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Custom Captain America Figure Done By LooseCollector Long before anyone heard of the MCU, or even before the popular Blade, X-Men and Spider-Man movies had hit the big screen, Marvel had attempted to bring it’s super heroes to life on the small screen in the format of live-action TV shows. Some attempts like the classic Incredible Hulk series, that aired on CBS were more successful than others, but a number of Marvel characters ended up being represented in this format. Hasbro has a long history of making 6” Marvel Legends figures based on current Marvel entertainment properties outside of the comic books. They even recently announced that they would be going back and doing new figures based on the older X-Men movies, but WHAT IF they did Marvel Legends figures based on characters from those older TV shows from the 70’s and 80’s? Obviously figures of this type would mostly appeal to people who grew up during the time that these shows first aired. Many people probably don’t even remember most of the shows, or if they do, they try to forget them. Never-the-less, I think there would be some appeal for figures based on these shows. They would also be unique, because not even Toy Biz did figures from this era. So if Hasbro did a “Marvel Retro Live-Action TV” line, what characters might they do? Here is a list of potential characters I could envision Hasbro doing action figures of. I have listed them in chronological order of when the shows first aired. Spider-Man Vs The Wall - Spidey Super Stories From The Electric Company - 1974-1977 Many of us who where born in the 70’s were first introduced to Spider-Man when he appeared in several story shorts featured on the PBS show called The Electric Company. A show that was produced by The Children’s Television Workshop. These Spider-Man shorts were done as live-action segments, and for whatever reason Spidey never actually talked. He did however take on some cool villains, such as a character known simply as “The Wall”. As the name implies, he was a human brick wall. The Wall has actually appeared in the comics as well, but I only know him from this show. I would love to see Hasbro do a two pack of Spider-Man and The Wall facing off against one another. Spider-Man - The Amazing Spider-Man - 1977-1979 This was probably Marvel’s second most successful live-action series of the time, and featured everyone’s favorite wall-crawler. Unlike the Electric Company version, Spider-Man talked in this one, though he probably spent more time during the show being Daily Bugle photographer Peter Parker. Spider-Man could shoot webs that looked liked ropes and climb walls, but he never really did any web-swinging in this one. His mirror-like eye lenses, silver utility belt and the web shooter featured on the outside of the costume really helped differentiate his look from the comics. We definitely would need this version of Spider-Man represented in line like this. The Hulk And David Banner 2-Pack - The Incredible Hulk - 1977-1982 This was Marvel’s most successful live-action TV series of the time, and still considered a classic even today. It stared the late Bill Bixby as David Banner, and Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk. The show was very different from the comics, as Banner would hitchhike from one place to another searching for a cure to his green problem. At the same time he would always find some type of trouble or crime to fight each week. The show even later on spurred several made-for-tv movies, which we will get to in just a bit. I would love to see Hasbro do a 2-pack featuring both Hulk and Banner. I suppose likeness rights could be an issue, especially when it comes to Banner, but I think it would be awesome to see. Doctor Strange - Doctor Strange - 1978 This one is probably a show most aren’t even aware existed. There was only a pilot made, and it was never picked up as a series. Unlike the other shows, this one is probably stayed most true to how the character appeared in the comics. It featured other characters like Wong, Clea and even had Morgan Le Fey as the bad guy. Don’t expect to find this on any streaming service, but you might be able to locate a DVD of it if you look hard enough. As figures go, this would probably be a hard sell, but just for the obscurity of it, I think it would be cool to see. Captain America With Bike - Captain America - 1979 As a huge Cap fan, I don’t mind telling you this show was pretty bad, but they did give Cap a pretty cool transparent shield that he would throw, and that he could also attach to the front of his Cap Cycle. He also wore a motorcycle helmet for a mask. Hasbro should do both Cap and his bike, and have the shield be able to attach to the front of it. Thor - The Incredible Hulk Returns - 1988 NBC attempted to revitalize The Incredible Hulk TV series bringing back both Bill Bixby as David Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk. This was done in the form of several made-for-tv movies. Along with the Hulk, they also tried introducing a few additional Marvel characters, likely with the hopes of being able to spin them off in their own TV shows, which never happened. In the first movie, they introduced the God of Thunder along with his alter-ego Donald Blake. In the story, Blake finds an old viking hammer which allows him to conjure Thor out of thin air. In this, Thor had strength, but not much else. He did carry his hammer, but couldn’t fly with it. While both Thor and Hulk were stronger than normal humans, they weren’t nearly as strong as they are in the comics. The two couldn’t even pull down a helicopter that was trying to escape with Banner’s girlfriend. Thor’s look in this movie also differed greatly from the comics. This version of Thor looked more like a standard viking, however he did have a helmet with wings he would wear. While this was no MCU Thor, I think this version would still make for a cool figure. Daredevil - The Trial of The Incredible Hulk - 1989 For the Hulk’s second made-for-tv movie, we got introduced to Matt Mudock, and his alter ego Daredevil. Looking nothing like Daredevil from the comics, this version featured the man without fear in an all black spandex outfit and a mask that covered his eyes. While they failed to really capture the look of Daredevil in this movie, I actually liked the way they portrayed the character here. In my opinion, it was definitely better than the Ben Affleck version we would see years later on the big screen. Nick Fury - Nick Fury, Agents Of Shield - 1988 Nick Fury - Nick Fury, Agents Of Shield - 1988 This was another made-for-tv movie which quit frankly, was horrible. It however did feature the Hoff (David Hasselhoff) himself as Fury. That alone warrants this one for the figure treatment in my opinion. Punisher - The Punisher - 1989 Ok, admittedly this was a theatrical movie, not a TV series. In fact it was the only Marvel movie during that era that actually made it to theaters. For that reason alone, I think we can slip a Dolph Lundgren version of Punisher into this line. Looking nothing like the comic book counter part, this version of Frank Castle rode around the sewers on his motorcycle. He killed criminals with his skull knife. Ok he used guns to, but the knife was the only thing that gave you any indication this was the same character from the comics. Iron Ma…. No, Iron Man never appeared in live action form during the 70’s or 80’s. It wasn’t until the MCU Iron Man movie in 2008, that we got to see the character in that way. However I often see this guy (shown above) get confused for a 70’s version of the armored Avenger. The truth is, this guy is from a failed 1977 NBC pilot called Exo-Man. I suppose if they had tried to do a live-action Iron Man series back then, this is probably similar to how he would have looked. Because this isn’t a Marvel character, I wouldn’t expect to see him make the Marvel legends cut. So let us know, would you like to see Hasbro do a Marvel Legends sub-line featuring characters from Marvel’s early live-action TV days? Let us know in the COMMENT SECTION below.
