As most readers already know, the classic toy company, MEGO, relaunched earlier this year in an exclusive distribution deal with Target. The shear quantity of retro-style action figures include in the launch was impressive but the execution of the relaunch had its challenges with inconsistent roll-outs at the store level and resellers gobbling up mass quantities of the most desirable figures, leaving the rest of us to scratch our heads or give up in frustration.
Monsters were very much at the central of the “most desired figure” maelstrom, with MEGO inking smart deals with the estates of Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, allowing them to release classic monster figures without the exorbitant licensing deal with Universal. Check out our previous story about the Bela Lugosi Dracula figure.
Despite these frustrations, it’s important to note that MEGO probably couldn’t have pulled off a relaunch without the commitment of Target. Now, with three waves of figures released, MEGO is free to expand distribution beyond Target and announces an amazing line-up of classic monster action figures with some really exciting new figures in the line-up and much-improved card designs.
MEGO Wave 4 Horror Action Figures
Nosferatu (Count Orlok)
The Invisible Man
Bela Lugosi Dracula (Red Cape)
Frankenstein’s Monster (Glow version)
Screaming Werewolf (Blue shirt)
The figures of Bela Lugosi Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Screaming Werewolf are new versions of figures released in the earlier Target-exclusive deals. I have to say that I really like the new packaging much more than the earlier waves and love the glow-in-the-dark head and hands on the Frankenstein’s Monster.
MEGO Wave 4 Release Date
According to retailers that have these figures available on their sites fro pre-order, these figures will be shipping in March or April 2019.
Pricing remains $14.99 at retail though eBay listings already have these items at a premium.
Since these products are being sold wholesale, we don’t have a complete list of retailers. Here are a few that already have these figures listed for pre-order:
While these are sure to be a hit with dedicated MEGO collectors as well as those of us who grew up with MEGO, it will be interesting to see how the brand fares with it’s retro-style with a broader collector audience who has grown used to the hyper realistic sculpts of Hot Toys and their like. Certainly the face sculpts are some of the best likenesses MEG has ever done! I prefer the whimsy of these retro-style toys and will certainly be adding several to my collection.
What are your thoughts? Which of these figures are must haves for your collections?
Topps Comic Book Heroes Sticker Sets Included The Marvel Monsters
Released by the Topps Company in 1975 and 1976, these stickers showcase just how much monsters were in the mix at the House of Ideas. Marvel Comics was in a golden era of creativity and had their own legion of monsters, grounded in the Universal Monsters archetypes but firmly planted in the Marvel Universe, alongside their own macabre creations. So it’s no surprise that when Topps released sticker sets titled Comic Book Stickers featuring characters from Marvel Comics, that monsters were in the mix.
Comic Book Heroes 1975
The 1975 set was just called “Comic Book Heroes Stickers”; it wasn’t until 1976 that the mighty Marvel brand got its name on the pack as “Marvel Super Hero Stickers”.
Marvel Super Hero Stickers – 1976
While not nearly as monster-focused as the 1975 series, the 1976 Marvel Super Heroes stickers included the addition of Blade and repeat performances by Dracula and Son of Satan. The checklist included in each pack also assembled into a large puzzle of Conan the Barbarian.
These stickers are easy to find individually, so it’s not unrealistic to set a goal of collecting a complete set. For completists, there are further variations of the stickers than shown above. Card backs can be found in both tan and white. Tan backs are believed to come from a test run. Some cards can also be found with subtle differences in the copyright info.
A quick scan of current eBay listings comes up with empty wrappers, individual stickers ranging from $3-$10 based on condition, sticker lots, a sealed sticker set for $50 and an display boxes ranging from $100 (empty) to $500 (full).
Amidst all the fun new classic monster merchandise to be found at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, nothing is more exciting to me personally than the return of Mego action figures! It isn’t overstatement to say that Mego was the defining toy brand for many a 70s childhood with their lineup of super heroes, Planet of the Apes and classic monster dolls, I mean, action figures!
