Details about each of the “Super Rare” M.U.S.C.L.E. figures can be found in History 300. The goal of Philosophy 200 is to examine the mysteries that surround these figures in addition to presenting theories about the source and cause of “Super Rare” M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.
The non-poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures seem to fall into three categories:
1. Non-Poster Gamma Figures
These are the wrestling ring figures, board game figures, and Satan Cross. These figures are no more difficult to obtain than any other specific poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figure.
These figures are included in the discussion of “Super Rare” figures because for many years Satan Cross was labeled as a super rare figure. There is plenty of evidence that proves this assumption is blatantly false. There is no indication that the board game figures, wrestling ring figures, or Satan Cross are any more difficult to find than a common poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figure.
There is only minimal speculation about the board game and wrestling ring figures. In fact, a great deal of information about the M.U.S.C.L.E. Mega-Match Board Game and Hard Knockin’ Rockin’ Ring has already been documented. The only new information about the board game was posted on November 11th, 2009.
The only figure deserving of any specific attention is Satan Cross. It deserves attention for two reasons: (1) the power of its legacy; and (2) the truth behinds its legacy.
In the earliest days of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting Satan Cross held the Super Rare distinction along with X-2 and the Lightbulb Guy. Like the two previously mentioned figures, Satan Cross should have lost his super rare classification. Not because he was misidentified, but because he was so plentiful. His mystique grew because each new collector wanted their own “super rare” M.U.S.C.L.E. figure. As each collector entered the M.U.S.C.L.E. community they secured themselves a figure and the mystique continued to grow. While the figure eventually lost his super rare status his back-story and charisma continued to seduce collectors into paying extra sums of money for a Satan Cross.
There was still a slight consideration that Satan Cross was not an authentic M.U.S.C.L.E. However, Satan Cross’ status as an authentic M.U.S.C.L.E. figure was solidified when he was found in a sealed 4-pack of figures. Since the discovery of that first sealed 4-pack Satan Cross has been found in dozens of 4-packs and even sealed in a 10-pack. With the discovery of several M.U.S.C.L.E. packages containing a Satan Cross figure the question arose, “Why is Satan Cross not on the poster?”
Because of these figures omissions from the M.U.S.C.L.E. posters and unquestionable M.U.S.C.L.E. authenticity, they have been designated Non-Poster Gamma M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.
In 2007, Soupie put together a very through list of fourteen of the popular hypotheses that had been offered over the years. That list is partially recreated below, with commentary regarding the feasibility of each of hypothesis. The reason the entire list is not recreated is because the Gamma figures are not rare. Their origins are easily explained as they have all been identified in original M.U.S.C.L.E. packaging. The only potential question regarding the Gamma figures is, “Why was Stan Cross left off the poster?”
The answer could be as simple as there wasn’t a Satan Cross figure available the day of the photo shoot or that the symmetry of the poster design needed one less figure. It is interesting to consider that color Satan Cross figures were not made, which is why only some of the hypotheses are listed below.
- The Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures are regular M.U.S.C.L.E. figures that were recalled due to small parts.
- This applies to neither the board game figures nor the wrestling ring figures. Satan Cross was once considered under this theory because the original Kinnikuman figure had detachable hind legs. Since the Mattel figure was not released with legs, as evidenced by the sealed packages, this theory does not apply to Satan Cross – or any Gamma figures.
- The Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures are M.U.S.C.L.E. figures that were produced as prototypes or salesman samples.
- Once again, this does not apply to any of the Gamma figures. They are more than plentiful and all of them have been found in sealed M.U.S.C.L.E. packaging.
- The Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. were exclusive figures available via the Nestle Quik Promotion.
- All of the Gamma figures were from actual M.U.S.C.L.E. products. It is possible that the Flesh figures (Satan Cross and the ring figures) were included in the promotion, but no examples have ever surfaced.
- The Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures are the result of a miscommunication between Bandai Japan and Mattel America.
- Again, this does not apply to the wrestling ring or board game figures. It may apply to Satan Cross. There are not any known examples of a color Satan Cross figure. It is possible that Satan Cross was not originally meant to be produced, but no particular reason warranted a recall or stoppage of Flesh color production. However, once the production of Color figures started it was easy to remove the figure from production.
- The Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures are the result of a Mattel/Bandai licensing issue, resulting in some sculpts not being made into M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. However, mistakes were made at a production level, allowing some Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures to be produced.
- See Above
- The Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures are the result of a second wave of Flesh figures that was quickly replaced by a second wave consisting of Color M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.
- The board game and ring figures are excluded from this theory. Satan Cross potentially fits into the model. However, the sheer number of Satan Cross figures makes this theory unlikely. It fits much closer to Alpha and Beta Non-Poster figures.
- The Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures were produced at the beginning of the line when Bandai and Mattel planned on releasing all of the Kinnikuman sculpts as M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. It was later decided not to make every sculpt into a M.U.S.C.L.E. figure.
- Satan Cross may fall into this category, but the abundant supply of Satan Cross figures reduces the likelihood. If this was true Satan Cross and the Alpha and Beta figures would appear in more similar quantities. The other Gamma figures are not part of this hypothesis.
- The Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures are the result of molds damaged before, or during, the production process.
- Again, the other Gamma figures are not part of this hypothesis. However, this could be a very likely possibility for the Satan Cross figure. He was produced in similar quantities as other Flesh figures. The sudden disappearance of Satan Cross when Color figures start to appear could be the result of damage to the mold – either through wear or a simple workplace accident that damaged the mold.
- The Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures are the result of molds being plugged due to complications with the plastic flowing to them and filling them properly.
- This does not seem applicable to the ring and board game figures. It may apply to Satan Cross. The original Kinnikuman Satan Cross figure had a detachable set of hind legs. Because Mattel’s version did not have the legs some action must have been taken to stop the production. If something on the mold was plugged it is possible the overall integrity of the mold could be affected. Bandai/Mattel may have noticed abnormalities in figures that were part of the mold. Scrapping Satan Cross altogether may have been their easiest, most cost effective, solution.
- Rather than lumping all the Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures together, each must be approached on an individual basis.
- There is a saying that the simplest solution is usually the right one. This probably applies to Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures too. However, there are likely trends which are why we see Non-Poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures fall into the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma groups. It seems most likely that whatever the true reason for Super Rare figures, there are probably three general reasons: the Alpha reason, the Beta Reason, and the Gamma reason.