I am personally offended that whoever or whatever is apparently trying to bring back Power Lords sent an email to ItsAllTrue.net and not me. I was a huge Power Lords fan as a kid and, if I weren’t so lazy, I’m sure I would have made a much bigger deal out of this than NoisyDvL5 (no offense to Noisy, but even he admits he never had any of these as a kid). For heaven’s sake, the mention of Power Lords has been in my “bio card” at the bottom of the page for what, five years?
For those who don’t know, Power Lords was a short-lived toy line in the early 1980s. They were produced by Revell, a company mostly known for model kits; these was one of their first and only ventures into toy-making.
The toyline’s story focused on Adam Power, a guy who could change from a human with very 1970s-looking hair to a blue-skinned alien dude – but who cares about him? What was awesome about Power Lords were the aliens. They were based on designs by Wayne Barlowe, the famous sf/fantasy artist and designer whose work was the basis for the Power Lords. (NoisyDvL5 already did the work of digging up some concept art for Power Lords on Barlow’s site. Thanks Noisy!)
Power Pal Ben Leach wrote the (currently) definitive history of Power Lords in ToyFare #130, which includes an interview with Barlowe. While the toy line wasn’t successful, it managed to have a two waves of toys, a three-issue miniseries from DC Comics, a videogame for the Odyssey system, a board game and a coloring book. One thing that was great about the toys was that for the time – and hell, even compared to many toys these days – they were super-articulated. One figure, Arkus, had nineteen points of articulation.
Anyway, the only thing anyone knows right now is there is a website, powerlordsreturn.com, with a “return” date of 12-21-12.
So, what’s happening? The original toys were developed by Barlowe in concert with two fellows named Ned Strongin and Len Mayem, who then brought the concept to Revell for production. Sadly, Mr. Strongin, who also co-invented the board game Connect 4, passed away last year. But a quick trademark search reveals that Jeanne Strongin and Michael Strongin of “Ned Strongin Creative Services,” applied for the trademark to the name Power Lords for “Collectable toy figures; Play sets for action figures; Toy action figures and accessories” back in May of this year.
Who are the Strongins working with? I’m not sure, though I have a couple of suspects in mind. I do know Eric Treadaway of the Four Horsemen is a big fan of the Power Lords; as I recall, they looked into getting the license at one point, though I believe it fell through. So what’s the story behind this comeback? And most importantly, why wasn’t I notified?
Seriously people, totally miffed I didn’t get this email too. Ned Strongin Creative Services, you have made a weak and powerless enemy. (NOTE TO NSCS: I am totally joking. Please contact me at your earliest convenience and I will shill for your toy line like a 1950s Fuller Brush salesman.)
UPDATE: I received the following missive just a little while ago:
Dear Mr. Ghostal,
I apologize for not being able to send you the e-mail I sent to itsalltrue.net on 10-11-12. I was just about to send you the e-mail when Arkus attacked and knocked the dish off the top of Volcan Rock, causing me to lose internet access. My internet access came back this morning and I was able to read the wonderful article you had written about the return of Power Lords.
That’s better. Thank you, Adam Power. And I for my part apologize for implying you weren’t as cool-looking as the aliens in my above article.