The Super Powers collection was a succcessful line during the mid to late 80's and continues to garner collector attention in the 21st century. Super heroes enjoyed great success in the 1970's, through Mego's World's Greatest Superhero line. However, as the new decade approached, our heroes began disappearing from the toy shelves. Kenner catapulted super hero figures back onto store shelves in 1984 with its first series collection. Unlike their gargantuan predecessors, these figures were on a smaller 3 3/4 inch scale. Kenner launched the line with heavy hitting, well known characters like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and other mainstream heroes. The first series consisted of 12 figures, three vehicles, and 1 playset. The Hall of Justice served as our heroes' base of operations. Vehicles like the Supermobile and Batmobile aided the Super Powers team in their adventures against the bad guys. Kenner was not the only company bringing comic book characters to life on the toy shelves. While Kenner secured the DC characters, Mattel nabbed the Marvel character license for Secret Wars. These two lines shared shelf space during the same time period.

The first wave was well received by consumers, which prompted Kenner to release a second 10 figure series (12 if you include the mail-away Steppenwolf and Clark Kent figures). Darkseid and his minions became the thorns in our heroes' sides. Armed with an array of vehicles, Darkseid and company were a force to be reckoned with. Overall, I don't think consumers received the second series as well as the first. Namely due to more obscure characters, who were less familiar to children. Still, they sold well enough to get a third series into production.

Series 3 gave us 10 new figures. An updated card back debuted, showing the entire carded line of 33 figures. Unlike the previous figures, series 3 lacked the bonus mini-comic. Decreased orders led to lower production and distribution of the final figures. Third Series characters like Cyborg and Mr. Miracle were difficult finds and maintain higher status among today's collectors. Alas, most third series vehicles didn't make it to store shelves. The only vehicles to escape the axe were the Batcopter and Justice Jogger. The infamous Tower of Darkness was shown here in the 1986 Toy Fair catalog and was produced in prototype form, but was not released. The All Terrain Trapper also made it to the prototype stage, but didn't see production.

Unfortunately the Super Powers line was cancelled in 1986. For years rumors prevailed about a proposed 4th series of figures. Evidence exists proving Man Bat made it beyond the hardcopy stage. A second confirmed new character is a four armed Kenner created character dubbed "Quadrex" or "Bio Bug". Photos of this figure in the hardcopy stage were first published in Issue #87 of Tomart's Action Figure Digest. Collectors interested in viewing this figure should seek out a copy of that issue or view the hardcopy example found here on this site. Other characters that progressed to the three-dimensional hardcopy stage include: Silicon (a Kenner created hero) El Dorado (a Hanna-Barbera Super Friends cartoon character), Shockwave, and Rocketman (another Kenner created hero). Conceptual artwork images from Kenner file photography slides provide images of other proposed characters that most likely never made it to the three-dimensional prototype wax sculpting stage. The final confirmed figure for the 4th series was and a Gold Edition Superman commemorating the Man of Steel's 50th anniversary. Clark Kent was once believe to be a planned figure in the 4th series wave, however internal documents show it was originally planned for a 3rd series carded release, but ultimately dropped from that assortment. This explains why the Clark Kent packaging was so far along in the design process (a finalized layout board exists as evidence).

A deluxe figure series, called the Power Plus line, of prominent, mainstream characters was also fairly far along in the development process at the time of the line's cancellation. Deluxe versions of Batman, Firestorm, Superman, and Cyborg all exist in partial hardcopy form having made it past the original sculpting stage. Other proposed Power Plus characters that do not appear to have ventured past the conceptual artwork stage include: Robin, Jayna, and Jan. A vast amount of information regarding the the unproduced figures was first made public as a result of a large find of unproduced material surfacing in 2004. The find was first made public for discussion and viewing on September 11, 2004 in the article written by Jason Geyer seen here.

Super Powers was a fantastic line with detailed sculpting and action packed features. For these reasons, nearly 20 years after ceasing production, it is still revered by superhero enthusiasts. I hope this and the other fine Super Powers websites will continue to pay homage to the figures themselves, as well as the artists who brought them to life.

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