Robot 6

There’s a whole Tumblr dedicated to Presto Magix

The Incredible Hulk: Rampage on Main Street

The Incredible Hulk PrestoMagix

I mean, yeah, of course there is, as we live in the age where our memories of the past are preserved for us in the cloud, so it isn’t a surprise. But I’d forgotten these things even existed until they popped up in my Tumblr feed.

“Dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of the most important art form of the latter half of the 20th century: PrestoMagix,” the Tumblr in question has all sorts of package shots of various PrestoMagix “games” from the late 1970s and early 1980s, including several Marvel and DC Comics ones. If you aren’t familiar with the magic (excuse me, magix) behind these things, basically they consisted of an illustrated background and an acetate sheet of various characters, vehicles, etc. The idea was that you put the sheet on the background and rubbed the back with a pencil, so the image on the sheet transferred to the background — thus creating your own little story.

That is, if you rubbed hard enough with the pencil. If you didn’t do your due diligence, you ended up with half a zebra or something, and basically lost that particular item. Here’s a video showing how it worked:

These were made by Papermate and were available on the toy aisle or sometimes in the check-out lane at your grocery store, Target or drug store. While they created some original properties and even some based on historical events (one let you recreate the Battle of Midway), most of them were licensed properties, including Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Hulk and Thor. And of course the Dukes of Hazzard.

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Later on, they made them for the various Star Wars properties, ThunderCats and I think G.I. Joe, but those were in different packaging than the standard blue-and-yellow with the balloon logo and little magician guy. The Tumblr shares some of the background of the company and some of the sets, like this post on a Hulk set that was drawn by Dave Cockrum. I don’t think we ever had that particular set, but my brother had the Main Street one. Sure, it had the Hulk, Abomination and Doc Samson on it, all characters we were familiar with, but it also was our first exposure to Wolverine, Bi-Beast and some other characters I probably couldn’t identify to this day.

I’m still not sure why they called these games, as they really weren’t competitive, but they were a good way to kill an afternoon when you were a kid.

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4 Comments

Oh, I loved the UK version of those things in the Seventies, Letraset Action Transfers. I liked the little Egyptians best.

And it seems there’s a website for them too: http://www.action-transfers.com/

omg LOVED these things! my mom would buy me a small one almost every week, and i got the big evok village one for my birthday or something

Count me in as a fan of these! I loved the Star Wars ones!

Thanks Martin Loved the UK version too. Particularly remember an Asterix set I got after I’d been in hospital to get my tonsils removed!!!

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