Kenner’s Super Powers Collection, which boasted little action figures based on the superhero characters of DC Comics, punched its way into stores in 1984. The license needed to produce a series of 3.75-inch figures modeled after the ever-popular Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and all their Super Friends came to Kenner just as their options for Star Wars toys — which the company had produced since 1977 – were running out. Return of the Jedi, the last instalment in the Star Wars franchise, hit theaters in the spring of 1983 and would be the final foray into that fantastic world for the foreseeable future.
In order to remain competitive against rival toy makers like Mattel and Hasbro, Kenner needed a strong new product line. By 1984, Mattel’s Masters of the Universe, which hit toy stores in 1982, had become a retail juggernaut. During this same period, Hasbro found success with a new series of G.I. Joe toys (patterned after Kenner’s Star Wars figures) and also the Transformers. But the comic book-based brand recognition of the Super Powers toys soon became a big hit with kids. Now 30 years later, they’re valuable collectors items to adults, and we’ve assembled a list of the most expensive Super Powers toys ever.
15. GREEN ARROW
One of the coolest things about the 33 action figures in Kenner’s Super Powers toyline was that they each displayed their own unique “power action” whenever children squeezed down on either the figure’s arms or legs. Shazam (Captain Marvel) raised his fist in a “Thunder Punch,” Wonder Woman brandished her bullet-deflecting bracelets, and the head of Plastic Man extended upwards like a freaky-looking periscope.
The super power of the Green Arrow figure, the least expensive figure on this list of the 15 most expensive Super Powers toys, was the “Archery Pull,” a fitting talent for DC Comics’ answer to Robin Hood. In addition to a mini-comic (a bonus included with each of the figures in this toy line), this figure also came with accessories like Green Arrow’s bow and three arrows. A MOC (“mint on card”) Green Arrow still factory sealed in its original packaging recently sold for $197.
14. WONDER WOMAN
Unlike the previous action figure toyline produced by Mego, which included three different female characters (Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl and Catwoman) from DC’s dense roster of colorful heroes and villains, the Justice League’s star spangled Amazon was the only non-male offered in Kenner’s Super Powers line. In 2003, a toy historian revealed Kenner’s tentative plans for years four, five and six, which would have also added Supergirl and Jayna from the Wonder Twins had the toyline not collapsed in 1986.
As mentioned, the “power action” that the Super Powers Wonder Woman figure displays is raising her projectile-stopping “Defector Bracelets.” In addition to a mini-comic, Wonder Woman’s included accessory was her golden lasso. Recently, a mint condition Wonder Woman figure still factory sealed in its original packaging sold at auction for $199.
A decade before the production of Kenner’s Super Powers toyline, DC Comics obtained the license to the Fawcett Comics character Captain Marvel. This character first appeared in the pages of Whiz Comics #1 in 1940 and soon became the most popular character in comics, outselling everything else on the newsstand — including DC’s Superman. But in the ’50s, after losing a lawsuit filed by DC claiming that “Cap” infringed on their Superman copyright, the Fawcett Comics character disappeared from comics for two decades.
In 1973, the rights to Captain Marvel were acquired by DC and he was renamed “Shazam” (the magic word used by Billy Batson to become Captain Marvel) and was given his own comic book. The ever-popular Shazam has been featured in every toyline since the Mego days. A mint condition Super Powers Shazam still factory sealed in its original packaging sells at auction for upwards of $210.
12. GOLDEN PHAROAH
The Super Powers figure Golden Pharoah was not one of the established characters of the DC Comics roster of famed heroes and villains. He was a character created for a comic book series devoted tales based on the Super Powers brand. Golden Pharoah was also one of several characters added to the toyline that ultimately failed to resonate with kids who hadn’t ever read any comics in which they appeared. This disconnect is viewed as a major factor that contributed to the demise of the toyline three years after the Super Powers was launched.
Nevertheless, Golden Pharoah, whose manually activated power action is raising his arms to display his “Soaring Wings,” is still a desired figure to adult toy collectors. A min condition Golden Pharoah still factory sealed in the original blister pack recently sold at action for $258 bucks.
11. PLASTIC MAN
Another DC Comics character that didn’t originate in the pages of a DC comic book was Plastic Man. The character first appeared in 1941 in the Quality Comics publication Police Comics #1, and when Quality’s doors were shuttered in 1956, DC acquired many of its characters and introduced “Plas” into its comic book universe by giving him a short-lived series in the ’60s. The character also managed to star in his own Saturday morning cartoon titled The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, which ran from 1979 to 1981.
By the time Kenner’s Super Powers toyline was being released in 1984, it wasn’t a…stretch to see why Plastic Man would be included. And while he’s never been as popular as Superman, Batman or ever Aquaman, he certainly has his fans. A mint condition Plastic Man figure still factory sealed on the original card sold at auction for $259.
In the ’80s, the nuclear powered superhero called Firestorm was one of the newest characters added to DC’s roster of comic book heroes and villains. The character made his debut in March of 1978 in the pages of Firestorm, the Nuclear Man #1 and was soon invited by Superman to become a member of the Justice League. In 1984, the character was also added to the Saturday morning TV ‘toon Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and also The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985), the final incarnation of the long running Super Friends cartoon series.
Fittingly, the hotheaded Firestorm was also added to Kenner’s Super Powers toyline with his unique power action being an “Atomic Punch.” A Firestorm figure still factory sealed in its original blister pack recently sold at auction for $277.
9. MISTER MIRACLE
Created by the legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby, Mister Miracle made his first appearance in April of 1971 in the eponymously titled Mister Miracle #1. Unlike DC’s fully established heroes like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, or even the less prominent but still fairly well-known characters like Plastic Man and Firestorm, Mister Miracle wasn’t in any way a household name when Kenner’s Super Powers line was released.
