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Was Superman the First Ever Action Figure?

For decades Hasbro have taken the credit for creating the very first action figure with their GI Joe line in 1964.

But...the very first action figure was actually released by Ideal 25 years earlier, in 1939!

All Hasbro did was to coin the marketing term "Äction Figure" in order to make these "dolls"marketable to boys!

This was also the first official Superman figure ever released, and NOT the Mego figure as most peoples believe.

The Ideal Superman figure was released to coincide with DC's first big marketing campaign for the Super Hero just in time for the Christmas season sales.

Standing 13-inches in height, with limited articulation, the head and upper body were made of composition, i.e. a mixture of materials such as glue, sawdust, cornstarch, resin, and wood flour, while the arms, legs, and pelvis are wooden.

One of the biggest problems with these figures was that the composite was prone to cracking after time and therefore most of the examples of this figure still in circulation today have been restored to some degree.

However, as long as they have been restored professionally and accurately this shouldn’t defer its value.

Also this figure received a very limited production as this kind of articulated doll or toy was a fairly new concept, as a result it was generally sold in the big department stores in the larger cities and not the local high street store.

When it was originally released in 1939 this figure was listed at 95 cents and later, in 1942, for $1.65. Now compare that with the $1500 it can fetch at auction on eBay, on the very rare occasion one happens to be listed, and that's an increase of 1500%!

Collectors had to wait nearly 30 years for another  Superman figure to be released, again by the Ideal Toy Company, in the shape of a Superman version of the popular Captain Action figure.

Captain Action was a generic figure released by the Ideal Toy Company to compete against the popular Habro GI Joe figure. Ideal also released a Superboy version of the Action Boy figure.

Since then Captain Action has been revived and is again available through Captain Action Enterprises.

Entertainment Earth

Superman Pages

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DISCLAIMER

Please note that all prices mentioned on this site are for informational purposes only and are NOT a solicitation or offer to buy any of the items quoted.

When researching for these articles I use many different online and offline retailers and auctions to get an average value AT THE TIME of writing the article.

As such they will almost definitely be incorrect as the prices and values are in constant flux and change.

Please check my articles and videos on how to grade and value your action figures for up to date prices.

How to Grade Your Action Figures

How to Value Your Action Figures

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