Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

MEGO Monsters Invade Walmart

The PopCult Toybox

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with our friends at MEGO. The reborn action figure company hasn’t let up since their relaunch in 2018, and managed to plow through the pandemic with a steady stream of great new product.

Following the end of their exclusive distribution deal with Target, MEGO has branched out with new figures showing up in Walmart, Gamestop,  Entertainment Earth, Target and a network of very reliable small online toy dealers. They’ve also partnered with Hasbro and Topps for special projects.  Along the way MEGO has forged new licence agreements that have seen them create figures from Planet of The Apes, Hammer Horror Films, Universal Monsters, Troma Pictures and more.

And now they have a promotional deal with Walmart called “New Fears Day” that has a selection of their coolest horror-based figures available in selected Entertainment Departments in Walmart stores, and online.  Locally these have hit at the Southridge Walmart, and they have a few left (I think I may have bought the last Toxic Avenger and Mole People, though). Restocked figures, along with a second wave should be hitting in the next week or three (hopefully), so let’s look at what’s new.

The assortment includes seven single eight-inch figures, packaged in old school boxes, like MEGO used to use back in the 1970s (as opposed to the blister-carded way most action figures are sold today). Also in this promotion are four two-packs that include carded figures, in a commemorative anniversary MEGO slipcover box with a presentation coin.

There are a mix of previously-released figures, pending releases, and variants in this batch of horrific goodies, and we’ll break them down for you:

In stores now

A Young Frankenstein 2-pack–this includes Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) and the Monster (Peter Boyle). Both are dressed in their “Puttin’ On The Ritz” outfits, and are in full color. The Doctor has previously only been released with his lab coat, and the Monster, released with his tuxedo, was in black-and-white. This set is just under $45. The likenesses are among the best MEGO has produced.

A second 2-pack includes flocked versions of The Fly and The Were Wolf. These both appear to be previous releases, from 2021 and 2019, with no major changes, but this may be their mass-market debut (our local Target has not carried most of the recent MEGO releases, so I’m not sure. This set is just under $45.

Single figures are all sold in a unique box. It looks like most of these are the same as the already-announced carded versions, but these have shown up at Walmart before the carded versions have arrived.

The Toxic Avenger–Troma’s mutated superhero looks exactly like he did on the big (and small) screen. Under $16 at Walmart, when you can find him (sold out online).

The Nun–Based on the 2018 prequel to The Conjuring 2, this scary sister has a reversible head, so you can switch from slighly possed to extremely possessed. Also under $16.

Universal’s Invisible Man–This is the bandaged Dr. Jack Griffin, in glorious black and white, perfect to add to your classic movie monsters collection. Under $16.

Universal’s The Mole People–This subterranean slave to the Sumerian Albinos is just frightening enough on his own, never mind that he’s from a movie that turned up on MST3K. For some reason, he’s more expensive than the other figures, perhaps because they had to mine deeper to get him (or Walmart had a pricing glitch). He’s just under $20.

These figures are in some stores now (locally these are supposed to hit Southridge, Ripley, Barboursville, Vienna, Fairmont and Huntington). You can also order them online.

Some of the figures from this promotion have not yet arrived, but are due in stores very soon. Sets coming soon include 2-packs of Chucky and The Bride of Chucky and Hammer’s Dracula and Van Helsing (Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing). Also we’re expecting single boxed figures of Slim, from Killer Klowns From Outer Space, the Creature From The Black Lagoon (in black-and-white) and Hammer’s The Reptile.

As to how good these figures are…they are pretty excellent. They have the new version of the standard MEGO bodies that have been used since the 2018 revival. The sculpting and tailoring is very impressive and for the most part, these are the very latest assortment of MEGO figures, so at the moment, this is the only way to get most of these figures.

The only drawback I can see is that the 2-pack figures are not exactly a bargain. The outer box, with its history of MEGO, and the presentation coin are nice, but they don’t seem to justify the high retail price (which was most likely requested by Walmart to test the waters for high-ticket collectibles in their “Collectors Corner” section of their Entertainment Department). The Young Frankenstein set is a must-have for fans of the movie. This may be the only color release of either of these figures. The remaining 2 packs don’t seem to offer anything that can’t be purchased on a separate card for a little more than a third of the price. Anothe rproblem is that the outer boxes are a bit fragile.

The boxed figures are all fantastic. Some collectors might prefer to have these as carded figures, to go with the rest of their collections, but all of these figures will show up in that form soon. The price is right (except for the strange case of the Mole People) and these are just really cool to see. For me, I love the boxes. They just remind me of the glory days of MEGO, back in the 70s. Plus the graphics on the back of the boxes is terrific.

I hope this program leads to more promotions between MEGO and Walmart. If they could land something like this chain-wide, it’d be a great way to draw in new collectors and put a smile on the faces of us old-timers. Keep up with MEGO at their MEGO Ambassadors Facebook page.

If you’re interested in what’s on the outer boxes, here’s a look at the back…

1 Comment

  1. mike condon

    nice review. picked up the four in the box, and both two packs. cant wait for gillman.

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