Friday, November 6, 2015

"Now, Sentinel -- You will be De-Feeted!"

One thing I’ve rediscovered when going through old issues of Wizard is just how successful the X-Men toyline was in the 1990s.  I’m assuming it was a massive success, because how else could you justify virtually any character to ever cameo in an X-book receiving his or her own action figure?  Kids had to be desperate for more X-toys if they were buying Slayback figures, right?





The X-Men toy commercials, though -- who even remembers those?  Looking on Youtube, every Masters of the Universe, Super Powers, G. I. Joe, and Transformers toy commercial seems to have been lovingly archived.  

X-Men toy commercials are there, but I don’t sense any enthusiasm around them.  Is this true for all toy commercials of this era; is it just accepted as fact that ‘80s toy commercials are superior to ones made in the ‘90s?  Did the FCC impose some strict regulation on toy commercials that just made them dull after the ‘80s?  Or were toy companies no longer willing to pay for higher-quality animation to use in these spots?  Also, given the money flying around the industry at this time, I now wonder why Marvel didn’t produce high-quality animated ads for X-Men comics, like the ones Hasbro bankrolled years earlier for G. I. Joe.



Two commercials I do distinctly remember from the early ‘90s:
The commercial for the X-Men Sega Genesis game.


And the commercial for the second edition of the Marvel Universe trading cards.

(This is where I would've posted the commercial, but I can't find it online.  Anyone up for finding this one?  It aired during the summer of 1991 fairly regularly.)

Which is another memory triggered by old Wizards -- trading cards were a phenomenon during this era.  Yet, no one produced any first-rate animated ads for Marvel or DC cards, either.  The ‘80s really were the Golden Age of selling kids stuff, weren’t they?

11 comments:

Arion said...

Oh, that X-Men Sega Genesis commercial is just priceless. I had totally forgotten about it.
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www.artbyarion.blogspot.com

Mike Haseloff said...

Wow! Only ever saw one X-Men commercial. "These aren't ordinary men - they're: X-MEN!"

Glad to see these! Always dreamed of a to-scale Sentinel, but alas, never saw any evidence of one existing. Actually, a lot of characters that reflected the cartoon were scarce in my stores. Good times being a comic fan, though. The original '91 figure line-up was pretty awesome. Much fun was had!

Anonymous said...

The funny part about some of those 80s cartoon commercials was that the animation in those commercials was better than what we saw in half of each series episodes...nostalgia aside, some of those episodes of Transformers and GIJoe were rough, to say the least...

G. Kendall said...

That was always a disappointment as a kid -- that the animation in the opening credits and in the toy commercials was always so much better than the actual show.
Or trying to watch that "Five Faces of Death" TRANSFORMERS serial after watching the movie, which is the biggest drop in quality you could ever imagine.

wwk5d said...

Oh man, I remember how bad "Five Faces of Death" was. I do remember there were a few episodes later on in that season that were done at a different animation company in Japan, and those actually looked fantastic.

2 cartoons that aged much better, or were at least more consistently animated, were Thundercats and Bionic 6.

wwk5d said...

Btw, that Anonymous comment was mine lol

Steven said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFbVeuThmcY

Scott Lobdell talking about X-Men toys, specifically Spat and Grovel.

Matt said...

It's "Five Faces of Darkness" -- I doubt they could've gotten away with "Death" in the title of a kids' show episode in the eighties -- but your point stands. The animation is that five-parter is probably the worst out of all 90 episodes of the original series.

But boy, do I love those old TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE ads. It's not just the animation, it's the fact that they got the TV show voice actors to perform dialogue, too. Really good stuff.

wwk5d said...

Yeah but what is interesting is seeing the toy commercials that existed before the cartoons came out. In the first batch of GI Joe commercials, it sounds like Cobra Commander and Destro switched voices. And check out that early design for Mrgatron...a little different than what see in the cartoon, and a bot closer to the comic book version.

You can almost pinpoint from the ads when the cartoon started airing in relation to the ads.

Matt said...

Yeah, the early Megatron design appeared in the Marvel comics series for several issues as well, and was Megatron's stock image in the TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE series. Also notable is that in the commercial advertising Ultra Magnus and Galvatron, Megatron describes Galvatron as if he's a new character who works for him.

wwk5d said...

The commercials for the Tansformers toys that appeared in the movie were clearly based on rough outlines of the movie. In addition to the example you mentioned, there's the ad that had Hot Rod, Kup, Wheelie, and the Sharkticons, and Wheelie is punching his way through Sharkticons in that one...