KENNER & KENNER CANADA

CARDED FIGURE MATRIX




In 2002 I undertook a significant personal project to document every Super Powers figure and the corresponding card type(s) for each character as released by both Kenner and Kenner Canada. To ensure the matrix contained the highest quality data possible I elected to base each data point solely on personal documentation and observations. Eight years after the project's inception, and although still a work-in-progress to some extent, I'm pleased to finally publish the data from this long-term, on-going project. So far I have personally documented the existence of 161 different carded Super Powers figure versions released by Kenner/Kenner Canada. Of those 161, 40 represent Kenner Canada carded figures, while the remaining 121 represent US Kenner offerings. Although prototype carded samples are documented in the matrix, they are not included in the quantities discussed above since they are prototypes and not true production items released at retail. To further augment this special feature, I've included discussion, located below the matrix, containing information on the various packaging types shown in the matrix along with other information that bolsters the matrix's utility to collectors.




The Super Powers line spanned a three-year period from 1984 to 1986. Both Kenner and Kenner Canada actively released carded figures during this timeframe. While Kenner employed English-only packaging, Kenner Canada used bi-lingual packaging. Throughout the len's 3-year production run, Kenner used 6 different *printed* blister card styles for packaging the action figures, while Kenner Canada utilized 4 card styles.

Kenner used three card varieties for the 1984 1st series figure wave. They include "Free Poster Offer", "Free Fan Club Offer", and "Free Steppenwolf Offer" blister card styles. Kenner Canada on the other hand only used two packaging types, "Free Poster Offer" and "Free Steppenwolf Offer", since they did not offer the Fan Club Promotion. Each of these Kenner and Kenner Canada packaging types advertise all 12 1st series figures on the packaging's rear face. As such, they are classified as 12-Backs.

The 1985 2nd series assortment added 11 new figures along with the re-release of the previous 12 characters bringing the figure total to 23. Kenner crafted two new printed packaging types for 1985: "Fan Club Offer" (a re-used promotion from 1984 now updated with a new expiration date) and "Superman Cape Offer". Kenner utilized an adhesive sticker applied to both the "Fan Club Offer" and "Superman Cape Offer" card styles to advertise their "Clark Kent Mail-Away Promotion". As such, this technically brings the total card style total up to eight with four of those eight being 2nd series card styles. It's up to individual collectors to determine whether the two "Clark Kent Offer" stickered card backs are distinguished, however for the purposes of total quantities and the matrix itself, I considered them as distinct individual card types. I expect further matrix additions will be made in terms of "Clark Kent Offer" cards since the dataset for the these two spans a shorter tracking timespan than all of the other card types because I chose not to seperate the Clark Kent offer cards in earlier iterations of the matrix. Kenner Canada produced a single 2nd series card style, the "Superman Cape Offer". Interestingly, only 2nd series characters have been documented on the Kenner Canada "Superman Cape Offer" packaging; no re-release figures have been documented on 2nd series Kenner Canada cards. It's important to note that only 10 of the 11 2nd series figures were available packaged from Kenner Canada; Steppenwolf appears to have only been released via the mail-away promotion and does not appear to have been offered in Kenner Canada carded form. All of the Kenner and Kenner Canada 2nd series card styles advertised 23 action figures on the packaging's rear face. As such they are classified as 23-Backs.

The 1986 3rd and final Super Powers assortment saw release of 10 new characters. While earlier packaging types featured promotional offer details on the card fronts and backs, the 3rd series packaging is completely devoid of promotional information, mini-comics, and artwork behind the figure. Existing proof cards and carded samples illustrate Kenner intended to release all 33 characters, however it is unlikely all 33 ever reached retail. The matrix shows both the 21 confirmed characters (10 new and 11 re-releases) in addition to characters that have also or only surfaced as prototype carded samples. Kenner Canada once again chose not to place re-release 1st or 2nd series characters on the updated 3rd series packaging. 9 of the 10 3rd series figures have been documented on Kenner Canada bi-lingual packaging with Cyborg being the lone unreleased 3rd series character. Since the Kenner and Kenner Canada 3rd series cardbacks show 33 action figures, they are classified as 33-Backs.

I have chosen to omit the Canadian Shell Gas Station small carded figures from the matrix in favor of it focusing solely on the typical retail packaging types. I will, however, textually mention that 8 characters (Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Firestorm, Red Tornado, and Martian Manhunter) were released on these small cards (more can be read here about the Canadian Shell Gas promotion).

Although now published, the matrix is still considered a work-in-progress since some possible character/card style combinations remain undocumented. Although I have left possible blanks, I firmly believe the following character/card style combinations will never surface as they were not likely produced:

I hope collectors will find the matrix useful for their own collecting needs. I'd like to acknowledge John Kellerman, who in 2003 masterfully employed the use of action figure matrices in his book "Star Wars Vintage Action Figures" for this style of documentation. Kellerman's book inspired me to re-organize my Super Powers data into a matrix format, which ultimately made sharing the Super Powers data much easier.

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