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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dear Santa Week, Part 5: Ideal Super Queen Mera Doll

sgProbably the most unusual, rare, expensive, and strangely-beautiful piece of Aquaman merchandise ever, mostly because it's not even an Aquaman doll, of course...but one of Mera, his beautiful queen, and VODCC (Very Obscure DC Character).

This was part of Ideal's Super Queens line from the late 60's, which consisted of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, and, oddly enough, Mera. Since Aquaman made his greatest strides in merchandising at this time, so when Ideal needed a fourth Super Queen, Mera got the call (there's a whole page devoted to this line of toys, which I urge you to check out here).

The dolls themselves weren't that popular, since girls were still Barbie-centric and boys wouldn't be caught dead with playing a toy called a Super Queen. They weren't around long, which resulted in these things being super rare and super expensive now. As goofy as the dolls sorta looked, you cannot fault the box design--the monochromatic background, the die-cut frontspiece featuring the happy AquaFamily--the presentation for these things was top-notch.

Just a beautiful, beautiful piece.

Funny story: Around December 2002, I got laid off from my job at a web-design firm. I had been doing freelance illustration for a short while by then, but didn't feel like I was quite ready to make the leap to doing it full-time. But that decision was made for me.

Anyway, I had had a few clients, but was obviously nervous about my financial future. I had no steady job, and was thousands upon thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Yet, for some indefensible reason, I still trolled the virtual halls of ebay. One day in January, I discovered a Mera Super Queens doll, still in the box, in about as good condition as you'd ever hope to find. The doll was in perfect shape, the box was solid and brightly colored. This thing apparently had been stored in someone's attic for decades, and, incredibly, had barely aged over the time.

The current bid was around $1,000.00. A lot for a toy, the normal ones of you are thinking, but in relation to Mera's value, a steal. I decided, to hell with common sense or self-preservation, I had to have it. I put in a bid of $2,500.00.

As my brain sent the command to my finger to click the mouse and hit "confirm bid" (the title of my upcoming auto-biography), my brain sent a second command, saying "What the hell are you doing?!?" and that second thought fought a losing battle to catch the first one, hoping to stop it in time.

No luck. My bid was submitted, I was the current high bidder. I came the closest I've ever come to a heart attack (except for when I ate two whole Domino's Pizzas at one time, but that's another story). What was I thinking? Here I was, no regular income, a few jobs out there, thousands in debt, a car to pay off, and here I was committing twenty-five hundred dollars I didn't have to buy a Mera doll. Rob, clearly, had lost it.

I spent two loooong days sweating over the auction, praying, for the first and only time, that I'd get outbid. Finally, a few days later, I did. The auction went up to around 10K, so there was never any chance I was going to win. But not knowing that at the time, I was in total panic. So the freshiest, mintiest Mera doll I'll ever see went off with another man.

Now, of course, whatever money I had then is long gone, and now I don't have Mera, either. Is there a moral here? I don't know. It reminds me of the ending to a Simpsons episode, where Homer asked Marge: "I don't get it. Is this a sad ending or a happy ending?"

Marge's reply? "It's an ending. That's enough."


Dixon said...

There are two very good reasons that I check in on the Aquaman Shrine on a daily basis. Firstly, it's a wonderful blog devoted to one of my all-time favorite heroes. The other reason, however, is because you occassionally post these wonderful personal stories related to the merchandise on display! Thank you, as always, for sharing the anecdote.

Javier Hernandez said...

Holy smokes, that was one intense story! Never seen that particular doll. Interesting to find out info like this. I never put myself in a situation quite like yours, but yeah, Ebay sure has a great way of putting desperatley-wanted treasures in front of our eyes!

Great Blog ya got here. It's always cool to find out that every hero has it's own dedicated fan base.