You see these generic-looking super heroes? (The ones that look a lot like Playmobil?) They may look like true knock-offs or bootlegs of your favorite comic characters, but they are in fact a legit toyline from a legit Spanish toy company, Airgam.
“What the hell is Airgam” you may be asking? well, Airgam is a toy company that was established in 1976 and is best known for its miniature figures called Airgam Boys.
Airgam Boys photo courtesy of AirgamBoys.net.
The Airgam Boys had various series which included themes such as Space, Romans, Cowboys, Sports, etc. One such category called “Airgam Comics: Super Stars” was released in 1985… which leads us to these guys – The Super Fantastics and Super Diabolics.
They’re a bunch of guys wearing capes, boots, gloves and what looks to be diapers on the outside of their pants. Not only that, but most of them are carrying guns. Even the good guys. I guess there’s a higher price to pay for crime in Spain – a bullet to the gut.
Looks like the series more or less uses all the same body parts and accessories. They just get different coloration, paint apps and stickers.
Let’s take a closer look at the figures shall we. We’ll start out with the Super Fantastics.
First of all, what’s up with that name? Ha! Sounds a lot like a bad English translation doesn’t it? It makes them that much more charming I guess. And this type treatment is so funky. Looks like some kind of street graffiti.
This is a rough bunch of super heroes. You’d think they were over sized, floating heads, arms and torsos hanging out with miniature, heavily-armed little people. It’s a pretty nasty-looking illustration – a weird mishmash up of all the characters piled on top of each other. The characters’ scale is all off, and the characters which appear to be in the background are overlapping characters in the foreground. It loses all sense of this thing being a “montage.”
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The Fantastics characters I have to show you today are Stars Man, Bird Man, Red Masker and Captain Laser.
Stars Man, is pretty much a Captain America ripoff if you ask me. Although, since he’s just a “stars” man, I guess his allegiance is the stars themselves and not necessarily to the United States. He could represent any country that really likes stars… or Astronomy.
Bird Man seems to be the Batman ripoff. He’s got the big, bat ears… only thing is, he’s bird man. Birds don’t Have big ears like that. Not sure why they did that. They should’ve given him a beak or something.
Ha! Now we have Red-Masker… which is probably the funniest name in the bunch. If you can’t come up with a good ripoff name for a Spider Man character then you shouldn’t be naming toys. Ha. Why “Red-Masker?” Couldn’t they have done something like “Arachna-Kid” or “Webbed-Wonder?” How’d they come up with the “Red Masker?” I can picture it now:
“Hey Berto… we need a name for this Spider Man-looking guy.”
“Is he wearing a mask?”
“What color is it?”
“Why don’t we just call him ‘Red-Mask?'”
“I dunno. Seems too lifeless. It’s not action-oriented enough. No real ‘kick’ to it.”
“Well, how about ‘Red Masker?’ You know, he masks people and stuff.”
“Man. Why didn’t I think of that? The kids are gonna love it!”
(Damn. I went off on a tangent there. Sorry.)
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Here’s Captain Laser. This guy was obviously inspired by Cyclops from X-Men, but his sci-fi logo style and the word “captain” in his name makes me feel like he’s more of a Buck Rogers, sci-fi, leader kind of guy. Plus, I love how happy he looks. He’s probably the wise-cracking smart ass of the group.
Oh yeah, and look at this. He may be cracking a smile now, but if you cross him, he’ll laser-blast your ass. What did the innocent people in that sky rise do to deserve the laser-beamed wrath of Captain Laser? Maybe some Super Diabolics were hiding in there.
Next, we have the Super Diabolics. I’m actually a bit intrigued that these toylines have separate names… unless “Airgam Comics: Super Stars” is considered the toyline’s name. I dunno. Anyway, the same weird English translation thing goes for this toy title too. Love it. The style here is more reminiscent of skateboard graphics or tattoo art or something. So pointy and flamey.
And look at these guys. They seem a bit more unique/diverse and not so ripped-off (at first glance anyway). This montage suffers from the same weird perception of space between the characters. I like their dark and mysterious setting – surrounded by creepy castles, sharp mountain ranges and monster bats.
The Diabolics I have to show you today are Dr. Diabolic, Python, Piranha and Spector.
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First we Have Dr. Diabolic… which basically means this guy is the leader. If you’re team is called the “Super Diabolics,” and you are doctor of Diabolics, then you are definitely the bad-ass leading the bunch. His mask only covers a part of his face for some reason, and it looks like he’s even lost an eye in battle. He kind of reminds me of Mr. Sinister from the X-men.
Up next we have Python. Which looks like a weird 70s Dracula. I love the little ‘stache and stained vampire fangs. If he’s not a weird reptilian vampire, I’d say he’s a retro version of G.I. Joe’s Serpentor.
