SUPERBOY VS KING SHARK
DC SUPER HEROES (HASBRO)
“It’s the battle of the beach as Hawaiian-based hero Superboy takes on King Shark! Superboy may not have the massive might of his idol, Superman, but he does have his own special powers and abilities. He describes them as ‘tactile-telekinesis’ which means that the Teen of Steel can affect anything he touches with his super-strength; in addition, he is also invulnerable and can fly.
Of course, all his strength may not be enough to take a bite out of King Shark! It’s uncertain whether King Shark is some kind of mutation or, as some Hawaiians believe, the offspring of a shark-god and a mortal woman. Whatever the case, King Shark is every bit as ruthless a predator as any real shark, with razor sharp teeth, extraordinary strength, and deadly claws on his hands and feet.”
In the mid-90s, Kenner had given Batman a couple of lines, so figured why not give DC’s other big guy a go at it. Ta-da! Superman: Man of Steel. It ran two basic series, two deluxe series, and two multi-packs series, and then ended with a bunch of un-released items. A handful of those pieces would make their way out a few years later. Among them? A canceled multi-pack including today’s figures, Superboy and King Shark!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Superboy and King Shark were originally planned for the third assortment of Man of Steel multi-packs, due for release in ’96 (as can be noted from the date stamps on the figures), but were ultimately shelved and then repurposed as one of the four HasbroCollectors.com exclusive DC Super Heroes two-packs that surfaced in 1999.
Superboy was quite negatively affected by Man of Steel‘s early end, with two separate figures canceled. This one got saved, and is, admittedly, the more conventional of the two that were cancelled. As far as I know, the costume seen here was made for this figure, as were most of the variant costumes for MoS. The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. Hooray for that waist swivel. It’s essentially an all-new sculpt, with a bit of a pre-pose going on. This one serves the surfing nature of the figure well. He’s a little larger than the original MoS Superboy, a fact I can tell by the use of a slightly retooled basic Superboy head to top things off. It’s nice from a consistency standpoint, and nice from a “it’s a good headsculpt” capacity. The paintwork on Superboy is pretty basic; it matches the standard colors of the character, and the application is pretty solid, if perhaps a bit roughed up on my figure. Superboy is packed with a hi-tech surfboard, which he can peg into.
King Shark! He’s a shark! He’s King! And this was his first action figure! How about that? King Shark’s figure is another 5-incher (though it’s because he’s squatting; he’d be much taller standing) and he’s got 5 points of articulation. His head is separate at the neck, as if to add a joint, but there’s no actual movement to be had there. King Shark’s sculpt is a fair bit more cartoony than a lot of the others in the line, but it’s admittedly not totally out of place for a character like King Shark. It’s certainly unique when compared to the others. The paint work on him is rather monochromatic, but, again, fairly accurate, so I can’t really complain. King Shark had no accessories, but given his larger stature, it kind of made sense.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I was a big fan of Raving Toy Maniac’s action figure archives back in the day, and they had a pretty solid one dedicated to the Man of Steel line, where there was a whole page of cancelled items. These guys were included there and always piqued my interest, so I was beyond thrilled when they actually made it into production a few years later. I still really dig this set, in all of its gimmicky goodness.