Mighty Max

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Anyone else a fan of this toyline and cartoon? It's kind of a forgotten gem. It seemed like every toyline fell into the gimmick of mini's, but Mighty Max feels like one of the first original licensed mini boy toy lines not based on an existing property. It was sort of Polly Pocket for boys with a horror theme. I think it would be around 1992-93ish. It was a really fun line that really was a great "kid friendly" intro to classic horror, literature, films, mythology, and much more. And the show was surprisingly mature and educational. I want to say it's one of the last animated shows I recall seeing that used REAL guns and actually wasn't afraid to kill off characters. My very first mini-playset I got was this skull one that was themed basically a generic Frankenstein.

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But there were tons of others. I remember one with aliens that were clearly inspired by the xenomorph from Alien, there was one obviously inspired by Jurassic Park, there was this dragon one that seemed to be loosely taking from Lord of the Rings and had a sort of wraith, there's an episode and playset that was totally John Carpenters The Thing. But then there were some more original ones too like the main villain (Skull Master - voiced by Tim Curry) fortress or Lava Lord's Magus machine - like a big walking Kaiju machine.

Anyone else have fond memories of this line?
 
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hell yes - AWESOME cartoon that was totally fun and the toy line was superbly cool for kids. My brother had Corpus which was like a Zombie/Mummy and a coffin inside that fit a huge Frankenstein thing. We really only had that, but our friends all had the other larger heads. I loved that no matter your income you could afford some kind of Mighty Max playset - they really made it accessible to all.
 
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I have fond memories of this highly detailed and imaginative toy line and still own the Ice Alien transforming head playset as well as the two smaller heads, Nightwing (bat) and Robot / Droid Invader (Cyborg / Robot) I got as a kid.

Back in 2001/2002 I found the big Skull Mountain Playset MIP at a shopping outlet near Vienna. Unfortunately I passed on it.

This thread makes me want to get into collecting Mighty Max and Galoob's Z-Bots.
 
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Aw I'm so glad I'm not the only one who loves and remembers this line and cartoon. It's never been OFFICIALLY released as a full series boxed set...and that's CRIMINAL.

I had TONS of these toys. I remember the early playsets were just Max with little mini-comics on the back...but I think that's because the show must not have still be in production at the time. But as the toyline went, you started to see some show staple roles like Norman, Virgil, Skullmaster, Lava Lord, and Warmonger show up. In fact, some kind of did in a sort of "prototype" form before the show, but would later get re-made in a more finalized toy form accurate to the cartoon. It's interesting...the shows making really had to have been occurring at the same TIME as the toys were...there's both a decent amount of differences, but also way too many similarities as well...and like said, eventually the toyline became way MORE cartoon accurate...it just took time.

Here are some examples of what I mean - I'm pretty sure this figure from Skull Mountain is just the original design for Skullmaster:

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Whom later became:

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I think this was intended as Lava Lord originally:

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Which later evolved into this in the cartoon and toy line:

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And lastly, Warmonger original -

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and final and what he more looked like in toon form:

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Another thing you'd see is how the actual toys seemed to inspire (but at the same time the show inspired the toys - leading me to believe both were being developed at the same time) was that a lot of playsets and minor roles GOT episodes. In fact, I think every episode was based on a toy (though some loosely) - from the doomzone heads to mini heads to other spin-off stuff...I just don't think every toy got an episode. Examples:

- Cyberskull (clear Terminator reference) had an entire doomzone playset and got TWO episodes.

- The Ice Aliens, def. a slow intro to The Thing for kids - even MORESO in the show as in that there's no robot like in the playset, but the aliens look akin and they can genetically replicate - impersonate - you. All whilst being also on an Arctic base.

- The Cyclops set with the giant crawling eye and some monstrous executioner got an entire episode. Not only does it reference the old Crawling Eye film, but also the outside when closed up looks totally akin to Harryhausen's Cyclops in all but color.

Gosh there's so many more too, I'll write more later. I was considering doing an entire blog on Mighty Max, episode by episode, toy by toy, horror reference by horror reference. How it's a FANTASTIC way to introduce an interest in horror for children...but also doesn't talk down to them. Thus DESERVES to be officially released on DVD/Blu-Ray. I'd probably title it off something to do with MY name is ALSO Max.

The cartoon was so insanely hardcore and deep sometimes for a "kids" show. Sure it has its kids moments, but when it gets dark...it goes dark. I mean how many episodes open up with some random person killed by a monster? Can't do that on Saturday Morning cartoon television anymore. I'll never forget the ancient warriors episode with roles like Beowulf and Hanuman and etc. How each one teaches Max a lesson...but they sacrifice themselves. They all DIE. And it ends with Virgin saying it is destiny, Mighty One. And closes with Max walking out to a home made grave he made with artifacts from them all, kneels sorrowfully, and walks away to just miss a butterfly land on Hanuman's helm - echoing his earlier sentiment of "Who knows, maybe I'll be reincarnated to a butterfly?" Which for those IN the know, well you know...that's deep REAL philosophical and theologically stuff. I just remember seeing that episode as a kid and really feeling profoundly touched but also sad.

I've totally been considering picking up some old Mighty Max toys too. The packaging was even amazing.
 
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At one point I had a huge Mighty Max collection. I had all eighteen Doom Zones of series 1-3, all the large playsets like Skull Mountain, Dragon Island, Terror Talons and Magus. Had almost all of the smaller Horror Heads, almost all of the Battle Warriors/Challenges; plus miscellaneous stuff like Board Games, video games, etc. I ended up selling it all for a FRACTION of what I gave. Don't know what possessed me to do that. It was one of the most important and imaginative toylines of my childhood.
 
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Among my personal favorite Doomzones were the Triceratops one, def inspire by Jurassic Park. If I recall, it had a Raptor and a Pteranodon and you could break the raptor out of its pen. There was a big Volcano too with a secret sort of doom weapon inside for the mad Dr. Zygote (I get that reference...Hah!), whom if I recall actually didn't appear in this playset...but it mentioned in the comic and appears in the episode based off this toy. EDIT: I'm wrong - Zygote is in the playset, just he looks very different. He actually did get a figure later down the line in one of the figure only packs, but it's the transformed primordial version that's too a tee the one on the show. I loved it because it came out in the PRIME of Jurassic Park too, like 1993-ish, when I was also buying up all the Kenner JP toys.

I also loved the Sabertooth one with the giant Mammoth and caveman. I always liked at one. It's surprisingly bloody for a kids toy. I always found it odd though that it didn't actually include a Smiledon lie the actual episode - it was more the antagonist of that episode over the caveman.

That Cyclops one I mentioned was so much fun too. It was FILLED with torture devices like a medieval dungeon. There was a cage that could call, an iron maiden, a jail cell, a rack, a guillotine. I always liked how the episode explained basically WHY there is no Cyclops in the set...it's ancient and long dead, but its eye still somehow survived. I liked that. The little executioner dude it came with, toy version, always reminded me of like...a sort of Orc from LOTR.
 
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