The Bent Knees Version
September 4, 2011

Clenching MEGO Comic Action Hero Spiderman in a small fist is not my earliest action figure recollection but it is the most vivid. Part of the reason this figure stands out amongst my other fond childhood toy memories is that it was only by the grace of my older brother that I was allowed to play with it in the first place. My brother is three years older than me and was well positioned to mandate things like what toys I was allowed to play with. That’s probably not too unusual. But it went beyond that. He dictated what characters I was allowed to “like”. For instance, he “liked” the Hulk and I “liked” Spidey. God forbid, I be caught “liking” Hulk. Same went with Star Wars. My brother got to “like” the bad guys and I got the good guys. These arrangements were called “deals”.

The MEGO Comic Action Heroes were on the pegs roughly from 1976 to 1979. So I was around 5 and my brother around 8. At that age you don’t question things like “deals”. That’s just the way the world operated. We acquired Spiderman and Hulk shortly before our lives became inundated with Star Wars mania. Granted, we had plenty of MEGO 8″ figures before these 3 3/4″ scale Comic Action Heroes were made. And the 8″ were plenty fun and got lots of play time. But once this more diminutive scale started to become popular I latched onto it and have ever since preferred smaller scale action figures.

Somehow I’ve been able to hang onto my original Comic Action Hero Spiderman. That makes it the action figure I’ve had in my possession the longest. Years ago I stumbled on what I thought was the Hulk figure my brother had. I bought it without hesitation thinking: “Ha! What’s my brother gonna do about it now!!?” Not being very MEGO savvy it escaped my notice that Hulk’s legs were straight, not bent like Spidey’s. I came to learn that the first incarnations of these superhero figures all came with bent knees. These were the MEGO Comic Action Heroes. After a few years MEGO evolved the line and let the heroes stand up straight. They rereleased 9 of the original 12 line up but now with straight legs and added three new characters. This line was called Pocket Super Heroes.

Of course, I had to rectify this inconsistency and track down a bent legs Hulk. Surprisingly, he does not show up on eBay often. I’ve been patiently waiting for about a year. I know for sure I missed one in that time period, but I don’t think many more snuck by. Finally a few weeks ago a Comic Action Hero Hulk popped up and I resolved to be the high bidder. I was, and fortunately it did not break the bank. So Spidey and Hulk are together again. Well, more like together for the first time in my possession. But don’t worry bro, I’m doing my best not to actually “like” him!

The Hulk! Love you, bro!


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Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann
Action figure anthropologist, Professor Cantina Dan Neumann has been a scholastic contributor to the online community studying the complex world of parumplasticus populus {little plastic people} since the turn of this millenium. His primary focus is the visual cataloging of species exhibits through photo-journalism.
Read other articles by Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann.

 

 

 

19 Comments »

  • Cantina-Dan says:

    I posted this blog because there just hasn’t been much going on in the world of super hero action figures lately. ;)

  • Fire Marshal Bill says:

    Congrats on picking up a Hulk! I have been looking out for one for you. I thought i found one a time or two but they were the Pocket Action Heroes. I’ll call off the search :).

    • CantinaDan says:

      Bill, thanks much for looking out for me. Really happy to finally nab this sucka. Comic Action Hero Hulk is apparently way outnumbered by Pocket Super Hero Hulk. Those are a dime a dozen.

  • demoncat says:

    nice you manage given how a mego hulk is one of of the hardest figures to come across that you manage to reclaim a piece of your child hood again. and did not wind up going broke getting hulk back with mego spider man with bent knee’s again.

  • Clutch says:

    Great blog post, Dan. I know all too well about those “deals.” With me, it was my cousin who called the shots. I had a six month advantage, age wise. But she was easily twice my size. You had it easy getting the good guys ’cause when she broke out her Kenner Tree Tots Tree House, I was stuck as the family dog while she played all the other roles. My Pocket Super Heroes were thankfully kept away from her during our formative years.

    • CantinaDan says:

      Thanks, Clutch! Gotta look up the Tree Tots… oh yeah, kinda remember those! You have an amazing depth to your toy knowledge, buddy!

  • Sector1014 says:

    Good stuff. Love how your bro had a say in what you *liked*. I have a twin bro, and I remember us having the 8″ Mego Batman and Robin, but I always had to be Robin when we played with them together. :)

  • Mrs. Pretticute says:

    IMHO, bent legs Spidey and Hulk are way more intimidating than their straight-legged counterparts…so well done. I love the picture of your brother as the Hulk (complete with bent legs) but where’s the photo of you as Spidey?

  • Julius Marx says:

    Dan-

    I have decided that only I can like vintage action figures. You will need to ONLY like modern figures. 2009 and later I think will work. You will need to mail me all of your vintage figures and I will hand over my Tron: Legacy , Mattel WWE and McFarlane Halo figures to you. And I’ll pick you up a set of DC Direct Flashpoint figures for your trouble.

    That’s “the NEW DEAL”

    Thanks!
    D.

    PS- Great blog!

    • CantinaDan says:

      Hahaha! My brother sent me an email after reading this saying: “I’m on my way to your place to confiscate all the Hulk figures.”

  • Xenos says:

    You think you had it bad with your deals? I was the youngest of three, and there wasn’t a whole lot left over for me. So while one of my brothers had Han and Vader and the other had Luke and Lando, I was stuck with an X-Wing Luke that I renamed Wedge. Voltron was another example, my brothers grabbed Keith and Lance and I got to choose from Pidge or Hunk…not exactly the cream of the crop.

    I think that’s why GI Joe always appealed to me so much. Sure I didn’t have Duke, Flint, Destro or Cobra Commander, but every year so many new characters came out that there was just no way my brothers could stop the occasional Zartan from slipping down to me!

  • Veil1 says:

    Man, these are some of the first toys I remember having as well. I had Hulk, Superman, Captain america, Batman and Robin, Joker, Green Goblin and Spiderman. All are lost to time and/or the garbage can. Bummer

    • Cantina-Dan says:

      Its totally just nostalgia talking, but those were some cool figures. (They’re actually kinda crappy, but I dare anyone to say that to my face :)

  • kngfu says:

    I still have the straight legged Spiderman figure, and I remember having several of the bent knees ones as well. One issue with them was their legs would pop off at the hip real easily. Keep one in your pocket, play football, and have a broken figure :)

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