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Mattel cancels Young Justice and All-Stars action figure lines

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Yep.

I'll breeze by the Young Justice stuff, because I never picked any of those up.

The DC All-Stars, though, is a bit of a blow. About a month ago, they had already announced that the initial three waves of four figures each:

Wave 1:
- Batman Beyond
- Flashpoint Plastic Man
- Larfleeze
- Superboy Prime

Wave 2:
- Flash (New 52)
- Red Robin
- Supergirl
- Superman (New 52)

Wave 3:
- Batgirl
- Batman (New 52)
- Hawkman
- Steel with Hammer

... was "modified" to this:

New Wave 1:
- Red Robin
- Superboy Prime
- Batman (New 52)
- Superman (New 52)

... with no word on any future waves. Now, it looks like that line, the only retail option for the continuation of the DC Universe Classics-style figures, is kaput. (I can't really tell from the wording of the statement from Mattel whether this "new wave 1" represents the next to last or the very last of the retail options.)

Now, for me, DCUC was my preferred action figure line. When it officially ended with Wave 20, and the DC All-Stars line was announced, I was underwhelmed (mainly because it was announced that all the waves would be pretty heavy with "mass market recognizable" (ie, Superman and Batman) characters. (And, sure enough, eight of the initial 12 were.)

Now, though... even that option is gone. The only place left to get the DCUC style figures will be MattyCollector. At $20.00 apiece with about a $10 shipping charge, I am priced out of the figures that will come there. I can't bring myself to pay $30.00 each for brand new, mass produced plastic.

And, at that price, the after-market cost should be pretty staggering.

Barring some amazing resurrection of the line in retail at some point in the future, I'm probably done.

It is a shame. With the big movies hitting this next summer and the return of Marvel Legends, it would have been good for DC to have more offerings on the toy shelves. Wasted opportunity.

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I like some of their more recent waves, I think they were putting out done cool figures. But the two things that killed the line were character selection and price point, and those two things are more closely related than most people think.

These figures were priced at just under $20 for 1 action figure. Considering that this line started at $7.99, the final wave was already up 150% in cost! Nobody likes that kind of an increase, but here's where character selection comes into play. The last 2 waves are nearly identical in selection to what DC Direct put out last year in their Blackest Night and Brightest Day set. So collectors went out and bought the DC Direct figures, which I might add are priced a buck or two lower than Mattel.

And typically that wouldn't be a problem, since Mattel is mass market, they get collectors and kids buying their stuff, and the last 2 waves were filled with big names.

...But the price point, 20 bucks for 1 action figure, parents are not willing to pay that price, ESPECIALLY considering they could very easily buy a video game for the same price which will keep the the kid busier longer. DC Classics was being supported by collectors, who were being asked to double dip on figures. The only thing that surprises me is that it lasted this long.

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If Young Justice doesn't have merchandise to support it.... bad sign for future of the show?

Everyone, stay whelmed!

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DeepBlueZ wrote:If Young Justice doesn't have merchandise to support it.... bad sign for future of the show?

Everyone, stay whelmed!

I was discussing that with John earlier today. All the Thundercat toys are on clearance, just seems like a pattern forming.

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choanata wrote:I like some of their more recent waves, I think they were putting out done cool figures. But the two things that killed the line were character selection and price point, and those two things are more closely related than most people think.

These figures were priced at just under $20 for 1 action figure. Considering that this line started at $7.99, the final wave was already up 150% in cost! Nobody likes that kind of an increase, but here's where character selection comes into play. The last 2 waves are nearly identical in selection to what DC Direct put out last year in their Blackest Night and Brightest Day set. So collectors went out and bought the DC Direct figures, which I might add are priced a buck or two lower than Mattel.

And typically that wouldn't be a problem, since Mattel is mass market, they get collectors and kids buying their stuff, and the last 2 waves were filled with big names.

...But the price point, 20 bucks for 1 action figure, parents are not willing to pay that price, ESPECIALLY considering they could very easily buy a video game for the same price which will keep the the kid busier longer. DC Classics was being supported by collectors, who were being asked to double dip on figures. The only thing that surprises me is that it lasted this long.

