This was a really good blog entry. Thanks, Scott.
Scareglow was one of my favorite figures as a kid. I think he was actually one of the very last figures I got, as well. I only had one of the Snake Men (Snake Face) and I never had any of the late Horde or heroic warriors from 1986 and 1987. I distinctly remember getting Scareglow at a Toys ‘R Us. I’m not sure if it was my parents or a visiting relative, but if I am remembering correctly, Scareglow was one of those “we are taking you to the toy store and you can pick out one figure” gifts.
So, unlike many other figures I had as a kid that were just given as gifts, Scareglow (while still a gift) was one I got to pick out myself right off the pegs!
And how cool is he? I mean, come on! He’s a flippin’ glowing skeleton with a giant green axe and a sweet purple cape. As a kid, this figure just jumped out at me. Plus, he came with that kicking “Search for Keldor” mini-comic that to this day I still think is the best mini-comic from the vintage line. While many of the early mini-comics were just there to sell toys and justify the figure in the package, this one actually brought the story forward and was the first hint into the mysterious origins of Skeletor! Oh, and it had Ninjor in it, too. Never had him, but he was sweet. My friend Shawn had Ninjor. I always stole him for my battles.
So when it came down to Classics, getting Scareglow into the line was definitely a priority for me. Plus, Scareglow was one of the few vintage MOTU figures (1982-1987) that never made it into the 200X show, toy line or Staction line. So I knew it wasn’t just me, but a ton of fans had been waiting a long time for a new Scareglow.
The other villain that I loved just as much as Scareglow was Spikor. When we were designing the 2009 lineup, I had both of these figures in mind for a fall monthly slot. Not only because they were personal favorites, but because, as stated above, neither had 200X releases or appeared on the show. So fan demand for them was high.
In the end, we went with Scareglow, mostly due to the lower tooling (Spikor needed more new parts, including unique wrist bands on his arms, multiple weapons and full chest armor). But from a personal standpoint, we decided to throw the other figure (Spikor) wayyyyy out into 2012. It was always my personal goal to see if I could stay on the brand long enough to get to him since both Scareglow and Spikor were my two favorite villains as a kid. By moving one of them far out, it acted to me personally as a “beacon” for the longevity of the line (and gave a great fan-demanded figure for 2012).
Of course, another cool benefit to having Scareglow in the 2009 line for Q4 was that he was SUPPOSED to be the October figure in time for Halloween. But as happens more times than I wish, one figure often gets delayed (in this case, Mer-Man) which caused a ricochet effect that bumped every figure for the rest of the year down a month. While I was slightly disappointed that Scareglow got moved out of October, I was even more disappointed that this bump also affected our December figure, Adora, and pushed her to January 2010. I really wanted one POP figure in Year 1, but alas, the Mer-Man delay moved her out, too. (More on Adora when I get to her in a few weeks!)
Back to Scareglow. I’ve told this story before, but it is funny to mention it again: when I brought the entire 2009 line up to upper management, a few of the high-ups who were old timers (and had worked on the vintage line) looked at my image of MOTUC Scareglow (on what we call a B-sheet, or a concept sheet, showing the proposed tooling and costs of a figure along with an image) then immediately looked at me and said “Scareglow? Really?”
Back in the day (it seems), Scareglow was part of what we often call a “filler wave.” When a toy line is popular enough (like MOTU was in 1985!), production sometimes can’t keep up with retail demand so the marketing team will come up with a low tool or even a redeco wave to offer additional product that can be “rushed” to shelf faster compared to newly tooled figures (like we do today).
If you look at the “wave” of figures that Scareglow (vintage) was in, all of them were low tool or repaints. Characters like Randor, Clamp Champ, Ninjor and Scareglow all used the basic body and new heads/weapons. No new body tools were included (which was the exception for figures this deep in the line).
I explained in detail to the execs that while “Scareglow” was a quick fix to getting more product out in 1986/1987, now-a-days he was actually one of the most demanded collector figures (mostly due to not being in the 2002 line, but also because he is just so cool looking.
I was given a “well, if you say so” nod (which really does show the trust that upper management has put in me personally for this line) but I still stand by my choice that Scareglow was 100% the right figure to release early in the line.
By the time we got to Scareglow, we had implemented our “2 accessories per figure” rule (a “rule” that didn’t exist when we made earlier figures like Stratos, who were just following the “whatever the vintage figure came with” idea). We knew he would obviously come with his sickle from the vintage days, but this was a very early example of coming up with a new idea for a second accessory.
