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Super Tuesday: A Doll By Any Other Name

This week’s Super Tuesday flashback is another Heroes World ad (from the era before they destroyed the comics business). This offer is trying real hard not to use the word “doll” in describing the toys on offer, settling on “collectible miniatures” to describe what we’d later come to call “action figures.”

I am far from an expert in this field but this seems an especially odd lot of figures, mixing Marvel and DC mainstays with has-beens (Battlestar Galactica), evergreens (Star Wars), and never-weres (CHiPs!).

(Though of all the figures offered here, it is the CHiPs set that would likely rank first with today’s ironic hipsters).

Join me tomorrow here at Longbox Graveyard for toy action and mayhem of a more murderous kind, when we journey to a mad toymaker’s paradise for some Kung Fu adventure!

TOMORROW AT LONGBOX GRAVEYARD: Master of Kung Fu: Mordillo’s Island

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Posted on November 13, 2012, in Super Tuesday and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I always tell my students that one of the top marketing geniuses of all-time was whoever decided to call these “action figures” instead of “dolls for boys.”

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    • Excellent point, hadn’t thought of it that way but you are right. I was just coming out of my toy-buying age when those Star Wars action figures starting hitting the market, and I remember thinking how clever that they were avoiding the “doll” stigma by sizing them down and concentrating on playsets instead of dress-up (which had always kept me away from G.I. Joe in his pre-action figure years). Now I wish I’d stayed a kid a little bit longer so I could have enjoyed that end of the hobby, too.

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  2. I want to say that the original Star Wars toys were marketed as action figures, definitely not as universally as today, but the term was sure active by then.

    Maybe Heroes World was shooting for a different audience than kids with the wording. If I say “collectible miniature” I am thinking of the stereotypical 20-30 something single guy with a garage or basement already half full of merchandise. The collectible market certainly heated up during that era, thanks in large part to George Lucas’ savvy decision to take merchandising rights in lieu of more salary for directing Star Wars.

    By the way, is that Joe Kubert’s art in the ad? Sure looks like it, especially the figure of Ponch.

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    • Dunno if that is Kubert, Chuck, but good eye if it is.

      Maybe I should start shopping this ad on eBay as some kind of prophetic prediction of the Marvel/Disney/Star Wars mega-corporation as it has Spidey, Cap, Yoda, and Darth Vader all together. It is only a matter of time before Dracula, Wonder Woman, and the CHiPs crew join the Mouse!

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