Here we have Piranha. I think he’s the misunderstood weirdo of the bunch. I’m sure he speaks or acts in some way that any passerby would think he’s “special needs.” He looks pretty cool. Looks like a cross between an alien and a fish man. Good to see he has a trident instead of the guns everyone else seems to love so much.
Oh. And my favorite of the bunch – Spector. He’s definitely the scary, mysterious loner who answers to no one. Question: What’s more bad ass than a guy with a skull for a head? How about a guy with a skull head wearing a futuristic leather space suit. What’s cooler than a skull-headed guy wearing a futuristic leather jumpsuit? How about a skull-headed guy wearing a leather jumpsuit toting around a big blaster. This guy has to be an undead space biker. He could’ve been inspired by Ghost Rider.
That’s all the characters for now, but we’re not done yet.
Not only were these little guys cool, but they had huge freaking playsets.
Here are a couple of playsets that were featured on the back of the packaging. Looks like a city playset with a giant spider web, and a big glowing bad guy along with the castle playset. The castle is kind of wonky and more fantasy-inspired than these comic characters. Just look at these things. Sure they’re just cardboard cutouts, but they seem like they could’ve been pretty fun.
Playsets not cool enough for you? Well, in these pics you can see a lot of these guys had alternative figure versions which came with their own personally-branded vehicles. Looks like they had various airplanes, motorcycles and hovercrafts.
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I happened to get my hands on this Red Masker-mobile. And boy is it a thing of beauty. Looks like a weird jetski-speedboat-hovercraft or something. Not sure if he flies this thing or sails it.
Also, notice the Red Masker that came with this vehicle is different than the regular one. This time his eyes are exposed, his costume’s original web patterning has devolved to a generic criss-cross design, and now, he has his name written across his chest (so you won’t confuse him with Spider-Man).
Panther Man and Bad Tiger
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You may’ve noticed a couple of characters from the toy packaging that didn’t get their time in the limelight. I don’t have these figures, but I figured they needed a little mention.
Here we have the Super Fantastics’ Panther Man. He’s basically a Wolverine ripoff. They tried to throw us off a bit w/ that bow, but we know Wolverine when we see him.
And then we have the Super Diabolics’ Bad Tiger. He actually looks pretty nice. Reminds me of a character you’d see in an old Nintendo Pro Wrestling game or something.
Note that they both have an animal theme and the same color scheme. Oddly coincidental.
If you happen to have these figures or know where I can find ’em, please get in touch with me 😉
And lastly, I wanted to share this vintage Spanish toy commercial for the Airgam Comics: Super Stars. You know they had to be legit if they had their own toy commercial. Enjoy.
Oh man. All I can say is I love these little guys. I’m so glad I discovered them. I never knew anything about them growing up (being the little American kid I was in the 80s). Thank goodness for the internet and my buddy, John, who hooked me up with a lot of these figures. Thanks John!
This entry was posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2010 at 12:21 am
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Tags: 80s toys, action figures, Airgam, Airgam Boys, Comics, imports, marvel comics, Packaging, playmobil, Superhero, supervillain, toys, Vintage
Posted in: Alien, Comics, Human?, Import, Knock-Off, Monsters, Superhero, Toy Packaging
Beautiful specimens, one and all! I love the looks of these guys and have watched them on eBay off and on for a while now, but haven’t dove in just yet. Not like I need another obsession!
Also, good to see a new Weirdo Toy post again…it’s been a while!
Yeah. It has been a while since I wrote. The wedding planning distracted me last year, and the job loss has distracted me so far this year.
I know I need to get going… Just keep the faith 😉
Also, I’m like you… the Airgams can become an obsession if you don’t watch out. Best of luck getting your hands on some.
Wow, Thanks I am Spanish and didn’t remember those, Spector was one of my favorite toys ever. I also had Piranha and Dr Diabolic, now I got to look for them
Spector is one of my favorites now too 😀
@WeirdoToys Thanks a lot for your post Spector was one of my favorite toys ever http://po.st/HI8
@menor Spector’s one of my faves now 😀 http://po.st/YGr
Wow, I wish I could get my hands on that castle playset, all the aliens/weirdos/astronauts/aliens and the 2 X-men ones (for my friend who collects EVERYTHING X-men).
Thanks for bringin’ these to the radar!
No problem! I love the alien ones too. I’m definitely gonna be seeking them out for the blog.
@WeirdoToys Damn man, those are AMAZING! Best goofy hero figs since The Mighty Crusaders…
This has to be one of your best. A bunch of work went into this one.
Thanks for giving me something to read that’s postive, instead of all
the normal depressing stuff that’s out there. Have a good warm weekend
for a change.
Glad to give you some morning reading material. It was a lot of fun to write.
@WeirdoToys Ooh! I like Piranha and Spector. I always like the bad guys.
