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date: 13 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines a new critical perspective on the creative and commercial synergy between comic books, toys, and broadcast media/film from 1970 to 2010. Applying a variety of critical methodologies, it surveys early cross-marketing of comic-book properties via toys, dolls, and action figures before 1980, then examines the 1980s and 1990s as a watershed moment when comic-book continuities and animated television series were developed in tandem to support toy sales. The resulting interdependence of comics, toys, and animated series as well as the development of comics packaged with toys transformed the signifying potential of more wide-ranging media narratives. The chapter concludes with a discussion of custom, “retro,” and event-specific “exclusive” iterations of comics and action figures within mediatized networks of mythology, memory, and nostalgia post-2000.

Keywords: action figure, toy, cross-marketing, comic book, animation, Disney, Star Wars, He-Man, G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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