Long long ago, in a childhood far far away, I once had this plastic crystal-looking dragon toy. I had gotten it secondhand & had never seen any media for it, so I had no idea what it actually was, nor even what toyline it was from. It did bear a certain resemblance in both size and certain design aspects to the dragon-horse from Blackstar (a toy I also had), so I figured it was probably some alternate version of that. (Maybe the dragon-horse had gone through a mystical meteor shower and been transformed into crystal, or had been frozen into ice.)
The toy was made of a somewhat rubbery transparent blue plastic. I never had any accessories, packaging, or anything else tied in with it.
For close to 30 years now, I have been puzzled over what that crystal dragon toy actually was and what toyline it was from. A couple of days ago I finally found the answer.
I saw a scan of some old ad online (I don’t even remember now where I saw it, nor whether it was a comic ad or a store ad) and thought “Hey, I wonder if that might be related to that crystal dragon toy?”, sure enough it was!
It turns out that the dragon is actually a generic & nameless character in an old comic series, “Crystar”. Crystar never had a cartoon, though it did have some “Marvel Books” for young readers, and some coloring and activity books (I managed to find a torrent with the full comic series, 2 children’s books, and 3 coloring/activity books). The comics and toys came out at approximately the same time (toys were first by a small margin, though the concept originates with the
comics, the toys were just faster into production), and were masterminded by Marvel comics.
The series is very reminiscent of many other fantasy toy and comic series from the 80s, such as He-Man, Visionaries, Sectuars, etc, etc, although it predates nearly all of them (only the He-Man toys and mini comics came out earlier). It most reminds me of Visionaries, with a very similar plot of a kingdom/world being split into two factions, a wizard transforming ordinary people into people with mystical powers, the designs & settings, and even certain similarities in some of the characters.
The version of the story told in the children’s books is somewhat simplified & sanitized from the comic version, but otherwise generally the same. The comic books also had guest appearances from some regular Marvel characters, including Doctor Strange and Nightcrawler. What really set this comic apart from most others of its type though is that it actually came to a conclusion. While most toy-based comics of the time just went on for a little while and then got cancelled with no resolution to the story, Crystar ran its course and brought the story to a full conclusion in its 11th and final issue.
Here is what my dragon looks like in the books:
…and in the comics:
..And for those of you who are curious, this is what the dragon-horse I mentioned looks like:
This toy I did get new, was familiar with the cartoon it originated from, and thus knew exactly who the character was.