As a kid of the early 1970s, Big Jim rocked my world. I’m also happy I have video evidence of me receiving a Big Jim for Christmas in 1974.
As you can see, I’m pretty happy with the guy. As a lover of collector books, i’ve always felt Big Jim was kind of ….underserved. (more after the jump)
I have beautiful books on GI Joe, Star Wars, Mego etc but Mattel’s man of action never got much love. That’s why I’m so excited about this, even if it’s entirely in French. Yes, Big Jim: un Monde d’Aventures is from France, not surprisingly though considering that after leaving US toy shelves in 1976, Big Jim would enjoy massive success in Europe for another decade, becoming a Spy, a pirate, a cowboy and eventually heading off into outer space.
Despite this language barrier ( Trust me my French is at a “D student in ninth grade” level) I still heartily recommend this book because it is just wall to wall eye candy!
Author Pascal Pinteau has gone above and beyond with this and created a 286-page publication that explodes with colour. Toy pictures, catalogs, comics all merged into a buffet that I’ll admit, had me checking eBay.
All of Big Jim’s eras are covered including his early development at Mattel including a fun part about how he was marketed in the United Kingdom as a spy known as “Mark Strong: The Man from M.A.T.T.E.L”. Mark Strong even had his own comic book and this wouldn’t be the last time Jim got a comic in foreign countries.
The Wolf P.A.C.K era (one of the most popular iterations of Big Jim, especially if you’re me) gets loving coverage and includes several prototype items that didn’t make it to market. I had never seen this stuff.
Pascal has tracked many former Mattel employees and interviewed them at great length, you get a wonderful visual window into this lines origin, different incarnations and even what the future held. There are so many little fun surprises here, I don’t want to spoil them.
Fans of “Masters of the Universe” will really enjoy the many connections Big Jim had to the line, from character designs to just plain old recycling (Mattel is the king of that), it’s a fun bit of history.
But that’s not it, Pascal also spend hundreds of hours creating fun dioramas, These beautiful shots give the book a wonderful “Wishbook” feel and well, it truly adds to the charm. Here is a behind the scenes shot of one of those dioramas and below is an exclusive widescreen shot.
Pascal has clearly written the best book on Big Jim ever done but more importantly, it’s one of the nicest collector publications I have ever seen. The attention to detail on this book is an example of how much love was put into this, if you like Big Jim, you should get this.
AKA Brian Heiler author of "Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings" and co-editor of "Toy-Ventures Magazine". Co-Host of the "Pod Stallions" podcast. Host of the Brick Mantooth Youtube channel, painter, designer, writer, mental health advocate, toy collector, Mego, and Mego Knock-Off enthusiast. I have large feet, ADHD and I live in Canada. Talk toys, not others.