Because the year was so ding-dang dumb, we wanted to take a moment to give some recognition to a toy company that we think, despite the pitfalls of the rest of 2020, did their part to make the year pretty special overall for collectors.
The company in question brought to life new toy lines of their own and helped get other toy creators' ideas into collectors' hands. But they also helped bring back a slew of classic brands including; Transformers, Thundercats, Masters of the Universe, My Pet Monster, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Peanuts, and Garbage Pail Kids.
For those of you in the collecting community it should be obvious by now, and for those of you not (thanks for reading a blog entry about toys when you don't really care about toys!), we're talking about the fine folks at Super7!
The Worst is a love letter to those creatures and baddies we all grew up with that scared and excited us all. The entire line is for the most part, done in their signature ReAction style of figure, which harkens back to the days of Kenner's Star Wars line which featured minimal articulation, but tons of charm.
From the various iterations and special releases of Universal Monsters, to the cartoon classics such as TMNT, Transformers, Thundercats, Toxic Crusaders, Peanuts and My Pet Monster, to all the figures based on heavy metal properties; Anthrax, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Misfits, King Diamond, and Rancid, and even managed to release famous baseball team mascot figures.
If that isn't a testament to their reach and ability to build out a library of licenses, I don't know what is. And we didn't even list all the ReAction figure licenses. Seriously, go look for yourself on their site. It's pretty amazing.
Well I can, because there's a lot to cover with this lil' nimble and versatile company.
Super7's line of 'Ultimates' or 'Classics' is another type of toy line that, like the ReAction figures, brings in various licenses - but where ReAction figures lean into crisp, simple designs with limited articulation, the Ultimates toy line does it's best to be the top tier when it comes to sculpt, articulation, accessories and attention to detail.
Super7 released a handful of Classics/Ultimates in 2020, and the reason the term 'Classics' is part of this subset of toys is that Super7 took the helm with Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics toy line when Mattel's MattyCollector division was shuttered and fans still looked to add missing or updated versions of the Masters of the Universe to their collections. The last piece of the MotUC toy line just arrived on doorsteps this past holiday season as the massive Snake Mountain playset shipped to all of the folks who ordered one during the crowdsourcing campaign.
Super7 also traversed the murky waters of what appears to be a very confusing licensing ordeal just to continue on another brand abandoned by the shuttered Matty Collector; Thundercats Classics. If you're a Thundercats fan, you're well aware of the curse of the various toy lines the brand has undergone within the past few years. The Thundercats Classics toy line was not immune to the curse and looked as though it was going to end just after one wave was released by Mattel. Luckily we're now seeing a few waves ahead and already have a new wave of figures in hand thanks again to Super7.
The 'Ultimates' line was brought to life with the perfect brand in need of some love this past year - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While TMNT has dominated toy aisles for decades, the past two years saw the brand quickly disappear from retail shelves thanks to a poorly received new animation, 'Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'.
Luckily for fans of the original show and toy line, Super7 had a great vision to bring the color-coded brothers back in the form of updated versions of the original Playmates toy line, under the Ultimates line. So while the nostalgia hits hard because these new figures are all based on and updating the original toys we all knew in the 80s/90s - they go above and beyond with the new sculpts, bringing the former 3.75" (It's true! I measured!) into the realm of the 6" scale.
There's more planned for this new highly-detailed 6" 'Ultimates' toy line, including the Conan the Barbarian figures that were announced for pre-orders in 2020 and look like they are shipping very soon as of the time of this blog entry. We also saw an amazing 6" figure of Voltron in this Ultimates line which means there's probably a lot other toy lines you wouldn't think of being brought into this format.
And I'm not talking about all the ancillary items they produce for the licenses they acquire, such as t-shirts, pint glasses and the occasional rug.
What really needs some dang accolades is the stellar packaging Super7 keeps churning out.
Just look at some of these things!
But back to the main point here, the artwork across the board with Super7 is outstanding. There have been plenty times that the same artwork could have been reused on packaging for a repaint of a character, but instead Super7 tends to create new artwork. That's dedication right there. Not only does it give the customer something new and exciting to look at (especially if the particular customer isn't going to open whatever toy), but also to the artists that are getting additional work because of it.
I came from a very scrappy background in comic publishing, so if there was a way to stretch a certain image into new products, I knew how to do it. But that does shit-all for the artist that got paid once for a piece of art when a company uses it over and over. What Super7 is doing is commendable and should be adopted by more toy companies and similar professions. It should also be mentioned that they know what they're doing too. Super7's roster of artist they pull from are nothing short of amazing. The artwork across all the toy lines' packaging is consistently impressive and makes for a good business model where folks like me often buy two of a figure just to keep one in the amazing package, and one to open.
Seriously, the artwork on the Super7 packaging deserves to be collected into a ding dang book.
So before we end this rambling, fawning award ceremony, we just want to say we can't wait to see what all Super7 is bringing us in 2021 (a dang Thundertank was just announced!) that we'll be buying.
And also, when it comes to a line of super-fun random G.I. Joe ReAction figures based on crazy stuff from the comics and cartoons that Hasbro knows their core audience won't go for in more traditional formats - we are here for it. We've already cleared a spot on our shelf for a Boy George Snake Eyes figure. Can't wait to see if it's a single release or a box set with Lady, Jaye, Timber, Shipwreck, and Polly! Oh! A Hector Ramirez figure!? I had better stop before I make someone at Super7 mad about how spot-on I'm getting with these guesses.
In all seriousness, thanks again to the team at Super7 for being a bright spot in our 2020.
(Runners up include that little-known company Hasbro for it's Transformers and G.I. Joe offerings, and Boss Fight Studios for Legends of Lucha Libre, Bucky O'Hare, and their long-running Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. line.)