Friday, October 28, 2011
Countdown to Halloween: Toy of the Week: AHI Super Monsters!
Now, anyone who's ever read anything about Mego (manufacturers of the World's Greatest Superheroes 8" and 12" figures, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, and more) will point at their failure to acquire the Star Wars license as being the downfall of the company, and certainly, that was the biggest mistake Mego ever made in doing business. However, the lack of foresight didn't begin and end with Star Wars, in my opinion... it began with the classic monsters: Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man, and the Mummy. Rather than pay the licensing fees that Universal was asking for, they decided to pass on it. Remco parent company AHI, on the other hand, knew a good thing when they saw it, and snapped up the license right away, leaving Mego to counter with their "Mad Monster" line (the same characters, but without infringing on Universal's designs). AHI produced their "World's Greatest Super-Monsters" line up completely copying Mego's card design for the Superheroes, and created a line of monster action figures that's in high demand! Above, you see their Dracula figure. You'll note that it doesn't really resemble either Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr., or John Carradine, for that matter... so why pay the fee to license? Ah, you'll see...
Their Wolf Man figure, on the other hand, did bear a resemblance to Lon Chaney Jr. and his Lawrence Talbot alter ego! Not a very strong resemblance, but one nonetheless.
Frankenstein, or rather the Frankenstein Monster, was the first in the line that really bore a strong resemblance to its Universal counterpart, and it's one of the finest-looking Frankenstein Monster figures made, in my opinion!
Their Mummy figure pretty much looked like a generic mummy, on the other hand, although one must give AHI points for actually having bandages rather than silk-screened bandage patterns on the costume!
A little later in the line was the Creature From the Black Lagoon, which actually came out with two body variations, which collectors have referred to as "male" and "female," and I believe it has to do with the waist. This one appears to be the "male" version.
Here's some photos of loose figures in the line:
I suppose if you squint real hard, that Dracula looks a little like Lugosi!
On this loose Frankenstein, you can really see how exceptional the head sculpt was on this piece!
If you want to hunt down one of these action figures, better get ready to spend some cash! At the time I'm writing this piece, there's only a leg of a mummy up for grabs on eBay, and even that piece has an asking price of $6!