Time and time again I have heard the question on all our boards: “Has the JLU surpassed Super Powers?”, but I think it is more than that. That question, as a few have said, is like comparing apples and oranges. This seems like one of the hardest columns to sit down and write. I think the size of it is too big for anyone to completely cover. Otter has great background on the subject but the ability to cover both lines in one article is just too much. I thought the best way to really handle this topic would be to break it up in to the past the present and see how these two really stack up. Now on to the past.
The Super Power line is the only line I remember a commercial of from my past. I remember one Saturday morning watching cartoons and the commercial came on. It was like nothing I ever saw (boy I wish I had TiVo then), I rushed in and woke up my mom but the commercial did not play again for a while. A few weeks later I forgot about the commercial until one day we went to visit old aisle 7C. The whole first wave was there and we bought them all. Of course in those times as in now Wonderwoman was no where to be found and she would wait almost a year before we found her. Ah the days before the hunt……. Anyway this line was one that was simply amazing to my 5 year old mind. It was like my comics and cartoons were in my hands and the whole line came alive in my mind. The figures were amazing colors and what a surprise when we opened them all and we found the action features. Superman flew though the air in my hands and was able to punch Lex and the Green Lantern raised his power ring to fight evil, and the Flash was able to run to save the day. All of these features would fuel my imagination for hours. At the time this line came out my dad was not so understanding about buying all the toys so my mom and I only opened Batman, Robin, and the Joker at first. We took them up to the house and played with them, while the rest sat in the car trunk. It was not long until we both decided to go over to my grandmothers to open the rest and to have a whole Justice League to play with. These toys were amazing and I knew there were more. But at that age I was content with what I had not knowing about upcoming waves, when stores got their shipments, or when they hit California. It was a time of pure toy enjoyment, and the excitement of walking in to a store and being surprised to see a never heard of line. Well as time progressed and I was able to get most of wave 1 and 2, wave 3 was the one which slipped though my fingers and I’m still looking for them today. Only my original Green Lantern survived my child hood but thanks to eBay I have been able to rebuild.
So what made these figures the standard to which most of us measure toys today? I think it was about quality and variety. These toys were able to take a beating and still work. In fact my Green lantern- even with loose joints- still can raise his power ring. They were able to stand and hold a pose without a stand of any kind and they had playsets which could fit the figures and had great playability. The Vehicles were also great because they were also so versatile. How great would a current automobile be if it would hold both batman and a sidekick and still look like it should in the comics or movies. Kenner in its short run did it right and gave us a great standard. With the 25th anniversary coming up these toys are still heavily sought after and well loved. They have inspired our JLU in many ways. And speaking of the JLU…………
Join me next time when I continue my look into theses great lines talk about the return of the heroes.