Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Super Powers Collection 25th Anniversary - Blog Crossover

Turns out that this week is the 25th anniversary of the Super Powers action figure line, and 14 comic/toy-related blogs have banded together to celebrate as they saw fit. I didn't find out about it until this morning. D'oh! Of course, the lone Legion-related figure in the line was Tyr.



In 1986, as part of the 3rd wave of the then-popular Super Powers action figures, someone decided that a kewl-looking villain should be added to the cast. Why they went all the way to the 30th century to get Tyr is beyond me, but he gets the distinction of being the first honest-to-goodness Legion-related action figure. Toyotter has a great writeup on all the characters, including Tyr.





The Super Powers line featured "action" figures - you moved it in a certain way and they did something. Tyr's gimmick was that his arm blaster fired when you squeezed his feet. The front and back of the card tell of his "Power Action Rocket Launch" and a card you were supposed to cut out that described his powers and weaknesses. I bought mine a decade ago for $65 (original price: somewhere around $1.50), but ebay prices are all over the place today. The third wave of Super Powers figures was made in smaller quantities than the earlier waves, which explains why he's hard to find these days.

The 4th wave of Super Powers figures for 1987 never got off the ground. However, in an interview several years ago, Steve Lightle discussed being asked by the Kenner team to design at least two Legion figures: Dream Girl and Dawnstar. They never made it past the drawing stage, though Steve's suggestion for Dream Girl's insignia can be found on this page that has an excerpt from the interview (the original of which has apparently vanished into cyberspace). I can see Dawnstar's "action" power (squeeze her legs and her wings flap, just like the Hawkman figure), but I have no idea what they were going to do for Dream Girl's.

The Kenner's Super Powers page has some closeups of the loose figure and the disassembled pieces of the prototype.

The third wave of Super Powers figures had its own non-canonical tie-in comic miniseries.

Here are the other blogs participating in the Super Powers anniversary:

9 comments:

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Michael - Thanks for posting the anniversary crossover! If I'd known about your blog I certainly would have invited you. If we do any more crossovers in the future, we'll definitely get in touch with you!

The Irredeemable Shag
http://onceuponageek.com
http://firestormfan.com

Michael said...

Thanks Shag! I emailed the other posters to ask them to add me, but I couldn't find contact info for Luke's Hawkman page or Doug's Doom Patrol page.

Linda said...

There's a strange series of "tribute" figures available now that includes Supergirl, though she's the only tangentally Legion-related one in the bunch.

http://cgi.ebay.com/SUPERGIRL-Bubble-has-been-slit-Super-Powers-made-ITW_W0QQitemZ170373637628QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item27ab0f65fc&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Michael - I'm doing a follow-up post on Wednesday on my ONCE UPON A GEEK blog. I've included a link to this post. Thanks again for joining in!

Linda - Those are super cool and odd. Check out the back of the cards for more custom figures.

The Irredeemable Shag
http://onceuponageek.com
http://firestormfan.com

RAB said...

Dream Girl? Yeah, um...I just can't follow how that would make any sense at all. It's the dullest visual of any female Legionnaire, vis a vis toy purposes. Forced to choose another from the group in that period besides Dawnstar, Shadow Lass would have been a lot more appealing...

Linda said...

Yeah, but remember that this was 1985-1987, and working off of the 1982 DC Style Guide. Dream Girl would have been leader of the Legion around this point, wouldn't she? She could have looked especially impressive if, like Cyborg, she was wearing vac-metallized silver clothing, which I'm guessing is what the attraction would be for the figure.

Michael said...

The thing is, though, that of the 33 figures in the line, only one was a woman (Wonder Woman). Back in the 1980s, the action figure line was geared towards boys. If they're going to include female figures, why not the more common ones first to go with their male counterparts, like Supergirl (for Superman), Batgirl and Catwoman (for Batman), Black Canary (for Green Arrow), Wonder Girl (for Wonder Woman), or Hawkgirl (for Hawkman)?

The period of around 1985, when Steve Lightle said the figures were on the drawing board, would put the time frame between the LSV story and the Crisis crossover (which may explain the lack of Supergirl). Whether Dream Girl was leader or not, I think she would have been dynamically hard to pull off - in the sense of how to make body movements correspond with some powers (like Flash running, Superman punching, Tyr swinging his gun arm, etc.). They already had a Hawkman who could flap his wings, that would have been simple to adapt to Dawnstar.

Linda said...

Very true, though obviously by wave 3 they were delving pretty deep into the DC bag to find interesting looking characters. I always found it very odd that Supergirl, who was part of the original pitch from Kenner (I think I wrote Mattel originally, oops) to DC for the line never made it into production, especially considering that she had a movie released right smack dab in the middle of the existence of the series. How have times changed in terms of toy marketing since then?!

Both Batgirl and Supergirl were part of the marketing strategy Kenner used to secure the license from DC (which was extensively covered back in Action Figure Digest years and years ago, and also on Toyotter's site) along with Wonder Woman, but Wondy was the only lady who made it in. The only thing I can point to as the reason is that Wonder Woman was in Super Friends...had the line continued it was going to feature Zan and Jayna the Wonder Twins as deluxe figures even though they weren't really part of the DC Universe in comics themselves.

Although it's pretty much accepted that we know as much about the Super Powers line as we're ever going to know, I'd love to hear the reasoning behind why Kenner was thinking about Dawnstar and Dream Girl in the line before people like Mon-El, Lightning Lad or Cosmic Boy!

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