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Comics have provided fun, entertainment and excitement for many generations, having become hugely popular over the decades. The world of comics – and the exciting and memorable characters – has become a global phenomenon, particularly over the past few decades. This is because comics have proven to be hugely influential in a variety of industries, with the characters now appearing on the big screen, the small screen, and even in the games that we play.

Spiderman
Some of the industries in which comics have been influential:

There are a number of key industries in which comics have had a huge influence over the years, and this has led them to become popular amongst a wide range of age groups and audiences from kids and teens through to the older generation that grew up with these comics. Some of the industries in which comics have really made their mark include:

The movies:

Over recent years, there have been more and more movies based around comic book characters. These have proven immensely popular, with many breaking box office records around the globe. From the extremely popular Spiderman, Batman and Superman movies to more recent franchises such as Iron Man, there have been many comic based movies that have become huge global hits.

TV series:

It’s not just the big screen that has been graced by comic book characters over the past couple of decades. We have also enjoyed watching some of our favourite character brought to life on the small screen, with a number of television shows and series based on them. This includes series dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, such as Captain Pugwash through to more recent shows such as The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, The Mask animated series, and Night Man amongst many others.

Games:

Comic book characters have also infiltrated the world of games, with both video and even casino slot games based on them. Gaming sites such as Uptown Aces have lots of comic book character games. These include a wide range of slot games such as Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man amongst others. There have also been many video games based on these characters, including Batman, Hellboy, and Spiderman to name but a few.

There is no doubt that some of our favourite comic book characters have helped to bring excitement and fun to a variety of industries. These characters have been given a new lease of life through their popularity in the world of television, movies and gaming.

Troll Force Viking 1

Troll Force
Viking
5 1/2 Inch scale
By: Toys N’ Things
Price Varies

Troll dolls first came to popularity in the 1970s, where a handful of hippies and stoners would place one on their wall. Apparently they were actually invented all the way back in 1959, but for all intents and purposes, Trolls didn’t really exist until sometime in the mid 1990s. You see, up to that point, troll dolls were likely the least popular holdover from the 70s. But sometime in the 90s, some kid found a troll doll and he told another kid it was cool and suddenly we were off to the races!

If you weren’t alive during this period, you might look back on troll dolls and think they were some brief phase that wasn’t a big deal. Of course, you’d be wronger than humanly possible. You see, the troll craze was huge. 1,000 times more popular than He-Man, Beanie Babies and Pokemon combined. I’m not kidding either. Trolls suddenly just appeared overnight EVERYWHERE! And everyone collected them.

Troll

Adults bought them. Kids bought them. Hot teenage girls bought them. EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE UNITED STATES (and quite possibly the world) WAS OBSESSED WITH TROLL DOLLS! Why were troll dolls so popular? I can’t say for sure, but I know manufacturers loved them because you could make 100 troll dolls for about a nickel and then resell them for at least three times that. All you had to do was slap some new hair on one and BOOM, new type of troll doll. Even though there were “official” Troll dolls, there was no copyright on the troll design, which meant everyone made trolls. Millions of trolls, of every shape, size and variety.

Eventually they started putting clothes on troll dolls. Then they’d add little gimmicks to them. Even if you didn’t want to collect troll dolls, you were forced to because it was virtually the only toy being sold at the time. I’m not kidding. I cannot understate how much troll dolls just infiltrated every facet of childhood life in the 1990s. This led to Hasbro and Ace Novelty releasing honest to goodness Troll “action” figures with Battle Trolls (“They’re outta conTROLL”) and Stone Protectors. The latter of which ended up with a cartoon, video games and god knows what else.

So naturally, someone would knock those off. At this point troll dolls had reached maximum saturation, with even gumball machines being filled with trolls. This led to the good folks at Toys N’ Things to create Troll Force! The subject of today’s review.

