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

“And Why Not..?”

In a week where the first and best Superhero movie of the modern era was welcomed into the National Film Registry archive and its latest media release awarded ‘Best Product’ by fans on the Superman Homepage, SUPERMANIA concludes 2017 with another first –

Martin Lakin – Editor, SUPERMANIA78.com

Just as Superman IV: Redux was a personal triumph, SUPERMANIA was doubly honoured to act as consultant on this magnificent project initiated by two friends made from back in the earliest days of web fandom.

It fills me with pride when I recall, some 20+ years ago now, how a random bunch of young fans united by their passion for the Superman series deigned to meet and explore some of the locations shown above and marvel at how little had changed since filming had completed years before.  The experiences from that day obviously left lasting impressions on more than just myself, and now here we are, with once coy Oliver Harper chairman of his own YouTube empire and quiet Introspective Tim Partridge now a tenured filmmaker.  Keeping in touch with these talented folks over the years has culminated in the superb piece of broadcast-standard material above.  Think you know everything about Superman IV?  Think again and be entertained doing so.

Many times since this website has been live I have mused on quite why a 30-year old movie reviled by most should still court quite so much analysis and attention today.  I could go on and on as to what I love about it, but like religion, would never force it on anybody else.  What surprises me is I never have to and I’m gratified beyond words when many fans tell me the best reference for the film is to be found right here.  Like many fans I wish to pass on my thanks to Tim and Oli for putting it to such memorable use, I look forward to future collaborations…

Tim Partridge – Director

I’m a professional filmmaker and Oliver Harper is a popular YouTuber, specialising in video essays. Both of us have known for decades about the filming locations of Superman IV, thanks mostly to SUPERMANIA, and we always felt there was a great story to tell about the unusual choice of it’s settings. We wanted to both analyse and celebrate the film’s undeniably creative production design. We thought this project was very appropriate for Oliver’s YouTube channel, and would enhance his format by putting him on-camera in the Superman IV locations.

We went through all of the original production/publicity material we could find in order to research this, as well as speaking to some of the crew members who worked on the film. Oliver and I had spoken of making the video as early as 2012, and had aimed to release it in the autumn of 2016, exactly 30 years after Superman IV went into production. However, the project grew and our narrative adjusted itself. We were very lucky to interview double Oscar-winning set decorator Peter Young about his experiences on the film, enriching the video with a first hand perspective and insight into the production design of Superman IV.

A huge thanks to everyone who helped us along the way.

Oliver Harper – Film Documentarian/Video Editor

I’ve been fascinated with Superman IV ever since I was a kid. It’s obviously a bad movie but I always appreciated its good intentions and its production and design I found very interesting. With the movie making use of the United Kingdom for many of its locations, far more so than Superman 1 to 3 and Supergirl, I wanted to explore these places and see how they made use of them. However, this was always just an idea in the back of my mind. I had made a trip to Milton Keynes in the late ’90s with Martin Lakin and Tim Partridge (director) but that was as far as I got in seeing what they used. Come 2011 when I started my YouTube channel, which focused on movies of the ’80s and ’90s, my first review was on Superman IV and the idea of making a video on the locations was something that I felt could be interesting. The director of the ‘Man of Steel and Glass’ video, Tim, and I both shared similar views on the film and we had discussed ideas about making something a couple of years before we even decided to officially move forward with it. Come 2016 I finally said let’s get this going so we could celebrate the 30th anniversary of the production, although it grew into a bigger project which we would release the following year.

The documentary started out as something quite simple but the narrative began to change. The whole design of it shifted radically into something more than just a before and after video like most traditional videos of this nature that you find on YouTube. Tim especially wanted to push the magic of the movies and how filmmakers have continuously tricked audiences into believing they’re shooting in one location but in fact are shooting in a entirely different country. Superman IV could’ve successfully done that but was let down by some poor decisions regarding the photography of the locations, thus undoing the illusion

2018 marks the fortieth anniversary of Superman: The Movie’s cinematic release and advance word is that the celebration will last in various forms all year long.  In the US, 40th Anniversary Cons attended by many of the original cast have already begun with more promised across the world in the coming months.  Indeed, for a franchise entering middle age, it shows no signs of slowing down and new discoveries continue to emerge such as these exclusive images below from the Milton Keynes location of Superman IV in 1986 –

SUPERMANIA wishes you & yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New year.  The Adventure Continues in 2018..! 

 

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