In 1984, Kenner, best known for its success with Star Wars action figures, acquired the license to DC’s superheroes and began releasing the Super Powers Collection, a series of 4″ high action figures each with a “super power,” or action feature. The first wave of the series featured all of DC’s most popular characters, and the very first in the first series was Superman.
This version is the bilingual French/English version made for the Canadian market. I found this one, as well as a number of other characters in the line, in a local closeout store for $1.99 each in 1987-8ish. As you can see, the bubble is yellowing, a problem with a lot of the Canadian cards.
The blister bubble includes a Super Powers Superman figure, as well as a mini-Superman comic.
The back of the card shows photos of the first 12 figures in the line (known as a 12-back). Also shown at the upper right are instructions on how Superman’s power action works… when you squeeze his legs together, his arms move like he’s punching. There’s also a poster offer; I’m guessing this was for the Canadian market only, but I don’t know. Plus, there’s a profile card that you can cut out and save.
The figure itself is molded of blue plastic with painted details. His elbows are not articulated, but he’s pretty nice for an 80s figure… definitely a step up from Mego’s Comic Action and Pocket Heroes lines.
Superman’s cape attaches to his neck via a small plastic U-shaped clip. It’s made of a very thin fabric, semi-transluscent with a loose weave, and features a yellow cape emblem.
The insert comic is about what you would expect: heavy on cross-promotion for the line, it features Superman fighting Lex Luthor (a Wave 1 Super Powers figure), and Superman uses his Supermobile (sold separately). The back cover has an ad for DC Comics subscriptions by mail.
In 1986, Kenner issues the third and final wave of the series, and it wasn’t until 1989 and the success of the Batman movie that DC superhero action figures would return to toy shelves. Speaking of 1989, Toy Biz, which briefly held the Batman and DC Superheroes toy licenses, used the Super Powers Superman mold to release their own version of Superman, featured previously on Collecting Superman.
Super Powers influence on collectors is still felt today through DC Universe Classics, which has released several Super Powers style characters, including Golden Pharoah and Samurai.