The comic book medium is able to tell all kinds of stories, but often of late, the stories meant for kids has become something of an afterthought. That’s not to say that there aren’t great kids comics being published – there are. That’s just to say that the reading age of those that are actively interested in comic books has risen over the last three decades…and comic book companies have catered to that older demographic in their publications.
It’s great to see that, especially as we approach the holidays – a time of wonderment and excitement for children (and their parents) – that DC Comics has decided it’s apt time to publish something pretty wonderful for kids (and their parents).
Today sees the release of the super-awesome Super Powers #1!
Super Powers #1
Written and Illustrated By: Art Baltazar and Franco
Published by: DC Comics
Back in the early-to-mid-1980’s, the early days of me reading comics and playing with action figures, it was three separate volumes of DC Comic’s Super Powers that really got me into the DC Universe and the Justice League – while also introducing me to the genius that was Jack Kirby.
DC had made a business agreement with Kenner Toys, who produced a line of DC superhero-based action figures, while DC produced a comic book mini-series featuring them. I, of course, read, played with, and collected, both.
The toys were pretty awesome. You’d push characters legs together and they’d super-punch (Superman) or shock squeeze (Dessad). Or you’d push their arms and they’d computer-kick (Brainiac) or they’d lightening-run (The Flash) or they’d hawk-fly (Hawkman). And there were vehicles like the Batmobile or the Darkseid Destroyer available, too – enabling a whole, imaginative, playset for kids.
Legendary comic book creator Jack Kirby consulted on the toy line, bringing DC’s greatest heroes (Justice League members) and villains (Joker, Penguin) to the fore, eventually using the toy/comic platform to highlight his New Gods set of characters (Darkseid, Kalibak, Steppenwolf, Orion and Mister Miracle). Kirby felt that those characters were fantastic antagonists for the heroes – and perfectly marketable to young kids. (It’s interesting to note that over three decades later, those baddies will feature in the first Justice League film in 2017!)
In any case, each toy came with a mini comic detailing backstory on the character. As a kid, I needed that fix. Otherwise, I’d be asking myself: “Who the heck is Mantis?”
But the toys were great lead-ins to the comics (and vice versa), and the idea was also spun off into a Hanna-Barbera produced cartoon series and a whole host of merchandising from other companies including Burger King, Shell Gasoline Stations, Valentine’s Day cards (they were great!), and so many more. In the mid-80’s Super Power was omnipresent!
The first volume of Super Powers, the comic book, was a five-issue miniseries in 1984, plotted by Kirby. The second volume in 1985 had Kirby on art duties as well. A third and final volume was released in 1986, after which the toy/comic line was cancelled.
But what a time that was! What memories!
Today sees the release of a new, kids-themed Super Powers 6-issue miniseries by Harvey and Eisner Award–winning creators, Art Baltazar and Franco, famous for their “Aw Yeah!” comic book storytelling. It’s a fun romp through the DC Universe, with Superman, Wonder Woman and the other heroes investigating the disappearance of Batman!
Create some super heroic memories starting today…you and your kid need to make the super-run to your local comic book shop and super-pick up Super Powers #1.
It’s the beginning of something great!