Nostalgically revisiting the comics of the 1980s since 2008.
I have the most recent (I think) Trade Paperback of Secret Wars, and it goes into great detail about the toys, including the subsequent sets. Since the whole comic series was created to justify the toys, you can imagine that it would create some problems; for example, Magneto being considered a "villain" for the purposes of the figures. The shield thing was some stupid idea someone in marketing came up with. There was also some sort of one-panel comic that came with each character, if I recall correctly. Basically, it was a good idea that went wrong - both in that Marvel action figures were a good idea, but these were poorly made; AND that crossovers are fun, but they have gotten out of control. So there's that.
Maybe the message-in-the-shield thing had something to do with Cap's old shield modification, though that's really ancient history and has nothing to do with the Secret Wars series.
I had the entire first wave except for Captain America. The only second wave figure that I had was Daredevil. I recently gave them to my son to play with (they were pretty beat up anyways).
I had most of these, except for Kang and Magneto. They were poorly made (and the paint rubbed off way too easily), but I still prefer the "look" of these figures to the zillion-points-of-articulation appearance of today's action figures.Have you seen the "new" Secret Wars series of figures? 12 pairs, and each comes with an issue of the series? The kid in me would love an excuse to buy those.
I think the shield really detracted from these figures. They would have been more popular without it.I had Cap and Dr Doom and bought Wolverine years later at Toys R Us.