For those who came in late, a history lesson:
Kenner is arguably one of the most famous toy companies of all time. While their history prior to the late 1970s is quite interesting, it’s their acquisition of the toy rights to a little movie that everyone in the movie and toy industries thought of as an impending all time cinematic disaster that truly put them on the map. A little movie called Star Wars.
Fast forward to 1984. Return of The Jedi has been released, George Lucas says the franchise will go on break for the foreseeable future and while their Star Wars toyline would continue into 1985 (all attempts to extend it past '85 would fail), Kenner is hungry for a new franchise that is overflowing with heroes, villains, aliens, creatures and vehicle and playset ideas galore. Enter their acquisition of the DC Comics license.
From 1984 to 1986 Kenner produced the Super Powers Collection toyline consisting of action figures, vehicles and one playset (the other playset on tap never made it into production). While the line was highly successful, sales dipped after the third series of action figures and the line ended before the fourth series of figures and other franchise specific items (think a Titans Tower playset from The New Teen Titans, a phone booth for Superman and a Bat-signal for Batman, among other verified examples of in-progress items) could be released. Kenner’s DC license ended and there would be no DC action figure oriented toys on the shelves until 1989.
Fast forward to 1990. New kid on the toy company block Toy Biz has had the DC toy license for a year and produced action figure product for the Tim Burton Batman movie as well as DC in general in an accompanying line entitled DC Comics Super Heroes.
Kenner reacquires the DC license and in that same year begins a very long tenure with it as they release The Dark Knight Collection toyline based on the Tim Burton Batman movie.
Fast forward to 2003. Hasbro is now the name stamp on mass market released DC action figure based toys. They acquired Kenner in 1991, however the Kenner label would endure until 1999 when Hasbro dissolved it in favor of their brand appearing on all products formerly under Kenner’s purview.
Mattel, the world’s largest toy company at the time, is eager to re-enter the boys toys arena and after having re-introduced the Masters of the Universe brand a year prior in 2002, they acquire the license for the Justice League TV series, and all things pertaining to Batman and Superman. The Kenner/Hasbro era comes to a close in 2003 with the release of the Toys R Us exclusive Girls of Gotham City action figure four pack.
So…now that I’ve given a brief history on the Kenner/Hasbro era of DC toys, let’s talk about your favorite lines, figures and other items from it. While very, very heavily focused on Batman, the good folks at K/H did manage to squeeze in product from other DC properties as well in assorted lines such as Superman: Man of Steel (no “the” in this case), JLA and DC Super Heroes for example.
The floor is yours