Another TOYHEM salute to the 50th anniversary of Mego’s WGSH line…

Welcome to TOYHEM! For the fourth straight holiday season, we’re bringing you a series of features and columns celebrating the toys of our youth, which often made for the best memories this time of year. Click here to check out the complete index of stories — and have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays! — Dan


It’s been 50 years since Mego’s World’s Greatest Super-Heroes figures first exploded onto toy aisles. The 8-inch line of DC and Marvel characters changed the course of action figure history, eventually offering villains for their heroes to combat, allowing kids worldwide to recreate their favorite comics, TV and movie adventures. But what’s a hero without a home? And how do they get to and from that home without some sort of conveyance? Mego solved that problem by offering the first wide-range of vehicles and playsets specifically aimed at comics character action figures. Every license holder DC and Marvel would work with in the future followed Mego’s blueprint.

The Spider-Car and the Americar help nab the villains, while the Mego Marvels look on. In the background is Empire’s Spider-Copter.

From bizarre, made-up-in-a-boardroom contraptions that defy description, to vehicles with household names that have penetrated our societal vernacular, Mego offered kids of the ’70s and early ’80s a variety of locales and machines to help kids wage the war of good vs. evil. These were popular catalog items, so they made their way onto many a kid’s Wish List this time of year. Luckily, many of these vehicles have been reproduced by Figures Toy Company in recent years.

Conveniently, there are 13 such vehicles and playsets in the WGSH line, and the order you’ll find them in below is my personal ranking. Your mileage — ahem — may vary.

13. Supervator Super Action Flyby


One of the most head-scratching items ever produced in an action figure line, the Supervator isn’t quite a vehicle, and isn’t quite a playset. It’s really more of an action game for use with your WGSH figures. Attach the harness to your hero (Spider-Man is shown on the packaging and instructions) and put a blue glove (oven mitt) with a tiny Velcro strip on it over his hand. Slide your hero down the included string to the attached plastic structure and see if they can retrieve the “Nasty Secret Plans.” But be careful or you’ll unleash one of six villain cards: Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Green Goblin, and… the Jungle Chief? Who is the Jungle Chief? Well presumably he’s a heretofore unknown Tarzan villain Mego made up, and he’s a grotesque Were-leopard! One of the few items Mego produced that includes both DC and Marvel characters in the same package.

Courtesy of

12. Batcopter

Mego loved its Bat-vehicles, and short of the Batboat, gave us a version of every Bat-ride we saw on the classic ’60s TV show, still heavily syndicated in the ’70s. However this Batcopter is NOT an authentic replica of the impressive Bell helicopter from that show… not by a long shot. It’s essentially a roller skate with a propeller. Others have compared it to a bumper car, which isn’t a bad analogy. If you look at it as a two-person Whirly-Bat it’s easier to swallow. Like all Mego’s Batman vehicles, a bat-symbol isn’t enough. Batman has to put his name logo on the front! It’s still a fun toy, despite its shortcomings. Like the other Bat-vehicles, it was once offered in a box with art by Neal Adams, so that makes it pretty cool in my book. But if you want a more authentic helicopter for your Dynamic Duo, you may want to check out Empire Toys’ offering (also available for Spider-Man and the Hulk!).

Courtesy of

11. Mobile Batlab

Courtesy of

Vans were HUGE in the ’70s. Every cool TV show had a van of some sort, from the Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine to Captain Marvel’s RV. Even Captain America had one in his TV movies! If this Mobile Batlab was a rockin’, crime was a knockin’! But thankfully Batman had a “Secret Front End Foe-Catcher” which looks like something straight out of the classic Mouse Trap game, or your Mom’s laundry basket. A rear winch with a bat grappling hook is something you can imagine Batman having… if you can believe the Caped Crusader would be out driving a VW microbus! Frugal Mego reused the mold from their Action Jackson and Dinah-mite lines. Like any good ’70s van, it’s festooned with graphics, this time Bat-iconography and onomatopoeias. Even a shot of Batman punching the Joker on the sunroof top!  Oddly enough, there are no indications of any lab or computer equipment, despite the name! Like the Batcopter before it, the Batlab came in a nifty box, courtesy of Neal Adams’ Continuity Studios.

Courtesy of

10. Aquaman vs. the Great White Shark

Courtesy of

This rare toy is this low down on the list for two reasons: A) It’s a shameless cash in on Jaws-mania (probably spawned by Jaws 2). B) Aquaman would never fight a shark! He could just command ol’ Bruce to jump onto Quint’s boat! But Mego never met a trend it didn’t like, so it’s no surprise this thing exists. The shark was battery operated with a “bump and go” action, it’s… ahem… jaws opening and closing as it neared it’s prey. That and the included standard Aquaman figure wasn’t enough to make this set swim off the shelves. It was a notorious peg warmer in its day, but is now one of the costliest Mego items to buy on the aftermarket. Go figure.

