For Christmas of 1978, I received one of the most epic toys to ever hit American shelves, a Japanese import in the form of a team of giant robot warriors known as the Shogun Warriors. I peeled away the wrapping paper to reveal my very own Shogun Warrior, the fist-shooting, eagle-helmeted mecha-fighter known as Raydeen (he's the one starring on the cover of issue #5 pictured below and you can see my vintage Raydeen toy that I managed to find again and fix up in my Resurrection of Raydeen Flickr set).
The Shogun Warriors would be one of my first tastes of geeky fandom before Star Wars truly took over my every waking moment. There was something about those massive toys (Raydeen was over 24" tall) that grabbed my imagination and ran with it. I even went as Mazinga, another Shogun Warrior, for Halloween in '79.
But there was no Saturday morning cartoon or breakfast cereal or series of movies for us to associate with the Shogun Warriors, so we had to rely on imaginative playtime with the few lucky bastards who actually had a Shogun Warrior Jumbo Machina (the name for the 2 foot tall toys) and the stories that we found within the pages of Marvel Comics' Shogun Warriors comic book.
These were somewhat of a rare gem for me and my friends back in the day, and were usually quickly taken out of the stack when comic book trading time came around, as we were often afraid that if we traded them away we'd never see another issue again. Well, that was then.
Now, apparently, all you have to do is dig through the 25¢ bin, and it's suddenly wall to wall Shogun Warriors up in here. So, suffice it to say, I snapped these babies up faster than Raydeen can shoot his axe-bladed fist.
(Note issue #16 below. I always loved that cover. I think it always reminded me of my brother's Queen album cover.)