These original, vintage M.U.S.C.L.E.-like figures are not direct copies of Kinnikuman/M.U.S.C.L.E. figures but clearly inspired by their similarity in style, texture, rigidity, color, and size. Future Strength figures are arguably the best known of the Masquerading MUSCLE’s.Future Strength figures were not added to Anthropology because there is no evidence that suggests these figures came before M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. These figures appear to be the result of the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures being successful and not the earlier Kinnikuman figures.
There are 12 known Future Strengths sculpts.
Jon Morey took the time to photograph and name the first 10 figures. With his permission both his pictures and names are being reused. The first six figures seem to be the most directly M.U.S.C.L.E. influenced sculpts. The remaining four figures may have directly drawn their inspiration from something, but it is completely unknown today.
The final two figures were more recent discoveries.
Spork, Hawkdude, Frowny, Sadface, Mongrelman, and Twinface are the six figures clearly influenced by specific M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. The six figures are presented below (front and back) along with the M.U.S.C.L.E. figure that served as their inspiration.
The final six Future Strength figures do not appear to have a direct M.U.S.C.L.E. influence.
The Yellow Space Eskimo is an exact replica in size and detail to the Future Strength figure. The Future Strength figures could certainly be described as a low quality products, which makes that masterful copying of it all the more surprising.
In June of 2012 a fascinating discovery was made – two Future Strength figures in translucent colors.
This Blue Mongrelman figure is an exact copy in detail, but he is much smaller in size – which suggests he is a copy of an original Future Strength figure.But what really makes this two figures standout is that a raised “TAIWAN” trademark has been added to both of the figures. The addition of this trademark begs the question, “Was the trademark added to the figures or removed from the other Future Strength figures?”
Because the raised “TAIWAN” trademark has been added to the Blue figure it seems logical, based on the available sample, that Future Strength figures were copied and sold.
The two figures raise a number of questions:
– Did the original manufacturers create a second wave of Future Strength figures?
– What other colors are available?
– Were all of the colors translucent?
– Why was TAIWAN added to the back of the figure?
If these two translucent figures are actually counterfeit Future Strength figures created by a different manufacturer, then there is a hilarious meta-quality to the whole situation.
Are these translucent figures direct copies of figures that wanted to avoid directly copying figures by creating original figures that were directly inspired by M.U.S.C.L.E. figures?
If that is true, then it is wonderfully hilarious – that still yielded some wonderfully interesting and attractive figures.In November of 2012 what looked to be a third translucent Future Strength figure was discovered. It appeared to match the translucent Yellow Space Eskimo, but, at the time, was an entirely new Future Strength sculpt. The figure was named Mellerdrammer and was later confirmed to be a Future Strength figure.
At the same time Mellerdrammer was confirmed, the 12th figure was discovered: Bate-Man.
On April 30th, 2014 a third translucent color was discovered. The figure was a Sadface in a Translucent Green color. Unfortunately it was never confirmed to have the raised “TAIWAN” on its back.
The final addition, also added on September 23rd, was provided by Chris K. (known as dixiebull at LRG). This figure is especially interesting because it is the first coloration of this type.
This figure appears to be a M.U.S.C.L.E.-like Salmon color.Like the translucent figures, this figure also has the raised “TAIWAN” trademark added to his back.
On September 29, 2016 another one of Lucas Rage’s amazing discoveries was posted. This time the King of Counterfeit discovered a variant Future Strength card.
Lucas was able to acquire two packages of carded Future Strength figures. The first one was identical to the Auction Watch #100 one he had bought years ago – same figures and everything. However, the second one is quite different.
The most immediately noticeable difference is the darker blue coloring. An attempt to argue that the color variation is due to fading, but the black and yellow lettering is not faded. The variation appears 100% authentic.
The second difference is that the figures are different. A variety of figures in different packaging is easy to assume, but that is not always the case with counterfeit figures. With so few carded examples of Future Strength this type of discovery is very exciting.
The third difference is very curious. A barcode is in the top left of the card. All previously documented examples of Future Strength figures did not have the barcode. To be a viable retail product a barcode is a forgone conclusion. Seeing the two versions raise some questions:
- Which version came first?
- Did they originally forget the barcode?
- Did a “bootlegger” remove the barcode?
- Could it have been regionally released by different companies?
Finally, at the bottom of the card, the distributor information is very different. On the original card it states:
MADE IN TAIWAN EXPRESSLY FOR McCRORY CORP. YORK, PA. 17402 TT-982
On the newly discovered card it states:
PACKAGING AND DESIGN © 1986 LAURIE IMPORT LTD
RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN OVER 3 YEARS OF AGE
Obviously those are two significantly different pieces of information. It is unlikely that the 1986 copyright is true. It is reasonable to think that these figures were rushed to market after the success of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. The 1986 copyright was likely meant to be a “hey-we-released-it-at-the-same-time-you-can’t-sue-us” defense.
As a super nerd for these types of discoveries it is easy to love all of these very cool variations. However, a great part of the newly discovered card is a hilarious lack of oversight. More accurately it could be described as evidence for absolutely zero care, pride, and/or work ethic for this product.
At the top of the card: “FOR AGES OVER 4”
At the bottom of the card: “RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN OVER 3 YEARS OF AGE”
If you have any Future Strength figures or packages to add to the archive, then please email a high-resolution picture to the University of M.U.S.C.L.E.. Please take the picture on a white background.