9. Captain Americar

This is actually a really fun toy, and one of several early “action” vehicles Mego introduced into the line, with a mechanism of some sort. This time it’s Captain America’s “Flip Out Deflector Shield,” handy for walloping Nazi scum. Or since Mego never made the Red Skull, you may have to settle for Spider-Man foes Green Goblin and the Lizard. The actual car design is beyond simple, looking almost like a preschool toy in some ways. But the shield action is satisfying, and Cap looks good behind the wheel. Yes, it would have been more on-brand for Mego to recycle some Bat-vehicles and give us a comic accurate motorcycle or van, ala Reb Brown, but that was later in the decade anyhow.

Courtesy of

8. Jokermobile

Courtesy of

NOW THIS makes a lot more sense! Even though it’s not like any Jokermobile we had seen up to this point, it’s easy to imagine the Clown Prince of Crime driving recklessly about in a VW microbus, as we know he’ll be into vans by the 1989 Batman film. I could totally buy Cesar Romero cackling away at the wheel of this green and red monster. The giant smile on the front looks a bit better than the Bat logo on his rival’s ride as well. But the coup de grace are the action features. The Jokermobile features a boxing glove that springs out whenever Daring Do-gooders peek inside the back window. And more importantly it is the first Joker toy to feature a squirting flower, so you can get a whiff of the Harlequin of Hate’s potency. The box by Neal Adams and Continuity Studios depicts the Joker manning the deadly daisy, and the Riddler at the wheel. Even the Super Foes were Super Friends-ly at Mego! And since the Joker was the only Super Foe to receive his own ride, it’s easy to see the Joker has ALWAYS been the most popular villain in all of comics.

Courtesy of

7. Batcycle

In my opinion, the coolest of the Bat-vehicles Mego made, but it’s not THE vehicle, ya know? Anyway, the Batcycle is the one Mego vehicle that had a true variant edition; it came in both blue and black. The black more closely evokes that sweet ride from the 1966 TV series, where’s the blue looks more like Batgirl’s comics ride. Both feature a detachable sidecar — which is a true sidecar, and not just an overblown skateboard like the one poor Burt Ward was nearly killed on, multiple times. The cycle features the usual name logos Mego was fond of for the Dynamic Duo, but that Batman head sticker on the front is pretty sweet. I’ve always dug the red exhaust pipes on the back, and the gray metal engine and kick stand. This piece is more “in scale” than just about any other form of transportation Mego produced for the line. It displays GREAT, in either color. I gave the blue one to Batgirl!

Courtesy of Hakes

6. Hall of Justice

It was really hard to rank the three WGSH play environments. Ultimately nostalgia and rarity informed my decision, so please know that I really think the Mego Hall of Justice is an excellent playset! Sure, it doesn’t resemble the version from the Super Friends cartoon series in any way at all (for that, look at Mego’s Comic Action Heroes Fortress of Solitude playset). But it has a pretty novel action feature in the “Translocation chamber.” Similar to Mego’s transporter from its Star Trek Enterprise Bridge playset, the chamber allows you to send your hero to one of several disasters on the HoJ’s monitor screen. The included map table and sign up top have the building’s name in the classic Justice League of America comics logo font style and shield shape. You can also dial up images of villains, including Lex Luthor, whom Mego never gave us in 8-inch scale. Speaking of which, the box and outer covering of this vinyl play case have some of the nicest art ever produced by Mego, courtesy of Neal Adams. Not only does the incomparable Adams give us dramatic drawings of Mego’s set of Super Friends in action, he includes a character that haunted children for decades to come: Green Lantern. The only way you could get your Hal Jordan fix from Mego was to stare at the back of the Hall of Justice for hours on end!

Courtesy of Hakes

5. Green Arrowcar

DC was influencing Mego’s toymaking decisions by the time the Green Arrowcar hit the shelves. The Emerald Archer had a similar vehicle in the days when Oliver Queen was a millionaire playboy, but the Hard Travelling ’70s version usually got around in a pickup truck, or on the back of Black Canary’s motorcycle! But no modern day Robin Hood would say no to this sweet ride! Unlike the similarly marketed, but simply designed Captain Americar, the Arrowcar is shaped like an arrow! Not only that, it has a slick amber windshield (much like the later Super Powers Batmobile) and fires one of three included arrows! Nearly every toy vehicle made over the past 50 years has shot some kind of projectile, but this has to be one of the first. The Arrowcar had a short life span, and is in high demand today. And no wonder, it’s perfect for clobbering the Clock King, or driving to the grocery store for chili fixins!

