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DC and Mattel 2018: 15 years together. Time to go away or relaunch?

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Author Topic: DC and Mattel 2018: 15 years together. Time to go away or relaunch?  (Read 1760 times)
fishmilkshake
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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2018, 10:39:21 pm »

The winning formula for Marvel has always been that their weaknesses are psychological, human, relatable.  DC weaknesses are kryptonite, fire, and yellow.

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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2018, 10:46:24 pm »

Iím curious why you feel that way about Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire? (I donít mean that in a snarky way. Iím genuinely curious. I donít have any strong feelings on the characters, Iíve just never heard that before and have never thought about what separates a DC character from a Marvel character)

In 1978 DC "Imploded".  They very much misread the market at the time.  Prices were going up on everything.  Inflation.  And they tried to go from 35 cents to 50 cents across the line with an additional 8 story pages.  It did not work.  Staff was let go, freelancers were let go, and a third of the comic line was cancelled.  Many people lost their careers and never worked in comics again.  That's when Marvel overtook them and they've really been playing catch up ever since.  Up until that point, DC was the largest comic publisher in North America.  By a very wide margin.

In 1980, still licking their wounds, DC management threw a "Hail Mary" and hired Marv Wolfman and George Perez away from Marvel.  From what I understand, they were given virtual carte` blanche by the disparate DC honchos.  Marvel has a long tradition of tragic heroes.  DC, not so much.  And it paid off. 

Cyborg was a star athlete and honor student tragically disfigured in an accident.  Worse yet, the accident was caused by his parents.  One of whom died in same the accident.

Raven was the literal devil's daughter.  A devil anyway. 

Starfire was royalty sold into slavery by a sibling.

All tragic figures born out of a perspective that DC did not have at the time.  And New Teen Titans outsold Uncanny X-Men for months.  That's what Wolfman and Perez were hired to do.  Make DC a little more Marvelous.         

Very cool. Thanks for that. Some of this kind of behind the scenes stuff and critical analysis of the creative behind the scenes of comics really intrigues me. Especially companies doing things as a direct reaction to their competition.

Thanks man.  Crisis on Infinite Earths is much the same.  DC becoming more MARVELous.  IMHO, DC really did not need to consolidate all their characters on one central Earth.  But it's history now.  It changed comics forever.  Crisis mopped the floor with Secret Wars.  Creatively anyway.  I've just never thought you beat your competition by becoming them. 
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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2018, 12:05:07 am »

You have extremely interesting insight, GARD.   Thumbs Up  It makes so much sense, too.  And the world of movies is similar.  Try finding a big fan of DC movies, whereas even the greenest Civilian has seen many Marvel movies, and usually really enjoy them.

And that curse has bled over into action figures.  Legends is still going strong ( with occasional misfires ), whereas WB has said: "Fuck it.  Why bother trying to sell action figures at retail anymore?  We're out."
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« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2018, 09:12:13 am »

I'm not sure where the blame lies in terms of action figures.  Maybe there's enough to spread around, including to some fair weather fans.  Whether it's Mattel's fault or WB/DC's fault, or a combination of both, the result is the same.  Pointing fingers and assigning blame isn't productive. 

And while I'm kinda discouraged and slightly angry about the situation, I'm still not ready to give up just yet.  I'm confident that someone, somewhere has a plan to fix this situation.  If the plan is allowed to proceed would seem to be the question.  That, I can't answer. 

However, if there is a plan and it does go forward, this is the part many of you won't like;  Mattel will be in the mix.  They're not giving up the DC license.  The other part is that it probably will not be "classic/iconic".  It'll be Rebirth/Metal/Doomsday Clock.  The current incarnation of the DCU.  Much like ML's has gone to mostly current looks.  The DCU is changing.  Many of the books are fantastic.  Some are downright spectacular.  The whole thing with the Justice League looks to be amazing.  DC will want to put current versions of DC characters out front.           
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« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2018, 02:32:10 pm »

Believe it or not, GARD, I'd love to see the looks of NO JUSTICE in plastic.  It's a great way to remake the Big Guns, and their costumes aren't unrecognizable.  But by the time the figures are designed and produced, those looks will be a thing of the past.
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« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2018, 03:24:54 pm »

I’ve never done a break down of percentages of MLs comparing modern/classic/MCU. That’d probably be interesting to figure out. But they make enough classic stuff that I’m generally happy. Sure I’d like more, but it’s a million times better than the big nothing Mattel gives us.

