To contribute to the Major Matt Mason i-zine or to subscribe to it bi-weekly via
e-mail, please contact the editor, Alec Peters.
Welcome to the third issue of the Major
Matt Mason newsletter! This newsletter is going out to over 500 Major Matt
Mason collectors via e-mail. This is a bi-weekly newsletter, and everyone
is invited to contribute.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Editor's notes
2. The Major Matt Mason E-mail list
3. Great Finds!
4. Major Matt Mason Comic Strips
6. Cleaning Matt Mason figures
7. MMM display cases!
8. Coming attractions
1. EDITOR'S NOTES
The Newsletter keeps growing! Thanks to
everyone who has written with positive comments on the newsletter! Within
a week or so, previous issues of the MMM Newsletter will be archived on both
John Eaton’s "Wild Toys" site http://www.wildtoys.com/MMMPage/mmm.html,
and Keith Meyer’s Space Station site http://www.majormattmason.net.
These are the two premier MMM web sites on the Internet, and I urge you all
to check them both out.
This newsletter is going to over 500 MMM
fans this week!
This issue starts the "Great Finds"
feature. This will explore those unbelievable moments when we find that awesome
MMM piece and just can’t wait to tell our collecting friends about it.
Paul Vreede, our loyal Belgian MMM collector,
has done an outstanding job on "Major Matt Mason Comic Strips".
An exhaustive article on our favorite space toy in the print media.
Then check out the feature on "GoMainline.com".
This is the new on-line collectibles only auction and resource site that both
Mark Stuart and I work for, so you know there is Major Matt mason stuff on
Finally, I have a short piece on how to
clean MMM figures.
And as a recap from last issue, and to
all our new MMM readers, since I send this out on Microsoft Outlook Express,
all you AOL users will not get this properly formatted. No links or bold headings
etc. AOL really is a pain in the butt this way. Sorry. I suggest dumping AOL
and using an ISP. With Cable modems set to be the standard in the very near
future. AOL will not be the ISP of choice. (And yes, I am an AOL user, but
I have an ISP as well).
2. THE MAJOR MATT MASON
E-MAIL LIST !
The first, and still the only Major Matt
mason list of choice. If you are a Major Matt Mason fan, you need to join
the Matt mason E-mail list. Over a hundred MMM fans regularly send messages
about Matt Mason. The best way to stay in touch with other collectors and
learn about your favorite astronaut.
Just e-mail John Eaton at firstname.lastname@example.org
and ask him to put you on the list! Thanks to John and Claude for their excellent
efforts on the list!
3. GREAT FINDS
This is the first in a series of articles
written by Major Matt Mason collectors on Matt Mason items that they found
in stores, at shows and just about any other way you can fall into a great
toy! All submissions are welcome.
We all search the swap meets, hunt the
toy shows, and bid crazy in on-line auctions looking for that elusive toy
– often to no avail. The untold hours we put into our search could almost
certainly be put to better use, whether by spending time with our families,
reading a good book, or finding the cure for cancer. But we’re all toy collectors,
a special – many might say insane – breed driven by our childish obsessions.
Every one of us thrills to the hunt and understands that peculiar excitement
that comes from unexpectedly finding that rare piece. The "wasted" hours suddenly
become worthwhile when, every once in a while, we strike gold.
For those of you who don’t know, Los Angeles
has a semi-regular toy show called Toyrific. It’s actually held in Pasadena
and, truth be told, isn’t very good. There may be anywhere from 40-80 dealer
tables, but since most of the same dealers show up time and again, there are
few surprises or bargains, even for those paying the extra $5 for "early bird"
admission. There’s always some cool stuff to be sure, but not much that hasn’t
been seen before if you’re a regular. Increasingly I find that I go mainly
to socialize. But I do go, almost every show, because every once in a while
you do get lucky and strike gold…
It was about a year and a half ago – I’m
pretty sure it was in December – when I found a key piece that almost wound
up in Alec Peters' collection. To this day I don’t think he fully understands
how close he came to getting this piece or how close I came to missing it.
As I remember it, it was a typically mediocre show. I paid my money and went
in early, but not just as the doors opened. Maybe I was half an hour late.
As usual, I took a quick walk around to say hello to friends and dealers,
and found nothing interesting for sale. The same old sh*t as some might say.
It was only later, perhaps as much as two hours after the doors opened, that
I took another, closer look at a particular table. I could hardly believe
that I looked right past it before, but there behind the table (it was either
on the wall display or resting on the floor, I can’t remember which) was a
Sgt. Storm still sealed on the rare Flight Card. I’d never seen one before
(and haven’t seen another since) and assumed that since it was still there
after all this time – two hours is an eternity for a toy bargain to remain
unsold – it was probably priced well out of reach.
I’m happy to report that it wasn’t. Now
as many of you know, I’m a cheap SOB when it comes to buying toys. I find
it limits me from buying everything in sight. For many years I had little
money to spend and I have a lot of patience – which is why, years before,
I passed up a C-10 Flight Card Matt at $175 because I wanted to hold out for
one on the Moon Suit card. Boy was I naïve back then, but that’s another
story! I’ve since learned that one can be too patient. Anyway, I wasn’t
about to let this one get by me. Fearing what the dealer might say, I nevertheless
asked him the price. I was relieved when he quoted me less that $300. Lest
he think me too eager, I haggled a bit and got him down to $230, an exceptional
bargain by today’s standards.
