We all know that after the cartoons were over we had to play with our toys growing up. Going to Toys R Us as a kid made you feel good inside, I seriously didn't want to grow up. I still don't. Here's some of the best toy lines from my youth, 80s and 90s. Anyone else use the change from food stamps toward buying more toys behind your Mom's back, only making your situation worse in the name of consumerism? Well, whatever ALL of you should know and love these toylines. Also, they are not in list order...not that i didn't want to but how could i rank these? So many and all so great.
Thundercats: Now this was a lair! A cat's lair! The Mumm-Ra before and after figure were both great but the before figure was far creepier and more evil. Mumm-ra was the toy figure version of the movie the Gate. Straight satanic and metal. When he summoned the ancient spirits of evil and became Ultimate Warrior like, you knew he was gonna go hard on the Thunderkittens. Lion-O was a baby...how did he lead the 'Cats and take out the baddies? I woulda put Panthro in charge, he had nun-chucks and wasn't afraid to use them. Plus, he looked like a blue Vin Diesel.
Silverhawks: Silverhawks were such cool looking figures. They were all different shades of blue and silver, except the Copperkid, who was a mute freak. Bluegrass came with a guitar and cowboy hat because, naturally, he played guitar in space and made sound waves with them. The main bad guy, MonStar, had a figure whose head flipped from being semi-normal alien head to armored robot looking head for some reason.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: When your day was being ran by a TMNT fire, aside from the cartoon, the toys were what made the day complete. April was hooking up with Shredder tonight whether she liked it or not and Casey Jones was watching...he was a voyeur in my mind's eye. The retromutagen ooze made this line even more amazing and made the day's fun endless.
Star Wars: Every kid in the world loved the original trilogy of Star Wars and as a kid, you had to love Jedi. I had Ewoks...yes, yes i did. Also, the sweetest looking characters of all, the Biker Scouts! I wanted to fly through the woods and shoot lasers at people too. Is it just me or did every store you go to only have the Luke in the orange flight jumpsuit? What was up with that?
GoBots: Transformers ugly little cousin...but i liked the toys better. CyKill was thugged out and made StarScream seem like a little girl. StarScream was pretty badass though. Anyway, there were figures that basically were just rocks...how horrible? Seriously, rocks that "transformed"? Thats just lazy, at least make them something useful when they're not robots...or Gobots.
Barnyard Commandos: Every figure came with a little book that contained secret info. about the R.A.M.S or the P.I.G.S. Can you speak pig latin? No? No problem that is, the books for the pigs had a guide to speak pig latin and the rams came with their secret codes and what not. These guys were fun to play with and the little books really made the toyline. I speak metal latin...i'll make a little book on that maybe.
Visionaries: There's Darkstorm again...looking like an extreme badass. How well did the 80s toy lines use holograms? Not many used them better than Visionaries. I remember being totally blown away by the fact that toys had holograms on them and i had to have these figures when i saw them on the shelves.
Police Academy: Wow...why did they make Police Academy figures? Who knows, but they were sweet. I had a few of these and loved them. The black guy that could throw his voice and make all the sound effects had a really cool figure, i could never find. I had this weird looking pinhead and Tackleberry. I never really watched the cartoon but I'm assuming a lot of the figures had to be from that series because they weren't in the flicks.
Dino-Riders: All i can say is...HARNESS THE POWER OF DINOSAURS! Anyone else love dinosaurs? Anyone else love toys? So, if you didn't have these, why not? What's wrong with you that you didn't have these? The bad guys had such sweet heads, like just human bodies but with awesome reptilian and other animal heads. I can't say enough about this toy line. It was a lot like the MASK toy line but instead of guys with masks and cars, it was guys with dinosaurs and sweet weapons.
Voltron: Don't lie, you had the pink one...i did. The gay power rangers, yeah i said it, ripped off Voltron in many ways and made it horrible. Anyway, Voltron was awesomely Japanese and the toys were no different. Who woulda thought of making ships that were lions...that formed to make a big robot thing? Transformers later had their own take on this, the Constructicons, but no one formed like Voltron...every rapper will remind you of that.
Marvel Secret Wars: Kids nowadays are screwed. There is no way that there will ever be a toy line based on a limited comic series in today's toy lines. Secret Wars, kiddies, is were Spiderman got his black suit along with many other firsts in the Marvel U. I had SOOOO many of these and i LOVED them. I made my own Secret Wars battles in the laundromat...Baron Zemo, Wolvie and Magneto against Captain America, Ironman and Spidey!? Yes, i did and that shit was a fierce battle! You can't beat Wolvie and Magneto, sorry...
