ORIGIN OF SECRET WARS
Most of the times, a movie, a tv series or a comic book inspires a line of toys. In this case, it was the opposite. Mattel had in mind a series of Marvel’s superheroes, and committed Marvel to publish a new comic series using its most famous characters within the same stories (this is called “crossover”). Jim Shooter wrote the stories and Mike Zeck and Bob Layton drew 12 issues of “Secret Wars”.
These twelve issues were released between May 1984 and April 1985, and featured well known superheroes and supervillains: Spiderman, Captain America, Daredevil, Iron Man, Wolverine and Dr. Doom, Octopus, Magneto…
That was exactly was Mattel wanted to have; in words of Jim Shooter: “One big story with all the heroes and villains in it”, so the toyline would be very attractive to kids. The name “Secret Wars” is just a mixture of two words that, after Mattel’s research, caused a positive reaction in kids. Mattel had interest in superheroes after Kenner acquired the rights to produce DC superheroes and just in case superheroes became the new trend after Masters of the Universe (what didn't happen).
The toy line had two waves worldwide plus another one released outside North America. The first one was released in 1984 (8 figures), the second one in 1985 (5 figures), and the third in 1986 (3 figures). Because toys have a “longer” life than comic books, the comic series were extended for an additional year in “Secret Wars II” (9 issues), released between July 1985 and March 1986. These comic books were also written by Jim Shooter, but the artist was Al Milgrom.
Secret Wars’ action happens in a fictional planet named “Battleworld”. The Superheroes are teleported there by “the Beyonder”, and in Secret Wars II, the action is located on Earth, when “the Beyonder” comes for a visit.
We’ll talk further about toys in the next entry (#245), but right now, let’s see the two figures I am presenting today. They belong to the first wave of this toy line (released 1984) and are: Iron Man and Kang.
Iron Man is probably well-known because of the recent movie and comic books. Iron Man is Tony Stark, who paradoxically is not a super-heroe, but a billionaire engineer. He just owns a hi-tech armor that gives him superpowers. Although there are several versions of this armor, the one depicted by the toy figure is the classical armour that can be seen in the comic books.
The figure came with a gun and a round red shield with 4 double-sided lenticular images to insert in the shield.
Kang the Conqueror is a supervillain, a time-traveller from the 30th century. He is passionate about history and started time travelling back and forth in time. One of his ancestors is Dr. Doom, and he, himself has several aliases, like Iron Lad, Pharao Rama-Tut, Victor Timely, Scarlet Centurion or Immortus.
The figure came with a gun (same as Iron Man), a square grey shield and 4 double-sided lenticular images to insert in the shield. The figure wears some kind of removable harness over its chest.
The gun is common to many Secret Wars figures, and the shields came with each figure and each vehicle or playset, identifying the characters as heroes (round red shield) or villains (square grey shield), as we’ll explain in the next article.
Thanks for the figures, Fernando!
Thanks for the figures, Fernando!
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: IRON MAN and KANG
- Toy Line: Secret Wars (Wave 1)
- Year: 1984
- Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
- Size of the figures: Around 12 cms