MEGO action figures allowed kids to explore new worlds and to create new adventures without leaving their backyard. As the CEO of MEGO Corp. I am proud to see that those kids have grown up and introduced their own children to the fun of MEGO toys. This has created a new generation that uses their own imaginations to tell their own stories with our classic figures.
Marty Abrams welcome to the new MEGO Corp. Fan Club
Retro is back! For new and old fans, to play with and collect faithful reproductions of classic toys bringing back fond memories while creating new ones. For sixty years, Marty has been an innovator in the toy business, heralded as the father of licensed toy action figures from the ’70’s. Marty created the original “shattered universe” of MEGO action figures who interacted in the same format.
These MEGO reproductions are authentic and play patterns brought back in the true classic vision of the original MEGOs! I was lucky enough to interview Marty about the return of the line, the business as it stands and future plans for making more contemporary figures. For an OG “Original Geek”, this was not only like talking to Santa, but getting invited to the North Pole!
I also have an unboxing video of MEGO Star Trek Mirror Universe Kirk & Spock 8″ Action Figure Limited Edition two pack diorama!
MARTY ABRAMS INTERVIEW:
Alex Yarde (AY): First, I’d like to thank you for your time. As I’m sure you’ve heard before, I’m a big fan of your toys! When I was a kid, my dad would take me to our local toy store and let me choose the latest MEGO 8″inch Star Trek figures to add to my collection. I recall those trips to this day very fondly.
So why now? Why is there this resurgence of the MEGO line and those 8″inch figures we loved in the past, why are they back?
Marty Abrams (MA): Well, clearly over the past 35 years, they’ve been many different companies who’ve attempted to re-create and or build an 8″-inch figure like we did back in the 70’s. They didn’t do it as a full brand. Some did The Planet of the Apes, some did Star Trek, some did Marvel or DC (characters), but never as a uniform brand. A major retailer came to us about a year ago and they said –
We want to take all your old brands, all the classics, whichever ones you can acquire licences to and we want to turn around and reformat your brand because the collectables business has exploded. MEGO Corp was at the very beginning of the collectibles business, if not the foundation of it, and we want to bring your brand back!
We did that with Target. By the end of this year, we will have over 60 different items available exclusively at Target both in-store and Target online. We are bringing back an entire brand rather than individual classic characters
AY: What was the process of re-acquiring the old licenses like?
MA: Obviously, we no longer had the licenses, I’ve maintained a relationship with all the major licensees over the past 30 years, one of the current brands I was working on was the flying superheroes, you may be aware of them?
MA: That was my mechanism. My license and so what we did is we licensed it to certain third parties to go out and sell it. Having said that, by going out and doing that work and getting those licenses and doing that branding we had a developed a continuity. We just went back and added the 8″-inch action figures. Wherever they didn’t have figure exclusives. For example, HASBRO has an exclusive with MARVEL, other than that, everyone else was happy to jump on board. Didn’t make a difference if it was if it was Paramount, Warner Bros, CBS, FOX, a whole range of characters we were doing in music AGB, EPIC we all knew that at a certain point we could re-build this brand and re-constitute it.
AY: Amazing! So what has been the reception so far?
MA: For a little guy sitting on his porch in a rocking chair in his backyard it’s been fantastic! Guys (and Girls) your age love them! They go out and collect multiple characters. Some guys older than you will say, “I remember my younger sibling would collect these!” Their kids’ intern love them too! They’re fully articulated, posable and dressable. They are a different art form in today’s market and we’ve successfully reinvigorated the entire MEGO Brand!
AY: Absolutely! MEGO was at the forefront of this business, certainly one of the first, if not some of the first fully articulated, anatomically realistic, action figures out there! I remember your figures were the only ones that had the actual tailored, uniforms, outfits and costumes with clothing sets you could collect, trade with friends and re-dress your figures with. One of the trends I’ve been seeing recently is a decline in the historical vendors of the original MEGO era. Vendors like SEARS and Toys R Us. Of course, the “mom & pop” toy store I went to with my dad is long gone. My question is, is there still room for small vendors in this new collectibles market?
MA: There are actually two markets, there’s the mass market, that includes TARGET, WALMART, AMAZON, KHOL’S, SHOP CO, and then there’s the specialty market. The specialty market caters to collectors and there is a learning curve. All small businesses have their own liability, but right now? Business is booming as we speak in the action figure market.
