Bionic Man, A Not Quite Superman Toy

Bionic-Man-feature

This might be one of the weirdest Superman items I own, though it isn’t technically Superman. It’s a wind-up toy called Bionic Man. Part rocket, part superhero, this cyborg is seen on the package flying through space. What makes him so weird, aside from the design of putting what appear to be baby doll arms on a chrome rocket ship, is that the head is clearly a knockoff of Mego Superman. I bought this example from Italy, but it was manufactured in Hong Kong. It’s kind of like the Tommy Wiseau of toys in that I don’t know when it was born or where it came from and, like Tommy Wiseau, it’s also terrible in the most entertaining and wonderful way possible. I’d guess it was probably released in the early to mid 1980s in Italy since a lot of these seem to have turned up there.

Here are some pictures of its glory:

Bionic-Man-box-front

The box is a nice window box with an illustrated header panel with a punch hole for display on a peghook. The name of the toy “Bionic Man” is shown, as are two photos of the other versions of this figure on an outer space background.

Bionic-Man-box-right

The left panel shows one of the other versions of the toy also flying through space… does this character look at all familiar? Hmmm? 🙂

Bionic-Man-box-left

The right panel again shows one of the other characters. I’m not sure who this head originally belonged to.

Bionic-Man-box-back

The back panel shows all four characters in the Bionic Man line. Here’s a closer look so you can see them:

Bionic-Man-box-back-detail

In the front is Casshan, a very rare unproduced Italian Mego-style figure (more information of which is available on the Casshan page at the Mego Museum. To Casshan’s right is Mego Superman. To his left is Mego Batman. Bringing up the rear is a character I cannot identify. If you have any ideas, please post!

This toy was also available in a different style of package: a clear plastic box on a cardboard base that says “Space Visitor.” There’s a picture of that version here.

Fortunately, the box was easy to open without damaging, so here are some loose pictures.

Bionic-Man-front

The figure itself is about 4″ long with a hard plastic body with vac-metallized parts. The arms and head are hollow vinyl; the head is really similar to Mego style heads in composition, except it’s much cheaper looking. The arms are posable, but the head, oddly enough, isn’t. I don’t know if that’s a function of plastic melt in an old toy or if it was just glued in place, but I’m not going to try to force it and find out.

Bionic-Man-head-comparison

As I mentioned before, the interesting thing about this toy is its blatant use of pre-existing Mego heads. Here’s a comparison of the Bionic Man head on the left with a Mego Superman head on the right.

Bionic-Man-left

On its left side, you can see the wind-up mechanism, which is actually metal. Winding the key makes the figure roll… not very well, I might add.

Bionic-Man-right

Bionic-Man-back

I’ve wanted this figure for years, but since it’s a bootleg/unlicensed toy, I never wanted to pay much of anything for it. About ten years ago, I won one on eBay for the princely sum of one penny and the seller immediately claimed it was broken and that he couldn’t sell it to me. I don’t think these are particularly valuable, but they are pretty hard to find and don’t really come up too frequently on eBay, but an Italian seller recently had ten of these for sale. I was lucky enough to be one of the ten buyers as he sold out quickly. This figure is just so weird and wonderful that I’m glad to finally have him.

Leave a Reply