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?
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!
Gorgeous New Illustrated Book Celebrates Shelley’s Iconic Novel
Fans of classic monsters and science fiction alike are celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s iconic work of literature Frankenstein of the Modern Prometheus in 2018 and, here at CollectingClassicMonsters.com we intend to feature the many iterations of her creation throughout the year in an ongoing series we call Focus on Frankenstein.
Thanks to the folks at Rockport Publishing’s Classics Reimagined, we got an advance copy of a lovely new hardcover book that features Shelley’s original novel along with striking new illustrations by artist David Plunkert who has an eery steampunk collage style of illustration that is quite effective for a tale about stitching together human parts to create new life.
From the publisher:
Celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of Mary Shelley’s original 1818 version, Rockport Publisher’s Classics Reimagined series presents this beautiful deluxe edition. The 248-page hardcover book features an 8 page vellum insert detailing the doctor’s designs, and a stunning, full bleed, double gatefold image of the monster. Finished with printed endpapers and painted book block, this masterpiece volume is perfect for book lovers and art lovers alike.
About Classic Reimagined
The Classics Reimagined series is a library of stunning collector’s editions of unabridged classic novels illustrated by contemporary artists from around the world. Each artist offers his or her own unique, visual interpretation of the most well-loved, widely read, and avidly collected literature from renowned authors.
I am enjoying re-reading this classic novel and I’m struck by the sheer magnitude of impact this work has had on pop culture over the past 200 years. Obviously, the Frankenstein Monster remains as popular as ever with lovers of classic monsters and the story has gone on to influence creators and artists time and time again.
I highly recommend this lovely hardcover book as an addition to your library and appreciate the folks over at Classics Reimagined for letting me share this beautiful book with all you classic monster collectors.
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!
CELEBRATING THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARY SHELLEY’S NOVEL FRANKENSTEIN
I owe a lot to the founders of SuperMonster市City! If not for their participation in the vintage toy exhibit at the Minnesota History Center in 2014, I would never have started Collecting Classic Monsters! One of the very first posts on this website focuses on the impact of my visit to the museum and the floodgate of nostalgia that reawakened my latent collector gene. You can read more about that fateful day here: A Monster Kid Awakens.
Since then, I’ve gotten to know Stephen Yogi Ruff and David Barnhill and am always thrilled to support their efforts to celebrate the importance of monsters, superheroes and villains in popular culture. David’s personal collection of more than 200,000 toys, comic books, posters and films is one of the largest private toy collections in America and a constant source of inspiration for me.
Now, SuperMonster市City! is planning to celebrate the milestone anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in a big way with the publication of a newly designed layout of the original 1818 text . They’re calling for artists to submit work to be included in this limited edition book and will make the book available in a variety of formats along with lithograph prints of submitted art. Artwork will be selected by a jury of artists and designers for inclusion in the books and other items.
Watch this video to hear David to talk about The Frankenstein Project:
A post shared by Super Monster City (@supermonstercity) on
CALL TO ARTISTS TO SUBMIT WORK
Artists of various mediums, including traditional and digital, are asked to create and submit artwork representing his or her interpretation of a section of the famous science fiction novel. Artwork will be selected through a submission and jury process. All submissions will be included in the web gallery and include the artist’s name and a link to their website. The entry fee for submission is $30.00 per submission and is non-refundable. Artists appearing in the books will retain the rights to their work, granting SMC! provisional rights. Artists whose artwork is used will receive a portion of proceeds from the sale of books and in various media.
Artworks selected will be published via print-on-demand in both hardcover and softcover books with color plates. Artists included in the print-on-demand books will receive (1) hardcopy of the book and a pro-rated portion of proceeds where their artwork appears.
With this project we are honored to be joined by a prestigious group of jurors to pay homage to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the enduring legacy of her classic novel, and the Creature who has provided so much, to so many, for 200 years. We believe that in some ways we are all innocent monsters, and at SuperMonster市City! we have empathy for outsiders.
A separate Kickstarter campaign launching in November 2017 will fund a limited-edition printing of leather bound books with color plates on archival paper. Letterpress posters of the selected artwork will be printed on archival-grade paper and offered as Kickstarter premiums. Artists selected for publication will receive (1) copy of the leather bound book, (1) letterpress copy of their artwork, and a pro-rated portion of proceeds where their artwork appears.
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
Anchor Hocking Universal Monsters Drinking Glasses Set of 4 – 1963
The mid-1960s was the peak of the Monster Craze in the U.S. and classic monsters were everywhere; on Saturday afternoon television, in toy and hobby stores, on the magazine rack and even at the gas station. Gas stations in the 60’s would give out a glass with a free tank of gas just as fast food chains did in the 80’s and the subject matter would reflect the popular trends at the time.
