The country’s biggest toy convention, NYC’s Toy Fair, was last month and although I didn’t go, I did read the press releases and reviews that came out of it. Lots of ink was spilled discussing the new Masters of the Universe figures and Green Lantern tie-ins, but the biggest news to me was also the saddest. After 19 years, toys based on the Bruce Timm DC Animated Universe (the DCAU) were coming to an end. What began with 1992’s Batman: The Animated Series and stretching all the way to this year’s Justice League Unlimited Fan Collection was finally coming to a close. Mattel will be shipping their last run of these figures sometime in the Fall.
This wasn’t an unforeseen event. The single-story continuity that stretched all the way back to that first afternoon show kept a pulse through seven different series, including Batman Beyond, Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited. And running parallel to this were the toys. Kenner made the first series, wonderfully sculpted and detailed action figures of Clayface, Bizarro and all the familiar faces. When the TV shows jumped from FOX to the WB to the Cartoon Network, Kenner gave the license to Mattel and, although the character designs changed slightly, they were all of a kind. It surprised many when Mattel decided to keep the line going after the last show’s cancellation. Because really, how many shoppers are into toys from canceled shows?
A lot of shoppers, apparently. The Mattel JLU toy line continued for 5 years past the show’s cancellation. That’s pretty much unheard of. So to honor this, the little toy line that could, I wanted to show off some pictures of their final MattyCollector.com exclusive, The Kalibak and Darkseid Two-Pack. Look below, and behold the wonders of fan-demanded tooling!
Cartoon buffs had been clamoring for this one for a while. For those of you who’ve never heard the name Jack Kirby, Kalibak is the son of the Darkseid, an evil God-like being in DC comics and a regular foe of Superman. He appeared in S:TAS, JL and JLU, and each time he was voiced by Michael Dorn (Nerd alert! That’s Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation!) It’s certainly sad to see this line end. I mean, just look at how cool this guy is – but nothing good lasts forever. In honor of its passing, please feel give a gentle bow of the head to the longest-lasting superhero toy line ever, and then a heart-rending “FAAAHTHHER!!” when you can.