Yeah, the selection was a real issue. On the old forum, I even went into a whole rant about Mattel copying the DC Direct Blackest Night figures of the Lantern versions of Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, etc. And, frankly, with the announced figures of the original DC All-Stars line-up, I was scratching my head, too. (Really, was anyone out there jonesing for a figure of the Flashpoint version of Plastic Man?)

Mattel also blew it in how they grouped their waves. It was entirely inconsistent. Some waves would revolve around a single theme (like the Superfriends of Wave 18), with others it seemed like a random grouping, where you would have to wait for subsequent waves to finish a group (like with the Metal Men). The second option, random figures instead of themes, would have been a smart money play, to lessen the chances of collectors looking at a particular wave and saying, "oh, I can skip all of those."

Underpacking certain characters, making it nearly impossible to collect all the pieces of a Build A Figure/Collect 'n Connect was also dumb. (I'm personally very bitter that I will always have a Solomon Grundy that is missing the left arm, because I'm not willing to buy the figure it came with for $90+ on the aftermarket, because it was shortpacked.) Or how about making the Sinestro in the Sinestro Corps uniform (which he'd been wearing for over a year at the time) the shortpacked "variant"?

Mattel... how I loathe you.

Price point is a killer, too, but in my neck of the woods, the DCUC were priced between $15.99 and $17.99 - really an insane price for mass produced six inch figures, but... kinda on par with comparably sized figures in the toy aisle.



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This means they are canceling for the YJ lines:

4in -
Superman
ARTEMIS
GREEN LANTERN (Hal)
Mr. Freeze
Red Arrow
Shazam
Aquald (blue wetsuit)
Black Canary (alt stockings)
Robin (classic Green pants)

6in -
Kid Flash
Superboy (Black outfit)
Batman
Guardian
Miss Martian (was not shown anywhere but would have been made eventually)


This is one of the only figure series I collect with great sculpts, great extras (baf Hall of Justice, accessories, baf Amazo) and great source material!

They shot themselves in the foot by releasing ansulary characters and a ton of 4in repaints. Not to mention the $20 or so 6in figures with "playsets" which are only good for posing, not to play on.

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At least they got Miss Martian out there before it was too late.

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gland wrote:At least they got Miss Martian out there before it was too late.

Yeah but no 4in Artemis... or Zatanna or Rocket

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Okay, so a friend challenged me in a recent discussion about the failing of these lines, and I thought I'd step up.

I griped, and he asked, "Okay, so what would you do to create a successful line?"

Remember - successful, but not necessarily the line I'd wish for:

Step 1 - Price point - there has to be a way to drive the cost of these figures down without sacrificing a huge amount of quality. I mean, DC Direct figures manage to hit a sub-$15 mark, and they only hit the direct market. For being able to produce for a national chain like Walmart, the figures need to rest between $12.99 and $14.99.

Step 2 - Package redesign. I know that Mattel/DC want big, eye-catching packaging, but most of it is a waste. If they didn't insist on posing the figures in the package, they could probably get away with about 50% of the space they used to take up. (Plus, how many of us have been irritated by the bizarre "bends" that our figures have from bad posing in packages?) And, retailers would appreciate the reduced real estate. You tell them they can get just as much product, but only take up 50% of the retail shelf space, they will be far more willing to put that product out there.

Step 3 - Put the Build-a-Figures/Collect 'n Connects back in, but understand that they don't HAVE to be oversized figures. Don't get me wrong, I love me some oversized figures, but it isn't a necessity. Just find cool characters that people want, but maybe wouldn't sell all by themselves. They could even go with smaller characters, like a Mxyzptlk or Guardians or a nine-year-old Dick Grayson as Robin or whatever.

Step 4 - Use the popular "families" to cast the waves, one character each. Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Teen Titans, Justice League/Society come to mind as five figure wave options off the top of my head.

Step 5 - Stagger the top tier characters within the waves. So, for the first wave, you're gonna have Batman? Then don't have Superman, Hal Jordan, Robin, or Wonder Woman, too. Have Batman, Supergirl, Larfleeze, Beast Boy, and Black Adam. Next wave, have Joker, Superman, Guy Gardner, Kid Flash, and Black Canary. Then maybe Nightwing, Brainiac, Salaak, Superboy, and Alan Scott. And so on and so forth. Don't give any collector an excuse to skip an entire wave. Try to keep one solid villain in each wave. Try not to have more than a single third tier/low visibility character per wave.