Courtesy of

4. Wayne Foundation

From Dan’s collection

Like the Batlab, Jokermobile and Green Arrowcar, the Wayne Foundation was a toy created at DC Comics’ request, and with its input. In the ’70s comics, Batman resided in the penthouse of his Wayne Foundation building, eventually putting a replica Batcave beneath. Mego decided to make the whole building a headquarters for the Caped Crusader, swiping…er… modelling it after the ever-popular Barbie Dream House. But instead of tons of pink decor, this HQ has some great artwork by Neal Adams and his Continuity Studios (notice a pattern here?). On the printed cardboard walls we see Batman’s trophy room, including the famous giant penny and robot T-Rex, as well as a statue of Bat-Mite and Adams’ own co-creation Man-Bat represented in a portrait. Stickers on the plastic monitor screens depict Joker, Riddler, Lex Luthor (teasing us again) and… Gold of the Metal Men? Another curiosity is a scene with Superman, Green Arrow and the shoulder and right arm of Green Lantern (teased AGAIN!), in an image redrawn from a Jack Kirby Avengers panel! The set includes a working elevator, a trophy case, computer consoles and chairs, and a landing platform for the Batcopter. At 40 inches tall and 2 feet wide, it’s an impressive piece, and is quite rare to find today, especially with all the parts intact. I’m still looking for one myself!

3. The Amazing Spider-Car

Released alongside the Arrowcar and Americar, Peter Parker’s own set of wheels was the hit of the bunch, staying in production for years. It’s also a far more impressive looking vehicle than Cap’s quite simply designed one. Legend has it Stan “the Man” Lee himself requested Spidey get a set of wheels, and around the same time, he got the Spider-Mobile (or Spider-Buggy if you prefer) in the comics. But the Mego Spider-Car is no simple dune buggy with a paint job. It LOOKS like Spider-Man, with sculpted webs, and a red, scallop-edged chassis. It even does what a spider can, launching a web at one of two Spidey foes who make up all of Mego’s Marvel villain contingent. Maybe it didn’t make sense for poor, hapless Peter Parker to have his own car (especially since he didn’t have a driver’s license), but with a ride this cool, who cares about logic? This is one fun toy that looks GREAT. Amazing indeed.

Courtesy of

2. Batcave

Both the Hall of Justice and Wayne Foundation may have been more impressively designed, with better play features, but that doesn’t matter. The Batcave is the greatest headquarters in all of fiction, and Mego did a bang-up job with it. Despite the rather primitive vinyl-covered cardboard design, and not looking exactly like the version from the ’60s TV show, it was close enough, with an included Batpole and a working Batsignal to boot! But the real appeal of the playset was the way it piqued kids’ imagination. You could set the Batcopter on the landing pad on the roof. You could imagine Batman and Robin combing through the files on the cardboard Batcomputer, and using all the equipment illustrated on the walls of the cave (including the Batboat). And best of all you could roar out of the secret entrance in the…

1. Batmobile

No flip-out shield. No firing arrows. No launching spider web. No matter. This is a toy replica of one of television’s greatest cars, and certainly THE greatest vehicle in all of comicdom. Some of Mego’s later vehicles may have been more innovative, but the imaginations fired by this simple, blow-molded vehicle were endless. Mego sold millions of these cars, and no kid at the time cared that Batman and Robin were a bit large for it. It looked enough like George Barris’ famous TV design, and it ROLLED. And it was pretty tough too, surviving jumps down slides and off of second-story decks! A fleet of better-designed Batmobiles would come in toy lines down the road, but Mego’s version will always be out front, the Number One vehicle in their entire 8-inch range (take THAT, Starsky and Hutch!).


— The Complete TOYHEM INDEX of Stories and Features. Click here.

— The TOP 13 MEGO World’s Greatest Super-Heroes Head Sculpts. Click here.

Chris Franklin is a graphic designer, illustrator, and podcaster, who co-hosts several shows on the Fire and Water Podcast Network, including JLUCast, which he produces with his wife Cindy, and The Power Records Podcast with Rob Kelly. He really did launch his Mego Batmobile off his family’s second-story deck, and it did indeed survive, unscathed!

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. Awesome stuff ! The Wayne foundation tower is insane.

    Post a Reply
  2. Still have the Wayne Foundation, Hall of Justice, and the Great White Shark. Had the Supervator, Batcopter, Joker Mobile, Batcycle, Batcave, and Batmobile. Never had the Mobile Batlab, Cap Americar, Green Arrowcar, or Spider Car.

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: