By Robert “Rob Base” Greenwood
Welcome to Plastic Paper Realm, a series talking about great comics that never had a truly great, or if any, toy franchise.
Today, I want to talk about a comic book that has been in my top 50 best comics of all-time list. I have sung its praise since I started reading comics.
The Saga of Crystar from Marvel comics.
Here’s a brief history:
The Saga of Crystar: Crystal Warrior was a 1983 11-issue fantasy-based Marvel comic book with an associated toy line from Remco. The toy line mainly consisted of seven figures, some vehicles and accessories.
The toys were first sold in late 1982 with the Marvel Comics series being first published in the spring of 1983.
Since they released the toys first, many assumed the comic had been a licensed adaptation of the toy line. However, Crystar and all the characters in the toy line and comic book were actually created and owned by Marvel Comics itself. They had created the concept with the sole purpose of selling the license to a toy company.
Check out Crystar, knocking some sense into his arch nemesis, Moltar!
Remco toys released Crystar in the scale of the then current crop of action figures, 3-3/4 scale. In 1982, Hasbro found huge success with the return of GI Joe, but in this scale which has become a standard.
However, Takara were the first ones to utilize this scale, with their creation of the Microman line (Micronauts in the States).
This was soon followed by Kenner with the super popular Star Wars license.
Crystar’s toys are quite well made and over the years, even with the translucent plastic, these toys hardly are found cracked or broken.
So why is Crystar on my list? Simple enough answer. The toy line was popular (to diehards) and Marvel did try real hard to push this line. Unfortunately, Crystar’s obscurity and lack of a cartoon series made it a line that never fully materialized.
Remco, as an action figure toy company, always seemed to fall short and we only ever got one wave of the toys. At the same time Mattel had a billion dollar success with their titular hero He-Man.
Crystar, if handled right, could very well have competed against He-Man.
Crystar had a profile featured in the Marvel Comics 1980’s Handbook as well as the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover series.
He has appeared in Marvel Age and the character also appeared in the variant cover of Marvel Zombies 4 #1, which featured a number of 1980’s Marvel Comics characters in a parody of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video.
So who would I task at a return for the Crystal warrior? Mattel “Matty Collector.” Their current line of Masters of the Universe Classics toys design by the Four Horsemen has taken the toy collecting community by storm.
The only issue with tasking Matty is they have not had success with translucent plastic which would be a big sell for this line.
Marvel set the series parallel to the Marvel Universe and featured guest appearances by Doctor Strange, Nightcrawler and Alpha Flight.
The cover of issue #8 of The Saga of Crystar, drawn by Michael Golden, features a skull logo that was later used by the bands Samhain and Danzig.
Crystar is a Marvel license and the likelihood of Mattel doing these figures now is more than dead in the water with Mattel having the DC license. This would leave the license in the hands of Hasbro, which isn’t a bad thing, but not having this warrior in a proper scale with other 7 inch scale fantasy style figures would be doing him a disservice.
One last note:
Working Class Villains/Backyard Legends has been working on a third-party Crystar in the Masters of the Universe Classics scale. Unfortunately, setbacks and being an independent company has made the release of this figure an almost impossibility.
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