Mattel's Big Jim and Big Josh dolls
Here is Mego's 8 inch Spidey next to Big Jim for size comparison.
In the 1970s it was very common for toy companies to use comic book adverstisement to promote their "dolls for boys" collections as well as smaller sized action figures. Below are some ads I found for Mattel's Big Jim series. Click on the picture to see a larger image.
Page 1 of 2 page ad
Page 2 of 2 page ad
Marvel Comics, Kazar #5, Sept 1974, p.4 and 5
DC Comics, Kamandi #22, Oct 1974, p.16 and 17
Marvel Comics, Skull the Slayer #3, Jan 1976, p.9
This ad tells us that "P.A.C.K." stands for "Professional Agents / Crime Killers"
Sunshine Family, by Mattel, 1974 -1982
Toward the end of the Big Jim series Mattel produced this "Sport and Shave Ken" 12 inch doll. This was a new doll body for Ken that incorporated the arms from the 9 inch Big Jim doll. The left arm has one standard Big Jim open hand and the right arm has a grip hand to hold objects. The grip hand is the same one used for the Karl May TV series dolls, as seen above on the Old Shatterhand doll. Ken and Big Jim also share the same shoes.
Harley Davidson Ken, by Mattel, 1999
During the 1990s Ken went through a major transformation. Rather than simply being an accessory to Barbie, Mattel had begun to market Ken separately to collectors who are not the least bit interested in owning a Barbie. An example of this is the Harley Davidson Ken dolls. Below is the second Harley Davidson Ken to be offered. He's all decked out in his motorcycle riding gear. Mattel did an awesome job on this doll and added lots of detail, including a Harley Davidson belt buckle and a printed Harley logo bandana.
The same year that the second Harley Davidson Ken was available Mattel offered this Grand Ole Opry Ken doll. Unfortunately he was sold in a two pack set with Barbie. I thought this Ken was interesting enough to get anyways, and I gave the Barbie to my sister. I didn't bother to keep the box either, I just wanted the Ken. Once again Mattel did an awesome job with the detail such as a headset microphone and a flocked cowboy hat. Ken's guitar even has separately attached strings.
Hawaii Ken, by Mattel, 1999
Surf City Ken, by Mattel, 2000
Max Steel, by Mattel, 2000
From the mid 1980s to the early 1990s this style of "doll for boys" fell out of vogue in favour of standard action figures. But in the mid 1990s 12 inch dolls such as G.I Joe were starting to make a comeback. By 2000 they were back in demand and a new battle between toy companies to create the best 12" action figure doll series was in full swing. Hasbro produced G.I Joe and Action Man assortments while Mattel introduced their new 12 inch hero...Max Steel!
Here is the second assortment as shown on the back of the card. Click on the image to see a larger version.
My Scene, 12 inch doll by Mattel, 2003
The back of the box shows illustrations of the four male dolls in the series, which in addition to Byant includes Sutton, Hudson and River.
California Boy Blaine, by Mattel, 2004
Big Bad Wolf, 7 inch doll by Mattel, 2008
Ken Riviera!, by Mattel, 2008
Ken Fashionistas: Hottie, by Mattel, 2009
The following year, in 2009, Ken moved up from cutie-pa-tootie status to become an official hottie. The doll body used for the Fashionistas "Hottie" Ken above uses doll body parts from the Harley Davidson Ken doll shown above. The upper arm was modified to have thicker bicepts, and the legs are a bit longer than the previous Kens. The face for this doll is the same as the Riviera! Ken, but instead of sculpted hair it has rooted doll hair that has been styled and glued into position. Several Ken dolls were made for this Ken Fashionistas series. In addition to "Hottie" Ken there were two different "Sporty" Kens and a "Cutie" Ken. These have since been followed by at least six more Fashionistas Ken dolls.
Ken: A Fashion Fairytale, by Mattel, 2009
Also in 2009 "A Fashion Fairytale" Ken was sold to promote a DVD of the same name. A small hang tag on the front of the box explains that the DVD would be released in the Fall of 2010. I've decided to leave this Ken in the box unopened, so I'm not sure what type of doll body was used. His hands are shaped differently from any of the above Ken dolls, and he is a bit shorter than the Fashionista "Hottie" Ken. Once again the same face as the Riviera Ken was used, but with the rooted doll hair that is glued into position. I think this Ken really looks sharp! Mattel did an awesome job on this Ken doll.
Ken, by Mattel, 2010
Text and Photographs © Mike Artelle