We talked at length with the Horsemen and it was them who came up with the idea of giving him a reliquary linked to Castle Grayskull. They proposed it to be similar to Marley’s Ghost in Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” The idea was that Scareglow is a “ghost” and often in pop culture and literature, ghosts must carry an object that reflects evil deeds they perpetuated in life, and in death they must carry this item as a “curse.” For Marley it was his chains, for Scareglow, the idea was to give him an object that would represent some horrible deed he had participated in during “life.” This being MOTU, the obvious choice was breaking into Castle Grayskull and the Horsemen came up with a really cool reliquary in the form of a Castle Grayskull artifact that held the key to the Castle. Thus, the idea is he is being punished for his crimes by carrying around a jar with the key, but he can never open the jar. Forever so close, yet so far from his dreams!
Because this was one of the very first “original” accessories for the line, we wanted to make sure to include it in his bio and thus Scareglow’s bio was one of the first (and almost only at this point) bios that was actually re-written to include this accessory and explain it. I honestly don’t recall what his original bio was. It really wasn’t that different, but I know it didn’t include the reference to the reliquary. That sentence was added in after the Horsemen came up with the idea for the accessory.
Speaking of the bio, this was also one of the early bios I remember which fans were blasting the final sentence saying it was poorly written -- when in fact, the final sentence was the ONLY sentence in the bio that was taken directly from vintage material (in this case, the single sentence on the back of the vintage figure’s package). In particular, I remember a forum member posting that Scarerglow would never
“jump out and surprise” his foes and that this was the worst part of the new bio. This did make me laugh a bit considering that this was the only sentence in the bio taken word for word from vintage material! So if it was hokey or odd, blame the vintage line not the current one! We always wanted to use as much existing text for all the bios. While most of this came from the single line on vintage card backs or the 1987 licensor kits, Scareglow didn’t have a 1987 licensor kit bio so that left only the vintage card line as the existing copy to use.
Another interesting note about Scareglow is his tagline. In the vintage line, his tagline was “Evil Ghost of Skeletor.” For decades, this left fans wondering if Scareglow was indeed the Ghost of Skeletor (after all, he is dead, perhaps time-traveling back in time to serve himself?) or if like Faker who was the “Evil Roboto of Skeletor” and clearly not Skeletor but rather “of Skeletor” meant “in service to Skeletor.”
Since there was precedent through Faker’s tagline that “Evil Roboto of Skeletor” could mean “serving” we made the call to end this debate and confirm indeed that Scareglow is the “Evil Ghost SERVING Skeletor” not “of Skeletor” which could be interpreted as being Skeletor’s actual ghost.
Wow, this is getting way too nerdy. I have a headache. But there you go. Thought is put into every detail like this.
A few other things to hit on regarding Scareglow would be his name and his glowing. The name in the bio “Karak Nul” was all new. There was very little vintage material for him (being one of the few figures not in the 1987 licensor kit) and he only appeared in one mini-comic (the epic “Search for Keldor”) and clearly “Scareglow” was not a name his “mom” had given him (the litmus test we used on all characters to decide if he or she needs a new real name).
There isn’t anything too deep about the name. Karak sounded like “crack” (which he had as a trademark detail in his skull) and Nul was a bit like null and void, or not existing, which is what he pretty much does as a ghost. We tried a few names back and forth and this was the one we all liked the best. With very little in terms of vintage or modern media appearances, Scareglow needed a bit more work to create his bio.
From a design standpoint, we knew we wanted him to glow as that is what Scareglow is all about. Some fans and customers complained that we said “no action features” in the Classics line, but I still stand by the call that what we don’t want to do are action features that break up the sculpt or require huge amounts of tooling. Casting existing parts in glow-in-the-dark plastic was a no-brainer. Terry even came up with the cool concept of making the tip of his scythe glow as well for a cool affect. He also made the final part of his cape transparent, as if he was fading away.
The very first proto of Scareglow came back from our vendor and had way too much wash on the skull. This wound up being the version we had for SDCC that year (he was one of the big reveals, if memory serves – it often doesn’t) and some fans really loved the wash while others hated it. I tried to quickly note that this was not final (much to the annoyance to those who liked the over-wash) but in the end, I still think going with the vintage paint scheme as intended by the Horsemen was the way to go (although selfishly, I kept one of the early prototypes with the extra-dark wash. I keep it in a box under my desk, along with a few other early “mistakes” or test shots, such as an all-black flocked He-Man that was a test for Moss Man and a few other MOTUC odds and ends I’ve collected over the years.).
