Saturday, November 3, 2012

Estrela Cape Identification

Over the past several weeks, I worked on a deal for a loose Shazam Estrela figure which ended coming with his cape.  As several collectors already know, many of the Estrela figures have some unique identification markers, such as the Estrela S.A. stamp on about 1/2 of the production run, but mostly the skin color is the main indication.  The figure identification has been thoroughly discussed, and you can follow the link to know a little more about the figure Estrela stamps and some pictoral examples of the figures.

The point of this blog post is not necessarly the figures themselves, but instead the capes that go with the figures.  When I was working on my loose Estrela Shazam deal, one thing that was important to me was the Shazam cape.  Since there are not may known loose Estrela Shazam capes around, I asked my buddy Ken on his opinion on the cape differences (Estrela vs. USA) using his carded Estrela Shazam as an example.

The picture below serves as a decent comparison between the two capes. The left cape is the Estrela Cape that was a part of my deal, and the right is from a USA figure.  Please note that the Estrela Cape shows an extra row of "X"'s on the top, but both Ken and I agree that someone probably put them there with yellow marker, and should not be used as an identification method.  Ken's carded Estrela Shazam figure does not have the extra row of "X"'s.   As initially determined in my discussion with Ken,  the major identification marker in his carded Estrela Shazam is the color of the clasp.  If you look at the picture below, the USA cape has a much brighter yellow clasp, where the Estrela clasp is somewhat duller.

Other than the clasp, the only other way to identify the capes is the fabric.  My mother-in-law is pretty knowledgeable about fabrics, and I asked her to give me her opinion on the fabrics.  Basically her interpretation between the two fabrics is that they are both different.  She believes that the USA cape is possibly a "nylon tricot" fabric, which has some properties of being wrinkle resistant, and a fairly specific fabric grain pattern (grain is one direction on one side, and is either faint or the other direction on the other side.)  As far as the Estrela fabric, she believes that is is some sort of nylon blend, possibly nylon/polyester blend, due to the cape being not wrinkle resistant, and the a totally different fabric weave than the USA counterpart.  So basically, I cant definitively say that the fabric types are indeed a proper marker, but hopefully this information is somewhat helpful to others if they are having trouble.

In summary, if you are lucky enough to get an Estrela Shazam loose, and want to know if the cape is Estrela or Kenner, the major marker is the yellow color of the clasp.  More than likely if you have the Estrela Shazam, you probably have the Kenner version and can do a side by side comparison.  Other than that, there should be some noticeable fabric differences that also clue you in on the authenticity of the Estrela cape as well.

Thanks to both Ken and my mother-in-law for their help, and hopefully this might be of some value to a few of you.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Highlight - Estrela Exclusive Mini-Comics

Thanks for reading again.  Today is an interesting post on the exclusive mini-comics only found in the Super Powers Estrela line.

I plan to highlight everything Estrela related at some point, but at this time, I am excited as heck to finally have a copy in my collection each of the three mini-comics that were only produced and included in the Estrela Super Powers line.  These mini-comics went with the Plastic-man, Cyborg, and Shazam Estrela figures.  As you are probably are aware, these figures were a part of Kenner's third wave, which did not have mini-comics included in their distribution.

What makes me super excited to have them is two fold, A.) They are very rare, B.) They are examples of what the mini-comics for these figures might have looked like if Kenner included mini-comics with the 3rd series characters.  There are many ramblings across the internet that these were created by Kenner and were initially intended to be a part of the third wave, however due to production cost cutting, Kenner scrapped the idea of mini-comics with the third wave.  Since Estrela figures were produced and distributed at the later end and after the Kenner run, it has been postulated that the Plasticman, Cyborg, and Shazam mini-comics  were left over from the Kenner designs and given to Estrela for their use of the Super Powers license in Brazil.  I am really happy Estrela did distribute these figures and their comics, and it makes me wonder and hope that somewhere out there, there are some pre-poduction items relating to the other 3rd series characters' mini-comics as well.

Below are pictures of the three mini-comics and all their pages for your enjoyment.  As you can see, the artwork is in line with the style of the other Kenner mini-comics artwork, which helps support the idea that they were left over from Kenner designs.  I do not speak Portuguese, so please dont ask what the storylines are!

If you in the foreign collecting field and are looking for these mini-comics, you are in for quite the hunt.  The Plasticman comic appears to be the most common of the three, and currently exists in several collections that I know of, and shows up on Ebay a few times a year.  Both Cyborg and Shazam mini-comics are extremely rare, and in my opinion the Shazam comic is the rarer one.  Lucky for us, there are a few Brazilian eBayers that post Estrela items from time to time, so if you are patient, I'm sure more will pop up in the future.

Happy hunting and hope you enjoyed!