In the late 1960s, Marx and Ideal were the preeminent producers of Batman toys and related merchandise during the Batman TV show’s Batmania. The next major wave of Batman toys started in 1972 when Mego purchased the license to produce figures based on DC Comics. Under the “World’s Greatest Super Heroes” name, the figures stand 8” tall, which established the standard scale for the ’70s. Like similar toys of the period, they were adorned in cloth costumes, though costumes were not sold separately. The line started with Batman, and included Robin, Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, and Riddler. The earliest versions of Batman and Robin had removable masks, then were later manufactured with Batman’s mask molded to his face and Robin’s painted on. The variations came with different costume designs, fabric color head molds, cowls, and packaging. Mego created Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson figures exclusively for Montgomery Ward.In conjunction with the 8” figures, Mego made playsets and vehicles for the Caped Crusader. In 1974, they issued the Batcave, which contained the Batpole, secret entrance to the cave, and a Batsignal. Mego released the Batman’s Wayne Foundation playset in 1977, which stands at 40” tall, featuring a three-story building with penthouse that came with illustrated backgrounds and accessories. Vehicles made for the figures include the Batcycle free-wheeling motorcycle with sidecar and Mobile Bat Lab with grappling hook and revolving platform.
Adding variety to their toy offerings, Mego developed a few lines of small figures. In 1972, they introduced the Bend ‘n Flex line of 5” tall poseable, rubber figures that were given cartoon-like designs and sold on blister cards. Of important note, these characters were made to scale – meaning that a character like Penguin was shorter than Batman – which was not a regularly used method of the time.
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