete sets, myself, and one collector that’s putting together a loose set (he needs one more to complete it). I have 6 of the 8 carded, and know where there’s an example of one I don’t have that I’ll try and make a push for to see if the guy will part with it. Here’s every character from the card back (note the different paint scheme and weapons used for Darklord) :
On the there’s a little check box where you can see if there’s an alien or a defender in the package. I’m not sure where the ‘armour’ is in the package unless they’re referring to the weapons included, and with the image of all the available figures shown on the back it’s an extremely superfluous addition. However, this is one of the components of bootlegs that makes them fun to collect!
Speaking of ‘fun’ I thought I’d highlight a couple "Engrish" moments evident on the front of the package :
Well, I’m certain there will be more information about this line unearthed as the years go on, but I’m not quite done yet. Here’s a preview for Part 2 of this blog where I highlight the figures I do have and attempt to figure out what parts they’ve been created from, as well as take detailed pictures as a sort of ‘pseudo-archive.’ So, until next time…I give you my carded "Nitro" figure :