Friday, 2 January 2009

Supernaturals

Ooh, spooky! In the mid 1980's, the BIG thing was holograms - they were everywhere, from napkins to cars. Yeah. Actually on a trip to the Isle of Wight a few years back there was a hologram shop where the residents of the island would get their regular holograms, so I suppose they must still be popular. Anyhow toy designers, driving to work in their holographic cars and wearing their holographic clothes soon decided that kids would love holograms in their toys. But how to do this...? A list was made:

1) Make the toys flat cards with holograms of toys! The possibilities are ENDLESS, my friend!2) Make an actual laser-hologram maker, letting the children make their own, as well as blinding their siblings forever
3) Glue any old crap onto a plastic action figure.

Sadly, they chose number 3. Actually loads of companies did, since we got Visionaries AND Supernaturals. Now I'm sure everyone remembers Visionaries, since they had the cool cartoon. But what of their little (bigger) brothers, the supernaturals? Unlike Visionaries, the Supernaturals weren't afraid to hide their holographic powers - Visionaries had little removable holographic chestplates, whereas Supernaturals mocked useless and outdated features such as "faces" - they WERE holograms!
 
Yay - original packaging!

The figures themselves, instead of faces and chests, had a holographic sticker that showed these features... and could CHANGE APPEARANCES! (Only in direct contact with the sun. And no, I don't mean sunlight...)

Quick mummy, get the piggy bank! They also had non-holographic removable chestpieces, so in a way, they are the anti-Visionaries.
First off we have a role-call of the good guys. Sadly I can't find any resource on the internet to show any pictures of them, so I suppose I shall have to be (gasp) informative for once. Right, above are the entire forces of GOOD - ThunderBolt, Eagle Eye and LionHeart. See if you can guess which is which, especially when I've named them in order. LionHeart is the leader of the good guys, due to his fake gold plastic. Oh, and his giant glow in the dark sword. See - double value - holograms AND glow in the dark. Sadly one feature requires light, and the other needs dark, but still, it was a valiant effort.

It's hard to see how LionHeart can cope against the forces of EVIL when he hangs out with a bunch of Village People rejects... but he has POWERS... (and I have a CAPS LOCK key)

 
Rar! One second he's a gormless git with a giant head, the next he's a scary-ass lion with gold arms and a medallion. It's also nice to see that he doesn't wear clothes under his chest armour, instead enjoying the kinky feel of metal. Or plastic, whatever.

Also note how the holograms are set into the plastic. This gives the added bonus feature of casting big shadows, helping the play value enormously. I haven't shown his shield - all of them come with holographic shields too, but I can tell no-one ever is interested in this fact.

 
 Here comes ThunderBolt - a man with no neck - watch out villains! He's also got girly hair so as to confuse the bad guys sexually before he smashes their brains in with his hammer. Which he can actually hold by the way - a rarity in action figures. Normally such foolish considerations like "must be able to hold accessories" are brushed under the carpet, leaving more room for hands clenched in ANGER or raised to SLAP. Then, when they are designed to hold accessories, this fact is proudly displayed on the box as "an extra-special-bonus-feature."

Oh yeah, ThunderBolt turns into nothingness. Woo

 
Eagle Eye is the last of the good guys... and someone else with excessively long hair. It gets stranger however, since he actually turns into an eagle with hair. Hair is a major factor of the heroes struggle, it would appear, since they suck in every other area.
I only had two of the villains, forever missing the third. Luckily I couldn't care less, I mean it's not like they're He-Man or Transformers or anything. Anyway, will the bad guys - Skull and SnakeBite - fare better than our heroes?
 
Hmm - not that impressed so far. So Skull (what a clever name!) turns from a rotting corpse into a skeleton. Oh, that's sure to inspire fear and terror, the offensive capacities of a corpse are pretty limited. At least his outfit is imaginative. The epic confrontations must have gone something like this:

LIONHEART: So Skull, we meet at last!
SKULL: U... ur...urgh... [rots]
LIONHEART: What fiendish plan is this, Skull?
[SKULL turns magically into a pile of bones and collapses onto the floor]LIONHEART: Right...

 
Of course, every two-bit bad guy needs his lackeys. And what better than an old, ugly guy who turns into a skanky snake the colour of a nosebleed? Well, at least he makes the effort - Skeletor had Beast Man, for heavens sake. At least SnakeBite here isn't cra.... ah, wait. Well, he does have a pretty rubber helmet, so I'll let that pass.

