Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fireman Burneth Down the House!!


For me, Super 7 Issue #15 is bitter, sweet. Bitter cause it's the last issue of my first subscription and it's also the last issue in this current format. Super 7 is moving towards the so-called "Mook" format and will be published only twice a year. Mook is part Book and part Magazine and will be 200+ pages!! I'm looking forward to the mook, but 6 months is a long time to wait inbetween issues.


Issue #15 is sweet because I was honored to contribute the shots for the Fireman Article. It was a bit nerve racking as Brian loaned me his very rare and valuable Fireman collection for the photo shoot. This set of vintage figures alone is prolly worth more than my entire toy collection! I was more worried about damaging the figures because two of the larger Fireman have removable vinyl masks. I kept on imagining them ripping down the seam as I tried to carefully pull them off their big heads! Well, the article turned out pretty good and again, i'm honored and humbled to contribute in any way to such an awesome magazine! Thanks Brian!


With Brian's permission, I have some other Fireman shots here to show you as well as an excerpt from the Super 7 Fireman Article: "Burning Up with Fireman!" Series history by August Ragone. Toy History by Brian Flynn:

At first glance, the exotic-looking, red-and-silver superhero Fireman might appear to be little more than a bug-eyed Ultraman knock-off. Little does the average Joe know, however, that the characters' similarities run deep, as Fireman was actually created by the very company that created Ultraman himself: Tsuburaya Productions, founded in 1963 and the brainchild of Eiju Tsuburaya, the visual effects wizard who brought Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and many other monsters to life.


Because the Fireman TV show was so short lived,very few toys were ever made. The good news for collectors, however, is that almost all the traditional vinyl formats were made under the Fireman license-the most common figure being the Popy 5.5" vinyl, a scale on which nearly every character imaginable was produced. The same mold was also used to make a 5.5" cyborg Fireman figure, cast in clear vinyl with mechanical paper inserts, and with colored tinsel in it's head.



On a larger scale, Bullmark made a 10.75" standard-size removable-mask figure and a 14" giant-size removable mask figure. While the standard-size figure has become much more attainable in recent years, the giant-size figure is a little trickier to get. For size and scale, though, nothing stands up to the huge, 15" Masudaya talking Fireman. Large even by talking-vinyl standards, this figure came with a Fire stick, is by far the most elusive figure to track down, and is highly sought by both Fireman and talking-vinyl collectors.



In recent years, a select few new Fireman figures have also been produced, the most important of which comprise a set of five large, light green, super-deformed, finger-puppet-style characters that were released with the Fireman laser disc in 1992. This package includes a single Fireman figure and four kaiju-a quartet that marks the series debut of any kaiju figures.



Ultimately, the Fireman Product inventory is actually impressive, given the brevity of the TV show's run. And the simple, yet stoic syling of these characters makes them a great addition to the canon of henshin heroes.




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