Mego figures are highly collectible and there are passionate communities on the internet with great expertise on these classic toys. These groups have been abuzz about the return of Mego and it’s iconoclastic founder, Marty Abrams, since Mego Meet earlier this summer.
At Comic-con, Mego revealed its Wave I line-up which will be sold exclusively at Target stores in the U.S. starting this summer. Decidedly retro in it’s lineup, the single figure that has our rapt attention is the new Bela Lugosi Dracula figure. Officially licensed by Lugosi Enterprises, this is
This figure is eight-inches and true to the original Mego stye. Sold exclusively at Target, it will retail for $14.99.
Mego Mad Monster Figures
The fact that Mego officially licensed Lugosi’s likeness is intriguing simply because Mego’s previous run at classic monster action figures, the much loved Mad Monsters lineup from 1974, were intentionally public domain versions of the classic Universal Monsters. Dreadful Dracula, The Human Wolfman, The Horrible Mummy and the Monster Frankenstein drew influence from the literary world rather than the Universal characters and were a huge hit with 70s kids then and collectors today.
While a dedicated article about Mego’s Mad Monsters is well past due on this website, there is little I could add that isn’t included in this well-done video from the Mego Museum and Plaid Stallions gang.
Watch the Mega Mad Monsters documentary:
The Mad Monster figures are tremendously collectible and can be quite expensive. A quick survey of eBay shows the several current auctions averaging around $75 for loose figures and several hundred for figures in package. Figures Toy Company re-issued these figures a few years back and they can be easily found online for $15 at EntertainmentEarth
Mego is planning a Wave 2 release this October so we have reason to hope that more classic monsters will be included in the lineup. Which monsters do you most hope to see? Do you want licensed or unlicensed figures?
Super 7 Expands Licensing with Universal with Loads of SDCC Exclusives
Super7 always pulls out all the stops for San Diego Comic-Con and this year will be a Monster Kid’s delight!
In collaboration with the legendary Universal Monsters, Super7 announced that the abomination will begin after sunset on Friday, July 20. The location will be changed into a “monstore”, where attendees who still by will be treated to haunting exclusives and “spine-tingling special things created especially for this horrifying event”.
Universal Monsters Boodega Hours:
Friday – July 20th: 5:00pm to Midnight
Saturday – July 21st: 11:00am to 9:00pm
Sunday – July 22nd: 11:00am to 5:00pm
No SDCC badge is needed to visit the Boodega and it will be open to the public on a first come, first serve basis.
I’m expecting a complete sell out of this merchandise at SDCC, so the only way to get your paws on this stuff will be through the reseller market and I would expect items to be popping up on eBay the same weekend.
Super7 is best known for resurrecting the legendary 3.75 inch action figures in the retro Kenner-style and a fan-fave with many classic monster collectors for it’s original run of Universal Monsters figures released while ReAction was licensed by Funko.
Well, based on what Super7 just showcased at Toy Fair 2018, they are embracing our childhood nostalgia in toto with a slew of cool new products that hit us Monster Kids right in the nostalgia sweet spot.
Universal Monsters ReAction Figures
One of the gripes some folks had with the original collection of UniMonster ReAction figures was the sculpt quality was just a little too much like the original Kenner Star Wars figures, meaning not very good. Well, that will not be a concern this time around based on the prototypes on display of The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Mummy. Packaging was features for updates of the Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein as well as two cool new additions in the Metaluna Mutant and Mole People. We did get a look at the Mutant prototype and it is absolutely glorious!
But the Universal Monsters licenses gets way more interesting with these new seasonal collections set to debut late summer 2018:
One of my all time favorite classic monster lines is the Colgate Palmolive Super Soaky soap bottles from the 1960s. Super7 is releasing an expanded collection with all new sculpts that pay direct tribute to those amazing bath products of yesteryear with their new “Super Soapy” collection releasing in time for Halloween 2018:
The new collection includes the iconic Frankenstein, Wolf Man, Creature and Mummy with updated molds and adds the Invisible Man, Bride and Metaluna Mutant. As you can see in the picture above, they even had a collection of the original Colgate figures on hand to showcase the homage they’re paying.
new molds for buckets to used while Trick or Treating or just nifty displays.
