Monday, January 5, 2015

Vintage Discoveries #1: Thundermask Book + Record Set

Kidoverses are like lattices, with TV shows and cartoons leading to toys, clothes, books, and so on. The companies that make these goods often have multiple licenses, producing items within and across content types.  So you'll see a company like Popy making Barom 1 toys, Great Mazinger figures, and so on. They'll sometimes do crossovers, with multiple companies working together to put out a mixed media set. Then there are store exclusives, limited releases, boxed sets, and on and on. Find enough dots, and you see that everything's connected somehow.

With modern toys, it isn't too difficult to put the pieces together and see what came from where, when, and even how. Vintage toys present a much larger set of challenges, with less documentation and clear information. So when collecting 40-50 year-old items, you often become a detective trying to figure out how many figures are in a series, when they were released, etc.

One of the fun things about the 1970s Japanese kidoverse is the massive variety of things made for the children of the burgeoning middle class. You had some of that in the West as well. Then of course in the late 70s, Star Wars turned everything on its head, making soap and toothbrushes viable crossover candidates.

When toy shopping in Japan, you never know what you'll come across. So here's the first installment in what I'm calling Vintage Discoveries.

This is a Thundermask book + record set with some really cool features. It was put out by a company called San Kikaku.

Here's a look at the back of the set:

More after the jump:
The book has illustrations of Thundermask and a bunch of villains.

One of the fun things about the book are the step-by-step drawing instructions for Thundermask and some of the kaiju.

Remember that old book How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way? Reminds me of that.

 Next let's take a look at the record set.

In most record sets, the record is in a clear plastic sheet, often in a fold in the binding. In this set, the record holder has a psychedelic elephant drawing with a bunch of character illustrations on it.

The record itself is also spectacular. Normally there are just a few words describing what's on the recording. This one has a colorful Thundermask illustration on it.

Not only that, but the reverse side has a different illustration, with the hero getting ready to heave his enemy.
It's clear a ton of work and creativity went into this set. There's a lot of fun stuff like it out there. I'll try to post more cool discoveries going forward.

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