I don’t think any one of us predicted exactly how “Unlimited” Mattel’s Justice League action figure line would prove to be. Debuting in 2003, the line didn’t quit unit the end of 2012. Just about 10 years. That’s nuts. What started out as a line dedicated to “The Big 7” eventually delivered well over 200 figures.
I was immediately drawn to these stylized figures. Not having watched either the Superman or Batman animated series I was not versed in the “Timm” style. But I caught on quick. The Justice League cartoon blew my mind. Up until this point, however, I was just collecting Star Wars figures and was very hesitant to branch into another toy line. My toy budget was also being watched like a hawk by my ex. But somehow she sort of appreciated the look of these figures, too, and that’s all I needed in order to justify buying my first Justice League character: Attack Armor Green Lantern. There was just something cool about the enclosure construct John Stewart came with. As many of you acquainted with “the slippery slope” are all too familiar, this first figure quickly led to some additional purchases. I probably said something to myself like: “I’ll just get the main seven heroes.” Ha.
Buying these first Justice League figures coincided with a move from New Jersey to Arizona. I had been an active member of “The New Jersey Star Wars Collector’s Club” online forum but had a hard time continuing to participate on that board once I left the state. As I struggled to find an equivalent Star Wars community in Arizona my collecting focus began to diversify. I started poking around the web looking for info related to this new Justice League line I was getting into. I eventually found Action Figure Insider and felt at home quickly. I started to make some online friends and soon met a few of these folks in person here locally and at the San Diego Comic-Con. As it turns out, some of the closest friendships of my adult life came about, thanks in no small measure, to this particular toy line. That’s pretty neat. This fact dawned on my a couple years ago while we were all out at a restaurant one evening after a day at SDCC. We noticed that, seated at the table next to us, was a group of folks which included Bruce Timm. I think I said something like: “If it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t all be friends!”
So, to celebrate this amazing line and the awesome friendships it brought me, I created this poster recently. Now, its not every single JL/JLU figure. But, in my mind, it does depict every unique character that we got in the line, plus some significant variations of individual characters. I hope you enjoy it!
Its hard to look at a checklist of sorts like this and not challenge yourself with questions like:
– What is your favorite figure?
– What figure are you most surprised they made?
– What one figure would you have wanted that was not made?
– What was the hardest figure to acquire?
– Which figure is the hardest for you to stand?!
Yes, the Justice League line had its issues. One of my first blogs for AFi was a recipe on how to reposition JLU legs to help them stand better. That Dove is still a problem! But, in the end, its hard to look at this collection and not just be impressed at the sheer number of characters we received. The line is truly epic. And I’m damn glad I bought that sweet Green Lantern figure ten years ago.
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