It’s hard to say exactly what Troll Force is. Are they a team? Do they fight each other? Do they all live in one big hippie commune? All I know is that they released 12 different figures in six different themes. Each theme had two figures. Today’s review is of the Viking, from the Medieval Warriors (labeled as just Warriors on the back of the card) theme. His partner in crime (or enemy?) was the Roman figure.  Continue reading

While many fans know of the similarities between John Blackstar and his cartoon adventures, to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, not everyone knows that Blackstar actually appeared in an episode of the original Filmation cartoon. Blackstar had been a Filmation cartoon just before Masters of the Universe and in many ways set the tone for the upcoming MOTU show. Incredibly, Filmation reused many character models, sound effects and backgrounds for their new He-Man show. Of course, this was often par for the course in those days.

Blackstar Statue in He-Man

But in the early Masters of the Universe first season episode, “Temple of the Sun”, a statue of John Blackstar appears. It’s only on the screen for a few seconds, but it’s clearly there. Blackstar’s Starsword is visible, as is his medallion. Clearly Filmation was putting this into the show as a nice little nod to their previous program, but it’s become much more than just a little Easter Egg. For fans of MOTU, this links the two programs together with a nod to the mythos of Blackstar.

Blackstar Statue2

Did Blackstar land on Eternia at some point? Was Blackstar’s adventures on an ancient Eternia? It would certainly explain many of the similarities. Ultimately this fun little throw away scene, has added a lot of intrigue and mystery to the Masters of the Universe lore. Something Filmation never would have known they were doing all those years ago.

220px-Remco-red-logo

This week, Isaac Heller, Co-Founder of Remco passed away. It’s rare we mention toy company owners or creators deaths here at Infinite Hollywood, but Heller is a special case because he helped create Remco. Because Remco was such a small company and one that never quite got the mainstream attention that it deserved, we thought it only fitting to pay tribute here to a man who helped create one of our favorite companies.

Heller started his company in 1949 along with his cousin. Their early toys were built around remote control concepts and the name Remco, came from that idea. Eventually they would spread out and do plenty of different types of toys. In the mid 1970’s, Remco was bought out by AHI (Azrak-Hamway International) and went on to produce some of the most memorable toys of the 1980s, including AWA Wrestling Figures, Universal Monsters, Crystar, Lost World of the Warlord and even SWAT Kats.

Karate Kid Remco

While Isaac Heller didn’t have any input into those toys, it was his creation of Remco that led to such things eventually being produced under that brand name. Heller likely had no idea his toy brand would eventually become synonymous with classic action figures, but eventually it did. If it weren’t for a pioneer like Heller, we’d likely never gotten those awesome Remco toys of the 80s. So today we memorialize this icon of the industry.

It’s hard to characterize Sungold as distinctly bootleg toys, since the company existed for a long time, marked their product and had many of their toylines legitimately bootlegged. So starting off a new feature on the site about bootleg toys, with a toy that’s not a bootleg in the most direct sense of the term isn’t exactly full of journalistic integrity. But the truth is, Wacky Knockoffs didn’t have the same ring to it and people seem to interchange the terms of knockoff and bootleg pretty freely these days, especially where it comes to Sungold toys.

Skate machine
Sungold produced a ton of Masters of the Universe type knockoffs throughout the 1980’s and into the mid 1990’s with a variety of different concepts. Most were pretty straight forward lines, inspired by the sword and sorcery genre. Naturally it was only a matter of time before wrestlers, mutants and monsters all followed. Today though, we’re taking a look at one of the later releases, which doesn’t really fit into the aforementioned categories very organically. It’s the SKATE MACHINE!

Galaxy Warrior
After years of producing MOTU knockoffs, Sungold freshened up their line with a rather obscure and pretty hard to find late addition to their offerings. A spinoff of the Galaxy Warrior line, it was titled, Galaxy Warrior: End of Time – The Last Battle. The figures were more colorful, reflecting the early 90’s neon craze and offered up a bit more in terms of weapons and armor. Perhaps strangest of all, the line used largely all new sculpts of bizarre creatures that seemed more like Mego Star Trek aliens than He-Man bad guys. Continue reading