Step 6 - If you are going to have them at all, use common sense in variants. If the variant is going to be shortpacked, don't make it the version of the character that is most recognizable to the average person. You have unmasked Batman and masked Batman? Don't shortpack the masked Batman.

I think those steps would dramatically improve the success of a line.

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I definitely agree with you, but I still think they did a great job for the most part and I am sad to see this line end. Keeping collectors happy is not always the easiest thing in the world lets face it - there will always be someone that's unhappy with the version of the costume that they went with or the fact the the figure's hands aren't open etc. That's why your suggestions work so well as far as mass producing these for a larger audience, but from a collectors point of view, I must say I liked the fact that they made some obscure characters that DC Direct would not. Maybe they should have started the Sub a lot sooner to keep the collectors happy. I also think their waves got too big and should have stuck to four or five figures max per wave, because trying to collect a full wave of seven figures really hurt the pocket!

I have subscribed to the Club Infinite Earths so at least I'll still get those on a monthly basis. I can also now go back and pick up figures that I'm missing to complete my collection.

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[img][/img]

This is the Atrocitus figure that forms part of the Sub. I also copied this bit off of Action Figure Insiders' website to give you an indication of some of the issues they had with this figure:

Atrocitus seems to have been a figure already in the works before Mattel had to switch gears and start the sub. That’s not to say he is an unwanted character with the fans, he’s still needed as the head of the red lanterns, otherwise you have poor Skallox, Night-Lik and Dex-Star wandering aimlessly around your shelves. There was a lot of discussion from fans asking him to be a larger size and to have an open hand so that he can hold his lantern. Mattel was able to make some adjustments to his size by using some of the parts from the ‘Public Enemies’ bucks, but then that made them unable to use the, already sculpted for Green Lantern Classics, red lantern boots. So the boots are achieved just through paint. They were not able to sculpt a new open hand, or use an existing open hand because Atrocitus has unique sculpted hands.

Atrocitus does come with his red lantern and it is accurately sculpted to match the comic art with the top thing missing and the correct handle. His chest logo is larger than the other red lanterns we’ve gotten so far, but he shares the same belt as the other red lanterns.

DC Direct also made their Atrocitus figure the same size as the rest of the characters so that probably wouldn't have bugged me much but the one figure I hope Mattel fix in the Sub is the Sinestro Corps Mongul. I did pick up the DC Direct figure but I would really like my Mattel collection to be complete.

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Gotta say, that's a really nice looking battery, and it'd really bug me that he can't hold it.

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Rodge wrote:[img][/img]

I like the look of the lantern. (Isn't it time for Jim to jump in and complain that the handle is upside down, though? Very Happy )

The figure itself...

Kinda hate it. It is one thing to be a mismatch of parts, as I've come to accept in action figures, but completely another to *look* like a mismatch of parts.

The proportions are my biggest issue. It just looks... off.

Despite the fact that I'd like to have a figure with more articulation, I think I'll just be settling with my DCD version.

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Aside from the body looking a little too small...and what the holy hell is up with that hand...that DC Direct figure is a LOT better.

And I think the handle makes more sense the way it is. There, I said it.

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It is a bad angle in that particular picture - the thumb is blending into the guantlet. Here is a better one:



And, for what it is worth, I agree on the handle making more sense. Wider at the top, while matching the Red emblem, is less structurally stable. Were this comics instead of the real world, that wouldn't matter, but for engineering purposes in our reality, it just makes sense to invert it.

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Even in the comics, this is just taking the shape that was there and turning it upsidedown, instead of just sticking an arch across the top of it.

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The Fwoosh has a good review of Mattel's Atrocitus, including this picture which I think sums it up best:




I do like Mattel's head better, but I'm glad I bought the DC Direct one, and gladder still that I didn't subscribe to Club Infinite Earths.

I think it's time Hasbro took the license back. The new Marvel Legends figures are exactly the kind of thing Mattel needs to be doing, instead of trying to stretch out a line with C, D, and E-List characters using 5 body types.

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Wow, that side by side...

Yep, I'm quite content with my DCD Atrocitus.

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Yeah, that is pretty fucking hilarious.