Now the piece wasn’t mint. At the time,
in fact, it looked quite beat-up. The card was slightly warped and it was
dirty all over. The blister, especially, was coated in brown gunk. The dealer
had obviously made no effort to clean it – which was fine by me. The gunk
came easily off the blister – which now sparkles – and some of the warpage
pressed out between books. What originally looked like a C-6 card turned out
to be closer to C-8. I was very pleased.
The dealer turned out to be a nice guy.
We talked for a while and he explained where he found the carded Storm. It
came from a collection that some old lady found in her attic. Apparently she
also had half a dozen MOC Doug Davis figures, but some other dealer cleaned
her out of them before my dealer hooked up with her. In the interim she found
a few more old toys, among them the carded Storm, which he was fortunate enough
After my purchase, I clearly remember
walking around and showing off my find to friends and dealers. Few people
seemed all that impressed – which I attributed to them simply not being that
familiar with Matt Mason toys. I remember Tim Miller – a dealer I’m sure Alec
will say more about – seeing it in my bag and asking how much I paid for it.
When I told him, Tim seemed very surprised and said that he’d offered the
dealer $300 for it earlier that morning, but had been turned down.
Since then I’ve not found anything nearly
as good – and I often leave empty-handed – but finding that carded Sgt. Storm
the way I did is precisely the reason why I continue to search the swap meets
and hunt the toy shows month after month after month…
The great part of this story is that it
can be told by two different people from two different vantage points with
the same basic facts.
My toy dealer friend Tim was going to
the show and I had urged him to buy any MMM items on card he found as I was
going to get to the show in the afternoon. When I arrived at the show, Tim
told me about the piece he didn’t buy and my heart sunk! He told me "It was
the red guy on a card with the backpack and Space Sled."
I couldn’t believe I had missed a Storm
Flight Card for $ 300! The good news is that it wound up in a good collectors
hands. Ray beat me to the punch here and I give him crap about it every time
I see him. I even mockingly choked him at the October Atlantic City show last
year, but all in good fun.
The good news for me is that I recently
added a Storm Flight Card to my collection and so now I can stop abusing Ray!
A happy ending for all.
4. MAJOR MATT MASON COMIC
In the course of the years, there have
been a few comic strips about our favorite Major. Those produced by/for Mattel
were either outright advertisements, or served publicity purposes as their
prime reason of existence. This is hardly surprising, since a comic strip
is a most efficient way to reach a young audience, and selling MMM is what
Mattel wanted to achieve.
It is only when another producer became
involved that MMM tie-ins became more autonomous products in their own right,
such as the range of Whitman books and puzzles. It is therefore a pity that
apparent plans for a fully-fledged MMM comic strip to be produced by DC Comics
were never realized. This too could have been more than just another advertisement.
According to a source quoted by Richard
Hallock (on his Virtual Vikki site - all links see below) the reason why these
plans were given up is unclear, though "one theory was that DC Comics - then
National Periodical Publications - had gotten into hot water with Ideal over
the last couple of issues of their Captain Action tie-in comic and it's really
heavy political overtones".
Whatever the reason, a great opportunity
was lost. In the end, the only MMM comic to grace the pages of DC comics was
part of an advertisement:
1967 advertising in DC Comics titles
This campaign centered around a double-page
advert made up of one comic strip page followed by a yellow page featuring
some of the earliest MMM playsets (Crawler, Moonsuit, Space Station and MMM
with Jet Pack and Sled). In addition, the yellow page appeared on its own
and also in a 1/3 page version.
Apparently all three adverts were used
in no particular order starting in 1967 (possibly even in late 1966). John
Eaton tells me he has a single-pager from as late as 1969 and thinks they
even continued into 1970. This is rather surprising, since the MMM range had
of course considerably expanded by that time.
One intriguing detail is that this strip
is labeled as *another* MMM adventure. Since there doesn't appear to be a
different comic strip in the campaign, my best guess is that it refers to
the comic strip that never was. Most likely, an episode of the comic strip
would have been followed by the double page ad, which in such a case *would*
be "another" adventure.
In my opinion, this comic strip doesn't
show the Major as much of a hero. After muddling about on the moonscape, he
falls into a hole and that's that. In advertising terms it does make sense:
it is of course the young reader who's called upon to be the hero and rescue
the Major, provided he goes out and buys one first.
1968 Italian introduction advertisement
Although made up from photographs, this
ad is still a comic strip in that it has a story running over different panels,
with the Major holding up his end of radio communications in the text.
Contents-wise it follows the same concept
as the DC advertising strip, but combining the product shots with the storyline.
The Major does not come to grief however- he merely returns to the Station
to wait for further instructions. Thus it is still the reader who will have
to take charge and continue the adventure.
The advantage of doing the strip photographically
is that the reader gets a much better look at all these cool toys. In the
US, chances are that most readers of DC Comics would have seen MMM for real
in TV commercials, or possibly in the shops. And as noted before, the campaign
was probably meant to blend in with a real MMM comic adventure.