Dick Tracy: Not only was the movie amazing but the Non-Sports Trading Cards were amazing...and the toyline was amazing as well. All the bodies were the same mold i think, much like the MOTU line. But they were painted differently and the heads obviously were all unique. Flat top, Prune face, the Blank and Steve the Tramp were just a few of the awesome characters you had to choo choo choose from...picture a train there. I wish i still had these, i saw a couple at an odd toy shop in the mall the other day, but dude wanted $40 a piece...come on man! That's way overpriced, if they were $10 I woulda gotten a few, see pal, lower your price and you'll sell product.
Beetlejuice toys: I can't say enough about these. Beetlejuice is and was my favorite movie ever, and the cartoon was really cool too. I had a bunch of these toys, including ones from Burger King, but they weren't easy to get a hold of, at least for me. Such an annoying feeling, knowing they make toys that you really want but couldn't find ANYWHERE! KB Toys was the only place i could ever find them and had the same TWO figures every time you went...so frustrating.
Masters of the Universe: Like i mentioned in the Dick Tracy toy line, these figures seemed to all have the same body mold for the most part. That did not stop this line from rocking out with its loincloth out! Castle Greyskull and Snake Mountain were some of the coolest bases of any line, i remember getting Greyskull at some flea market/auction type place for like a few bucks as a kid...what a find. I put Stratos and Ram-man in there so they could kick it and throw a few cold ones back while Adam was nowhere to be found and He-Man was out kicking Skeletor ass.
Darkwing Duck: I've mentioned in other articles I've written, I LOVED Darkwing Duck. Megavolt was the coolest looking bad guy and i still have his filecard somewhere. Darkwing's rogues gallery rivaled...and ripped off to some degree that of Batman and Spiderman's. The cartoon was hilarious and action packed, something I loved in my Saturday mornings. I'm sorry but i still think the cartoon and toy line were better than any other Disney cartoon and that's some steep competition. Respect Drake Mallard and his hustle, he took Launchpad McQuack from Ducktales and made him cooler...yeah he did.
Mad Scientist: Holy shit, I LOVED these things. This wasn't as much a toy line as just a sweet line of things to play with. I can't get over the nostalgia that i get looking at this picture. I remember playing with this stuff after I got it from the toy store in the back of my mom's car and being so cautious with it, worried I'd spill it and either get yelled at or lose some of the living ice.
Mighty Max: Mighty Max was such a cool concept for a toy line. You had the toy and the environment in one shot and the cartoon was great too, which helped push a lot of these back in the day. Max was a "Zack Morris" type and his boy was like...Thor or something, also there was an owl who was sort of his mentor...there was a lot going on in the show and toy line. The environments were so elaborate and detailed, i enjoyed the more than the actual tiny figures of Max.
Madballs: Ok, so this technically wasn't action figures either but it was a toy line. I mean they came in waves and they were far more addicting than most mere action figures. I had the mummy with the green skin and i think everyone had the baseball one. The other day at work some guy said...and I quote, "What's a Madball?" How can you not know what Madballs are, even if you didn't play with them, you should at least know of their sick little existence, right? Regardless, i tried playing "wall ball" with these and it totally didn't work.
Supernaturals: These were even better than Visionaries in the realm of the halogram. They were evil looking and had ghosts and all sorts of "supernatural" things on them. The hooded bruv here is no joke, sort of like Mumm-ra but a HALOGRAM makes him so much cooler. I fought the Supernaturals against the Visionaries all the time and guess what? The Supernaturals gutted the Visionaries and ate their insides every time...their halogram insides.
G.I. Joe: A real American hero...not like these tea party people claim to be...and now you know and knowing is half the battle. Although they were much smaller than the original Joes, these were a lot more fun to play with and were much more visually attractive. Zartan's figure literally changed color...blew my mind back in the day. StormShadow's all white costume was kinda ballsy for a guy whose whole thing was being camouflage...his later outfit with the grey in it served him better. It was all about the Dreadknocks for me though, I was had Roadpig, Ripper, Torch and wanted to be one growing up.
Ghostbusters: Wow, this toy line was hands down one of the best. Peter's eyes popped out of his head! My favorite part of the line was the Universal Monsters figures they put out. I loved Ghostbusters, I loved the old classic Universal monsters and i loved toys, so naturally I loved these. The football player, the toilet, the old lady, so many classic ghost figures to compliment the 'Busters.
WWF LJN: These were the original wrestling figures of the WWF. The later line Hasbro put out were awesome too but the LJN line is the most nostalgic at least for me. I literally still have and collect these figures. Like I've mentioned in previous articles, i would have battle royals on the floor with these guys and wear some of that color off the rubber figures. My cousin would take his and throw them in the community pool and we'd swim to the bottom with goggles on, seeing who could bring back the most figures. That's a memory i still treasure and wish i could relive. I wanted to steal some of his but its better than I didn't, I ended up getting a few off Ebay that i never had recently.