After all the crap I’ve dealt with the past few weeks, I need to talk about something a bit more fun and a bit less angry rant-y.
A lot of my other blogging compatriots get to talk about old comic book ads, so why shouldn’t I? I saw this one while reading tomorrow’s Yesterday’s Comic (I just confused some new readers with that) and it took me back a bit. I have three of these cars and while I wasn’t a die-hard die-cast car collector I wouldn’t have been much of a boy if I didn’t have too many for my own good. I started to lose interest once they released cars that can turn into robots, something Matchbox and Hot Wheels have tried…but weren’t very successful at. And that just gave me an idea for a Clutter Reports review in addition to a planned video review in the future.
My dad, and readers of the other site know how imaginative and resourceful he is and how I inherited at least some of that, built a platform where I could race my little cars through a city…a city made up mostly of tape squares because I only had about three toy car playsets and one was stretching the scale a bit. Of surprise to nobody I owned some superhero cars thanks to Corgi up there. I don’t know what became of that toy company, or if they still produce toy cars (the link there doesn’t appear to be an official site) but at the time they were one of the smaller but stealthily popular companies. Everyone thought of Hot Wheels and Matchbox but you had Corgi cars and didn’t know it. Corgi had it’s share of licensed cars, including this one with DC. Although this ad came from a Marvel comic, specifically the Battlestar Galactica comic I’m reviewing tomorrow. So let’s break down this ad…probably shouldn’t say “break down” when we’re talking cars.
Some superheroes have rather iconic cars. Okay just Batman does, because the Quintjet and Fantasticar keep changing looks with every version of it and how many people truly remember the Spider-Mobile? I think by this point Green Arrow had stopped using the Arrowcar and just try making a decent Invisible Jet. So what did Corgi come up with?
Wonder Woman gets a brown car with something resembling her symbol. That’s a step down. Then you have Captain “my name’s not Shazam…oh no, here comes the lightning bolt again” Marvel in some kind of race car. Personally, I would have gone with the RV from the TV show. The comic came out in 1979 (dated January, 1980, which my knowledge of comic dating tells me means it came out in November, 1979) so I think they would have been aware of it. I hope they did release it eventually. Although I doubt Billy has a drivers license.
The Superman group Is packing two different Daily Planet vehicles, the news delivery van and the Superman Save Me helicopter. There’s also the Supermobile, which I have around here someplace, and a van that just has Superman splashed over it. I don’t think Superman uses the van much but the Supermobile exists when Kryptonite or red sunlight is a problem. Mine lost the Superman sticker but I tried replacing them with some leftover from a Superman “wet and stick” book. They didn’t stay very well. Shocking, I know. I don’t remember those front gun ports being there but if you pressed the thruster down the arms would punch. How many non MASK vehicles had an action feature?
One thing that I”m sure at least some of you noticed is that the Planet delivery van has a picture of Clark switching to his Superman garb…which kind of breaks continuity there. Even the Superman van and Wonder Car doesn’t do that. Would the Planet really splash Superman’s secret identity all over it? This isn’t the Plutonian we’re talking about.
Finally we have the Gotham set and the only supervillain cars, the Joker and the Penguin. Although I’m pretty sure the Joker had his own car and it didn’t quite look like that. The Penguin’s car really isn’t much to write home about.
Then you have three Bat-vehicles. There was also a Batboat, because I have that as well as that Batmobile and the Batcopter. I didn’t have the Batcycle. I tried to repaint the Batmobile. The result was…less than satisfactory. The Batcopter’s blades could actually spin (although it had to be kid-powered) and could fold up. Not that I ever understood why the blades folded up, and it was annoying when they would “un-deploy” while you were spinning them. It was still a cool toy and i didn’t have enough helicopters in Troyville. (Or whatever I named the “city” at the time.)
They also snuck in a police car. I can’t see the symbol on the hood very well and I would be surprised if anyone thought it wasn’t just another police car.
You still find die-cast cars like this. I’ve seen toy vans with Masters Of The Universe and DC/Marvel characters. They apparently released a new version of the original KITT which I could never find and I still kick myself for not grabbing that Speed Buggy when I had the chance. (A company called Johnny Lightning release some Hanna-Barbera cars in the early 2000’s.) There’s also a series of larger cars that’s just Batmobiles because Batman kept redesigning the darn thing every few years.
So even today’s kids have access to the might super-vehicles to keep their cities save from evil vehicles runamuck. But can they transform?