Scareglow was one of my favorites in the vintage line and now in Classics, he is too. With the new accessory and the glowing “skin,” the Horsemen and Terry really knocked this one out of the park (and all with very little tooling!). I really felt like Scareglow was a turnkey figure in the line that showed our customers (and management) how deep this new collector line could go.
And looking back, we were just getting warmed up!
Until next time!
(AKA Toy Guru)
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This was a really good blog entry. Thanks, Scott.
I serve up lots of hot, fresh action figure reviews on Action Figure Barbecue!
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"Power of Fear" acknowledgement? Nah, of course not!
Love Scareglow!!!! Always has been one of my favorite figures.....I only wished they fleshed out more of his background and involved him more in the comics and cartoon....however he was brought out toward the end of the line......
I wonder why they couldn't use material from Mattel's 1987 Style Guide that has a bio for Scare Glow?Originally Posted by Scott Neitlich BLOG 15
(albeit a *very short* bio, LOL)
Good blog entry. I was definitely one of those that drastically preferred the heavy wash on the proto, though...
Photog is here! thank you, Mattel!
Now how about some mini-comics love (like Lodar, Geldor, Dakon......)? And Mermista?
I think seeing Scare Glow, King Randor, and Adora in the pics for that year's SDCC lineup, plus getting He-Ro as an exclusive that year, got me to seriously start thinking about collecting MOTUC. Honestly, after feeling burned with the end of 200X and the death of the stactions, I figured Classics wasn't going to last very long. I loved them, but they were quite expensive and I figured they'd only do a handful of the main characters then call it quits. Wow, was I wrong about THAT! When I saw where this line was going with characters like Scare Glow (who, along with Shokoti, brings some of the "horror" component to the MOTU blend), I was convinced things were really going somewhere.
Scott, FYI Scare Glow appeared in the very cool 200X Dream Halloween comic "The Power of Fear." If you haven't read it, definitely check it out. Totally worth reading. I remember freaking out when I saw Scare Glow in that comic!!
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Evil Ghost serving Skeletor” could mean a Skeletor that serves Evil Ghosts. I always thought Evil ghostly Henchmen would have been best.
tot his day one of my favourite figures.
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Of course, he was originally Scare Glow, not Scareglow. I think Scott was absolutely right to get this one into the Classics early. Disagree about the 'serving' thing being better than him actually being Skeletor's ghost though.
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Last edited by JimPansen; May 16, 2012 at 03:08pm.
Very cool informative Blog this one is! Although Scareglow is one of my favorites so that may have added to it. Really good read here though, Mr. Toyguru! Love the stories behind his new accessory, the bio, and real name. Also, it's somewhat embarassing that some people would blast the bios back then when they were blasting the EXACT sentence off the vintage cardback.
I never had Scare Glow as a kid. I got out of the line by then. But he is one of my favorite classics figure. Also, thanks to Scott for doing these blogs. I have enjoyed reading them.
I liked this BIO, the Karak Kul name, the new accessory and all. Scareglow is GREAT!!!
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I didn't much care for the bio, myself. While I've got a lot invested in the idea of Scare Glow as the ghost of Skeletor (it's the way I always understood the character back in the day, and it's a key plot point in the fanfic I wrote), that's not my primary issue, since the '87 style guide demonstrated I was wrong on that point. No, my complaint is that 'bounty hunter' seems too mundane and mercenary a role for a character like Scare Glow. I'd prefer him as an evil sorcerer or a cultist of dark and terrible powers like Hordak or the Nameless One.
Anyway, Jukka beat me to it. Scareglow DEFINITELY had a spot in the Licensing Kit. It also confirms that Scareglow IS Skeletor's ghost:
Also worthy of note: his Glow of Terror stunsfoes and keeps them from attacking...and his scythe is called his "Spirit Staff."Skeletor conjured up this spirit in his own image to frighten travelers on the pathways of Eternia. Scare Glow is invisible during daylight, but glows at night.
Fun info from TG, though.
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Awesome blog. I too thought Scare Glow and Ninjor were awesome. Now, where is Classics Ninjor? Little tooling needed, let's get moving on him.