In Italy, it was not Mattel but the importer(?)
Baravelli making the advertising investments, and ownership of TV sets was
still much below US levels. MMM was just being introduced, so may not have
been immediately present in each and every toy shop either. Therefore this
particular advertisement does a pretty good job on just two pages. Putting
it in 4 consecutive issues of Topolino (the Italian Mickey Mouse magazine)
will have made sure that most children in Italy saw it.
1969 Esploratori dello Spazio
When Mattel set up shop in Italy, they
brought some advertising clout with them. Moving up slightly in the age of
the target audience, they filled many a page of Corriere dei Piccoli magazine
with their advertisements.
MMM received preferential treatment, because
he (finally) got a 15-part comic strip as well as a series of photographic
ads running next to it. Since I have described these in detail on John Eaton's
site (inasmuch as they're included up to now) let me suffice here by saying
that in this comic strip, the advertising aspects definitely take a back seat
to the comic adventure. Although MMM equipment is featured in the story, a
lot more could have been done with it. Instead, the story runs its own course,
while reality is left for the advertising campaign to take care of - which
it does beautifully.
1990's Men from Earth
The final known MMM-related comic strips
were made fairly recently by former Mattel designer Joe Ferrera AKA Joe King.
The comics were amongst a number of his projects intended to carry on where
Mattel left off, such as a revamped MMM toy line and even a feature film.
Of the three comic books planned, only the first was really produced, the
other two being offered in script form.
The main reason all these projects were
curtailed was the legal wrangle between Mr. Ferrera and Mattel over who exactly
owns the MMM trademarks, with both sides claiming they do. Since these MMM
comics were not produced by / for Mattel, not every MMM collector is interested
in them. I must confess I do not have a copy either.
I gather the story is about MMM dying
in an accident after having been on the moon - even before Neil Armstrong.
The government hushing this up, MMM's son then goes out to clear his father's
name. Also featured are a number of female(!) Callistians, a space-race against
Japan and the Firebolt cannon MMM apparently left moth-balled on the moon
which becomes an important factor in the story's conclusion.
The above are all the comic strips that
have come to light. So far. Because I don't want to rule out that others may
not yet be found. Before John heard about the Italian material from Simone
(an Italian student in the US), no collector knew it existed. There are still
countries where MMM was sold about which we know little or nothing, so who
knows what may yet turn up?
- Virtual Vikki site by Richard Hallock:
(point 2 after the first 'new' bullet)
- DC advertisements on John Eaton's MMM
- Italian material on 'my' MMM Italian
page on John's site:
- Joe King is included on our 'Real Space
and also on Keith Meyer's Space Station:
I wrote earlier that I thought storyboards
might actually have been made for the proposed MMM comic strip by DC Comics.
I can't find any reference to back this up, so probably must have mixed these
up with something else.
Ebay is certainly the king of on-line
auctions. But there is a new collectble only auction site that you will be
hearing lots about over the next few months. GoMainline.com was started about
a year ago and developed a fairly loyal following among toy collectors. In
the beginning of February a new management team was brought in with Mark Stuart
taking over as President and COO and your truly, Alec Peters (email@example.com)
taking the role of Vice president of Marketing. The site was recently re-launched
April 16 and there is a growing number of toys on the site every day.
The site is only for collectibles, and
half the site is dedicated for resources for collectors, such as links, publications,
organizations etc. I have sold a number of MMM items on the site the past
month and am listing more over the next few days. Please book mark the site,
register to be a user and bid away! If you don’t you may miss some great stuff!
6. CLEANING MAJOR MATT MASON FIGURES
I have been asked many times how I clean
my Matt figures. There are many solutions. I use Pine Sol and a soft toothbrush.
NO, it does not peel the paint. I simply dip the brush in the Pine Sol, and
then scrub away. After a section of body parts, I wash off the figure thoroughly
so the Pine Sol doesn’t have a chance to do any damage. My figures turn out
amazingly bright and never damaged.
If you have similar success with another
method, please let me know and I will put it in the next issue!
7. MMM DISPLAY CASES
I have recently been hunting down display
cases to protect my MMM collection. I will be selling display cases for All
MMM products over the next few months.
The first item I am selling is an AWESOME
domed display for a single MMM figure. This is unbelievable and I strongly
urge you to get these to protect those sharp MMM figures. The dome is made
of acrylic and the base is solid wood.
You can see the dome at :
Each dome is $ 19.95 delivered
Four domes for $ 69.95 delivered
The next issue of the MMM newsletter will
feature whatever I happen to have at the time! But PLEASE contribute! Many
thanks to Ray Kolasa and Paul Vreede for their great articles!
To contribute to the Major Matt Mason i-zine or to subscribe to it bi-weekly via e-mail, please contact the editor, Alec Peters.
All Mattel images and captions are copyright Mattel and used without permission. All other content is copyright © 1997-2017 John Eaton and/or Alec Peters. If there are any comments or objections, please contact John Eaton, by clicking here. E-mail Alec Peters by clicking here.