Mego Supergirl

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Mego was a toy company founded in the 1950s and was initially devoted to releasing a wide variety of low cost toys. In the 1970s, Marty Abrams, the son of the company founder, became president, and he steered the company towards producing the licensed 8″ action figures with removable cloth outfits for which they’re best known today. The genius of Mego was that they cut tooling costs by using a few different standardized bodies through the line; what made it a specific character was the head, outfit, and accessories that came with it. That also made Mego action figures great for imaginative kid play where universes collide, because it was possible to play with characters from, for example, DC Comics, Planet of the Apes, the Waltons, and Happy Days and have them all be in the same scale. Though Mego did produce action figures in other sizes, including 3-3/4″, 9″ and 12″, the 8″ size is best known and by far most popular with collectors.

Mego’s World’s Greatest Superheroes line was its crowning achievement. Running for over a decade, it offered dozens of characters from the DC and Marvel universe (plus Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian), including Supergirl.

Supergirl was first offered for sale as part of Mego’s first assortment of female characters (Super Gals) in 1973. The assortment included Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Catwoman. The earliest versions featured outfits that were silkscreened in order for them to reach the market in time for the busy Christmas toy shopping season; those versions were only sold a short time.

Because Mego didn’t manufacture many Supergirl figures, she is one of the more expensive Megos to pick up in the original card or box. My first Mego Supergirl was bought at a flea market for $15 over 20 years ago and was completed with a reproduction emblem and reproduction shoes from Dr. Mego. Getting a loose complete Supergirl is difficult, because her shoes might arguably be one of the most easily lost Mego accessories.

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My carded Mego Supergirl is also cobbled together. I had this 1976 U.S. card for a while (bought it from my friend Brian), but only recently did a get an original Supergirl in good enough condition to display in there. This 1976 carded version is the only packaged variant I own, but according to Ben Holcomb’s exhaustive book Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys!, Supergirl was released on a 1st issue Mego card, two different Kresge cards (with $2.68 and $2.98 price tags), two different boxes (the earlier 4-digit code and a later 5-digit code), the 1976 card shown here, and a 1977 card sold by Pin Pin Toys in France.

Interestingly enough, the Pin Pin version of Supergirl wears a yellow belt with a peace symbol instead of the usual elastic yellow belt, reusing a belt originally offered with Dinah Mite.

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The back of the card features artwork of other characters available in the line, a standard Mego packaging design practice.

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Mego Supergirl features rooted blond hair and the standard Mego female head; it’s very doll-like. On the enlarged photo at the top of the page, you might notice some melting along the neck where the rubber head is attached to the neck stem. This is an unfortunately common occurrence.

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Supergirl’s outfit is based on the one that made its first cover appearance in Adventure Comics #410 dated September, 1971. That cover icon from the upper left was also used on the back of Supergirl boxes with a slight change to her footwear from Mego Isis-like strapped sandals to slippers. I’m not an art expert, but it appears to have been drawn by Bob Oksner and Vincent Colleta, the artists on the Adventure Comics Supergirl stories at the time. (It also appeared with the strappy sandals on this Toon Tumblers glass recently.)

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Supergirl wears an elastic belt that’s very similar if not the exact same one as the early Mego Robin belt. It very commonly loses elasticity over time, which is another reason a nice loose Supergirl can be so hard to find.

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Supergirl’s cape is made of the same nylon material as Mego Superman’s, but isn’t sewn to her outfit like his. It often suffers the same fraying that the other Mego capes do, too.

For further information

As always, the go-to site on the internet for information about Megos is The Mego Museum. Some have asked me why I haven’t featured more Mego figures on this site yet, and the reason is because the Mego Museum does it better. Their Mego Supergirl page shows several Supergirl packaging and costume variations I don’t have and probably never will.

Benjamin Holcomb’s book World’s Greatest Toys! is the most exhaustive, densely packed guide to Mego super-hero toys available and is chock full of behind-the-scenes stories and obscure but incredibly useful information like case packs and stock numbers. Now out of print, the hard copy version has fittingly become a collectible in its own right, but it’s fortunately still available in electronic format via the TwoMorrows web site. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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