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We’ve got a lot of great stuff related to the Kenner Super powers collection coming up in the months ahead, and this new blog will be the place to read about all of it!

To launch this we’re running an interview with famed Super Powers fans, the Four Horsemen (Eric “Cornboy” Mayse, Eric Treadaway, Chris Dahlberg, and Jim Preziosi). These amazingly talented guys have injected their love of SP into the ongoing Mattel DC Universe Classics line with all-new versions of such SP classic characters such as Golden Pharaoh and Cyclotron, with more on the way. The interview was originally conducted in May 2008 for the SP article done by Jason Geyer for Back Issue magazine #30. All answers are by Eric Treadaway.
Why do you think Super Powers has stood as an iconic toy line? What does the line mean to you, personally?

I think that Super Powers is so iconic for a number of reasons. The main reason I think, though is that it contained such a broad variety of characters in a completely consistent size and scale. The line also had great vehicles, cool mini comics, and really nice packaging with classic artwork. For me personally it set one of the great benchmarks in super hero toys, and it remains one of the more inspirational toy lines that I collected as a kid.

 

When did you first hear about the unproduced Super Powers toys?

It seems like this was something that I had heard rumors of for years, but it was the article on your site where I got to see the real deal. I love seeing what could have been! When looking at some of the concept art and future plans, it impressed me to see how relevant the line-ups would still be today.

 

 

Have Super Powers had any influence in your work, especially the DC toy lines you are working on now?

Absolutely! The entire time we have been doing D.C. characters one of our main goals has been to create a modern incarnation of Super Powers, and to even go beyond it if we are lucky. The Superman wave that we did with Lex Luthor, Brainiac, and Darkseid was a dream wave for us, and in retrospect was the first hint of what was to come.

 

And finally, do you think there would be any interest in reviving a Super Powers-like toyline today?

I definitely do. I know that I personally have been waiting for a revival for years. In a way I think that we are already attempting to do it. Certain things in the DCUC are different -such as the scale and lack of action features, but I think that at it’s heart DCUC is a lot like Super Powers. We are really trying our hardest to maintain the quality and spirit of the originals. Super Powers had such an impact on fans that in some peoples eyes it can never be topped, but that won’t stop us from trying. I think the fact that Super Powers still creates that type of inspiration is the sign of a what a classic line that it really is.

Thanks to the Horsemen for the interview and all the great toys!


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Hello, and welcome to another week of me sprouting off about Super Powers awesomeness to no one in particular!  Today the Super Powers Highlight focuses on all the figures released at retail on the offer-less, comic-less 33-back card design. 

To many SP collectors, the 3rd series card back redesign is known as both a step back for the overall line and a huge step forward as far as visual presentation.  No included mini-comics, no artwork behind the figure and no special offers meant that cost-cutting was taking place behind the scenes, and as a result the line would not be long of this Earth.  However, it also meant a wonderfully crisp and clean card design that showcased the amazing sculpts of the figures and the industry-leading artistry of The Masters…Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, George Perez and Jack "The King" Kirby.

For the bulk of those brave enough to take on a carded Super Powers collection, the 10-character populated 3rd series is the final hurdle…usually more of a financial strain than even a full set of 12-backs.   It’s also something not instantaneously achieved, since carded examples of all 10 pieces aren’t usually available at the same time even when haunting eBay.  Factor in a somewhat nice condition desired and you have a true challenge before you.

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Read the rest of Super Powers Highlight – The 33-Back Production Set

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Wow, really?  Another edition of The Super Powers Highlight, so soon after the last one?

Yes, you’re right…I must be sick.  

Today we’ll be looking at the right-hand toady of one of your more major villains…Grima Wormtongue…err…I mean, DESAAD!  Darkseid’s torture master was indeed part of the Super Powers line from Kenner toys back in the mid-1980′s, and when looking around my display hoping to be inspired to write another blog I realized I had a small Desaad focus amongst my collection.   Desaad, along with the rest of the Series 2 characters released was a major reason why the line was eventually canceled.  If you want to be cute you could say that he tortured the line to a slow retail death.

However, since I’m not keen on acting cute…to the pics! 

