?The first marriage of zinc sulfide into plastic isn’t recorded in history, but it’s still a happy day for kids everywhere. It’s the day that someone figured out that you could make plastic glow-in-the-dark, a scientific breakthrough that has benefited the world of toys almost exclusively. From that glorious day, kids started getting action figures that, when left out in the light for a while, would radiate an otherworldly luminescence for hours in the dark, opening up a new way to play — and more importantly, a whole new time to play (i.e., after we were told we had to go to bed). Eventually, some scientist will likely figure out that glow-in-the-dark toys have been slowly poisoning us all for years, but until then, we might as well enjoy them — and remember the 11 coolest glow-in-the-dark figures ever made.
11) Star Raiders
?Tomland’s Star Raiders were obvious drug store rip-offs of Star Wars figures that somehow didn’t inspire the wrath of the Lucas lawyers. For no good reason, Series 2 included the exact same figures as Series 1, except that the figures were now all glow-in-the-dark. Had the Star Raiders undergone a nuclear attack inbetween the two series? Were they now all irradiated? Were they ghosts of their former selves, doomed to wander the galaxy for all eternity? We may never know, but they sure were fun for crappy Star Wars knock-offs.
10) Playmobil Pirate Ghosts
?Everybody in the Playmobil universe is adorable, including the dead. So when Playmobil pirates die — presumably a violent, bloody death at the hands of the Navy, or perhaps their fellow pirates — and are denied entrance into heaven, and thus doomed to wander the earth for all eternity, they’re still pretty upbeat about it.
9) Universal Monsters
?The marriage of the 3 ?-inch format with the Universal Monsters was already an cocktail of awesomeness, then toymaker Remco went an extra step further and made the second series of figures glow-in-the-dark. The only downfall of this was that it meant kids had to buy the same figures twice, and other toymakers quickly learned that kids would re-buy the same figure for a minor upgrade. Thus “variants” were born. Sigh.
8) Weebles Haunted House
?They may not be able to fall down, but that’s no reason they should have built Weebleville on an Indian burial ground.
?Archie McPhee is known for creating action figures of unusual historical figures and fictional characters; however, Jesus has had more than one toy made of him. So McPhee stepped theirs up a notch and gave him some awesome glow-in-the-dark hands, allowing him to heal other action figures afflicted with leprosy all through the night.
6) Lords of Light
?After Mego went belly up, a company called PAC Toys attempted to pick up the pieces and release things like Rocky action figures and this toyline, cleverly made up from discarded Micronauts molds. The premise here was you stuck a glow stick into the figure itself, so they “gained otherworldly powers.” Sadly, PAC ran into big troubles and the toyline never even got a Good Guys wave. Guess that means the Lords of Light lost.
5) The Spectre
?DC’s Spectre is never going to be on a lunchbox (unless it’s a Brave and the Bold one) but it’s totally awesome to see him get this fun (and completely relevant) glow-in-the-dark variant figure from DC Direct. It’s like he comes with 10% more vengeance!
4) Glow in the Dark Godzilla
?When Aurora resissued their monster model kits with glow-in-the-dark parts, the only one that really made a lick of sense was Japan’s irradiated king of building stomping, since Godzilla actually does glow just before he fires his mouth beam. The kit gives the illusion that Godzillas is seconds away from dishing out some super fiery breath on some unfortunate commuters, and that ain’t bad at all.
?As a Masters of the Universe figure, Scareglow is not only one of the better looking charactesr (dig that sweet cape!) but his confusing origin made him totally awesome. The MotU packaging called him the “Evil Ghost of Skeletor,” baffling young He-Man fans: Was Skeletor dead? Did he die when he first turned into Skeletor, or was this recently? Can a man with a skull for a head actually die? Did dying make Skeletor more evil, or is Mattel just confirming that he’s still evil? These questions kept kids in the ’80s up at night, much like the light emanating from the toy.
Kenner’s 18-inch Alien figure was an incredible achievement for the time, since few toys from an R-rated movie made it on toy shelves, let alone a giant, frightening space creature designed by H.R. Giger. If you weren’t scarred enough by just owning this, the alien was the last thing you saw every night before going to sleep, thanks to his glow-in-the-dark skeleton. It was totally awesome.
1) Micronauts Aliens
Mego’s MIcronauts were a fun Japanese import that combined robotic action figures with the combining fun of Lego. Then Mego introduced these monsterous cyborg menaces to the toyline, each with explosed glow-in-the-dark brains. If the Mego company had been run by an actual 9-year-old, they couldn’t have made a better toyline.