Holy crap. You went all out on this one didn’t you?
Spector is so awesome! He’d definitely the coolest of the bunch. I like Captain Laser too. I love how the TV commercial tries to make these goofy toys look super cool. I think it works too, but maybe that’s because i don’t speak Spanish.
Thanks for such good weirdo toy coverage. So in-depth and enjoyable. This blog is like a showcase of toy art, making each little figure a gem.
Well, finding these things and sharing the details with you all is enjoyable. Glad to know all the money, pain and heartache pays off in the end 😉
True story: About 10 years ago, I was in an antique shop where one dealer was selling nothing but Super Fanatics and Super Diabolics. I had the same initial “bootleg” reaction you did, and I balked at the $6 or 2/$10 price tag. I haven’t seen them again until reading this blog. I like stories.
Red Masker is the man, and I think the variant that comes with the boat is a subtle genius.
Villain: Red Masker couldn’t possibly be stupid enough to put his own name on the front of his costume! Or is that exactly what he WANTS me to think! Oh, that Red Masker, he’s a crafty one!
I also love Bad Tiger. What, as opposed to GOOD Tiger?
And as a fan of all big play sets of the 1980s, you owe it to America to track down that castle and that city battle scene. They’re too awesome for words, just like you and your Weirdo Toys blog.
Wow. A dealer that sold these old things? You really missed out. Where was this guy? Pennsylvania? These things are way too pricey online.
Regarding the playsets – I actually wondered if I should look for them. They’re just so damn big. I wouldn’t have any place to put them. They would be a great find for sure.
Dammit, Justin, stop taunting me with things like this! Now I’ll forever know that I will never own them…especially Spector…
That’s my job. I’m here to taunt you and make you envious of all the weirdo toys. Mwa-hahahaha!!
Spector is even better in person. You’re missing out 😉
@WeirdoToys awesome post! Very fun reading
@deadpool1701 Cool. Thanks. Glad you like.
very cool! and I love the maniacal laugh the spanish guy has at the end of the commercial. I want that laugh.
I love that Piranha fig! That Spidey Er… “MASKER” Boat is cool too!!
I’m spanish, and my english is not very good, but I’ll try to translate the commercial:
The Superfantastics have been alerted. The Superdiabolics have occupied the power plant this time. Bird Man, with his ultralight, comes for helping his friend, and faces the evil Piranha. Stars Man, you’ll not escape this time. I, Doctor Diabolic, challenge you to play with Airgam Comic Superstars.
So the voice in the commercial is from the Dr. Diabolic himself 😀
Airgamboys were very popular in Spain in the 80s, but I never had any. I was a Playmobil boy. And… ehem… Pin y Pon. Just google it, “pin y pon” ¡I was only a child!
That is amazing! Thanks so much for translating the commercial. It’s really great to know what’s being said. And the Pin y Pon toys are cute 😀
these are so cool! these remind me a lot of something that you would see in the designer vinyl world as a cool platform toy. I think i might just need to grab these off ebay sometime
that will lead you to a thread on a spanish message board with pictures of like every single figure and vehicle made in this line(hint: there was a second series) cheers
Oh Man! Thanks so much for that link. I knew there were more figures, but it’s good to have some sort of idea of what I’m looking for. Thanks!!
Looks like i’m a little too late (amazing link right there^^^), but I have pics of the 3-pack box and a carded Red Masker with the web pattern of the original but the text on his chest like the vehicle version. He also comes with a net (or web) accessory! Fun! If anyone wants the damaged box hit me up.
Here are the pics…http://adventuresofkrang.blogspot.com/2010/03/red-masker-vs-bad-tiger.html
Thank you! I’m spanish and I’ve been looking in the net for those weird spanish superheroes for ages!
I must apologize in the name of my country.
I wouldn’t apologize. I think they’re great! Glad I could help. Thanks for dropping by.
In fact, even knowing that they were knock offs and cheesy at that time, I did own Piranha and Captain Laser with the helipack. Unfortunately, I don’t own them now…
One funny thing is that knowing than the names were in english (only to sound cool and supeheroic), I thougt that the “Red” on “Red Masker” came from his net, because “net” in spanish is “red”. “Masked” really sounded cool. Ha! Ha! You have a really good point about that.
By the way, they never got a playset. The sets from the pictures were for promotion only.
I love the site. Glad to have found it.
Absolutely hilarious. I liked this a lot when I was a kid, even if I already knew that they were rip-offs. But they were way cheaper than Secret Wars toys.
BTW: the package drawing of Superdiabolics is a rip-off the cover of Atari Force No.1 http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_98zZGlDC3HY/SEePEvF-j3I/AAAAAAAAAuA/EPkI-SvQ9vA/s400/Atari%2BForce%2B001-00FC.jpg
Wow! Thanks for that link. Such a ripoff!!