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Read the rest of Super Powers Highlight – Desaad

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Junk.  Waste.  Garbage.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and oh BOY is this trash a treasure…at least for me!  

Welcome, one and all, to another edition of the Super Powers Highlight.  Today we’ll be looking at some of the various shipping cases used to transport Super Powers figures to their intended retail destinations (way back when).

Yes, that’s correct.  We’re looking at boxes.  Three different boxes.

Used shipping cases are very difficult to come by, especially for vintage toy lines.  I don’t think I’ve seen pictures of any other Super Powers shipping cases on the internet, but I’m sure that some of the "high-roller big-baller" collectors have examples in their stashes.  I also know that at least one case of Canadian-release 33-backs was cracked open at some point, since there are AFA-graded U90 (the "U" stands for "uncirculated") MOC Shazams and Orions on eBay.  Sad that a sealed case had to be destroyed to make something desirable for those silly label collectors, but that’s a profanity-laden blog for another day.  I’m sure I’ll get to it, since I can’t stand stuff like that.

On to the pics!

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Read the rest of Super Powers Highlight – Shipping Cases!

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Hello everyone, and welcome to another Super Powers Highlight!  Fresh out of the post office box today is one of my newest arrivals…and a pretty damn cool thing to boot!  This is the master color key for the Martian Manhunter mini-comic.  I was fortunate to add a couple of these to my collection this past week (the other being Red Tornado), but I selected this one to showcase here in my blog because it arrived with an extra added bonus…an alternate cover that differs from the final version included with the figure.  

Each page contains color code information for the printer, and as far as what is known each copy is one of a kind.  The colors on each page seem to be applied with a watercolor-type marker.  The seller only had examples from Wave 2 of the Kenner figure line, but he did tell me that at one point he had Wave 1 characters as well.  Upon inquiry I was told they were sold years ago at a convention.  If anyone knows the whereabouts of the Brainiac…well, you know where to reach me.  :-)   Without further ado…here are the images!

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Read the rest of Super Powers Highlight – Martian Manhunter Mini-Comic Master Color Key

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Toy Fair 2011 has come and gone and while this year seemed a bit more sedate for what new items were shown, one group of action figures stood out above all others: DC Universe Classics Wave 18. Why are these toys special, you ask? Because for the first time ever, not only do we get a mass market assortment of Super Friends specific toys, but it’s centered around four figures that you would be justified in thinking no one would ever think to make figures of, let alone all four in one wave! Yes, I’m talking about the controversial "ethnic" heroes: Samurai, Black Vulcan, El Dorado, and C&C Apache Chief.

Click here to view the embedded video.

 

I know some people think these characters are superfluous, or not "comic based" and therefore not worthy of a figure, but I don’t agree with that logic. First and foremost, there is a big section of fans who do want these figures and have waited for them for 20 years.  And on top of that, this is a toy line, not the comics. And these guys make GREAT toys! And they do give a selection of diversity to an all too-white toy aisle (with the occasional black character thrown in). How many Native Americans are on shelves? Asians? Hispanics? Is it going to kill collectors to add one more? And Mattel made it super easy to skip this wave if you don’t like it by tying in the C&C to the theme, so if you just want Bronze Tiger, then by all means just get Bronze Tiger.

 

Plus, with the addition of Toyman the Legion of Doom is now complete as well!

 

But the big "completion piece" is Samurai, who wraps up Mattel’s recreation of the fabled Super Powers lineup. With the further additions of Dick Grayson Robin from Wave 16 (out now!) and the upcoming SP Mr. Freeze repaint in the Batman: Legacy line I’ve updated the DCUC/SP picture below. Sure, we could still use repaints of Superman, Batman, and Penguin in more Bronze-Age accurate colors. And Kalibak and Orion would need resculpts to be perfect recreations (although it’s been hinted that the new Lex Luthor armor will be repainted and rereleased down the road to be more SP accurate as well).  But if the line ended with these guys I would be content that we have a complete SP lineup in the greater DCUC line. And with Creeper, El Dorado, and Black Vulcan we’re three more characters closer to finishing off all the unmade SP figures as well!  Now all we need is for the Four Horsemen to make some awesome figures of the sculpted-but-never-produced  Quadrex, Silicon, Rocketman and a C&C Shockwave and I’ll be happy. All of these guys have form factors or special treatments that would make them really neat toys. I’d probably buy Howitzer and Executioner, too, but even I don’t think they’re necessary as figures…