Anchor-Hocking, a glassware company, produced a set of four glasses for gas stations featuring the Universal Monsters in 1963. The glasses featured colorful images of Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon but surprisingly no Dracula. The release date of the set falls before the lawsuit that virtually removed Dracula from merchandising due to the Bela Lugosi likeness so it unusual to see the Creature included.
The day-glow vibrant colors, great facsimiles of the classic monsters (which wasn’t always a sure thing during this time period) and the popularity of the four characters featured on the glasses are all reasons for the demand and popularity of this collectible set. Glasses were painted and have a nice textured feel to them.
The following pictures are the glasses set in my collection:
Frankenstein Monster Drinking Glass
I love the Glenn Strange likeness of the Monster on this glass, but it appears they started at the top with this illustration and ran out of room to include the traditionally heavy platform boots. His too-small feet really throw the overall design off for me despite the great face illustration.
The Wolf Man Drinking Glass
Wonderful art of Lon Chaney Jr’s iconic character.
The Mummy Drinking Glass
It’s not often that my favorite piece is a set is The Mummy, but it is my favorite in this case. The Lon Chaney Jr likeness is the best of any classic monster collectible (outside of a Famous Monsters cover) and the vibrant colors just really do it for me!
Creature from the Black Lagoon Drinking Glass
My favorite of the Universal Monsters, and a really cool glass.
These glasses aren’t hard to find in good condition but they have gotten quite expensive in recent years. Considering that these pieces are over 50 years old, the relatively good condition of many of these glasses is a testament to how well made they are. Anchor Hocking is still in operation to this day and it’s no surprise if these glasses are representative of their product quality.
Based on a quick search of eBay, prices for individual glasses are ranging from $75 to $125 regardless of which character. Finding complete sets is still possible, though this might be one to put on the estate and garage sale wish list at current secondary market prices!
MAN vs MONSTER The Ultimate Classic of Nightmare and Retribution told in the MIGHTY MARVEL MANNER!
Like many kids my age, I owe a debt of gratitude to Marvel for introducing me to classic literature through this series. While the interior art isn’t anything spectacular, the covers always worked their magic and the stories, being the classics they are, did the rest.
At 52 pages, and without ads, these were long comics compared to most.
Stan Lees Presents Marvel Classics Comics Featuring Frankenstein
Freely Adapted from the novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly (Shelley is misspelled throughout this comic)
Written by John Warner
Drawn by Dino Castrillo
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Petra Goldberg
I’ve scanned the first 21 pages of my well-read copy for your reading pleasure (click on the each page to open a larger image for reading):
Inside Back Cover:
About Marvel Classics Comics
Between 1976 and 1978, Marvel Comics published a series called Marvel Classics Comics adapting classic literature in the vein of the long-running Classics Illustrated, which had ceased publication in 1971.
I was well immersed in the Marvel Universe by the time this series appeared, but I was also old enough (10 years old in 1976) to be reading some of the classic works of Jules Verne, HG Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs by this time. The fact that Marvel Classics Comics included a lot of classic horror and sci-fi literature in this series drew me in and was my first exposure to many of these novels.
I still have my original copies of these book sin my comic book collection and thought it would be fun to share them with you. While my collection includes such titles as Black Beauty and Moby Dick, my collection is overwhelmingly focused on the more fantastic adaptations, including Dracula, The Time Machine, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and such. I plan to feature them all here in due course.
By the time Marvel published issue #20, adapting Mary Shelley‘s novel Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus in 1977, I was quite familiar with both Universal’s version of the story as well as Marvel’s own version of the monster. So this one surprised me a bit. While I noted the difference in the monster’s appearance on the cover, I was already familiar with the idea that there were different versions, thanks largely to my front-to-back readings of Famous Monsters of Filmland every month. It would be years before I would actually read Mary Shelley’s novel, so I was surprised at how different the story was. The monster could talk! More than that. he actually plotted and tool revenge in a calculated manner — I clearly recall not likely this version of the monster, who I always found one of the most sympathetic of the classic monsters due to Karloff’s magical portrayal.
Current price guide values list Near Mint copies of this comic at $13.50, and copies are readily available. None of the Marvel Classics series has appreciated significantly, in part because it’s not original creative content. Nonetheless, they make a nice addition to any Frankenstein or classic monster collection
In the early 80’s, Fisher-Price re-published several of the Marvel Classics comics as hardcovers and included fully-produced cassette tapes featuring audio recordings of the stories complete with sound effects and music. Intended as “read-along” to accompany the books.