Vintage superman toys, action figures and dolls were made by for example Kenner, Remco and Mego. Hot Toys still makes Superman toys and figures. Kenner developed lines centered on Superman and other DC Comics characters. Most of these lines incorporated multi-colored costumes, weapons and features which were not based directly on any existing storylines, although the character names and likenesses were typically drawn from the source material.

What made these lines so successful was that the figures were modeled almost exactly from the style guide of the company. Also, each figure performed some "action." If Superman's legs are squeezed for example, he would throw a punch.

History

The first Superman character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster was not a hero, but rather a villain. Their short story "The Reign of the Superman" concerned a bald-headed villain, bent on dominating the world. The story did not sell, forcing the two to put their character on the right side of the law.

In 1935, their story was again rejected by newspaper syndicates wanting to avoid lawsuits, who recognized the character as being a slightly altered Hugo Danner, the lead character from Philip Wylie's 1930 novel Gladiator. An upstart publishing company, DC Comics printed another of their creations, Dr. Occult, who made his first appearance in New Fun Comics #6, October 1935. DC decided to take a chance with Superman, figuring if any lawsuits were filed, they would just drop the feature.

Action Comics

The revised Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1, June 1938. Siegel and Shuster sold the rights to the company for $130 and a contract to supply the publisher with material. The Saturday Evening Post reported in 1941 that the pair was being paid $75,000 each per year, still a fraction of DC's Superman profits. In 1946, when Siegel and Shuster sued for more money, DC fired them, prompting a legal battle that ended in 1948, when they accepted $200,000 and signed away any further claim to Superman or any character created from him.

superman toysDC soon took Siegel's and Shuster's names off the byline. Following the huge financial success of Superman in 1978 and news reports of their pauper-like existences, Warner Communications gave Siegel and Shuster lifetime pensions of $35,000 per year and health care benefits. In addition, any media production which includes the Superman character must include the credit, "Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster".

Source and more info: Wikipedia.

Superman value and price guide

What's your 'Superman' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):

Picture Title Date sold Price
Hd Museum Masterline Armored Batman 1 2 05/2019 $4 708.00
Lego Dc Black Suit Super Man Mini Figure 05/2019 $2 999.99
Hot Toys Mms 342 Batman V Dawn Of 05/2019 $270.00
Lego Dc Universe Super Heroes Black Suit 07/2019 $1 675.00
Dc Super Heroes Black Suit Variant Lego 05/2019 $1 580.00
See all sold items for more prices

Superman forum (1 comment)

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Bob - July 22, 2017

I have a cardboard box with a Superman theme on top. One figure is standing upright in the foreground and another is flying over a silhouette of a city in the background. The box has a NOMURA symbol (T.N inside a diamond) and the number 795. I know that NOMURA was changed to Metal House in 1989, so I think this is much earlier. Do you have any idea what toy was made by NOMURA for this box?
►reply: Only thing I can tell you it's from the 1950s, early 1960s. Did you try Google images?