In the dim, misty recesses of my youth, I encountered a toy line from Mego called “The Micronauts”. Technically, the full title was: “The Interchangeable World of The Micronauts”. “They Came From Inner Space” tagline accompanied it. Simply put, these were the greatest toys of all time. Even to the point that Marvel Comics had a successful comic book tie-in that outlived the toy line by several years.
Naturally, this line of toys originated–as most cool toys do–in Japan. The original toy line came from the Japanese toy company Takara and was called “Microman”. Mego distributed the bulk of these products under the Micronauts label in America.
I knew none of this as a kid. All that mattered to me was the supreme coolness. These toys rocked. When it boasted ‘interchangeable’ it wasn’t kidding. You could mix and match parts from pretty much every one of the figures and vehicles. Plus, they looked rad. Space Glider, Galactic Warrior, Pharoid, Time Traveler, Acroyear, and Baron Karza were just a few of the neatest.
Several of the figures were also vehicles as well. Biotron turned into a big friggin’ tank and such. Giant Acroyear turned into ships or other Acroyears.
Baron Karza was probably the most unique figure, since most of his joints were magnetic ball joints. You could move and pose the living shit out of him, as well as recombine him however you wanted. The Baron had a horse he could combine with in a centaur-like fashion (named Andromeda, although I was too young to get the Greek Myth reference.)
The pride of my collection was the Battle Cruiser. Never before had I seen something like this. It was a massive ship that could separate into like a dozen ships or recombine into different ships. (squeals in geekish delight) Hornetroid closely followed in coolness–a giant, cybernetic mutant hornet you could put a pilot in. How sweet is that?
While collecting the toys, I also read the comic. I won’t get into too much detail, other than to say that the tragic genius Bill Mantlo wrote the series and it started off with Michael Golden doing the art chores. Surprisingly, the story was quite a bit more adult than most comics at the time. Yes, a toy tie-in was pretty advanced–and kinda dark (I won’t get started with Mantlo’s Rom.)
You may also be surprised that one of the characters from the comic is actually in the comic version of the Guardians of the Galaxy. These toys have legs!
The bizarre thing is how few people outside of my age bracket have ever heard of the toys. Sure, Transformers, GI Joe, Thundercats, etc. But Micronauts languish in obscurity.