Hasbro’s introduction of G.I. Joe in 1964 started an action figure craze that’s never relented to this day! Since the 70’s, action figures have became one of the most sought after collectable toys world wide. And, while G.I. Joe was the first action figure, many other companies have produced figures that are just as popular.
In 1966, Ideal company followed suit and even changed the direction of action figures with it’s release of Captain Action. Captain Action had accessory packs that allowed him to change into many of the popular comic and television characters of the time. With a quick costume change he could become Superman, Spiderman and Batman as well as other super heroes.
While Hasbro might have been responsible for the very first action figure, Ideal can be credited with action figures be directly associated with super heroes. And, other companies followed Ideal’s lead by producing super hero figures that are still popular today.
The trend of 8″ figures started in 1972 when Mego started producing their World’s Greatest Super Hero’s series. Over a ten year period, the line ended up with a total of 34 figures that included both heroes and villains. Mego also manufactured a few 12″ figures, but the company mainly concentrated on the smaller versions.
Following the release of many movies there also came a new line of action figures. When Star Wars hit movie screens in 1977, it didn’t take long for Kenner to secure exclusive rights to market figures for each of the movie’s characters!
The Star Wars figures have became one of the most popular collectable action figure line of all time. They were also the first figures that were modeled in the smaller 3 3/4″ size. And, this began the trend of other companies producing smaller action figures.
The FCC regulations restricting television shows that were based on toys was lifted in the 80’s and opened up a whole new venue to toy manufacturers. Companies began to produce entertainment to further market their products and switched to the standard 6″ action figures.
With this freedom action figures like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, Transformers and even the Ninja Turtles ended up with their own television shows. At the same time more innovative and interactive capabilities began appearing on each new line of action figures.
Although, Star Wars quickly became on of the most highly collectable action figures, Spiderman was marketed directly towards collectors. Marvel recognized the high demand of collectable figures and geared their selling strategies to capture the desire of collectors.
Marvel was highly dissatisfied with the original body sculpting and the continual shipping delays of Toy Biz Inc.s first Spiderman releases. They quickly attained 46% of the company and control, so that they could have some input into the design and look of their product.
Action figures have certainly came a long way since the introduction of the first G.I. Joe figure. With the advancement in technology, action figures, their action weapons and vehicles have advanced as well and are capable of doing some amazing things!
The hobby of collecting action figures is here to stay. With the release of new video games and action packed movies, you’re sure to see a line of action figures quickly follow. this is made quite apparent with the release of one of latest additions to the action figure family, the Hell Boy line.
While many people collect items that bring back the days of their childhood, many collections are purely an investment. Some action figures can sell for hundreds of dollars and collections are sometimes worth thousands! But, for many the monetary value of their collections can’t be measured by money, it’s just the sheer passion and love for the item!
Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2008 TLCollectables.com