Kenner rightly deserves its place in toy making history for popularising the 3 ¾ inch figure through its vintage Star Wars line of the 1970s and 80s, with the huge success of the movie franchise proving to be a massive marketing lucky break for the company. The Mego Corporation definitely deserves a nod as the very first pioneer of the 3 ¾ inch scale, however, with their Comic Action Heroes line launched way back in 1976, and its revamped series three years later known as the Pocket Super Heroes. Featuring the already licensed comic book characters from its own classic 8 inch World’s Greatest Super Heroes line, these pint-sized action figures were only produced until 1982. They may look crude by today’s standards, with only six points of articulation at the neck, shoulders, waist and hips, but these figures have a quaint charm and have become highly sought after by collectors today.
I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for one of these gems for quite some time and was delighted to score a Spider-Man from the Pocket Super Heroes line recently. The Pocket figures are very similar to the earlier Comic Action Heroes, with the main difference being that these figures have straight, rather than bent, legs. The legs on the Comic figures, in fact, make them appear as if they are permanently springing into action – as display pieces the second line is far more pleasing aesthetically. There was a mix of characters from both Marvel (Spider-man, Hulk, Captain America, Green Goblin) and DC Comics (Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Superman, Lex Luthor, General Zod, and even a Jor-El), and there were various playsets and vehicles available too.
The most curious thing about my Spidey figure is that he appears to be an early hybrid version. His torso uses a recycled version of the Comic Action figures Spider-Man with its inaccurate costume markings on the arms – the later Pocket Spider-Man would correct this. In fact, the copyright information on the back of the figure is dated © Marvel C. G. 1975. The earlier line also issued many of its figures with an accessory, so each figure was cast ready to hold something, with a hole in the fist of the right hand. For an accessory-free figure such as Spider-Man, this inevitably looks a little odd!
My figure has suffered a little paint wear on his boots, and the red plastic of his lower arms and belt appears to have a faded a little, but he is a great find nevertheless.
Collect them all…you KNOW you want to!