The big glowy guy in the playset looks to be from the Avengers Korvac saga ….. http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/518X6YbAEbL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
And Dr. Diabolic seems to be a copy of Korvac himself …..
http://www.comicbookdb.com/character.php?ID=6330 (Best image I can find.) Hope this helps!
I’m happy to say I managed to find Dr. Diabolic and Python at a toy show this past weekend! I’m not sure what four years of Diabolic grad school cost, but you only cost me seven bucks, you evil Airgam figure, you!
Sweet man. I’ve never seen them in the “wild.” I need to hit more toy shows 🙁
(^_^) Great site. I still have my Dr. Diabolic and Python by the way.
[…] always great Weirdo Toys has an in depth look at Airgam’s odd, plagiaristic Super Hero line that you really should see ← Woman with dolls Nobrow – Handmade comics and […]
Haha, oh these are great. Though they kinda look like a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Thanks for spotlighting these, great article and awesome pictures! I only have three so far…any doubles for sale or trade??
Specter looks an awful lot like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iWJFeObCDs
Thats a neat cartoon intro! And indeed the ressemblance is spot-on.
Also noticed that Piranha’s head look a lot like Greedo’s one from Kenner Star Wars lineup!
In the mid 80’s my parents took me to Spain…..and yup: I remember them. In fact: I even had a bunch of them. In fact, I also had a Robin (from Batman) rip-off. (not by Airgam)
I had (100% sure) Stars Man, Bird Man, Red Masker,Dr. Diabolic and Captain Laser of the 1st wave, and of the 2nd wave: Sirdar, Action Arm, Uruk, Pantherman’s Aeroboat and Stars Man motorcycle.
There are some other figs I might have had…..they look really familiar but I’m not 100% sure I had them.
I do remember I looked for the Piranha fig back then but couldn’t find him.
I also remember that back at home I rarely played with them anymore (I had my Star Wars and He-Man stuff at home….which was WAY cooler)
In the early 90’s the Airgams all ended in the garbage. 🙁
It’s fun reading about them now. I mean; back then I knew they were knockoffs as I was familiar with Batman, X-Men etc and knew that Panther man was Wolverine. So, knowing they weren’t ‘official’ and spanish (I had never seen them anywhere outside Spain) I never thought that decades later people would still know and collect them.
Good to see all those familiar faces again and a great article!
In the summer if 1985 my parents took me to spain to visit my family.One day i visited a toy store and I was looking at the airgam comics toy section, that store had american toys like He-Man,Transformers,Voltron and superpower collection .That day I bought The Batman clone (Birdman) and his airplane,Wolverine clone (Pantherman) and The Captain America clone (Starsman) with his motorcycle.
On my second to that toy store I bought Dr.Diabolic and his motorcycle and The Spiderman clone (Red Masker) and his boat.
When I returned to the usa,I played with them,But I played more with my He-man,Gi Joe,Transformers,Voltron,Super powers collection and secret wars toys.
Today I still have my airgam comics Super heroes action figures stored somewhere at my moms home and not willing to sell them.
I simply woke up in the morning and remembered -I had a figure of a ciclops like playmobil, what the heck was that toy? I remembered I had bought it when were in Spain at the age of 8. So I searched on google and found this Site. I remebered that I was crazy to have those drag queen villains by the time… Watching the video I found curious that some figures uses the same chopper of the figure line “SOS Commandos” (dont know if it were sold outside brazil):
The story of AIRGAM is really interesting as part of the story of Spain , and of toy industry in Europe. Founded by magria family, AIRGAM is actually the name Magria backwards. During decades spanish market was closed to outside cause of Franco, so many companies were created to cover all possible sectors into their own quality standards. During years, Airgam was one of companies that provided their products to Spain shops.
At 70´s that closure was relaxing and many foreign products entered our market, so the national companies were forced to create their own versions of many products. Airgam Boys from Airgam or COMAN BOYS from COMANSI were the response to the upcoming Playmobil toys, finally brought to Spain by FAMOSA (for that reason were known as FAMOBIL duiring some years) in similar way the MADELMAN were the response to the classic G.I. Joe toys, brought here by GEYPER and renamed GEYPERMAN.
The Airgam Boys tried to cover many different themes, some of them not covered yet by Playmobil. Most of their accesories and parts were recycled lor of times for different lines. One of most curious was the Space Line, where, appart of the own atronauts, were introduced various alien figures with heads loosely based on Star wars or Ultraman creatures. Other memorable line was one based on Roman Empire.
Finally, the toy brand lost against Playmobil and eventually vanished from shelves. The Airgam Comics line was the last attempt to hang on in a market where entered not only Playmobil, but Star Wars, Master of the Universe, Marvel Secret Wars and G.I.Joe franchises. The own company closed up at mid.80´s