COMMENTARY: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Flying Superman Toys!

For decades, Superman has captured our imagination with his powers, one of the best-known being flight. Yet not many toys have focused on this aspect of Superman to create something fun and exciting. Luckily, thanks to this summer’s Man of Steel movie, The Toy Book received quite a few Superman items, some of which made good on the promise of taking playtime to new heights. I’m happy to share these flight-centric toys with you.

Superman Man of Steel Flight Speeders: Solar Force Launcher: “Faster than a speeding bullet” is often used to describe just how fast Superman is. Thanks to Mattel‘s Solar Force Launcher, he doesn’t travel quite that fast, but he’s fast enough, and can traverse a decent distance when he comes soaring out of this lightweight toy, which resembles an alien spaceship from Man of Steel. The cockpit on top swings open to allow any 3.75-inch Superman figure from Mattel to be placed inside. However, in the event that there’s an emergency at the far end of the backyard, pressing the plunger shoots a Superman foam figure in trouble’s direction. Superman launcher

Man of Steel Swingshot Superman Figure: In Man of Steel, Superman eventually gets that whole flying thing down. But he’s far from graceful at first. That was especially true for landings. The Man of Steel Swingshot Superman Figure, also from Mattel, lets kids re-enact those awkward first flights. He’s meant to be airborne, so after grabbing the plush doll by its long cape, kids can swing Superman around and around, before letting him go and, basking in the glory of Krypton’s Last Son, watching him sail through the air. Luckily, not only can the doll’s durable body survive all kinds of impact, but it’s soft enough that every landing is a safe one.Superman Swingshot

Superman Flying Heroes Action Figure: A personal favorite of mine, send the world’s greatest superheroes up, up, and away with The Bridge Direct‘s Flying Heroes line. Each comes with a hand-held launcher and a six-inch-tall action figure. Place the figure on the launcher, give the cord a good pull, and stand back as the likes of Superman, Batman, and Wolverine lift off helicopter-style. While The Bridge Direct recommends adult supervision for this particular toy, it’s a lot of fun for users of all ages. It’s also worth noting that the sculpting and attention to detail are impressive: in the case of Superman, the toy captures his iconic spit-curl and all the fine points of his classic costume.

And while Flying Heroes Superman appears to be holding wings when stationary, whenever he does go spinning through the air, his arms rise up to shoulder height, resulting in it looking as if his cape is whirling around him. It’s a neat visual; not unlike that time in the comics when he had to become a human drill and dig his way to the Earth’s core. Or when his costume got soaked and he had to dry it really quickly. (Okay, I may have made that last one up. But I’m sure he’d do it if he had to!)

The bottom line: There’s something about hitting a plunger, flicking one’s wrist, or pulling a cord and causing something to go sailing through the air that feels strangely liberating, and makes these toys as super as they are.

For more commentary from Phil, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!