Like Golden Pharoah, Mister Miracle — despite being an actual comic book character — was largely an unknown variable in the superhero equation and didn’t resonate well with kids. Nonetheless, to adult collectors today Mister Miracle is a cult favorite due to his connection to Jack Kirby. A MOC Mister Miracle still sealed in the original packaging recently sold for $305.
As previously mentioned, one of the biggest drawbacks that would lead to the premature demise of Kenner’s Super Powers toyline only three years after its debut was the heavy reliance on characters with whom young boys who’d play with the toys (and parents who would pay for them) were largely unfamiliar. Like Mister Miracle before him, Steppenwolf was a supervillain created by Jack Kirby in 1972. The character’s first appearance occurs in the pages of New Gods #7, another title created and designed for DC by the legendary artist.
Steppenwolf’s power action is the “Electro-Axe Chop,” which is accomplished with the aid of his Elector-Axe accessory and pressure applied to his legs. A MOC (“mint on card”) Steppenwolf action figure still factory sealed in its original packaging recently sold for $305.
7. MR. FREEZE
The supervillain known as Mr. Freeze made his first appearance in February of 1959 in the pages of Batman #121, where he was originally known as Mr. Zero. In 1966 he was renamed Mr. Freeze for the live-action Batman TV show and was also later featured as one of many villains in the Saturday morning cartoon show The New Adventures of Batman, which aired on CBS in 1977.
Considering his placement in pop culture consciousness in relation to Batman, Mr. Freeze was a logical choice to be included in Kenner’s Super Powers toyline. In addition to the standard minicomic, the figure’s costume featured a removable dome and Freeze’s power action was a “Cold Blast Punch.” A minty fresh Mr. Freeze in its original factory sealed blister pack recently sold at auction for $313.
6. MARTIAN MANHUNTER
Kids who grew up watching DC-based superhero cartoon shows like Super Friends would have had little-to-no idea that Martian Manhunter was one of the seven original members of the Justice League of America, the comic book precursor to Super Friends. The character made his first comic book appearance in November of 1955 in the pages of Detective Comics #225.
Despite his longstanding place as both an original member of the JLA, by 1984 Martian Manhunter had fallen into a bit of obscurity with the Generation X demographic. Like other lesser-known characters in the Super Powers toyline, the lack of recognition for this character didn’t help the the series at all. But he’s a fan favorite of adult collectors today. A mint condition Super Powers Martian Manhunter still factory sealed in its original packaging sells at auction for upwards of $349.
Samurai is one of a few characters that didn’t get their start in the pages of a comic from DC, Fawcett or even Quality Comics. Samurai was one of three new superheroes created for 1977’s Saturday morning cartoon show The All-New Super Friends Hour. Like Apache Chief and Black Vulcan (a character based on the DC Comics character Black Lightning) he was created in an effort to add racial and cultural diversity to the show.
Samurai appears in The All-New Super Friends Hour, Challenge of the Super Friends, Super Friends (1980), Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. Ironically, though, he never appeared in the pages of an actual DC comic book until 2010, but his TV appearances made him a smart choice for Kenner’s Super Powers. A mint condition figure in its original packaging presently sells in the price range of $399.
4. GREEN LANTERN
In 1959, the alien ring bearer named Hal Jordan became the second character in the pages of DC Comics to bear the mantle of the Green Lantern. His first appearance was in Showcase #22 in the fall of 1959. In addition to his regular appearances in comics like Justice League of America (he was one of the team’s seven original members), Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern was also a featured character in a solo series that was part of 1967’s The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure.
In addition, Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern was an occasional supporting character in various Super Friends incarnations: Challenge of the Super Friends, Super Friends, Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, all of which made him a smart choice for Kenner’s Super Powers. A mint condition figure in its original packaging presently sells the price range of $495.
Since 1939, when he first appeared in the pages of Action Comics #1, Superman has typically been the square-jawed face of the entire DC Comics line. Next to Batman (who more than likely tops him now), no other character in the DC roster of heroes and villains has been featured as prominently or as frequently as the character once described as “being faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive.”
Now nearly 80 years since his debut, Superman is still one of DC’s most popular characters and his toys are typically right near the top of the list, where collectors would expect to find them. Recently at auction, a Superman Super Powers figure still sealed in its original packaging sold for an unsurprising $849.
Since the debut of his popular TV show in 1966, but even more so after the successful debut of a film franchise in 1989, Batman has been stealing almost every other character’s thunder at DC Comics. Next to Superman, there is no other character that’s more important to the DC roster of heroes and villains (although it could easily be argued that Wonder Woman is currently carrying them and all of their peers into the 21st century). Batman toys usually demand the big bucks and the Batman Super Powers figure is no different.
Boasting a removable cape accessory and his very own finger-pressure-activated “Bat Punch,” Batman’s inclusion in Kenner’s Super Powers toyline was a no-brainer. A mint condition Batman figure still factory sealed in its original carded blister pack sold recently at auction for $1,050.
In the ’80s, the half-human, half-android character known as Cyborg (born Victor Stone) was commonly known as a member of the Teen Titans. The character made his first appearance in the pages of DC Comics Presents #26 in October of 1980. In addition to his regular role in Teen Titans comics, Cyborg was also featured in the cast of 1985’s Saturday morning cartoon show The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (the final incarnation of Super Friends). His voice was handled by Ghostbusters star Ernie Hudson and you cannot get more ’80s than that, right?
In a recent auction, a mint condition Cyborg figure still factory sealed in its original packaging sold for a very surprising $1,225, making this figure the most expensive Super Powers toy ever!
Did ever own any of these action figures? Let us know in the comments!
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!