Granted, Mattel gave us years of waves that were almost entirely classic. DCUC was pretty amazing in retrospect. As much grief as we give Scott, him and the 4H really loved their Bronze and Silver age figures.
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« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2018, 03:43:36 pm »

Believe it or not, GARD, I'd love to see the looks of NO JUSTICE in plastic.  It's a great way to remake the Big Guns, and their costumes aren't unrecognizable.  But by the time the figures are designed and produced, those looks will be a thing of the past.

The setup of the newly configured Justice League would seem to be an ideal jump off point for a new DC/Mattel figure line.  Best I can tell, at least five teams will be operating out of the New Hall of Justice.  Justice League, Justice League Dark, Justice League Odyssey, Titans, and Teen Titans.  Also heavily implied in an interview I read that there's plenty of room for some version of the Marvel Family and the JSA to operate there as well.  When Doomsday Clock is finished anyway.  Doubtful they do the one off looks from the No Justice mini.     
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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2018, 03:50:18 pm »

I’ve never done a break down of percentages of MLs comparing modern/classic/MCU. That’d probably be interesting to figure out. But they make enough classic stuff that I’m generally happy. Sure I’d like more, but it’s a million times better than the big nothing Mattel gives us.

Difficult to gauge.  Marvel simply doesn't change costumes on most characters the way DC does.  Iron Fist today looks pretty much like he did in 1977.  I saw King Cobra on the pegs.  Looks pretty "classic" to me.  This holds true for lots of villains. 

But then you get to Iron Man... 
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« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2018, 06:43:00 pm »

Granted, Mattel gave us years of waves that were almost entirely classic. DCUC was pretty amazing in retrospect. As much grief as we give Scott, him and the 4H really loved their Bronze and Silver age figures.

This is spot on. We can't forget just how much awesomeness they gave us. Much more than was probably deserved at retail.

What sours me is the lack of international distribution. That must have hurt sales and those extra numbers could have been evidence for Mattel to show DC that stuff was selling even better than it was.
I know SD repeatedly says DCUC was canned because DC wanted to move into the new world branding, but you don't kill a cash cow if it's shitting money.

My biggest gripe is still Toy Guru lying to use at the end about the sub. Every time he opened his mouth it was factually incorrect. Such as telling us he couldn't reveal the sub line-up because they didn't know and then in a different breath telling us it takes 16 months to plan and tool a figure. The only way we could get the uber-Doomsday was to to hit that target for subs, missing, then releasing the figure anyway, etc.
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« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2018, 09:48:23 pm »

DCUC was good as it will ever be.  It wasn't perfect, but no line is.  I don't think we will ever get another comic accurate DC line at retail.  If we do, it will NEVER have a fourth of the variety that Classics had.

WB put an end to a successful action figure line just so they could.... stop selling action figures??  It's sort of like FISH said...I don't even really think of DC figures anymore.  WB keeps proving that they aren't interested.

DC are now no different than hoping for an INDY line to pop up.
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« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2018, 10:30:37 pm »

But we will get another comic accurate line again at retail.  At some point.  I thought we were done in 2014.  2016 shocked me when a handful of comic figures made it out.  I'm not willing to make any predictions on when, but it will happen.  I'm just pretty sure it'll be along the lines of whatever is occurring in the current DC comics.  Truthfully, I'm fine with that.  I know lots of people won't be.   

Classics, as much as we don't want it to be, is likely done.  And that's a stab in my heart too.  I still want a Fab Five Titans.  I still want the rest of the GA JSA plus associates.  But I also want the new Damage.  I'd like Marionette and Mime.  Batman who laughs is on my short list.  Tempest would almost be as good as Aqualad.  I'm all over the place.  I know it.  I remember the asshole cocksucker JSaynora from the 'Mess and debating him over how shitty the 90's were.  But I'd buy some 90's guys too.  Hitman, Impulse, hell, the entire speedster cast of the Wally/Flash book from back then.  Gimme Monarch.  Gimme Bloodlines.  Aztek, Zauriel, Ultra Marines, Shade from Starman, and lots more.

