In the mid 1970s, post-Watergate, post-Vietnam, post-Energy Crisis, America was looking for nostalgic superheroes, ones who could wash away the national blues with the time-honored principles of truth, justice and the American way. On television, The Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman spoke meaningfully to that urgent desire, racking up considerable ratings and meeting with tremendous popularity.
On toy shelves, it was the same story, The Six Million Dollar Man line from Kenner was big business, and left the other toy companies scrambling to compete. Mattel came up with Pulsar: The Ultimate Man of Adventure (a man in a black-and-red jogging suit with a transparent torso). Hasbro re-fitted G.I. Joe as the futuristic SuperJoe. And Ideal came up with an even more bizarre superhero, the 16 inch-tall super dude, Electroman!
Described as "Ideal's amazing electronic sentinel," Electroman (we don't know his secret identity...) wears a bright red, black and yellow uniform with a dazzling "E" (for Electroman, we presume..) emblazoned on his barrel-sized torso. He also wears tall black boots and a yellow cape.
The hero's oddest fashion statement, however, is no doubt his elaborate helmet, a clunky red affair that shoots laser beams (really just a flashlight, okay?). By adjusting a knob on the base of Electroman's neck, you can change the settings of the laser ray from Stun, to Radar, to Guard. Toy catalogs described the settings this way: "Electroman's computer brain can detect the slightest movement and sound a warning...In radar position, he sends out flickering light that changes to a steady beam when he finds an enemy position." Electroman runs on three C size batteries.
Electroman's nemesis was sold separately, a brown hulking monster ("half man/half monster") with red eyes, white fangs and a reflector embedded in his head, "Zogg The Terrible." Zogg was described on his black box as "A Creature so awesome only Electroman or you can defeat him." Zogg also came with a black and red laser gun which you could use to zap him, if you didn't want to summon Electroman and his strange head gear. When hit with Electroman's laser ray, Zogg would topple over. Mission accomplished.
An odd historical footnote: Electroman actually shared his colorful costume (but not his helmet) with a foxy chick named Black Magic Crissy, a tall African-American woman in white platform shoes. She came with five different hair attachments, but I'm not sure what her superpowers were.
You can see images of Electroman and his foe in action (with catalog copy) at Plaid Stallions, one of my current Internet obsessions (which gazes at all facets of 1970s culture, including toys).