You may remember earlier this month our little website came under some controversy as I speculated that Mattel’s new Re-MEGO line, Retro-Action, was actually using the old Big Jim base. The general consensus seemed to be in agreement with me, although there were some who vehemently disagreed. Joe Sena the president of SphereWerx and partner with EMCE Toys weighed in today to confirm that Mattel did go to the Big Jim body as the base, but that they have worked with Mattel along the way to make tweaks and alterations. Their plan is to continue to adhere to the Mattel and DC guidelines, while continuing to improve the body and make it less Big Jim and more Retro-Action.

Hi, Joe Sena, president of SphereWerx here. Our EMCE Toys brand produced these figures with Mattel due to our having brought back the MEGO brand a few years ago in partnership with Diamond Select Toys.

I can probably shed some light on this, as we’re under NDA until Mattel goes public with things, then they’re gracious enough to let us speak as much as we want on the topic.

The subject of the body was discussed at length for months when we all decided on an approach toward the classic MEGO tools. First off, Mattel and DC both share a policy of not retooling something they can neither own nor source the original of. Although it’s common knowledge that MEGO’s assets went into the public domain with the dissolution of the company in the ’80s, and despite my (and partner Paul “Dr. Mego” Clarke) having sourced, reclaimed, recast or retooled most of those assets, Mattel and DC both decided that they wanted to have a base body with a clear chain of custody.

Of all the previous male figures Mattel has don over the years, the Big Jim base body was a logical place to start. There was discussion and disagreement internally about specific aspects of it, but I can say that Mattel was receptive to our comments and made alterations along the way. For example, Big Jim’s quads were so wide that it restricted arm movement when the character was costumed. The delts were cartoonishly big, and yes, everyone has noticed the bowlegged appearance due to the very tiny pelvis.

Unlike collector brands like EMCE which are restricted by finances to committing to tooling once cut, Mattel has a fascinating approach, which allows for changes and improvements along the way. The base body for Green Arrow is already incorporating some of these changes, whereas I hope I’m not going to get in trouble for saying that some of the other issues will be addressed in future iterations of the body. I think that, by the time (God willing) a few waves of this line are done, collectors will notice changes from the Green Arrow base body as well.

Additionally, it should be noted that the current creative trend at Mattel/DC is to have a more heroic look to certain musculature structures, such as more of an emphasis on the abs. Classic MEGO bodies reflected 70s esthetics, with more emphasis on the chest. More of an inverted triangle. Mattel made it clear that this base body should reflect current esthetics, which place more emphasis on a longer, sleeker torso.

Your piece here is great and reflects the kind of attention to detail that we’ve been trying to keep at top of mind while designing these lines. I hope that when you get these figures you’ll see what we’ve been talking about and give us more feedback. It is heard, and applied where it is realistic to do so.

Thanx for the time.

Joe Sena

I sincerely appreciate Joe stopping by and letting us know a little more about the process.

One Response to Joe Sena of EMCE Toys Weighs in on Big Jim/Mego/Mattel Controversy

  • Lt_Clutch says:

    It's very refreshing to see a fellow like Mr. Sena write in and offer his thoughts in a sincere and polite manner. My hat is off to EMCE Toys for displaying such class besides making great figures as well.

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