Friday, October 31, 2008


The following is a

of the
Sanctum Sanctorum Comix blog! *

I have no idea what this tv bumper is from. It was Halloween-themed, so I'm using it, although I'd much rather have used this old classic that I remember fondly (if only they weren't TV-themed):

Anyway... as you may remember, in last weekend's post, I was writing about BEN COOPER and their various Marvel character products (jiggler action figures at the time) and I mentioned the HALLOWEEN COSTUMES that the company produced in the 1960's, 1970's & 1980's.
In keeping with the focus of this blog, I'll be showcasing the DR. STRANGE costume(s), specifically.

(and if you're good... and stay until the end, you may get a treat.)


The Ben Cooper "garbage bag"-style costume was a ubiquitous staple for over 30 years in any department store's "Halloween" section. A kid could conceivably find a costume for nearly ANY marketable TV, comic book or video game property.
There were some awesome ones... and some LESS than stellar entries.

As you'll see with the pics below (All of which you can click on to make "Supreme" sized), the Ben Cooper costumes were all vinyl "jumpsuits" that came with a plastic face mask with holes cut out for the eyes, pinholes for the nostrils (if you were lucky) and, sometimes, a slit for the mouth (although, the Dr. Strange mask had neither nostril nor mouth holes) .

With the costumes made in Taiwan and masks in the USA, they were supposedly flame-retardant and non-toxic, but I'm sure that if you came anywhere near an open flame you'd go up like the "flames of the Faltine" and get a mighty wicked buzz from "Agamotto's hookah" at the same time.

During it's production history, the Doctor Strange costume came in 2 variations and also had 2 different style boxes.

While, sadly, they didn't come in Adult sizes (for the groovy, yet lazy, Doc-fan), they did come in three kid's sizes:

Child's Small (4-6) - fits child 41" - 46" tall
Child's Medium (8-10) - fits child 47" - 52" tall
Child's Large (12-14) - fits child 53" - 58" tall

(I have one of each size.)


The original 1978 licensed version is this one:

It had an all blue jump-suit with a representation of Dr. Strange (in a pose redrawn from a classic Frank Brunner illustration) and a mask that was supposed to be that of Stephen Strange.
You'll note that this version has very heavy paint above the eyes (eyelashes?) and green mascara-like coloring.

This version came in a box that was generically titled:

Costume & Mask"

and had drawings of various cartoon characters that were also available in costume form.

(I own this in the Large size)


By 1979, the costume changed dramatically.

The all blue suit was replaced with a yellow upper portion, but still with the same illustration and still with a blue bottom half.
Two less than subtle differences in the illustration are:
- the addition of lightning bolts (mystic energy?)
- a more basic coloring application (less differentiation of shades)

The mask also got a new paint job.
Less "strange" and more "Doctor", they ditched the green mascara and overly heavy eyelashes with a more "realistic" look.
The box stayed the same.

(for this, mine is the Medium)

However, when the costume was reissued in 1980, the box was given an overhaul as well.

Gone was the generic TV/COMIC box to be replaced with a more dynamic (and appropriate):

Costume & Mask"

complete with drawings of the four characters in that assortment:
- Captain America
- Red Skull
- The Thing
- Doctor Strange

(With the exception of Captain America, who replaced Spider-Man, these were the same characters that were sold together in the "jiggler" assortment.)

(and for this, I have the Small)

As an added bonus, here's their page from the 1980 Ben Cooper catalog.

By the looks of it, those kids are at one heck of a disco Halloween party.
("...everybody was kung-fu fight-ing...")

But there ain't no way in hell the "Thing" or "Red Skull" are getting any good treats.


Speaking of "treats", to end this post, I was going to include pics of myself in my very own, custom-made Doctor Strange costumes, but I thought that might be best left for a future post with some interesting anecdotes about my times in the robes of the Mystic Master.

So... instead of the "treat" I promised, it looks to be a "trick" instead.
My apologies.
(Please don't egg my blog.)

I WILL, however give you a tip to locate one such pic of me.
If you have a copy of WIZARD # 75... I was a winner in that year's (1997) 6th annual costume contest.

Yeah. Happy hunting on that.

*** UPDATE***
Now, one year after this post first upped,
I have fulfilled my promise and have posted pics of my Dr Strange home made costume(s) - [HERE]

And to all of you "Hoary Hosts" out there tonight...
---HAPPY--- / / V**V \ \ ---HALLOWEEN---


* (the planned post - about pre-action figures- that was promised for this weekend will still be made at that time)


Howard said...

I've been looking for the 1980's release with the Marvel super heroes on the box for years now. Very tough to find.

Happy Halloween!

~P~ said...

"Strangely" enough, Howard, I came across that 1980 release within a week of my buying the 1979 hybrid (the new costume in the old box) back in 1998.

I didn't know that there was a 1978 all-blue original until just a couple of years ago. Thanks to you!

After keeping it in the back of my mind since then, I decided to actively hunt for it a few months ago.
I found (and bought) it the morning of this Halloween (just before writing the post).

A "treat" indeed!

Don't give up on the 1980 release.
Everything presents itself in time.

Happy All-Saints Day (the day of your comment) & All-Souls day (today).

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but do you have this???

~P~ said...

Oh, you magnificent bastard...
I DO have the Ben Cooper figure
as seen in THIS blog post:

But I do NOT have the DISPLAY UNIT!

Ooooohh... MUST find.
If you have it and are willing to part with it... LMK.
That is sweet.
Thanks for the comment.

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