50th Anniversary Planet of the Apes
While Super7 debuted a Planet of the Apes collection last year, they have stepped up their game in a big way in honor of the 50th Anniversary of POTA with this upcoming line of 3.75-inch ReAction classic POTA figures set to release in April 2018:
But they didn’t stop there, Super7 also revealed unpainted prototypes for Wave 2, which is due late summer 2018:
This set includes a couple of deep dives like Urko from the TV show, astronaut Cornelius and a fantastic Lawgiver statue. And the mutant comes with a removable face!
I think its safe to say that Super7 has dialed up the nostalgia factor to eleven for all us Monster Kids and done so in a manner that pays respect to the classics they are renewing. While I tend to focus my personal collection on vintage items, I plan to stock pile as much as this new Super7 collection as I can get my grubby monster-loving claws on this Halloween season. What are your thoughts, monster collectors? Love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Mondo Gallery Universal Monsters Exhibit Opening Night
I love it when the stars align and a business trip puts me in the right place at the right time. Earlier this month, I had just such an opportunity when a trip to Austin, Texas, coincided with the opening of the new Universal Monsters exhibit at the Mondo Gallery.
While I’m not new to Mondo entirely, I had no idea what to expect and so, after a great meal of Tex-Mex, I strolled over the gallery. It was an unusually wet and chilly January day in Austin, and while it was still more pleasant than my Minnesota home, I was stunned to see the waiting line extending down the block for hundreds of feet.
In talking to people in line, this is standard fair for opening night at Mondo exhibits as collectors and enthusiasts get their first shot at purchasing prints from the new collections. What struck me, though, as a Universal Monster fan and classic monster collector, was the age of those in line. We often think of our community as being largely Boomers and some older Generation X, those of us who grew up in the monster boom of the 1960s and 70s. This crowd was anything but that, made up almost entirely of 20 and 30 somethings! While this is a testament to the popularity of Mondo with the Millenial crowd, these folks were enthusiastically discussing their favorite monsters and monster movies. These were, indeed, our people!
With press credentials in hand, I was fortunate to bypass the hours-long wait and made my way into the small, nondescript gallery.
Being a Mondo neophyte, it took me a bit to get my bearings. So I decided to enjoy a complimentary local craft beer and watch the pattern of the more experienced Mondo collectors as they cued up for their must-have posters, enamel pins and lithographs.
Here’s a video from the opening night that does a far better job than my photography of showcasing the art and giving a feel for the event:
Take a closer look at some of artwork from the Mondo Gallery Universal Monsters exhibit:
About a week after the opening of the exhibit, Mondo released the first run of posters and enamel pins from the Universal Monsters collection for sale on their website.
Mondo posters are available in limited runs and they tend to show up on the secondary market pretty quickly (at appreciated prices of course). Mondo’s first Universal Monsters collection was released back in 2012 and a quick scan of eBay shows a nice sampling of posters from the original collection and, not surprisingly, some posters from the 2018 collection as well.
What do you think of these modern takes on the classic film posters of the Universal Monsters films? Do you have any Mondo art in your collections? Love to hear your stories!
This Is Now The Most Valuable Movie Poster, Sold At Auction For $525,800
One of just two surviving One Sheet Style A movie posters for the 1931 horror classic Dracula set a world record for the most valuable movie poster ever sold at auction when it brought $525,800 Saturday, Nov. 18, in a public auction held live and online by Heritage Auctions.
The poster surpassed the previous auction record of $478,000 which was also set (twice) by Heritage Auctions. Heritage had just sold the only known surviving Italian issue movie poster from 1946 for Casablanca in July 2017, which matched their own previous world record from November 2014 for an only-known 1927 copy of the poster for London After Midnight.
This particular poster style from Dracula depicts the menacing visage of actor Bela Lugosi, who transformed the character into the now-famous Universal Monster. Recently discovered in the San Diego, California, collection of a noted film historian, collectors and experts consider it one of the most desirable horror movie posters ever produced.
