The Long Goodbye Pt 2: Bill

Collectors of the “Little Men” tend to fall into one of two camps: devout followers of a favorite character OR they like ’em ALL: every character, every costume variation, every.

This is a challenge for toy companies who have to balance loud fan requests with demand for popular major characters.  Of them all, the MARVEL UNIVERSE line has come the closest to unleashing a ton of a … Marvel Universe worth of head-scratching, how-did-they-remember-THIS-dude? characters in 4″ of plastic.


In the late 1930s, MARVEL comics started out as TIMELY comics, and featured three big claims to comic book fame: a life-like human android that could burst into flame, a half-human/ half-undersea Prince who liked to punch Nazis and flood Manhattan, and a Super Soldier who carried a shield that looked just like a copyright infringement.  And so, the Human Torch, Namor the Submariner, and Captain America were born to stardom.  Timely had lots of other brightly colored characters, but these three were their big guns.   Indeed, only Cap and Namor lasted long enough to be published by MARVEL comics in the Sixties, although another character was created as a newer version of a Human Torch, the android showed up eventually.


WWII-era Captain America, with custom Human Torch and Submariner figures

As comics were targeted to “gasp” children in the Forties, both Cap and the Torch were given boy sidekicks.  Namor, wisely, hung out with chicks.  I think it was the speedo.


TIMELY’s “big three” characters, joined by Bucky and a custom “Toro” figure

TIMELY never saw reason to frequently team up their powerhouse publications.  There were a few issues where the Torch and Namor beat the crap out of each other, probably because the “fire and water” cliche was SO obvious they figured it was worth a shot.  Towards the end of WWII, they published a compilation book called the ALL-WINNERS SQUAD which featured two stories where these guys all got together, along with a patriotic super lady named Miss America and a super fast guy named The Whizzer.  It never happened again and I think we can all blame The Whizzer for that.



Flash-foward 30+ years and MARVEL writer Roy Thomas dabbles with his childhood love affair of TIMELY comics to write WWII-era team stories of the All-Winners.  Wisely, Roy replaces patriotic Miss America with patriotic Union Jack, super awkward The Whizzer with super-less awkward Spitfire, and renames the team THE INVADERS.  It’s a great comic book because it has artist Frank Robbins drawing Nazi Vampires getting the tar knocked out of them by the best characters in comics.  As well as Union Jack and Spitfire.

Toy-dom vaguely recalls THE INVADERS and the MARVEL UNIVERSE line has made “WWII Captain America” (with a look that lasted one comic book, because of copyright concerns with the triangular shield being too similar to another character), “WWII Bucky”, and Union Jack.  In 2009, a limited edition (read: EXPEN$IVE) boxed set was released with Cap, Torch, and Namor.  My fast-working hands did a cheaper job those guys and added Toro, the Torch’s sidekick, and Spitfire, for good measure.

The MARVEL UNIVERSE line is fun because they don’t take up a ton of space on the bookshelf and are the lowest cost/ most diverse character figure line out there.  When Bill announced that he wanted to start a collection, I thought this would make a fun addition as a Christmas gift…

…only to not be able to find the damn things for nearly three months!!!

So, with all apologies, here they (finally) are: I hope you enjoy them!!!




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The Long Goodbye Pt 1: Neil

Hey! It’s 2016 and it’s time to get off the couch, shake off all the Cheesy-Poof dust, and finish stuff up.  I have a list of things promised or asked for and 2016 seems like the Year of Wrapping This Up.


Neil asked for a 12 pack of custom Legion of Superhero figures to compliment the 12 pack he sold a child for/ purchased on line.  As memory serves, we had two last figures to make for his collection.


Phantom Girl

Phantom Girl has the power to be a phantom.  Writing sentences like that makes me simultaneously long for the comics of the mid Fifties and go watch Negasonic Teenage Warhead again.



In the 30th Century, there is a whole planet of Native American Indians who have wings.  But not on Earth, sooooo… they’re not really “Native Americans”.  See also: that wing thing.

This is the second time I’ve designed this figure and it’s always a hoot to wonder how many strip cubs the original artist went to in dreaming up these costumes.  For the record: fringe is fun to make, complex skin tones aren’t.



The Legion of Superheroes was a goofy-fun idea (a group of super-powered friends for Superboy to go hang out with) that lasted from 1958 ’til 1994.  It has since been restarted in a variety of comics, animated shows, and a few TV appearances, with mixed success.

I hope Neil enjoys the heck out of these, because I think I’m only taking one last trip to the 30th century clubhouse.

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by | March 1, 2016 · 3:57 pm

Who Is Rocko Jerome?


Find out here.




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