Saturday, November 15, 2008

MUSCLEMANIA

Photobucket

Name of Toy Line: MUSCLEMANIA
Production Company: Select
Distributor: Select Merchandise, Inc.

Photobucket

Years of Production: 1984
Countries/Regions Available: USA
Size/Scale: 2"
Figure Trade Markings: SELECT / (c) 1984 / A, B, C, D, etc.
Approximate # of Figures: 100+

Photobucket

Details: MUSCLEMANIA is an interesting miniature figure toy line. It is very reminiscent of other 1980's era mini fig lines such as M.I.M.P., Garbage Pail Kid Cheap Toys, Weird Ball Wrestlers, Mini Boglins, Canfull of Monsters and, of course, M.U.S.C.L.E. The figures are small, mono-colored, non-articulated, made of soft, flexible plastic, and can be found in several colors. The cast of characters consists of humans, monsters, robots, and alien-like beings.

It's very tempting to assume MUSCLEMANIA is a takeoff on the relatively successful M.U.S.C.L.E. line released by Mattel circa 1985/86. What with the MUSCLEMANIA name, the eerie similarity of certain M.U.S.C.L.E. and MUSCLEMANIA sculpts (see below), and a wrestling theme, "The toughest, meanest, battling monsters ever!" However, each figure in the line has the date "1984" sculpted on its back. A date of 1984 does not seem consist with this line being a takeoff of M.U.S.C.L.E.

But enough speculation... let's take a look at the figures! As mentioned above, they were released in several colors: flesh, red, light blue, dark blue, bright green, dark green and yellow. It's possible there are other colors as well. Having examined many, many mini fig lines here at Toypedia, we must say that we are very impressed with the plastic colors of this line, particularly the light blue and bright green color.

Photobucket

The plastic is soft and has a nice texture. In fact, collectors are encouraged on the packaging to use the figures as erasers! Sorry, but Toypedia simply cannot endorse the use of these figures as erasers, haha. Interestingly, MUSCLEMANIA figures can also be found in a firmer, yet still flexible, plastic. However, we can't say for sure whether this firmer plastic isn't in fact a result of aging or weathering.

To be completely honest, not much is known about this toy line. A lot of what we do know is thanks to Chad Perry -- General Veers at the Little Rubber Guys forum -- who has given Toypedia images of a MUSCLEMANIA card. The card is covered with cool artwork and some nice, much needed information. Let's take a look!

There are four figures in the bubble. Note the flesh color which was not shown above.



Click to enlarge



Click to enlarge

Here's a closer look at the neato figure sketches on the back:



Click to enlarge

And then we--, hold on, did you notice that? You didn't. Hm, here, take a closer look at the figures in the bubble:



Click to enlarge

None of the figures in the card bubble are pictured on the back. Weird. In any case, the sketches on the back are pretty accurate. Check 'em out:

Photobucket

Photobucket

In the opening paragraph, we mentioned that some of the MUSCLEMANIA sculpts bare a striking resemblance to M.U.S.C.L.E. sculpts. Take a look at the following example.

Photobucket

In our opinion, that resemblance is too close to be a coincidence. But if MUSCLEMANIA preceded M.U.S.C.L.E. and therefore can't be a takeoff of it, how can we explain this sculpt similarity? Perhaps MUSCLEMANIA is not a takeoff of M.U.S.C.L.E., but instead is a takeoff of M.U.S.C.L.E.'s originator -- the Japanese keshi line Kinnikuman?

And here's another interesting tiddybit. Note the right hand/fist of the following sculpt:



Click to enlarge

You might assume, like we did, that this figure is damaged. It looks like a sword or a knife has broken off of his hand. But take a look at the sketch of this figure as seen on the back of the card:

Photobucket

A couple explanations come to mind: Was this a crude mold alteration to remove a pointy sword that could potentially poke some snotty nosed kid's eyeballs out? Or, was this sculpt "borrowed" from another toy line and sloppily altered to fit in the MUSCLEMANIA line? Don't know.

But wow, what a fun toy line! We hope you enjoyed. Be sure to visit the entry from time-to-time to check for updates. We've still got lots to learn about this line.

Photobucket

Related Websites:

MUSCLEMANIA @ The University of MUSCLE

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The sculpt origins are the most compelling part of the MUSCLEMANIA mythos. To add to your above observation about the Valkyrie sculpt originally brandishing a sword - The bearded warrior with bows on his back also seems to have been previously holding a bow in his right hand. Also, the murman, fish-face sculpt appears to have been holding either a trident or a spear in his right hand? Last, my final guess for the visored galactic space warrior would be some type of ray gun. Where did these sculpts come from?!

Soupie said...

Very interesting! If it's not a remake/bootleg of a separate, official toy line, than the sculpts seem to have been, at the very least, sloppily, but majorly augmented before the release.

Post a Comment

 
 
 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...