Super Powers Highlight : Plastic Man Carded Sample
April 18, 2009

I’ve decided to start blogging about various things Super Powers as I acquire more items for my collection, hopefully bringing things to light that people haven’t seen before or may be curious about.  There certainly isn’t much information about Super Powers merchandise out there, tho the two main (and seemingly only) sites are definitely of top quality. 

Also, most of the major collectors don’t seem to have any interest in putting everything they have into galleries online. While that’s certainly fine (hey, it’s their stuff…they paid for it and can do what they want with it), I’m not that type of person.  I want to share everything I have and whatever knowledge I’ve gained on what I’ve been able to find.

The first item I’ve decided to highlight is my Plastic Man Carded Sample, which I acquired last year from a vintage Star Wars collector.

 Carded samples are difficult to find in most vintage lines (except for Star Wars, it seems), and Super Powers is no exception to that.  They usually consist of whatever current series of figures were in production affixed to whatever card backs were handy to test either how the figure looked on the card, how it would fit in the transit case when shipped with other figures, or if the tray holding the figure in place worked in the overall bubble scheme.

The figure is machine made and the bubble is the same as the regular US released figure. Here’s the front of it, and as you can see it was mounted on a Canadian Batman card.


The back of the card shows that it was a 12-back Batman card that they just happened to have a pile of on-hand when they ran the test on this particular figure.  Since it was never shipped to any store, the hanger tab remains unpunched.  Most test samples exist unpunched.


Here is a close-up of the bubble and card art, showcasing the uniqueness of the piece.  It’s nice to have Plastic Man as the only sample I own, since I have other rare releases of the character: 33-back w/clear bubble (US), Estrela (Brazil) and Pacipa (Argentina).  However, I’ve been told this isn’t by coincidence.  While rare overall, Plastic Man samples are the most common of the characters that have been unearthed as samples.

I’ll try and get to at least one piece in my collection every week, starting with some of the less common ones and heading forth from there.  However, if you have a favorite character you’d like to see something from, let me know!  I plan on even highlighting all of the regular US-carded releases eventually!



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  • j1h15233 says:

    Wow, looking at that lineup all together on the back of that card makes me want to actually get some of these. Something tells me the money and energy involved will not be found soon though haha.

  • kevfett says:

    In my opinion (and maybe I’m a bit biased) Super Powers has the best packaging of ANY toy line. It really jumped of the pegs when we would walk into a store and see them on the shelves. Sure my brother and I bought a lot of lines, Micronauts, GI Joe, Star Wars, He-Man… But when we found new Super Powers. That was an event. Since there was rarely doubles of any character on the shelf it was always a race to see who could find which character first. Oddly enough, this many years later I can still remember where and when I got each character.

    • Hourman says:

      My first two were Aquaman and Robin, both bought at the same time, in a TG&Y. Those were the only ones left on the pegs, and getting the rest of that first wave was not easy. Super Powers was in demand.

  • Howard the Duck says:

    The first Super Powers I ever had was bought by me. Mind you, I rarely bought any of my toys back then, seeing as I was a mama’s boy who was too young to really make money on my own.

    My first Super Powers was Green Lantern, by the way!

    The Super Powers line is really one of the all time greatest action figure lines ever. I was extremely bummed that it never continued beyond the third wave(it was the third wave, right?)

    I only need Mister Miracle to complete my collection, which is all loose. I still have the Batmobile and the Darkseid Destroyer, but my Hall of Justice, Lex Soar-7, and Kalibak Boulder Bomber have been lost to antiquity. I always hated the Justice Jogger, and I was always looking out for the Darkseid fortress playset. At least I know to not even try to look for it nowadays.

  • David says:

    BEST. TOY LINE. EVER. The bolts on their knee joints were internal. No one does that NOW let alone 20-plus years ago. This is the only toy line I kept from when I was little. In storage hoping to be displayed someday. Chip, I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!

  • Hellpop says:

    Totally agree with Kevfett about the packages. They are still gorgeous. I remember the first time I saw these, in a Kiddie City in the King of Prussia mall. They had a TON of Robins, and only one other figure, Green Lantern (there may have been villains there too, but I was only interested in the heroes at the time). The first two waves of Super Powers were the first toy sets I ever completed; I even had all the vehicles. Sigh….

    • kevfett says:

      There are only two toy lines I can remember actually gasping out loud when I first saw them. Enough my parents heard me from a few aisles over. One was Super Powers at Kmart in Salina KS. My parents bought me Batman and Green Lantern. My brother got Flash and Superman.

      The other line that floored me upon first seeing it was LJN’s Advanced Dungeons and Dragons line. Which had pretty darn cool card art of it own.

  • fightingamerican says:

    Yea, I remember getting many of the first wave while going to my first convention as a “professional”…in Chicago.
    Superman, Batman, and a good number more. I think that was the most exciting part of the Trip!!
    It was a great line!! The only one I couldn’t get was Mr. Miracle…the Super-Escape Artist!!
    You’re telling me!!

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