Wednesday 27 November 2013


It's the battle of the STAR WARS wannabes.

This is an ad, published in US comics dated April 1980, plugging the action figure lines from the two Christmas 1979 would-be SF blockbusters THE BLACK HOLE and STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE.

Both lines, scaled to Kenner's Star Wars figures, came from MEGO in their unsuccessful attempt to make amends for not snapping-up the Lucas license (they also took a punt on BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY and - err - THE DUKES OF HAZZARD) but neither line proved very successful.

According to the Mego multi-part history published in Tomart's toy magazine, The Black Hole license proved a major stinker for the company (which is a shame as the figures were really rather nicely made) but they recouped some of the dollars they'd lost by striking a deal with Disney over the TRON name, trademarked by the toy maker through the MICRONAUTS line.

The HEROES WORLD name would loom large in the future history of US comics.  That was the retailer Marvel rashly snapped-up in December 1994 (the company was originally spun-off from Marvel's own mail order business in the mid-seventies) with grandiose plans of upgrading the local retailer and distributor into Marvel's exclusive in-house distribution business.

That sparked the dash-for-exclusivity that saw other publishers rush to sign their own deals.  The fallout left Diamond Distributors, alongside Heroes World, as last-man-standing.  HW proved a stinker and was eventually closed in 1997 as Marvel struggled with bankruptcy.  With no other options available, Marvel were forced to go cap-in-hand back to Diamond.  Whoops.

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