FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DIRECT)
Though there are previous instances of costumed heroes and vigilantes with catchy names and gimmicks, the tried and true concept of the “Super Hero” was properly introduced in 1938’s Action Comics #1, which introduced Superman to the world. Superman was a smash success, launching an entire industry of super hero comics, and becoming a major fixture in that very industry. In more recent years, he’s become something of a divining rod for what kind of a person you are, given your feelings on whether he’s out of place in today’s world or not. But, today, I’m looking back to his beginnings, with a figure based on his very first appearance.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Superman was released in Series 2 of DC Direct’s First Appearance toyline. While there had been prior Superman figures from DCD at this point, this was the first to actually be sporting his first appearance attire, and the first specifically based on the golden age, or Earth 2, Superman. The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation. All of the Series 2 figures got the benefit of ever so slightly improved articulation, notably including wrist joints on all of the figures, which was beyond the standard for DCD at the time. The figure’s sculpt was all-new at the time, though DCD wound up re-using most of it a few times after the fact. It’s a fun sculpt, which captures the spirit of the original art, while providing just a little more polish to the whole thing. The proportions definitely match, as do the slightly more unique aspects of the costume design as well. He’s meant to be based more on the interiors than the cover, showcased best by the specific boots he’s got. They’ve added a little extra detailing to the sculpt, especially for the face and the boots. The mixed media set-up that DCD was pushing early in this line is present on this figure in the form of his cape, which is a double thick item here, which has a wire in its lining, allowing for a little bit of dynamic posing. All later releases using this mold had an actual sculpted cape, but this one certainly has its charm. The figure’s paint work is fairly basic, but it checks all the right boxes. The application is crisp and clean, and he’s quite bright and eye-catching. The figure is packed with a display stand and a reprint of Action Comics #1, which was standard for the line.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ve discussed before that for a while in the early ’00s, my dad and I “shared” a DC Direct collection. It meant there was very little overlap between our two respective sets of figures. First Appearance Series 2 was one that we split evenly, and Superman was one of the two that my dad took. I did quite like the look of the figure, but I also had a number of Superman figures already. Last year, I was helping a family friend downsize their collection, and this Superman was amongst the departing items. I had just pulled out my older figures from the set for review purposes at the time and was feeling nostalgic, and I couldn’t bring myself to pass on this one. He’s a fun figure, and a great addition to the rest of the line.