Make It So: Super7 ReAction Super Powers by Jerry Whitworth
The 1980s was the golden age of the toy industry. The likes of G.I. Joe, Transformers, and the Masters of the Universe grew to become multi-billion dollar industries. One of the lesser known yet financially successful brands that has endured to today is Super Powers. Featuring the characters of DC Comics rendered in plastic masterfully crafted by the sculptors at Kenner, Super Powers acquired its name from the mechanical motion the action figures produced from squeezing hidden trigger levers. Initially releasing an impressive twelve figures in its first wave in 1984 including Superman, Batman, Robin, Joker, Lex Luthor, and Wonder Woman, Super Powers grew to produce 34 figures, eight vehicles, and one playset over the span of three years. Crashing alongside the rest of the action figure market in 1986, toy historian Jason “Toy Otter” Geyer uncovered a myriad of figures that were in the pipeline including a sub-line known as Power Plus. In the years since, the brand has consistently re-emerged time and again, notably in maquettes from Sideshow/Tweeterhead, statues from Kotobukiya, and action figures from Figures Toy Company and Mattel within the last decade. With this in mind, the time is ripe for Super7 to tackle Super Powers for its ReAction line.
What Could Have Been: Super Powers Season Three by Jerry Whitworth
When Star Wars debuted in theaters in 1977, it not only changed cinema but the action figure toy market. The Kenner line of Star Wars gave rise to the collectible action figure market that saw such titans as Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and Mattel’s Masters of the Universe emerge. DC Comics, wanting to take advantage of this developing industry, awarded a contract to Kenner to produce what became the Super Powers line. Featuring figures modeled after the DC Comics Style Guide drawn by José Luis García-López, Super Powers became one of the most successful lines of the 1980s. As with other notable brands around this time, Super Powers was promoted via comic books and cartoons. For the latter, Hanna-Barbera resurrected Super Friends that saw veteran Batman voice actor Olan Soule (nearly eighty years old by that point) replaced by Adam West (who famously portrayed the character in the 1960s on television) and abandoned the Alex Toth character models in its second season for that inspired by García-López. Sadly, the action figure market bubble burst in 1986 and the Super Powers toyline died after three waves joined by its animated counterpart after two seasons (sixteen episodes in total). In the ensuing years, we’ve come to learn what future waves of the toyline would have entailed. But, we’ll never know where the cartoon would have went. Lets speculate, then, what could have been.