Atrocitus from DC Direct: $16 at the local comic shop. All original sculpt, looks awesome.

Atrocitus from Mattel: $20 to $25 plus $8 shipping from MattyCollector.com, which goes on sale at 12pm and may sell out in minutes depending on how many they decided to make. Re-used parts, most embossed areas are just painted. Looks like crap next to DCD Atrocitus. And it will cost between $28 and $33 bucks. At that price, you could buy 2 DCD Atrocituses and customize the second one with a suit and tie and fedora, and it would be fucking hilarious. As opposed to the Mattel version, where the only hilarity is derived from Mattel and the people making the decision NOT to buy the figure.

And not for nothing, but the DCD Atrocitus would look a lot better next to all your Mattel figures as it's built much larger.

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choanata wrote:All original sculpt

This is something I feel most collectors completely overlook. I don't own a ton of DC Direct figures, probably less than twenty. But I've never seen any figures that used the same parts as others. Even in the same wave, like the Blackest Night one with Blue Lantern Flash and Green Lantern Hal. I was certain they'd be the same sculpt with different heads & paint, but they're actually both totally unique sculpts. That seem to be something completely foreign to Mattel's way of thinking.

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Yeah, seriously. For a company as big as Mattel, the sheer concept of making a damn body for everybody is appalling to them. Like "oh sorry folks, we used all of our tooling budget this year, so no Ram Man, you know, that super main character that showed up in the first wave of every other set, we just can't afford it." Translation, it will cut ever so slightly into our profits, therefore fuck you. Enjoy Flipshot, he's got a 50% newly sculpted head, and some wings from a My Little Pony we stole from Hasbro.

Meanwhile, Hasbro is making Marvel Legends and the Marvel Universe figures where the only time the re-use is when they make a variant that people actually want. Those figures are getting pricier, but with awesome sculpts and paint jobs, an awesome selection AND they don't take up too much space on my desk, they are winning this battle. I display my Thanos and Scarlet Spider very happily, thank you. Eventually I may even cave and grab the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spidey 2099, Darkhawk and if they make it, Big Time Spidey and Nova. PLEASE NOVA.

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You mean the new Nova, right? Very Happy

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choanata wrote:Meanwhile, Hasbro is making Marvel Legends and the Marvel Universe figures where the only time the re-use is when they make a variant that people actually want. Those figures are getting pricier, but with awesome sculpts and paint jobs, an awesome selection AND they don't take up too much space on my desk, they are winning this battle. I display my Thanos and Scarlet Spider very happily, thank you. Eventually I may even cave and grab the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spidey 2099, Darkhawk and if they make it, Big Time Spidey and Nova. PLEASE NOVA.
Big Time Spidey is actually in the currently available Wave 2 of Marvel Legends (Future Foundation Spidey is the actual variant, but Hasbro ships the variants first.) I bought Bucky Cap yesterday and, aside from the overly-softness of the legs, he is FANTASTIC. He's a unique sculpt (so far, I'm sure he'll be re-used eventually) and just about all his articulation is ratcheted, even the ab crunch.

But I do have to call out Hasbro for pulling the same trick Mattel does when it comes to the Marvel Universe line. For the longest time, they kept repainting the same Spidey body into dozens of other characters with only a new head & maybe a belt to differentiate them. And fans bitched about it. But Hasbro actually listened & spent some money to make new bodies (Cyclops & Cable are stellar examples) and the Marvel Legends are intended to feature all unique sculpts (though again, I'm sure that'll change in time.)

Regardless, you kinda have to stand in awe of the way Mattel conducts business & still somehow manages to hold the DC license. It's almost like they're daring DC to take the license back to Hasbro.

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I might consider Big Time Spidey in legends scale, but I would prefer him in the smaller scale. The only figure I take issue with repaints is Iron Man. Lots of Spidey costumes can be on the same body with little problem, but with Iron Man the costumes are all different. It bugs me a little there.

And new Nova can bite my ass. He's been around for a minute and hasn't done anything worthy yet. He flew to earth and passed out. Nice.

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choanata wrote:And new Nova can bite my ass. He's been around for a minute and hasn't done anything worthy yet. He flew to earth and passed out. Nice.

Yeah, because AvX sure is a Nova spotlight vehicle Rolling Eyes

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