Fresh Monkey Fiction has recently announced Amazing Heroes, the company’s first series of 4.5" retro-style super hero action figures. Just imagine you’re a kid in the 1980s, surrounded by action figures of every movie, TV, and comicbook character you can possibly imagine, all these characters brought to “life” in molded plastic. Now imagine that you’re the weird kid, like Bill Murphy, who was in to that lost corner of comics, the dusty back issues from the 1940s that all the other kids never heard of — the original Daredevil; Stardust, the Super-Wizard; The Black Terror; Silver Streak; then throw in a long-lost toy line like Captain Action.
According to Murphy, his homemade action figures of these guys got him laughed at on the playground. Quite a bit, in fact. Now flash forward some 30 years and he’s now a grown man who knows how to make real action figures, and who has discovered more weird kids like himself who also love that lost old stuff. You know, the stories where men were men who fought for what was right, heroes who put down dictators and villains bent on subjugation. They weren’t just superheroes, they were Amazing Heroes.
Inspired by his childhood toys, he now hopes to create action figures based on these heroes of yesteryear in an all-new, 4.5” retro line. “You can help us achieve our dream of seeing these four-color heroes become plastic icons with this Kickstarter for Amazing Heroes” Murphy says. “Our goal is to make a Vintage Superhero Action Figure line that is reminiscent of the action figures from the ‘80s, but that features these colorful and popular Golden Age heroes. For most of them, it will be the first time they’ve ever gotten the action figure treatment!”
With his striking black costume with skull and crossbones, The Black Terror first busted out in 1942. When pharmacist Bob Benton was exposed to experimental vapors, he became an unstoppable crime-fighting machine, along with his sidekick Tim. The best of the early Black Terror stories were produced by the team of artists Mort Meskin and Jerry Robinson, after Robinson helped create Batman’s trademark atmosphere.
Wielding two powerful boomerangs thrown with expert skill, the duo-toned Dare-Devil was created by Jack Binder as a yellow and blue mute superhero in 1940s Silver Streak #6. Promptly retooled by future Plastic Man creator Jack Cole into the red and blue dynamo with the spiked belt, he fought both Hitler and the monstrous Claw. Dare-Devil took on a kid gang of his own, and became one of the greatest successes of the Golden Age.
Stardust, the Super Wizard debuted in the pages of Fox Publications’ Fantastic Comics #1 in December, 1939, created by cartoonist Fletcher Hanks. Populated by grotesquely drawn characters, Stardust is the epitome of wonky Golden Age comics, as he uses his magic-like powers to transform and decimate his enemies.
They even got the team behind Captain Action on board, and they’re letting them cook up an official figure of the good Captain, who is himself a master of disguise so great that he regularly takes on the appearance of other superheroes! Captain Action was the first superhero action figure. He was part of a groundbreaking multi-licensing deal when he debuted in the 1960s. He was on everything from Halloween costumes to card sets and now he’s back with an exciting array of new comics, books, figures, and more.
Who is the Blank Slate? This mystery man without an origin has faced the Golden Age Dare-Devil. Along with his equally powered mindless minions, this blank spectral figure can take on the appearance and powers of anyone he's fighting.
While The Amazing Heroes will be a perfect addition to any collector’s shelf, they’ll also be just as welcome in your child’s toy box. Murphy’s five year-old son has been the best test market. As Murphy says that he is always catching the young lad eyeing the prototypes and asking Murphy when he can play with the toys. So to make sure the younger fans get the most out of their play experience, the back of each package will feature a comic strip detailing the adventures of our Amazing Heroes. Throw in their digital Amazing Heroes Handbook and kids and adults alike will get to see these heroes in their original, four-color action!
Everything’s in place: they have the prototypes, the packaging, and the plan. Now all they need is the funding, which is where the fans come in. While everything is sculpted and ready to go into production, they still have to tackle the manufacturing costs. they have an established toy factory lined up, but Murphy’s team need the funds to be able to hit the start button and get this retro line of heroes rolling. They’ve also come up with some very cool rewards for every level. Here are some highlights:
Every contribution over $5 gets a PDF of the Amazing Heroes Handbook. Written by comics historian Christopher Irving (Graphic NYC/Leaping Tall Buildings with photographer Seth Kushner, and The Blue Beetle Companion), the handbook features historical info and original Golden Age stories. While each figure costs $18, anyone who buys a set of all five Amazing Heroes will only pay $80. Also, since they’re sure you’ve had your own heroes in mind, they can even professionally customize a hero for only $300 — using their standard body and head options.
The Wonder level gives fans the chance to buy 300 units of a Golden Age hero. They’ll never release this hero again, giving that fan an exclusive figure. Fans can pick one hero from a list of classic characters such as Lash Lighting, Blue and Yellow Dare-Devil, Vulcan, or The Liberator. At $3,500, that comes out to less than $12 a figure. Finally, the Invincible limit gets fans 300 units of their own character at $13 a figure! They also have some great Kickstarter Exclusive stretch goals planned. The first, at the $35,000 mark, is an exclusive Champion of Mars figure, based on the classic science fiction hero. Fans will be able to add him to their order for $18 (including domestic shipping).
The second stretch goal of $45,000 unlocks a very special offer. Everyone who orders all six Amazing heroes will receive the Silver Streak action figure for FREE. For those of you who don’t know, Silver Streak was a speedster created in 1940 by Captain America co-creator Joe Simon, who was then (like Dare-Devil) taken over by the brilliant Jack Cole, who gave the hero his snazzy red costume. Visit them online, and Follow us on Facebook, and on twitter.
This project will only be funded if at least $3,500 is pledged by Fri, Aug 1 2014.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comicbook articles and reviews.