Plus, there was this movie called Star Wars that came along…
Welcome to TOYHEM! For the 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. You’ll be hearing from comics creators, regular 13th Dimension contributors and more. Click here to check out the complete index of stories — and have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays! — Dan
TOYHEM! isn’t really a single series of stories. It’s sort of a series of series. We had the 13-day Custom Mego Box of the Day, for example. (Click here.)
But we also have TOYHEM! MEMORIES – a collection of guest essays by comics creators on their favorite childhood toys.
Now, there aren’t many Mego mavens out there bigger than Eisner-winning Tiny Titans artist Art Baltazar of Aw Yeah Comics! — the comics publisher and comics shops. When I was making my list of people I wanted to invite to take part in TOYHEM!, Art was right there from the start. Naturally, it didn’t take any arm-twisting to get him to contribute, as you’ll see.
By ART BALTAZAR
When I was a little kid, Megos were everything! I would get them every Christmas. Most characters I knew from cartoons and comics but some I met when I got them for Christmas. Like the Thing and the Human Torch. (Although my Dad told me they were named Rockman and Burnard.)
I didn’t really know the difference between Marvel and DC characters. I thought Green Arrow and Falcon were best friends. I found out later that Falcon was best friends with Captain America, so Spider-Man became best friends with Green Arrow instead. It’s true. My favorite villain was the Green Goblin. He would fight my Spideys. I had two Spideys. Goblin would keep breaking but we would keep fixing him.
Then, suddenly in 1977, Star Wars was released to the world and the future was changed forever! My gosh! I remember the first Kenner figures being available at a store named National’s. We walked in to see a whole rack filled with every character! They had all of them!
Then my Mom said, “Pick one, let’s go.”
Oh the pressure! I chose Darth Vader and my little brother chose Luke Skywalker. The collection had begun. For the next few years, our Christmases were Star Wars Christmases.
Superheroes and Star Wars have officially taken over my life and made me the Famous Cartoonist I am today. They were the source of inspiration for my comic book career. I can’t remember a time without these toys and I am still buying and collecting Megos and Star Wars figures until this day! Ha!
The toys that made me will surely show up for Christmas this year once more. But right now, I have to buy my girl some AirPod earphones. Maybe I’ll put an R2 sticker on there somewhere.
— The Complete TOYHEM! Index of Features and Columns. Click here.
— MEGOs Weren’t Perfect — But They Were What We Had, by KARL HEITMUELLER JR. Click here.