I loved the Silverhawks cartoon, man. “Partly metal, partly real,” the Silverhawks were a bunch of stand-up heroes who underwent an experimental process to turn their bodies into cyborgs in order to hunt down the villainous Mon*Star and his intergalactic mob. The figures all had vac-metal “chrome” accents to give that super science-fiction-y look, and most of the heroes had a feature where you’d squeeze their legs together and their arms would pop out to reveal the wings they could use to soar through space.
But one figure was a little different. Flashback was a character that only appeared in 11 of the 65 episodes of the show. He had time-travel abilities, and came back from the future to the “present” day (the show takes place in the future in an alternate galaxy, so it’s all relative) to prevent Mon*Star from wiping out the Silverhawks.
Like most figures of the 1980s, Flashback had swivel joints at the neck, shoulders, and hips. He also had wings that I recall being removeable? But that could be the faulty memory of childhood from over 30 years ago.
Flashback’s toy didn’t have the arm-popping action of the others. Instead, just his wings would release when his legs were squeezed. And I’m gonna guess that his hip joints weren’t constructed the best, because eBay is littered with Flashbacks that are missing one or both of his legs. And one or both of his wings, which furthers my theory that his wings were also removeable.
The thing about Flashback, though, is that I don’t actually remember him in the cartoon. I mean, I remember that he was IN it, but that’s really it. What I mostly remember this toy for is what *I* turned him into — My own superhero, Fly Man.
To me, Flashback’s green metallic deco and giant eyes made him look like a Green Bottle Fly. I recall seeing those things ALL THE TIME, growing up in Massachusetts. There was already a SPIDER-Man, and a BATman, two animals people already didn’t like turned into heroes. So why wasn’t there a FLY Man?
I don’t recall coming up with any sort of backstory for Fly Man. Mostly it was just an excuse to have my own adventures with a superhero toy where I didn’t feel tied down to the “rules” of the shows I watched as a kid. I just wanted to play with a hero who could fly around and fight bad guys. And that’s what Flashback/Fly Man did.
Sometimes I’d put on a giant pair of sunglasses and pretend to be Fly Man, myself. I’d just run around the house or backyard, punching the air, fighting invisible bad guys. Like all good superheroes, Fly Man had a sidekick. I used my teddy bear and put him in one of my sweaters (which was way too big for him), and called him Fly Bear. Fly Bear had the powers of a bear, and could also fly. And when *I* was Fly Man, the Flashback figure would take on the role of Fly Man’s pet, a fly named Fly Fly. Mostly, I just thought that name was funny.
All the Silverhawks hero toys came with a bird sidekick. Flashback’s was a weird bird with a stretchy tail and neck named Backlash. I used Blacklash as Fly Fly when using the toys as the heroes — Oversized, sure, but whatever. Scale meant nothing when you collected toys in the 1980s, because every company produced figures at different sizes.
I have no idea what happened to my Flashback toy. I seem to recall that all of my Silverhawks disappeared sometime shortly after I got into Ninja Turtles, never to be seen again. I’d love to get a new one, but because of the aforementioned rarity of finding Flashback complete with both legs and wings intact, the figure’s gotten pretty expensive — Like the auction I took the above images from had him going for $50. And still-carded figures are currently listed on eBay for over $1,000 — That’s way too much to pay for a little bit of childhood nostalgia, even if it was one where I used my creativity. I do still have the teddy that became Fly Bear, though. I suppose he and I could still go on adventures.
And of course, there actually already IS a superhero named Fly Man. The thought of making Fly Man comics and prints had crossed my mind, but I’d have to change his name and come up with an origin story, and it’s just too much work for something that was a fun game that I came up with using my imagination as a little kid.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane with me. Did you have Flashback and Backlash? Did you have any toys that you pretended were other toys? Did you come up with your own superheroes as a kid? Let me know down in the comments!
Silverhawks, Flashback, Backlash, and all related characters and concepts were created by Rankin/Bass Productions, which is now like a subsidiary of a subsidiary of WarnerMedia.