Super Powers Collection

Super Powers Collection

The Super Powers Collection was a line of action figures based on DC Comics superheroes and supervillains that was created by Kenner Toys in the 1980s.

Origin of the line

In 1984, DC Comics awarded the license of their characters to Kenner toys, hot on the heels of Mattel's "action feature" heavy He-Man toy line. Winning the license away from Mego Corporation and Mattel with their emphasis on action and art, Kenner devised hidden mechanisms within the figures that would trigger an action when the figures legs or arms were squeezed. This emphasis on each figure's "super power" led to the naming of the line "The Super Powers Collection". Once the line was in full force a merchandising frenzy took place, with DC Comics and Kenner slapping a Super Powers logo on whatever they possibly could. Three series of figures and accessories were released: in 1984, 1985, and 1986.


Hanna Barbera also produced two animated series (a refreshing of the venerable "Super Friends" concept, called ' and ') and three comic book mini-series in support of the "Super Powers" line. Warner Home Video used the opportunity to issue episodes of Superman, Batman, Superboy, and Aquaman produced by Filmation in 1966 on video cassette in 1985 under the "Super Powers" label, reissuing them again in 1996. Only the toy line carried the "Collection" tag; all other merchandise would have a solo "Super Powers" logo. Each figure in the first two series were also packaged with a mini-comic featuring that character's adventures. A detailed list of these minicomics can be found at List of Super Powers Minicomics


Based on definitive style guide artwork, with moderate articulation and hidden action features, the Super Powers Collection eventually released 33 figures. The checklist of figures: Series One - Superman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), The Flash (Barry Allen), Batman, Robin (Dick Grayson), Hawkman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Brainiac, The Joker, and The Penguin. Series Two - Green Arrow, Red Tornado, Doctor Fate, Martian Manhunter, Firestorm, Darkseid, Steppenwolf, Kalibak, Parademon, Desaad, and Mantis. Series Three - Captain Marvel, Cyborg, Golden Pharaoh, Cyclotron, Orion, Samurai, Mr. Miracle, Plastic Man, Mr. Freeze, and Tyr. A mail-in exclusive Clark Kent, eight vehicles and one playset were also released before the end of the line.

Rare figures

A Clark Kent exclusive feature was available as a mail-in only figure. A knock-off series in Latin America introduced two more characters: The Riddler, which was a Green Lantern repaint released in Argentina, and Captain Ray, an exclusive character released in Colombia.Fact|date=August 2008 Although these two figures are not official to the line, they have been known to sell at very high prices.Fact|date=August 2008

A collectible is born

Highly prized today, Kenner's distribution practices of including up to 18 of one character in a case of 24 led to a glut of the core characters throughout the life of the line, and a rapid demise. Due to this practice, certain figures such as Cyborg, Golden Pharaoh, and Plastic Man remain rare to this day while the Flash and Superman are easily found. Another reason the Super Powers Collection is so highly sought after is the inclusion of both popular and little-known characters throughout the line. While the First Series featured well-known characters, the Second Series concentrated on figures from Jack Kirby's New Gods Saga, and the Third Series mixed both DC Comics acquisitions from other companies and figures created solely for the line. On a side note, Kirby received some of the only royalties of his long career for redesigning his characters for Kenner. Artist George Pérez also received royalties for his design of Cyborg and redesign of Lex Luthor and Brainiac. Most all other designs (and much of the packaging artwork) is based on José Luis García-López's classic DC Style Guides. Other artwork used appears to be the work of Dick Giordano.


After three years of production the line collapsed. The same year, coincidentally, Kenner's "Star Wars" line stopped shipping to stores. After 10 years of chronicling the history of the Super Powers Collection, in 2003 toy historian Jason Geyer's ToyOtter website revealed the never seen designs for the unmade Series Four, Five, and Six, along with vehicles, playsets and a deluxe "Power Plus" figure line. The most famous of these is the Man-Bat figure, of which an actual prototype was created.

External links

* [ Jason Geyer's Super Powers Archive]
* [ Unreleased Super Powers Toys]
* [ A Super Powers Appreciation]
* [ Mike Mensinger's Super Powers page]
* [ Master Collector article]
* [ Super Powers Collection @ BYTB: Batman Yesterday, Today and Beyond]
* [ ToyOtter- Unproduced Man-Bat figure]

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