Starting in 1972, the cream of the crop from DC and Marvel comics worlds joined Mego’s 8″ range of poseable, clothed action figures. The original four figures were all DC characters – Superman, Batman, Robin, and Aquaman – but their Marvel super pals soon followed.
Over the next two years, Mego added Spider-Man, Captain America, The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler and Green Arrow, as well as Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Catwoman.
The 8″ action figures were the bedrock of Mego’s Super Hero line, but no self-respecting hero would be caught dead without a killer vehicle and a secret fortress. Mego obliged the super ones with everything from the Bat vehicle trilogy – Batmobile, Batcycle, Batcopter—to playsets like the Superman Adventure Set and Hall of Justice.
Even Captain America and Spider-Man got into the vehicle business, manning the shield-shooting Captain America and the Amazing Spider-Car, complete with rear-mounted Web Trap.
When true-to-the-comics vehicles ran out, Mego simply invented new ones: three-wheeled wonders like the Robin-Shuttle, Hulk-Explorer and Spider-Mobile; the programmable Bat-Machine and Spider-Machine; and even a set of vans like the Jokermobile (they gave him a licence?) and the Hulk Van (they gave him a licence?!).
Aside from the 8″ figures, Mego also took its superhero licenses into several other forms: 5″ ‘Bend ‘n Flex’, large-size 12″ figures (including some with magnetic hands and feet), cuddly Super Softies (and Talking Super Softies), limited edition die-cast figures, and a Stretch Armstrong-like line of Elastic Super Heroes.
But of the many non-8” figures, the most popular were the less expensive 3¾” Comic Action Heroes.
These smaller figures had their share of famous heroes, but they also had their own playsets and accessories: a smaller Spider-Car, a flying Batcopter (with ripcord action), the villain-munching Mangler and more.
Possibly the coolest additions to this line were the playsets – Tower with Invisible Airplane, Exploding Bridge with Batmobile, and Exploding Tower.
Using the low-tech innovation of the “Comic Action Activator” (a glorified air pump triggered by a dynamite plunger), doors exploded, buildings collapsed, and towers crumbled, all ready to be rescued by your action heroes.
Kids snatched up the various Mego Super Hero toys during their super heyday, but by the end of the ’70s, many had moved on to smaller plastic figures with the words Star Wars on the box.
The World’s Greatest Super Heroes line officially went into retirement in 1982, when Mego declared bankruptcy.
Both the Marvel and the DC heroes moved on to new action figure lines, but that didn’t dampen fan enthusiasm for the Mego figures. Today, these classics of the 70s can fetch very high prices on the collectables market.