Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Hall of Justice Playset by Mego - 1976
From aquamanshrine.blogspo, See? I told you it'd be something cool for today...
This is of course Mego's uber-cool Hall of Justice playset. While not techincally Aquaman merchandise, this piece does feature gorgeous Neal Adams art on the front and back, and who's in the center of the action? Aquaman!! Let's face it--the scenario on the box looks like the coolest DC comic never published. This is Mego Playset ne plus ultra.
The HOJ features some really oddly endearing stuff, which is Classic Mego. The "transporter" (where you put a Mego doll in, slide the door, and it magically disappears) works only about a quarter of the time, leaving your Mego Green Arrow or Mego Robin standing there looking stupid. Also, it has a "Disaster Locator Map" type thingy, which tells you where trouble is happening. According to the coordinates Mego gives you, Gotham City is on the West Coast. Huh?
I had this playset as a kid, but like all my other Mego items over the years they somehow disappeared during my rocky road to Adolescence. On my first trip to the great Toyrareum toy store in Ocean City around 1997, I was practically knocked over by how many cool items the owner managed to cram into the tiny space. There were so many things I wanted, I couldn't decide what to pick...until I saw, sitting on an overhead shelf, the Hall of Justice. Still in the box, no pieces missing (not even the Mego promo sheet), essentially mint condition.
I looked at the price, and felt that pain all collectors have felt at least once in their collecting lives. At that time, I was working at Kinko's, still struggling to get my artwork noticed and get my career (not that I had one at the moment) off the ground. Working at Kinko's was a demoralizing, numbing experience, and just to make the situation worse, paid me hardly any money. There was no way I could justify what would've been more than two weeks' salary on a toy. But I wanted it sooo bad.
I decided to risk sounding stupid, and asked the owner, could I put this on layaway? To my delight, he said sure, and even though I didn't walk out with anything that day, I felt good that this baby would be mine eventually.
It took me a few months, but I eventually scrimped and saved and brought my baby home. And even though it probably extended my Kinko's sentence by a few weeks, I never regretted buying this--it's a gorgeous piece, one of my favorites. I'm so glad I learned another lesson every collector learns at some point--when you see something you really, really want, grab it.