I Had That! #30: Mighty Men and Monster Maker

This toy was not an Atari 2600.

I don’t say that because it was a Christmas bait-and-switch or anything, just pointing out that it’s not an Atari 2600.

What it was was a kind of cool thing in which you had different heads, torsos, and legs for various superheroes and monsters, and you could mix-and-match them. They were plastic and raised, so you put a piece of paper above them, rubbed it with a sideways crayon, and the combination you picked became a drawing you could then color. You could even spruce it up with some “texture” plates that could give your monster (or hero, we’re open-minded here) scales or fur or pox.

I had little talent with it, but looking for picture of the toy I found some where folks had really jazzed up the designs. (Turns out the art was by Dave Stevens, later of “The Rocketeer”.)

This was the “boy” version of a toy for girls called “Fashion Plates” which was the same idea only with different clothes. Sadly, the plastic components were not compatible, so you couldn’t make a tentacled space alien in a paisley skirt. Fashion plates actually pre-dated the MMMM.

I only have one significant memory of this thing. When my friend Chris and I were bored, and trying to figure out what we wanted to do, this was often his number one pick. I had one and he didn’t, and he always wanted to play with it. It just didn’t appeal to me that much, so his suggestion was always frustrating to me. Especially since Chris had an Atari 2600, something I didn’t, and I always wanted to play that instead. It was the middle of the summer, his parents worked, we could have played on that thing for hours, but no, he wanted to color monsters. Because we were 11, the concept of some kind of compromise didn’t occur to either of us, so we stayed at an impasse here.

When did I get it? Not sure. It was released in 1979, so probably around then.

Do I still have it? Nope. Nor do I have — or ever had — an Atari 2600.

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