Monday, January 7, 2008

The History of the Beanworld Action Figure

Larry Marder and Paul Fricke sometime in the '80s
behind an early Beanworld Action Figure display and signage.

Chapter Three

The little-beans-with-eyes-that-are-for-thinking-not-eating were an immediate hit.
People really seemed to like them and I had them on my table for a mini-con or two.

Mike Gold, who was then the Edtor-In-Chief of First Comics, invited Cory and me to a holiday party at his place. A large contingent of the Chicagoland comic book community was there.
Hilary Barta said something to us like,"I saw your action figures. They are great."
I blinked and said, "Uhhhh, Hilary, you got me mixed up with someone else. Believe me,
I don't have any sort of action figure deal."
And he laughed and said, "Sure you do. I meant those little beans with eyes on them. Those are the Beanworld action figures."

I was floored by the absolute genius of this simple name for the little-beans-with-eyes-that-are-for-thinking-not-eating.

I said, "Oh. I gotta use that. Can I steal that?"

And Hilary laughed and said, "Of course you can. Just promise to give me credit for it."

I agreed and we probably shook on it.

And so, at the first possible opportunity, in TOTB #5, I kept my word.
They were now official FREE Beanworld Action Figures.

The picture of me and Paul Fricke at the top is probably from a Chicago mini-con.
The dish itself and the sign are pretty washed out--so I whipped up a little illustration to demonstrate, more or less, what the crude set-up looked like.
My signage got better when I got my first computer.

One small addendum to this story--years later, Hilary Barta confessed that he hadn't made up the name "Beanworld Action Figure" at all. Our mutual friend and fellow Chicagoan, Doug Rice had.

But my thanks always to Hillary and Doug for playing their part in the History of the Beanworld Action Figure!

My thank you to Hilary in TOTB #5

My thank you to Hilary in TOTB #5--close up.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Ancient memories. Those were some fun parties; thanks for remembering.


Anonymous said...

Boy, this sure is a blast from the past, Larry! Good times. I recall the action figure origin, but didn't know Doug Rice came up with it, truly. Hilary's always saying his best lines came from Doug.

I grabbed this photo for my own blog, and said a few things about Beanworld, which folks can read here:

I haven't tracked down my Beanworld Action Figures yet, but I know I've got some!

Unknown said...

WOW! That's a familiar page! It contains an odd artifact from my childhood, the first and only drawing I ever sent to a comic book!

And it was printed! I mean, I'm pretty sure you only printed it cuz you knew my dad, as mine is the extremely sketchy looking bean with the smiley face and the weird spear.

Cut me some slack, I was five! Maybe four, in fact. I mean, you'd think I would have realized that beans don't have mouths, but what can you do...frankly my drawing skills haven't exactly grown by leaps and bounds since.

The spear stems from my sincere desire to help Proffy with her twink problems ("TWINKS STINK! You and your big ideas!" I loved that line). Having the usual martial mindset of a young American male, I figured she could put them to use creating a hideous new weapon with which the beans could smite their enemies. pictured. This may not have been apparent to the casual observer.