 
Luckily there were a couple of rolls of holographic paper left over, so the Ghostlings were invented. These guys were so cool they didn't even need feet, just giant swords as large as they are. And yucky, scaly green hands - look at them! Even the good ones have horrible skin - the heroes should not have unsightly skin ailments. The best bit about them was the way they split (see above) So whilst the hands and cloak came off, the plastic lump of hologram could.. well, do nothing really, it had no arms or legs. Perhaps it could SPIT on the villains?

 
Every toy line needs it's own vehicles, however. And the Supernaturals had... THIS - the Bat-Bopper. Able to fit a whole two people in, was this awesome piece of hardware. It has teeth - obviously for eating people, and a plastic whirly spiked ball on the end, to do the "bopping" part.

And look - it too has a hologram. From this we can see that the vehicle is in fact a one-eyed graveyard. Super.. or should that be superNATURAL. Ho ho ho, I kill myself.
  
Secret weapons are a must - and this has it. Somehow you can press a button, so that when the truck runs forward, a missile shoots out. Okay, so I could only do this accidentally, but still....

What could this missile be though? A bat, since it is the Bat Bopper? No - it is, in fact a giant glow in the dark frog. Obviously. What else could possibly be a match for the forces of darkness (or good, depending on who's rented the vehicle for the weekend)?

If this article has a natural end, it's here. But nay - what is this? A comic, showing the origins of the Supernaturals!
 
You see, only the past can contain knights and thieves. Any other time, they're just "bloke with a sword" and "that dead guy." And what an epic battle to rule the kingdom we see - LionHeart left-handedly waves his sword at a decomposing corpse. OOOOOH. And if the dying man wants to lock himself in a tomb, who would I be to complain - but this is blatantly a magical tomb, which cuts off your face and replaces it with a flat sticker! I'm not sure how this works, but this weekend I'm going to find a tomb and become a hologram too!

 
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention Skull can control people using X-rays? Better watch out when you go to the hospital, folks, or the doctors will make you into their Servants Of Evil. And will the world survive their adventures? Probably, if it's just a plasticy gold man vs a lump of flesh on the floor.

There was also a proper Supernaturals comic, and I was going to scan my sole issue in - but I can't find it! Argh - will the world survive?

10 comments:

  1. Oh I loved the Supernaturals. Sadly my comics are long gone but was discussing them at New Year and I may have to go hunting for their comics on Ebay!

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  2. I had some of these. Growing up in the golden age of G.I. Joe and He-Man by the time these things came out I was sure that toys were pretty much going to suck forever from then on. I wanted these to be much cooler than they actually were.

    They also had a 1-800 telephone # that you could call and listen to random short story done "radio drama style". I would call 100 times a day trying to hear the 1 story I hadn't yet heard.

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  3. I have to admit I did the same thing with the 800# - there was a story for every main hero and villain and it was maddening to randomly catch the one you wanted to hear. As fun as this was, it couldn't take the place of a cartoon/long form commercial which was kind of a prerequisite for action figure success in the 80s. A shame really, because concept and toys weren't half bad. I'll take these over Visionaries any day.

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  4. I have found the preview issue on Ebay. It shall soon be mine!!!!!!!

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  5. I actually remember the comics more than the toy. The comics had a horror theme, and there was one story in particular which has stuck with me, where a boy is stuck in his house being over run by caterpillars. very gross. I really want to see those comics again... ebay isn't turning up much. also there are now at least 2 other similarly named comics, which makes the hunt more difficult!

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  6. LIKEWISE DAN, THAT STORY YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT WAS CALLED THE DOLL IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY, ID LOVE TO READ THE DOLL STORY ON ITS OWN AS A BOOK! I CANT FIND ANY INFO THOUGH

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  7. I found this page trying to google for the Super Naturals comic, specifically to find out more about The Doll. The Super Naturals comic is one which I have very fond memories of, id love to find out more about it.

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  8. Wow - funny to read others interested in the comics. I was just thinking back to some comic about a guy stuck in a house with worms or maggots, and someone has posted it was caterpillars. Excellent to know that others likes this too. I did have the Tomb of Doom and various other characters from a Christmas. Loved the toys and got into the comics too but they didn't appear to release that many?

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  9. First time I saw this was way back in Nigeria. Got the comic from a friend,there was a short story at the end about a Joker like villain(The Doll) who captures some stupid kid and feeds him worms and stuff. Thanks,I've been searching for thsi for a very long time and just listening to Clannad brought back memories of the Supernaturals

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  10. The Doll was the best part of the comic. It was of the few things that really scared me as a kid - judging by the impression it made here I'm not alone. Can we find the author or something? I want to see some images from the comic (The Doll)

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