What do Han Solo, Batman, Ms. Pac-Man and Jack Torrance from The Shining have in common? That’s right: they were all big in the 80s and are still popular today. But more than that, they’ve all existed in some form or another as toys, and there are new toy versions of them available. In this article we’re going to look at these characters and discuss just why they’ve achieved such iconic status.

I have a particular love for Pop vinyl toys and I’m trying to work out which ones I should get. These ones below are certainly contenders.

Han Solo

Making his first appearance in Star Wars in 1977, Han Solo quickly became the people’s rebel. With his buddy Chewbacca he helped to ferry Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and a couple of now-famous droids around the galaxy. He also – 35 year spoiler alert if you haven’t seen Return of the Jedi yet (?!) – cheated almost-certain death and found love. Now, he exists in various toy guises for you to own. You can buy a Han Solo Pop vinyl (two different versions in fact) or just about any other type of toy imaginable. You can even own a replica of his gun. As for his ship, the Millennium Falcon, you can buy that too, of course, in several forms, including Lego. Just don’t go trying to make the Kessel Run with your toy – these items really do increase in value.


Springing into action from the shadows in 1939, Batman has always been big. But he was absolutely massive at the tail-end of the 80s thanks to the movie in the last year of that decade by Tim Burton starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger. This is a character who has been available in all sorts of toy incarnations, from the past until the present, letting kids both young and old own a piece of the legend. And why has he been so successful? For many, Batman represents an achievable state of heroism. He doesn’t have super powers. He just has courage and determination (and gadgets, lots of gadgets – oh and money). This is a hero we could all become if we just had enough time, money, training and willpower. But with his tragic backstory, who would want to be Batman? Only the very bravest. And that’s why so many of us will always be fascinated by him. There have been countless toys made of Batman and I’m sure there will be for a long time to come. Pop Vinyl doesn’t just have one Batman figure. Above is the very iconic Batman the Animated Series version.

Ms. Pac-Man

A true child of the 80s, Pac-Man was brought to life in 1980 as an arcade game developed in Japan and ported over to just about every platform and corner of the world. Only a year later, Ms. Pac-Man was released as an unlicensed spin-off and many gamers actually found this variant better, with more mazes, faster gameplay and added action between screens. Ms. Pac-Man was designed to appeal to female gamers, but she truly is a universal character – which is why plenty of toy variants have popped up over the years. And even now she is available as everything from Pop vinyl figurines to keychains and more.

Jack Torrance

Here’s Johnny! Jack Torrance sprang into the public consciousness as the main character in Stephen King’s novel The Shining, published in 1977. But, really, it was Jack Nicholson in the 1980 movie adaptation who gave Torrance his voice and mannerisms and contributed to that truly iconic axe scene. If you haven’t seen it in a while, The Shining really is a creepy 80s movie worth rediscovering. And as for toys: there have been a few over the years and there are collectible figures still available today, including of course the Pop Vinyl above. But why stop with just a toy? It’s still possible to visit the hotel which was used for the exterior shots of the film. Jack Torrance may be an old character, but visiting his hotel might just give you a new dose of fear.

I do love how Pop Vinyls have such a wide range of iconic characters from the era that many of us love. I’m also thinking of getting the Guns N’ Roses Pop Vinyls. I mean c’mon. Who wouldn’t want a little Slash figure on their desk.