What Is Superman’s Toy Situation?

A month or two ago I was at Walmart. Since that is something that happens most often when I am looking for a gift for my niblings, I spent a lot of time in the toy section. And, in spite of myself, the same thing happens every time I am in a toy section at a store like that: I wonder why Superman is so underrepresented.

I know I shouldn’t be bothered too much. The Superman of my mind wouldn’t want to be too represented in overpriced merchandise sold by corrupt corporations. But I also see such toys as a way to open the minds of children to the ideas that I wish were being delivered by Superman media.

Still, it doesn’t bother me that much until I see something like this:

It’s not a great picture because I just snapped it with my phone while looking for other things, but what that is is that that is Batman-branded playset featuring Batman, Superman, and Lex Luthor and named “Wayne Tower Mayhem”. I don’t know if this is referencing some specific story, and don’t get me wrong the whole thing looks like crap, but it still bugs me. We’ve got two figures for two Superman characters and a tall building theme. There are plenty of tall buildings this could have been as a Superman-branded toy. Coulda been the Daily Planet or the LexCorp building just for starts. But no, instead some toy making people said that this is Batman’s house and Batman has two jerks from Metropolis show up and ruin his night, the playset.

I get that Batman is popular and probably moves toys, but honestly I bet he’s got characters enough of his own who should be fighting on that rooftop.

There is, I have to assume, no line of Superman toys coming out. I’ve heard claims that Batman is easier to make toys of because Batman has all kinds of cool toys like batarangs and the Batmobile, but once you have a Superman toy you have everything you can get from Superman. I don’t agree with that. First of all, you’ve got all the supporting cast members and villains that could be turned into figures. Sure, people could argue that a lot of them aren’t very toyetic, but if I were in charge, I’d be trying to improve them as characters, so I could work on that too. And there’s no reason Superman and friends can’t have a bunch of cool gizmos. It’s a sci-fi franchise! Make stuff up!

Now, I don’t know anything about modern toys, but if I take this line from the Wikipedia page for TMNT toys as correct, “The premiere series included the four Turtles, Splinter, April, Shredder, Rocksteady, Bebop, and a Foot Soldier. Vehicles included the Cheapskate, Turtle Trooper, Turtle Blimp, and Foot Knucklehead” there were ten figures and four vehicles in the first line of Ninja Turtles toys. Well, I can replicate that for Superman, surely. And all the weird transformations and stuff!


  1. Superman: Obviously you need to have him. We’d need to start the run off with a pretty basic Superman figure. Accessories? How about a Phantom Zone Projector? We could make it look cool and light up or something.
  2. Lois Lane: Famously the toys in the era I grew up in would avoid the lady figures because they wouldn’t sell as well, but I’m not going without Lois.
  3. Jimmy Olsen: I figure there’s a couple ways to go with it. You could do a thing about his transforming, where he has different heads and hands and can be like a werewolf or whatever. Or maybe you do a camera thing where the camera flashes? Or it could be a viewfinder thing?
  4. Steel: He’s got a cool look and a big hammer. You need to have him.
  5. Lex Luthor: For a toy we’re probably want a Luthor in some sort of power armour, even though I think the suits look cooler. He could definitely have kryptonite as an accessory.
  6. General Zod: The other big one of Superman’s foes, we stick him in the first set.
  7. Toyman: He’s had several designs, so we’d have to figure out which would be best, but I think he’s an obvious fit for a line of figures.
  8. Metallo: Cool robot design and maybe he can open up to see his kryptonite heart? That’s something. Some glow in the dark might be cool.
  9. Bloodsport: Tons of guns are his accessories and that’s what toys were in my day.
  10. Bizarro: You get to basically reuse the Superman design with minor differences, so that’s good.

None of that is revelatory. Apart from maybe Bloodsport I assume they’ve all had toys before (and even Bloodsport probably has now that he was in that movie). I kinda wanted to delve into more obscure territory, so maybe I should’ve done this thought experiment as the second wave of toys instead. Ah well, I’m too tired to start anew right now, so let’s let that happen some other time. We still have to deal with:

  1. Supermobile: The classic Supermobile design, but I say we make it so it can transform into a “normal” car.
  2. Bizarromobile: We take the Supermobile design and make it all weird. And it transforms into a weird car. I’m in.
  3. Lexcopter: A LexCorp-branded helicopter that probably can shoot missiles.
  4. Teddy Mech: A teddy-bear-themed mech that a figure can ride in, designed for Toyman.

And I didn’t even get into playsets. Anyway, the fact I didn’t have to get into the obscure stuff I wanted proves how easy it should be. It’s clear that the reason I don’t see more Superman stuff in stores is simply because companies don’t want it there. What a shame.

If I revisit this, I’m sure I’ll get weirder with it.