I don’t know what it’s been like for you these past several weeks. For me, I have been stuck in my house with a COVID-19 pandemic shelter in place rule in place, leaving only for a supply run to the corner grocery or taking my dog for a walk. My access to new action figures (assuming any are available on local shelves) has been greatly restricted. I still have access to shopping online for my plastic fix at places like BBTS, but the recent events really have me thinking about what the future holds for action figures and how things might change long-term. Obviously, with many under the same type of shelter in place restrictions, I am sure several will turn to more online shopping, at least in the immediate future. With that in mind, WHAT IF a company like Hasbro started shaping how they release figures based more on the online delivery channels? In particular, I was looking at their recent Marvel Legends Hydra Soldier army builder figure. The single-packed figure with a few accessories shipped in a mailer-type box with some artwork on it and only cost $14.99. The packaging is what intrigues me the most about this figure. Not only does it meet the new non-plastic standards Hasbro is said to be implementing soon for all of its brands, the box also is simple and (I assume) cheaper than the regular Marvel Legends packaging. If most people move to buying their figures online, there is no longer a real need to have the figure visible in the package and the artwork makes it nice if you don’t want to open it. Now, I don’t see Hasbro as able to lower the price of their Marvel Legends figures across the board to $14.99. Keep in mind the Hydra figure had already been released multiple times, so Hasbro likely already earned the return on their investment in the sculpt. If this was a brand new figure, I doubt they would be able to sell it as cheaply, even with cheaper packaging. You hear over and over in the media that this is the new norm, and I don’t really know what that means for the long-term. I certainly don’t see people fully giving up shopping at physical stores. I do think there will be a significant shift to more online activity, including shopping, even after the immediate crisis subsides. So maybe shifting the focus on how one sells their products isn’t such a bad idea?
As you are probably aware of by now, Hasbro will release a Marvel Legends sub-line this year featuring Spider-Man-based figures on retro cardbacks that pay tribute to the old Toy Biz 5” Spider-Man: The Animated Series figures. For those not familiar with the Spider-Man: The Animated series, it was a show that aired on the Fox network from November 19, 1994, to January 31, 1998 and took place in the same continuity as the X-Men: Animated series that also aired on the Fox Network around the same time. While Spider-Man only had a brief cameo on the X-Men series, the X-Men appeared prominently a few different times on Spider-Man. If you have access to Disney+, the entire series is available to watch, and I do highly recommend you check it out if you have never seen it. Besides the X-Men, the show featured a ton of familiar Marvel Universe characters and pretty much every single character from Spidey’s Rogue Gallery to that point. While some of these characters seemed to transition almost exactly from the comic book pages, others received modern overhauls, giving them uniquely different looks from the comics. While the packaging for Hasbro’s new sub-line pays tribute to the old Animated Series, the figures themselves do not seem to be based on the show itself. But WHAT IF Hasbro started doing actual figures from the Animated Series itself as Marvel Legends? Probably the character with the biggest overhaul in the Animated series was villain fan-favorite Doctor Octopus. Up to that point, Doc Ock was portrayed as an overweight, somewhat nerdy-looking scientist type guy wearing green and yellow spandex with some mechanical arms. In the cartoon, Octavius went from looking like an out of shape dork to a fit and trim badass wearing more of an armor-type outfit and sporting more of a military haircut and sunglasses. Of course, he still had the signature mechanical arms. Toy Biz did a figure for this version of Ock for their 5" line. If I was to make a Top-10 list of Animated Series unique characters to get the Marvel Legends treatment, I think ol’ Doc here would be at the top of the list. How about you? What animated series character would you like to see Hasbro make for the Marvel Legends line?