Action figures are big now, they allow a diversity of thought and encourage inventive play in kids. They allow new collectors and customers to use their imaginations, create their own worlds like nothing else. It’s active. It’s not like digital. It’s really cool!
– Marty Abrams
AY: You said you will have over 60 characters out by the end of the year. What are some of the characters or licenses are you still going after and what other characters can we look forward to? Is there a new wave coming out?
MA: The second wave is hitting TARGET stores exclusively now. With characters like the GORN from Star Trek and classic movie monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula for Halloween. The third wave is coming out mid-November. We’ve got two sizes. An 8″inch and a 14″inch size. We also offer a two-pack with diorama display packaging that allows you to start building a collection immediately. Icons from the “70’s & “that we didn’t do originally. For example, Jimi Hendrix or Billy Idol. Since we’ve decided to go out and do some of the great iconic figures of the “60’s, “70’s and “80’s to add to our line, they have been extraordinarily successful! That being said, we also want to go a little more contemporary. So we will announce all that within the next couple of months depending upon where the marketplace is and where it’s going.
AY: Excellent! I spoke to your colleague at TTPM about editorial samples. I’m looking forward to unboxing and reviewing some of the second and third waves coming down the pike! Now that I have you on the line, I wanted to ask if you were planning on a Prince figure?
MA: We would LOVE to do Prince. Right now, his estate is still trying to sort everything out, understandably they haven’t wrapped their heads around it yet, we have spoken with them and we’ll see. Sometimes when a certain personality or celebrity we’d like to use their likeness for an action figure there are other things going on in their lives, and clearly, in this case, they can’t embrace it at this moment. things are constantly changing and sometime in the future, we will go back to them.
AY: That’s great! I’m glad your company is going full bore into this, it’s well received and welcome. The readers of my column and followers on social media are all about your new collection at TARGET. It’s to have you back and I personally love your products! I’d be great to do a follow up before the Holidays to check in with you again on the third wave of figures coming out is that’s at all possible?
MA: Not only is that possible, but it’s also something that we’d LOVE to do! At the end of the day, we know it’s guys like you who are going to make these products work. I can’t do this by myself. I can’t do this with ten guys. I need the support of the core collectors. I need the support of the geeks out there, I need the support of the guys who are old and grey like me. We know we must do that! You’re in the local New York area?
AY: Yes, I’m in Northern New Jersey.
MA: Okay, You’re about an hour from where we are. So one day you hop in your car and drive over and we’ll not only give you an update at our offices, we’ll let you take some pictures of some of the stuff we’ve got coming down the pike, so you can turn around and tell your viewers, and readers and followers what you know is coming and how excited you are about what we are doing.
AY: Oh that’s AMAZING! Thank you so much Marty! I really do appreciate that! Rest assured I’m going to follow up on that!
MA: Please do!
AY: Thank you so much for your time, I know you’re a very busy man I just want to let you know that your toys were a big part of my childhood. When I first walked into my local TARGET and saw the Star Trek “Mirror, Mirror” Diorama two-pack with Kirk and Spock? Tears came to my eyes. It brought back such nostalgia for the trips with my Dad as I mentioned before. So this new release of the MEGO classic figures was huge for me. Now, I have an 11-year old son who’s a big Star Trek TOS fan and he’s LOVING the new MEGO collectibles like I did at his age. There really is nothing out there quite like them! I appreciate the work you’ve done and continue to do! I wish you well and I look forward to meeting you!
MA: Alex, I’m looking forward to meeting you as well, and thank you for the phone call!
AY: Have a good day Sir!
MA: Same to you!
Now here’s my unboxing. Okay, before the Trekkie or Trekker comments start flooding in I KNOW I made an unforgivable mistake of saying Spock fought the Gorn Captain in ARENA. I wasn’t going to scrap my entire video for that. So I have brought shame to my House. Anyway, here it is!
OK, everyone! Marty is re-launching MEGO Corp. fan club! In the 1970’s, MEGO was the world’s greatest toy company making superheroes, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, the Wizard of Oz, Happy Days, and many more. Now the original MEGO Corp is back offering fans of all ages new versions of the classic characters that ignited your imagination. To help fans peer behind the curtain, go to www.megotoys.com to sign up! Be the first to hear about exclusive news, special limited edition collectibles, and upcoming shows and appearances!
Art Credit – Author / MEGO Corp./ TARGET
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