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Tribe ArtTribes GraphicTribe figure

Hasbro’s Tribes – Only The Strong Survive. Or do they?

During the 1980s, a boom of action figure lines exploded onto the market, often bolstered by an accompanying cartoon. Out of this animated assortment a few strong market dominators arose; He-Man and the Masters of the Universe being one of the strongest. Naturally other toy companies racked their collective brains trying to unseat Mattel’s golden child, resulting in a vast array of interesting toys that performed to various degrees. One such attempt came during the late 1980s from Hasbro (maker of G.I. Joe and Transformers), an attempt to throw their hat into the realm of fantasy – Tribes.

The brainchild of toy inventors Jose Longoria and Ann Jasperson and Adam Kislevitz (of Kiscom design representatives), Tribes featured a mask-centric theme – with various characters either belonging to the Thunderbear, Firehawk, Wild Cat or the Evil Screaming Skull Tribes. It could be argued that with the primeval fantasy feel of the toyline in addition to the bulging muscles of the designs, Masters of the Universe had more than a passing influence. But by the time the Tribes brand was purchased by Hasbro and put into the early stages of design and development, He-Man’s empire was in decline. The toy market had moved onto newer ideas and Hasbro’s Tribes display at the 1990 Toy Fair failed to garner the attention needed to move on.

However, the Tribes line had gone as far as tooling prototype figures, animal mounts and an impressive tower playset, all of which were rediscovered in 2016 when Kiscom (now The Obb) sold its New Jersey office space and was in the process of clearing out storage. We are proud to offer these prototypes to the collecting world, offering a glimpse into what might have been.

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