The family of its longtime owner, Lt. Col. George J. Mitchell, Jr., an Associate Member of the American Society of Cinematographers, placed the poster up for auction. Mitchell had owned the poster since the 1950s.
“The reason my dad purchased the poster is because he loved horror films. He was drawn to the Bela Lugosi poster because it brought back childhood memories of seeing the film when it was first released,” Mitchell’s son, Arthur Mitchell said. “He remembered going to the theater … and remembered that there was an ambulance stationed in the lobby, in case anyone was so scared they needed medical attention.”
The elder Mitchell was a longtime cinematographer and photographer, who after World War II and a 20-year career in the U.S. Army, started a small film production company in San Diego, and did video work for AFL and NFL Films, the San Diego Zoo and training films for assorted branches of the military.
“It is a matter of opinion, but this poster probably is the most beautiful of all of the styles,” Heritage Auctions Vintage Posters Director Grey Smith said, “and one of only two styles that pictures Bela Lugosi in realistic terms or a faithful rendering – the other is a photographic image.”
The new owner’s identify was not revealed, although a Heritage spokesman said it was “an anonymous U.S. bidder.” Kirk Hammett anyone?
Watch this Heritage Auctions video for more information about this iconic poster:
Classic monsters and mid-century pop culture go together like peanut butter and jelly. Many Monster Kids, like myself, have an abiding affection for all things Atomic Era, including classic surf music and Tiki culture, So the folks at Geek Tiki have come up with a perfectly logical combination of Universal Monsters tiki mugs!
The creative, colorful drinkware products combine the beloved Universal Monster characters with the unique stylization seen in traditional tiki culture.
Each ceramic Monsters Geeki Tikis® stand approximately 7” tall, is top-shelf dishwasher safe, microwaveable and boast a capacity of up to 20 ounces.
Collect them All!
I’m not sure if the Werewolf of London drank his Pina Colada out of one of these mugs at Trader Vics, but I sure drink my tropical cocktails from my Monster tiki mugs! I keep these prominently displayed but I’m not afraid to pull them off the shelf when the occasion calls for a Mai Tai!
Brought to you – On record for the first time with the help of the world’s first movie-monster magazine, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND
So reads the back cover of this spoken word album released by Wonderland Records and Famous Monsters of Filmland in 1963. After learning that advertisers wouldn’t touch his magazine due to it’s “weird and inappropriate” subject matter, Jim Warren doubled down on his mail order business, Captain Company, to fund his growing publishing business. Always on the lookout for new products to peddle to us unwitting kids, Warren partnered with Wonderland Records, a children’s record label and subsidiary of Riverside Records, to record and release Famous Monsters Speak in 1963.
The cover art is uncredited but all of the famous monsters on the cover look more than a little bit like James Bama‘s iconic Aurora model kit box covers. Even the poses are similar. Intentional? Hmmm…. True to the Warren overhype tradition, we also get a cover appearance by the Wolf Man, Mummy and Creature though they are nowhere to be found on the record itself.
The LP features 2 spoken-word stories, written by Cherney Berg, a staple of spooky records of the 60s and 70s, including Scary Spooky Stories, Thrillers and Chillers and later the King Kong (Original Motion PictureClassic). His adaptations provided the soundtrack for many a Monster Kid childhood. This album featured only a single voice actor, former Bowery Boy Gabriel Dell.
The album’s little-seen back cover featured stills from the original Universal Studios Frankenstein and Dracula movies with humorous and satirical captions, as if lifted straight from the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine:
While this record is relatively easy to find, it can be fairly complex to determine which release is which due to the number of pressings through the years. Here is a detailed list of what to look for when buying a copy:
Shortly after Warren signed a deal to produce this record with Wonderland, the label’s founder, Bill Grauer, died. So in late 1963, Wonderland was acquired by A.A. Records. For that reason, The initial press of the vinyl makes no mention of Wonderland:
Also in 1963, London Records released the album in Canada and reads “Made in Canada” on vinyl. The Catalog # on this release is GAR-3
Wonderland Records credited on front cover, without mention of Golden Records.
