Mego Catalog Library: 1978 Mego and the Micronauts

The 1978 Catalog reflects exactly how important the Micronauts' were to Mego. The line became responsible for one third of the company's sales and occupies the first third of the catalog. The Micronauts were based on the Japanese Microman toys made by Takara. While they were a hit for their first three years they eventually died out in the wake of Kenner's Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back toys and action-figures.

Mego is famous for having turned down the Star Wars liscense. They were offered the line first, as they had a long and profitable relationship with 20th Century Fox going back to Planet of the Apes and were the kings of the TV and Movie toy property. Declining Star Wars was more or less a communications error, with the pitch never reaching the senior management at Mego. Had Abrams or Kublan been consulted, Mego would have likely bought the rights to Star Wars in order to PROTECT the Micronauts' share of the market.

We will never know what Mego would have done with Star Wars, of course. The general consensus among collectors is that Mego would not have done a good job with it, and consider it fortunate that Mego did not get the property. The series demands a small-format action figure, and Mego, while a pioneer in the 3 3/4 inch format, never produced small figures very well. Also featured in this catalog are the Comic Action Heros, an awkward line distinguished by lack of detail in the facial painting. Some of this is attributable to the technological limitations at the time. The factory used paper masks to spray paint details on the figure's face, but the paper mask did not work at such a small size. Later, copper masks were developed to solve the problem. However, Mego's efforts in the small figure format were never very successful and are not favorably viewed by most Mego collectors today, with the possible exception of the Super Heros. It is a bit of a myth that Star Wars actually killed Mego, but the competition took it's toll as one sci-fi line after the other failed. The financial troubles and Justice Department prosecutions prevented the possibilty of Mego recovering from those disasters, and did more damage than Skywalker and his little friends ever could.

.The Micronauts, on the other hand, are one of the great toy lines of the last two decades, and this catalog represents Mego at it's creative best. So confident were they that they issued a supplement to the 1978 catalog.