Super Powers Highlight – Advertising Line Art
July 15, 2009

Well, I’ve got something special today for my loyal readers (reader?) out there.  When I worked as a graphic designer for 8 years at my home town’s newspaper in New York, one of the things we’d sometimes have to incorporate into the ads was a piece of "line art" provided by a company specific to that particular product.  This line art was sometimes provided by the local company and other times by the nationwide company if they were co-branding and co-op’ing the cost of the ad.  It was also sometimes used to help in designing promotions for events in the paper, but with the dwindling amount of newspaper advertising sales these days it’s not done much anymore.  These pages here are from a Kenner Toys binder that was sent to newspapers in the mid to late 80’s to help design such advertising and promotions.  

As evidenced on the first page by the characters represented, this was printed after the 3rd series of figures was finalized for their release in retail assortments.  You can also tell this by the offer-less & comic-less card design in the lower right corner.  However, of glaring note is that someone must have "missed the memo" about who Orion and Cyclotron were, exactly.  I’m surprised they didn’t accidentally label them "Sy-Clone" and "Man-E-Faces."


Apparently by page two they had completely given up with the clever nick-names for each character.  "Mantis : Rambunctious Robot" and "Parademon : Dimwitted Dunce" just don’t have the right ‘ring’ to them, eh?


I’m not going to say anything that comes to mind as far as the two lamest vehicles to ever be included with any toy line, ever.  The Batmobile, however, is spot-on in it’s design and execution.  A perfect toy if there ever was one, agreed?  I thought so.


I always thought it was weird that Kalibak needed a vehicle to launch boulders when he was strong enough to launch them by hand.  Does he tire easily?  Does he work construction during the daytime so he’s worried he’ll throw his back out?   It’s a mystery.  Also, doesn’t the Delta Probe One look like the underwater vehicles used by James Cameron in "The Abyss?"


Oh, did I say that some other vehicle was the lamest one ever produced for any toy line, ever?  I was wrong.  Justice Jogger?  Looks like some sort of portable toilet excrement launcher.  To save face for this page of art, the Hall Of Justice is, again, simply a perfect toy.  Great representation of the TV show’s headquarters and something every kid wanted back then…and every collector wants now.  One of those endearing timeless components that makes this line the classic that it is.


The Batcopter is the most difficult vehicle in the line to find both packaged and loose, with boxed prices regularly commanding $200-300 for ones in good shape.  Also of note on this page is the inclusion of the unreleased Tower of Darkness playset, yet not pictured is the also-unreleased All-Terrain Trapper vehicle.  It’s possible the ATT was not finalized at the time of this binder’s printing. 


I was pretty lucky to score these, and am happy to have them in my collection.  I enjoy the historical ephemera associated with Super Powers…it’s a great complement to the figure line, and there’s certainly a breadth of items available should one want to delve into adding some to their action figure collections. 



Read other articles by ChipCataldo.





  • Jason Geyer says:

    As someone who has had to draw WAY too many of those kind of pictographs, and as a mega SP nerd, I think this is the single most coolest thing you have ever featured!

  • Glenn Moss Glenn says:

    Congrats, Chip! That is a terrific find and certainly brings back some fond memories.

  • Chip Cataldo says:

    Thanks guys…I kick myself for not getting the Secret Wars ones the guy had up, too. I’m not getting into to the Secret Wars ephemera like the Super Powers, tho. Not yet, anyway…that’d be too much.

  • bnjmnrlyr says:

    I would just love to stumble across some of that line art in a tattoo parlor. It would just make me Sooooo happy….

    Thanks for sharing Chip. As a former Graphic Artist, I too get a kick out of seeing some of the more “historical” aspects of the career and have a sampling of “clip art” and public domain “spots” in a file cabinet somewhere…

  • Fallen Eldor says:

    After so many years of looking at the figures, I have to admit this type of stuff is of interest me to me. I would love to see scans of the mini comics and DC mini series in the future.

  • Daniel Pickett JuliusMarx says:

    Hey Jason… didn’t they used to call you “Lord of the Winds” in High School? 🙂

    Awesome Stuff Chip! I’d LOVE to score a set of these someday.

  • Jason Geyer says:

    Heck, they call me Lord of the Winds *NOW*!

  • Superman95 says:

    Just cool!! Now, if you can put more advertising for the line, including the artwork of Jose Luis Garcia-lopez. He’s such a damn great artist, and one of the most underrated. If you can accept suggestions for another series of articles, i would like to see a special scoop on the 1995 Superman toy line by Kenner. This line had potential, but didn’t have enough boost from kenner or lack of interest from the market.

  • […] Super Powers Highlight – Advertising Line Art – If you don’t know about Chip Cataldo, let me give you the low-down. This is a man that loves Super Powers. I thought I loved Super Powers, but I was way wrong. I just have the figures, the vehicles, the carrying case, and the Hall of Justice. I thought it ended there, but Chip keeps proving that Super Powers had much more to offer than just toys. This week, he showcases a new item to his collection: original Super Powers Advertising Line Art. Follow the link to check it out! […]

  • Jim Abell Jim Abell says:

    Yeah, yeah, the Supermobile is bad but at least it didn’t have the fist-punching action of the Corgi version!

    Nice score, Chip, congrats on finding this!

Leave a Comment