“Make Everything Skateable”: Natas Kaupas in ‘Wheels of Fire’, 1987

In 1985, right around the time one Marty McFly made a “board with wheels” out of a 1955 scooter to escape Biff and his goons, the skateboarding industry exploded. Up to then, the unruly and ruleless sport had been dominated by vert skating (pools, half-pipes) and, to a lesser extent, freestyle, where skaters did lots of technical, stationary tricks across a relatively small surface area…

Devil in the Details: ‘The Occult Coloring Book’, 1971

San Francisco’s Troubador Press, under the direction of founder and owner Malcolm Whyte, published a long line of innovative (and beloved, to many) coloring books from 1967 through the early ’80s. Often contracting illustrators with ties to the counterculture and underground comix, Whyte chose subjects that were sometimes anodyne—horses, ballet, wildlife, the Bible, dinosaurs—but often daring for the time…

“She Never Fails!”: Havok Super Agent Doll, 1974 – 1975

The ’70s was a decade of action figures. In 1972, the Mego Corporation bought toy manufacturing rights for both Marvel and DC comics, along with several popular TV and movie franchises, and two years later brought forth a cornucopia of “fully posable” figures (8-inch tall dolls, really), including lines such as World’s Greatest Super Heroes, Planet of the Apes, and Star Trek, plus many more in later years…