Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dolls for Boys

My childhood was in a great era for action figures, or, dolls for boys.

G.I. Joe was still almost 12 inches tall and, thanks to the still fresh psychic wounds of the Vietnam War, less a solder and more an "adventure" doll -- I can still remember the Viewmaster set of G.I. Joe's adventures in Asia -- the 3D images of G.I. Joe battling jewel thieves near a huge Buddha in Southeast Asia gave me hours of pleasure.

But the kings of the action figure set for me and a few of my friends were the good people at the Mego company. Their line of DC Comics and Marvel Comics heroes were some of my favorite pre-Star Wars toys in that era.

So, judging by this link from the Mego Museum, that picture above is most likely Easter, 1975, and I would be little over 8 years old at the time. (Do I get props for having an Iron Man figure a good 33 years before the film came out and made him popular for the masses?)

The doll on the right is the old, bearded G.I. Joe and next to him is an almost forgotten treasure of my childhood: Mike Power, The Atomic Man (!) -- G.I. Joe's version of The Six Million Dollar Man, I think. Here's a link that served as a kind of Proustian starting point for me this week.

I resent Star Wars a bit because once the Star Wars toys finally came out in early 1978, I gave up on my older action figures and the industry did too -- the next generation of G.I. Joes was much smaller, matching the Star Wars figures (though they did briefly introduce a 12 inch set of Luke, Leia, and Han figures, I recall, to little acclaim).