Minimates are a line of 2-inch high block figures similar to Lego minifigures, except they are highly articulated for better posing. Minimates were created in 2002 by Art Asylum, a group of toy designers who came to fame as a freelance studio specializing in collector-oriented, highly detailed figures for such licenses as Star Trek, Marvel, DC and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in addition to pop culture/music characters. Initially released as building sets from Art Asylum in 2004, the DC-related Minimates were branded under the line C3 for Create, Customize, and Customize, and included playsets and vehicles you could assemble from Lego-like blocks. Here are a couple of the C3 Superman-related releases, both featuring the Justice League Unlimited logo.
Justice League Throne Room Battle
This set includes two Minimates: Superman and Darkseid. Also included are a base and enough bricks to build Darkseid’s throne. The set was sold in a window box with the two figures in a window and the pieces hidden inside.
I really like the wrap-around image of Superman on the left and front panels.
The back of the package shows some of the other playsets in the line, most of which are Batman-related.
Alternate Superman Mini Flyer
This smaller C3 set includes one Minimate of what is labeled as Alternate Superman, but the character is Justice Lord Superman from the Justice League Unlimited cartoon series, an alternate universe version of Superman who murdered President Lex Luthor, lobotomized all the supervillains to stop crime, and rules his alternate version of Earth with the rest of the Justice Lords. It’s understandable how the toymakers didn’t want to market this version of Superman with that name, because that’s a little intense. Still, it’s a pretty cool costume. 🙂
This set comes with a mini flier. The problem with Superman in toys is that he doesn’t need gear; this is one of those instances where a vehicle was invented for him for no good reason other than to sell toys.
The back of the package features some more Justice League characters and playsets that were available in the C3 line.
Unfortunately, the construction toy market is dominated by Lego, so the C3 line did not sell particularly well or last very long, so it quickly came to an end. However, Minimates still lived on…
In 2006, DC Direct announced that they would offer DC characters in Minimate form. Beginning in early 2007, they would release eight waves of eight characters in four two-character packs, many of Superman characters.
Here are the Superman-related two-packs:
Series 1: Superman and Lex Luthor
The first series of DC’s Minimates line was released in February of 2007 and featured Superman and Lex Luthor.
Series 2: Battle-damaged Superman and Brainiac 13
Series 2 was released in March of 2007.
Series 4: Steel and Cyborg Superman
Series 3 was the first series that did not have any Superman characters. Series 4 was released in June of 2007.
Series 6: Supergirl and Bizarro
There were no Superman characters in Series 5. Series 6 was released in October, 2007.
Series 8: Red Son Superman and Wonder Woman
There were no Superman characters in Series 7. Series 8 was the final series of DC Minimates and was released in June of 2008.
Unfortunately, the DC characters just didn’t do as well as the Marvel versions, which have had over 60(!) different waves, plus several re-releases, boxed sets and exclusives. DC did make a mini-comeback in 2015 with a four-pack featuring characters from the Gotham TV series, but it remains to be seen whether comic versions will ever be released again.
A complete list of DC Minimates waves is available at the Minimate Database.