GeneralKennerSuper Powers

Kenner’s Vintage Super Powers Action Figures

By May 27, 2018 No Comments

If you were born in the late 70s through late 80’s, you probably remember having (or playing with someone elses) a Super Powers figure. The iconic line featured vibrant card art influenced by José Luis García-López‘. Even today, the cardbacks and toy boxes remain one of the most visually appealing and is easily recognized vintage toy collectors.

Kenner’s History with the Super Powers action figures

As sales of the the iconic Star Wars action figure line dwindled, Kenner was eager to find the next licensing opportunity for their 3 ¾ inch figure offerings to compete with both Mattel’s Masters of the Universe as well as Hasbro’s G.I. Joe lines. In 1984, following the closure of Mego Corporation who had previously been producing their World’s Greatest Superheroes line,  Kenner Products was awarded the licensing rights to produce DC Comics figures in their iconic smaller scale.

(Fun fact: Kenner’s very first Super Powers figure was a prototype of Shazam! (aka Captain Marvel) who was mounted to a stick for demonstration of the figures ability to ‘fly.’ This prototype was used in Kenner’s presentation to DC that would ultimately land them the license to one of the greatest toy lines ever created!

After seeing the success of the first series of figures, Mattel took notice and obtained licensing from Marvel to create their Secret Wars figure line.

The fall of Kenner’s vintage Super Powers action figures

Kenner’s Super Powers line began to fade away in 1986- likely due to the fact that many of the figures that were being produced were relatively unknown by children. Heroes like Batman and Superman were of course well known, but other figures offered in the line often sold very poorly.

Let’s take a closer look at the figures and playsets offered in the line:

Series One:

Kenner’s first wave of Super Powers action figures brought 12 new figures to the market. This first wave offered figures of mostly well-known characters, and served as a key driver of the lines early success.

  • AquamanSuper Powers Batman Carded
  • Batman
  • Brainiac
  • The Flash
  • Green Lantern
  • Hawkman
  • The Joker
  • Lex Luthor
  • The Penguin
  • Robin
  • Superman
  • Wonder Woman

Series Two:

  • Darkseid
  • Desaad
  • Doctor Fate
  • Firestorm
  • Green Arrow
  • Kalibak
  • Mantis
  • Martian Manhunter
  • Parademon
  • Red Tornado
  • Steppenwolf

Series Three:Super Powers Tyr Carded

  • Cyborg
  • Cyclotron
  • Golden Pharaoh
  • Mr. Freeze
  • Mr. Miracle
  • Orion
  • Plastic Man
  • Samurai
  • Shazam! (Captain Marvel)
  • Tyr

Mail-Away Exclusive Figures:

  • Clark Kent

Kenner Super Powers Action Figure Vehicle List:

  • Kenner Super Powers BatmobileBatcopter
  • Batmobile
  • Darkseid Destroyer
  • Delta Probe One
  • Justice Jogger
  • Kalibak Boulder Bomber
  • Lex-Soar 7
  • Supermobile

Kenner Super Powers Playsets

  • Kenner Super Powers Hall of Justice PlaysetHall of Justice

Foreign figures:

  • El Acertijo (Riddler – Super Amigos)
  • El Capitan Rayo (Captain Lightning – Gulliver Juguetes)
  • Hombre de las Nieves (Abominable Snowman – Gulliver Juguetes)

Unproduced Kenner Super Powers figures:

There have been a number of prototypes and other documentation found that show Kenner’s plans for the line, had it not been cancelled. Below is a list of the planned but unproduced figures. Some of the figures have been found in prototype form, while others only appeared in documentation.

  • Kenner Super Powers Man-Bat Figure Prototype

    Unproduced Man-Bat prototype figure. Photo used with permission of Hakes.com

    Man-Bat

  • El Dorado
  • Quadrex
  • Shockwave
  • Silicon
  • Blue Devil
  • Bizarro
  • Creeper
  • Metallo
  • Executioner
  • Supergirl
  • John Stewart
  • Kid Flash
  • Manhunter
  • Vigilante
  • Mister Mxyzptlk
  • Black Vulcan
  • Reverse Flash
  • Deathstroke
  • Obsidian
  • Black Racer
  • Atomic Knight

Unproduced Super Powers Vehicles and playsets:

  • Kenner Super Powers Prototype Tower of Darkness

    Tower of Darkness Prototype. Photo used with permission of Hakes.com

    Brainiac Brain Ship

  • Cyrborg Crawler
  • Fist Fighter
  • Jump Jet
  • Snooper Scout
  • Super Glider
  • Plastic Man Car
  • Fortress of Solitude
  • Tower of Darkness

Kenner’s Super Powers Catwoman?

Kenner Prototype Catwoman

Kenner Non Super Powers Catwoman Prototype

While rumors have circulated that Catwoman was also planned, nothing has been found to support this claim. The figure was incorrectly represented in Tomart’s Action Figure Digest as a Super Powers prototype, however evidence has been found that the prototype was for a later Batman line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Super Powers merchandise

While Kenner’s action figures were certainly the pinnacle of Super Powers merchandise, there was no shortage of other products available. You can find a huge range of products branded with the Super Powers logo- Sunglasses, slippers, and even Happy Meal boxes! It’s definitely a great line to collect, with a wide variety of really obscure items to chase!

 

Mark Vanis

Mark Vanis

Founder of The Toy Archives and lover of all things toys. Collector of many things, but primarily pre-production items from a variety of toy lines, Vintage Star Wars, and Batman stuff.

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