My point is, as long as it's comic accurate, I will find something I like.  I'm not terribly worried about the era or if it's an iconic look or not.  I do want variety.  All Superman, Batman, and JLA all the time makes it pretty dull.       
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« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2018, 07:37:45 am »

Granted, Mattel gave us years of waves that were almost entirely classic. DCUC was pretty amazing in retrospect. As much grief as we give Scott, him and the 4H really loved their Bronze and Silver age figures.
This is spot on. We can't forget just how much awesomeness they gave us. Much more than was probably deserved at retail.

When you come right down to it, Mattel did a pretty spectacular job in four short years covering from about 1939-1986 in terms of character selection.  Minus lobster head Zatanna, we got the whole Satellite JLA.  We got closer to a complete GA JSA than anyone has ever gotten us.  We got a dozen or so New Gods plus additional Kirby figures.  The place they really fell down was the Titans.  And although they did make a lot of individual Titans, you can't really put them together in any semblance of one of the major incarnations. 

I know SD repeatedly says DCUC was canned because DC wanted to move into the new world branding, but you don't kill a cash cow if it's shitting money.
   

I believe this to be internal WB/DC politics.  Somehow they believed the winning formula would simply transfer to any new toy line.  Wrong. 

My biggest gripe is still Toy Guru lying to use at the end about the sub. Every time he opened his mouth it was factually incorrect. Such as telling us he couldn't reveal the sub line-up because they didn't know and then in a different breath telling us it takes 16 months to plan and tool a figure. The only way we could get the uber-Doomsday was to to hit that target for subs, missing, then releasing the figure anyway, etc.

Ultimately why I think Scott was fired.  He created a lot of controversy himself.  He liked to be in the middle of everything.  He liked it that people believed he had power that he really didn't have.  He's a cunt.  He's why Mattel doesn't do convention panels related to DC anymore. 

The fix is simple:  A new line.  Keep it under the Multiverse umbrella if you want to.  100% comic accurate all encompassing of all DC owned characters from all eras of DC Comics.  Keep the C&C.  Keep retail MSRP at 20 bucks.  If Marvel Legends can put out 10 waves a year, there's no reason why Multiverse can't do six.  Advance the buck system with new sculpts.  Fill in some holes like lobster head Zatanna and GA Mr. Terrific.  Oh, and how 'bout them Teen Titans?  If you need evergreen, look to the comic book Multiverse.  Red Son Superman, Holy Terror Batman, Thomas Wayne Batman, etc.  And don't be afraid to talk to us.  The FANS!
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« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2018, 08:19:32 am »

I’ve never done a break down of percentages of MLs comparing modern/classic/MCU. That’d probably be interesting to figure out. But they make enough classic stuff that I’m generally happy. Sure I’d like more, but it’s a million times better than the big nothing Mattel gives us.


Exactly. Recently we've seen Medusa, Namor, Cobra, Mr. Fantastic, Ghost Rider. Yes, classic probably accounts for less than 25% of ML output, but it's enough to keep classic fans in the game.

Aside from that, Mattel figures just have not been popping on the shelves. I do think the TV stuff needs to be separate from the comic book line. That would be a start.  But there have been too many breaking points with DC -- Pre/Post Crisis, Nu52, and now Rebirth. I do think it hurts the toys (and the comics) for older readers when you feel these characters are the same ones you read as a kid. Yes, we are not the target market, but we're still big enough in number to have an impact on sales.
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« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2018, 08:30:45 am »

But we will get another comic accurate line again at retail.  At some point.  I thought we were done in 2014.  2016 shocked me when a handful of comic figures made it out.  I'm not willing to make any predictions on when, but it will happen.  I'm just pretty sure it'll be along the lines of whatever is occurring in the current DC comics.  Truthfully, I'm fine with that.    


I guess it depends on your definition of comic accurate line. If it only includes the same icons again and again -- with only a smattering of B and C listers -- then why bother -- especially if it's another short-lived line? Some people will buy Superman and Batman again and again. That's fine, but that ain't me.

Maybe they will give it another try when they finally get around to a new comic line when they finally release new JSA and Legion books -- and determine whether or not new characters like Damage have any, ahem, shelf-life.
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« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2018, 08:31:37 am »

Titans are a big gripe. I really wish weíd gotten Changeling on the taller teen body and classic Starfire.

I think them, GA JSA, a proper Tim Drake Robin, and Vandal Savage are the biggest holes in the collection. Which honestly isnít awful.
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