SuperFigure Guide

S U P E R F I G U R E S

SUPERMANIA is proud to present a unique guide to the licensed action figures bearing the authorised likeness of Christopher Reeve as Superman.  As this site is 100% dedicated to showcasing material from the classic Superman Movies series (1978-87) this guide is restricted to the official action figures and statues released in association solely with the movies.

In 1977, licensing for movie merchandise was subject to an unforeseen explosion from which it would never recover with the commercial juggernaut that was George Lucas Star Wars.  With a precedent set of unexpected calibre studios and toy companies all raced to facilitate and merchandise the next big thing and Superman, by then already a 30 year old property, would be given similar treatment.

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Comic book ads for Superman Movie Merchandise

Although Warner Bros. offered a thorough catalogue of tie-in’s it was still a modest campaign compared to the rolling 20th Century Fox deal and unfortunately came with limitations due to a series of rights issues that would literally take decades to unravel.  One of these many trappings was the use of an actor’s likeness. Elementary today and a lucrative stipulation of any performer’s contract, in the late 70’s this concept was in its infancy.  Indeed, some stars were not enamoured for whatever reason with the idea of becoming an action figure at all.  The late Christopher Reeve was well documented as being one of them.

Mego79

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The 1978 Mego Catalogues announcing the Superman 12 1/2″ Action Figure line

With deals struck, however, figures were indeed produced bearing the actor’s portrait from 1978 onwards by the Mego Corp. but unlike the Star Wars packaging (where the actor’s photograph would also appear) and limited by the licensing restrictions, the iconography of the Superman Movies would never be truly embraced.

German Print ad for the complete Mego WGSH Line

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Above: Full-page ads for Superman Movie related merchandise, 1979 

Thirty years later events would conspire to redress the balance almost overnight, with various deals put in place and litigation settled to finally make the Superman series a unified property and, therefore, subject to licensing opportunities at last.  This, combined with deals made with the Reeve estate/family after his untimely passing would also permit use of his likeness not only with their blessing, but on the condition a percentage of sales would go to a worthy cause.

Which brings us right up to date and to the guide below, where the evolution of both the industry trends and demands of collectors are apparent as the product becomes more detailed and movie-accurate with each succeeding release.  Presented in height order, as of now this is the definitive guide for all official Superman movie figures commercially available.  Should one of the plethora of custom figures or statues produced in the meantime be what you are looking for then please go to the ‘Figures and Statues’ tab on the right hand bar, where they will have been documented exhaustively in postings.

We will always believe. 

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(Click for a larger image)

From left to right (click on links for related posts)

1). Mego ‘Pocket Superheroes’ Action Figure (1978)

2). Mattel DC Comics ‘Multiverse’ Superman The Movie’ Figure (2014)

3). DC Direct ‘Christopher Reeve as Superman’ Bust (2011)

4). Madelman ‘Superman The Movie’ Action Figure (1979)

5). DC Direct ‘Christopher Reeve as Superman’ Statue (2009)

6). Hot Toys MMS152 ‘Superman The Movie’ Figure (2012)

7). Hot Toys MMS207 ‘Evil Version’ (Superman III) (2013) Toy Fair Exclusive

8). Mattel ‘Movie Masters’ Superman 12” Figure (2011)

9).  Mego ‘World’s Greatest Superheroes’  Figure (1977-79)

10). Denys Fisher ‘Power Action Superman’  Figure  (1979)

11). NECA 1/4 scale Christopher Reeve as Superman Figure (2015)

12). Cinemaquette/Toynami ‘Superman’ Statue (2010)

13). Sideshow Collectables ‘Superman’ Premium Format Figure (2015)

Recent Posts

Goosebumps…

SUPERMANIA brings you a first-hand report from the halls of the Art Ludique-Le Musée in Paris, currently housing the largest archive of DC Comics related exhibits from both page and screen ever to be assembled.

First reported here and now extended until January next year, word on the museum’s Facebook page is ‘The Art of DC – Dawn of the Superheroes’ is destined for the UK in 2018, just in time for the 40th anniversary of Superman: The Movie.

For now, however, please enjoy the superb images and insights from Superfan Graham Holden as he takes you on this exclusive walkthrough…

“Having heard about “The Art of DC – Dawn of the Super Heroes” exhibition around the time it was originally due to close in September, I was excited to hear it had been extended to early January 2018 so I had to pay a visit.  The only concern I had was that the exhibition itself was being held at Art Ludique-Le Musée in Paris and not closer to me in the UK.

When I walked into the exhibition, I was immediately thrilled to hear John Williams’ classic Superman theme playing on a continuous loop and soon as I turned the corner, there stood the holy grail I had come to see above everything else…a near perfect Superman The Movie costume as worn by Christopher Reeve.  The Superman costume colours were vibrant and in great condition, with a small bit of wear on the oval belt buckle. I was very surprised by just how great the costume looked, you’d never have guessed it was over 40 years old.  Alongside it stood a Clark Kent suit with unbuttoned shirt and Superman tunic beneath it from Superman II, It’s a moment any fan of Superman – especially the Christopher Reeve series – will get goosebumps seeing these iconic costumes with the iconic theme playing around you at the same time.

I felt like a kid standing face to face with the Man of Steel himself and was very happy I’d made this pilgrimage to see this exhibition. Around the same area were a number of storyboard drawings and preproduction designs from both Superman I &II, including an alternative look at Krypton technology and The Phantom Zone with Jor-El and the villains sketched out.

There were also small Superman and Lois Lane models side by side in a display case, used for their romantic night time flight over Metropolis.  You could tell from the detailing on the Superman model that the same fabric used to make the costumes worn by Reeve had also been used in the miniature.

As I spent considerable time taking in these exhibits and looking over them again and again, numerous visitors were entering and the reaction to seeing Christopher Reeve’s Superman costume was the same as mine, pure joy and excitement with lots of photographs and selfies taken.

As for the rest of the exhibition, we were treated to much more original comic book artwork from the world of DC Comics, as well as costumes, props and production artwork from Superman Returns, the unmade Superman Lives and Batman ’89, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin and The Dark Knight trilogy.
Also the more recent efforts of the DCEU with Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman, Suicide Squad, Wonderwoman and the recently opened Justice League.

Thank you DC Comics, Warner Brothers and Art Ludique-Le Musée for creating this exhibition and allowing this fan from the UK and many others, the chance to enjoy such a priceless experience…”

Graham Holden 03/12/17

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