Bursting Out of Your Saturday Morning TV!
September 16, 2011

I love this.  I love that Mattel made these characters.  Why?  Because that title up there is exactly how these toys would have been advertised back in the late 70’s.  I am a child of the SuperFriends era.  That is why these characters resonate with me.

These characters were added to the SuperFriends show to give the team a diversity.  But as a young boy and then a young teenager, that escaped me.  They were simply more cool characters to see using fantastic powers to save people in trouble and stop the villains.

I am very glad that Mattel made these.  Time and time again, Mattel has surprised us (or at least me) by giving us characters that DC Direct has not made in the 15 years they have been making toys.  I love DC Direct.  I have more DC Direct figures in this scale than figures from Mattel.  But in terms of diversity of characters across the DC Universe, Mattel has done a fantastic job.  Mattel has hit most of the JLA, a lot of JSA, the Titans, and the Legion of Super Heroes is coming.  Toyman above completes the TV Legion of Doom.

It is unfortunate that some people put these characters down because they only appeared on TV.  (They do sneak into the comics every once in a while – Samauri was in the Justice League comic for a few panels last year.)  To me, that is the same as saying I don’t want the Crime Syndikate because they are from Earth 3.

The one thing I wish Mattel had spent more time on is the Biographies for these characters.  I almost wrote up my own and posted them for April Fool’s day this year.  Samurai got tied to the New Gods.  El Dorado got tied to the Azteks.  Black Vulcan’s is especially painful.  Sure, they could not add anything too detailed, but, “He is trusted implicitly by his teammates.”  Every hero is.  “He might be a scientist.”  Why not just make him one?  What about an Electrical Engineer?  “Not even Batman feels the need to investigate him.”  Batman has been shown to have contingency plans for every hero going bad.  The combination of these is just horrible.

The other unfortunate issue with these is that after 18 waves we still have bent legs like Black Vulcan.  This should have been fixed by wave 2.  I can report that my wave 15 J’emm, that previously was so warped in the knee it could not stand, somehow after months amazingly stands.  But this issue is long overdue to be fixed.

(For those of you wondering where Apache Chief is in all this, I have come to a point where I feel the figures cost too much at retail.  Instead, I purchased these via eBay and got them for 49$ shipped.  By taking them without the parts for Apache Chief, I was able to get the cost of an individual figure down to a level I felt was reasonable.  Your mileage may vary.)

Erik "Superfriend" Skov
"Gathered together from the four corners of the universe." Oh, wait, that's the show, not me. Erik "SuperFriend" Skov never actually got to appear on the show, although he did watch it every week. Erik spent 6 years working for Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI before leaving for a job that paid more (Why else would a collector leave the company that was making Star Wars, Transformers, and while I was there Batman). I used to post all over the net. These days I tend to hang my hat at AFI.
Read other articles by Erik "Superfriend" Skov.





  • Clutch says:

    I’m considered a minority, but even as a kid the whole diversity angle flew over my head, too. I figured that anyone who hung out at the Hall of Justice with Superman had to be cool. I even viewed the “Big Five” of Supes, WW, Batman & Robin, and Aquaman as being far more important than the comic Trinity. That’s why Aquaman has always ranked as an A-Lister for me. The Super Friends cartoon defined my love for DC and its characters in a huge way and I’m thankful that these guys have finally gotten their much deserved due in plastic goodness.

  • Lee in MI says:

    You’re entire write up is moot without APACHE CHIEF!!!!!!

    …other than that, I completely agree…

  • Jonatan says:

    I totally agree with this article. I have waited for more than 20 years for these figures and Mattel finally gave them to us. Of course there are problems with them, like the open hands of Black Vulcan and El Dorado and the ears details on Black Vulcan. But Wave 18 is still my favorite in the line.
    PS: Mattel, I still need a Brainiac robot, Giganta and Apache Chief in 6″…

  • demoncat says:

    i agree with your article. mattel finaly did some thing that was long over due doing the characters that were part of making the super friends cartoon have a diverse team. plus having the legion of doom be able to be complete in plastic props to Mattel. as for an origin for black vulcan. actully the character is suppose to be black lightning but hb did not want to pay his creator royalties so black vulcan was created. and got to admit he looks cool in plastic.

  • Howard the Duck says:

    While it’s not DCUC, I absolutely LOVE my Black Vulcan/Samurai/Apache Chief JLU three pack! I’m glad that they made the cut in the DCUC line as well.

  • George says:

    Love the wave, still waiting for my LCS to get Bronze Tiger & Captain Boomerang in for me. Don’t like how the 4H went with a different buck for Black Vulcan than what they were going to go with originally & Black Vulcan’s paint job (different style of gloves & no exposed neckline) brings the quality down a notch. Cutting corners I guess.

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