 


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Howdy howdy, and welcome to another edition of the Super Powers Highlight!  For your consideration today is the other catalog I have relating to how Kenner promoted their toy lines.  This one is from 1985, and was given to Kenner accounts probably either by a representative, salesman or directly at their Toy Fair showroom.  It details all of the various giveaways and purchase incentives that customers would have when buying Super Powers (as well as other) product put out for sale by Kenner Toys back in 1985.   Of note are the changes made to the fan club kit as opposed to the 1984 edition and the specific noted use of the DC comic series as a vehicle to promote the toys.  On to the images…so enjoy!

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Read the rest of Super Powers Highlight – 1985 Consumer Promotions Catalog

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Welcome to the Super Powers Blog!  Today I’m highlighting 16 black and white hand-drawn pencil logo concepts that were pitched to represent the line on the figure card backs.  Thanks to a former Kenner employee 24 of these survived destruction when Kenner closed down it’s offices for good.   Oddly enough one was never recovered for what proved to be the final design, but the last one shown in this blog is the closest one to the one used. It is also the only one mounted on an acetate overlay.  Enjoy this glimpse into the early development of the line!

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Hello to all you Super Powers nuts out there!  Today I’ve got a rather large chunk of meat for y’all to chew on, since I’ve decided to expand (in all senses of the word) upon my blog from wayyy back in July of 2009 and turn the spotlight back on the Colleccion Super Amigos figures released in Argentina from Cuick S.A. (Pacipa/Playful).  The blog sported a mere 17 photos, and two of those were place-holders for items that hadn’t even arrived in the mail yet.  Weighing in at a whopping 28 photos and containing some actual information, I feel that this was a better entry to have permanently here at AFi for those wanting to learn the small bit of stuff known about this (kinda) popular line.

Cuick, S.A.is the company that actually distributed the figures produced by Pacipa in early 1989 and then Playful in mid-1990.  As is common knowledge amongst collectors of the line, there are Super Amigos out there sporting both Pacipa and Playful logos in the lower right corner of the blister cards.  Pacipa was the initial recipient of the license from Kenner, and overall has better quality in the card printing, bubble strength and character selection.  None of the figures came with mini-comics, but all of them came with file cards.  Both companies are mind-boggling in what seems to have been actually released.  I’ll try and detail the major oddities before I get to the image onslaught later in the blog.  :-)

The first and foremost glaring omission is the Pacipa Batman figure.  I have never even heard a whispered rumor of someone owning a carded Super Amigos Batman with the Pacipa logo in the corner, let alone viewed a picture of one.  Every single one I have seen has been a Playful release.  That is bizarre beyond words, yes?  To a lesser extent is the Playful release of Superman.  I have seen a (small) picture of one on a foreign public information site and do own a Riddler figure mis-carded on a Playful Superman card back, but other than those two examples I don’t believe there is one known in any collection anywhere.  Again, bizarre.

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Read the rest of Super Powers Highlight – Super Amigos Revisited!

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Greetings to all, and thanks for checking out this latest Super Powers Highlight.  Today we’ll be taking a look at the four Signature Stamp Sets put out by Craftmaster.  Craftmaster was a really fantastic licensee for Super Powers.  They put out the Stamp Sets, Stain-a-Sticker Sets, Figurine Paint Sets, puzzles, the stained-glass Sun Shiner set, poster paint sets and a few other really neat random items.  A lot of varied product led to a lot of interesting package designs, making them a really eye-popping and interesting addition to the overall Super Powers display that seems to have taken over my entire condo.  LOL.

One great thing about the set right off the bat is the inclusion of Hawkman.  Yes, you’d expect every company that had the Super Powers license to include  the "Holy Trinity" of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman…but Craftmaster managed to give good ol’ Carter his due.  Not only his own set, but with artwork that (to my knowledge) wasn’t used on any other manufacturer’s product packaging.

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Read the rest of Super Powers Highlight – Craftmaster Signature Stamp Sets

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