Label credits to Wonderland Records and Golden Records on the front and back cover, but only A.A. Records on the labels and a mention in the lower right corner of the back cover.
1970 Canadian Re-release:
An A.A. Records Recording
Produced in Canada by Arc Sound Limited, Catalog # 836
Wonderland re-released the album in 1973. While the Catalog # remained the same: AR-3, there are some unique identifiers specifically the back cover sleeve which replaced the classic monsters movie stills and goofy quotes with a catalog of other kids record titles offered by Wonderland at the time:
In addition, this release includes the following etched wording on the vinyl:
In general, a high-grade copy of this record runs around $50, with less pristine copies anywhere between $15-$40.
In addition to the condition of the album sleeve and the vinyl itself, there are some ‘rare’ aspects of the first release that truly set the record apart from the rest of the pack and increase its value.
Printed Cellophane with Price:
The first press album sleeve originally had a nice cellophane overwrap with printing on it. First releases were priced at $.98 sold and soon increased to $1.98. You very rarely see the “printed” cellophane on them and it can really enhance the value of the copy when you do find one.
The picture above is of my personal collection copy of this record; notice the original cellophane with the $1.98 price printed on it.
Famous Monsters Magazine Offer:
Look again at the picture of the record from my collection and you’ll see Dracula’s legs are covered by a promotional offer for a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland. This is another real differentiator from most copies of this record you’ll find. This paper order form its typically found taped onto the album cover, as mine is, and greatly enhances collectibility.
Monster Kid Memories
Of course, no article on Warren’s merchandising business is complete without the Captain Company ads that ran in the pages of Warren’s magazines:
The record label also promoted the record and ran the full-page ad below in comic books and other kid-oriented magazine titles to promote the records availability in record stores. Note from the ad copy below, the record was first released on April Fools Day, 1963:
I never owned this record as a child, but I clearly recall these ads working their spell on me. These ads were fairly unique in the pantheon of Captain Company; they marketed a quality product with minimal hyperbole. It seems that the more gimmicky the product, the greater the need to overstate its qualities.
Multiple copies in a range of prices and both white and orange sleeves are available on Amazon.
Discogs.com is a great social marketplace for record collectors and Ive had numerous successful purchases from this site. I found multiple copies of this LP listed currently; click here to visit Discogs.
Of course if you simply want to listen to this fun LP again, there are numerous options, including the YouTube video I embedded above in this article.
Purchase a MP3 copy of the entire album for $1.98 or on CD for $13.98 on Amazon
Film posters were designed to have short life spans. They were simply intended to promote upcoming and new releases while a film was in the theater. When the film left the theater, the posters were thrown away. Since scarcity and desirability are primary drivers of value, film posters of classic movies are now extremely valuable – particularly for a film as iconic as Universal’s Dracula starring Bela Lugosi.
The iconic nature of Todd Browning’s Dracula and the enduring legacy of Bela Lugosi’s performance make posters for this film some of the most coveted – and expensive – of all classic film posters. Unfortunately, only a few posters are known to exist today from the wide range of designs that originally existed.
Below, we’ve included artwork from the original 1931 Universal press book to give you a look at the original designs that are not known to exist any longer.
One Sheet Film Posters
This poster became the most valuable film poster ever sold when it was auctioned for $525,800 on November 17, 2017 by Heritage Auctions. Read the details here.
We previously published in-depth article on the Style F One Sheet in our Classic Movie Posters series. You can read it here:
The following One Sheet Styles are from the original 1931 Film Press Book but no known examples of these posters exist (if they do…Wow! What a find it will be!)
Dracula 1931 Three Sheet:
Dracula 1931 Six Sheet:
Dracula 1931 24 Sheet
Dracula 1931 Insert
Dracula 1931 Half Sheets:
Dracula 1931 Window Cards:
Dracula 1931 Herald:
Dracula 1931 Jumbo Lobby Cards:
Many of these incredible pieces of ephemera are, unfortunately, lost to history. And all of them are beyond he reach of most collectors. Regardless, we have the film and, through this digital gallery, we can all relish the awesome pop culture art of these iconic posters.