Masters of the Universe Classics Vykron Headlines a Puzzling Line-Up of Mattel’s SDCC Exclusives for 2012

Maybe it’s just me, but with the San Diego Comic-Con exclusives Mattel revealed yesterday, I am starting to think they are losing touch with their core market for their collector-oriented lines – the little boys that grew up with toys from He-Man and DC Comics and now have a strong nostalgic pull toward their grown-up versions. I understand the Cars, the Tiny Titans and the Polly Pockets – those same guys now have little boys and girls of their own, and SDCC has become a family event. But the rest seem odd or somehow miss the mark.

Take the Masters of the Universe Classics Vykron, for example. This three-in-one exclusive takes the three prototypes that Mattel designer Roger Sweet originally presented to the executives before getting the green light for the original Masters line – and turns them into actual toys. That’s a very nice nod to the creator of Masters, but there’s a reason why the barbarian won out while the others got shelved. As with any commercial endeavor, there’s a creative process that takes the raw ideas, weeds out the weaker ones, and hones the winners into products with mass appeal.  With Vykron, Mattel is trying to transform preliminary concepts that didn’t benefit from this process (even the barbarian) – and ended up with a mash mash of parts that I don’t think work well together. Aren’t you glad Mattel ditched the Devo hat before Masters hit shelves for the first time? I think Vykron is one that will appeal mostly to a limited number of hardcore MOTU fans that elevated their fandom to the point where they became MOTU historians.

Between this and the 30th Anniversary series of figures created by Toy Guru, the Four Horsemen, Geoff Johns and the like, I’m getting the feeling that the creators of the toys are becoming more important than the toys themselves. I would have rather Mattel offered something less self-congratulatory and more appealing to the broader collectors. For instance, why not someone like Ram Man?

The Ghostbusters exclusive, Dana Barrett as Zuul, is closer to the mark, as Dana is one of the key characters from the original movie yet to be released (the other being Ghostbusters receptionist Janine Melnitz). It’s got a nice feature I last saw with Hasbro’s Slave Leia figure – interchangeable bottoms that can switch her from a standing to reclined pose. I just don’t think they captured Sigourney Weaver’s likeness all that well.

I think I am most puzzled by Mattel’s choice for their DC exclusive. Toy Guru has explained that Death (from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman) is the start of a new 8-inch line of “Stactions” – borrowing from what the Four Horsemen called their non-articulated follow-on to the MOTU 200X line that was produced by NECA. Death may be a good character choice for SDCC, but I really wonder what Mattel is thinking about the future of this line. The MOTU Stactions sold in specialty and comic book stores – with limited play appeal, I doubt we’d see these sell at a Toys R Us or other mass market retailers, even if the character selection were all Superman and Batman. This feels more like something in the wheelhouse of DC Collectibles (nee Direct).

If it’s intended as a future line for MattyCollector.com, I would suggest that Mattel focus on leveraging that channel by complementing its retail line (whatever that may turn out to be in 2013) with compatible toys, just with collector-oriented character selection. That way the retail lines can have broader appeal that includes kids, while Matty can build a market through its online channel for the collectors who are looking for more.

Here’s the official word from Mattel. What do you guys think of this year’s exclusives?

San Diego Comic Con 2012 Preview

Here’s your first official look at the products we’re planning to have available at this year’s convention. Some items will be available for pre-order at our voucher pre-sale from 5/30 at 9am PT through 6/14 at 11:59 pm PT for pick up at SDCC or after the show here on MattyCollector.com, and all will be sold at SDCC. Check back for updates, including images of the Hot Wheels® vehicles and the reveal of something ghoulishly good from Monster High®!

Masters of the Universe® Vykron™ ($30)

If clothes make the He-Man®, then this pitch prototype for the 1982 lineup is destined to be the star of the MOTU 30th Anniversary celebration thanks to a choice of three outfits: barbarian, spaceman, and military warrior! You’ll get him in-package dressed as a barbarian only at SDCC , but you can find him here at MattyCollector.com after the show packed as a spaceman or military warrior (all three outfits are included regardless of where he’s purchased). Want to know more about this multi-purpose warrior? Set includes one “buck,” or figure, with three different outfits/helmets to interchange between space, military and barbarian looks. Check back for the history of Vykron™, soon to be disclosed…

DCU Tiny Titans ($20)

They may be miniscule, but they’re mighty! The core team of Tiny Titans is rendered in 1-1/2” scale in this 5-pack of collectible figures including RobinRavenStarfireCyborg, and Beast Boy. Sidekick City Elementary is just a quick bus ride away with packaging featuring specially commissioned artwork from Tiny Titans’ series creator. The display base has both the official Tiny Titans logo and a “flight” stand just for Raven.

DC Comics Vertigo™ Death ($25)

Some envision Death as a grim reaper or dark angel to be feared. But as created by Neil Gaiman for DC Comics’ line of Vertigocomics, the Sandman`s older sister is pretty, perky and always gets the job done. She`s been around since the beginning of time and is exactly the kind of girl you`ll want to follow into the unknown. Our 8” figure of Death wears her trademark ankh necklace and comes with a skull-themed display base.

Ghostbusters™ Dana as Zuul ($25)

“There is no Dana, only Zuul!” Our long-awaited 6” figure of Dana Barrett as Zuul from the first Ghostbusters™ features authentic, film-accurate sculpting right down to her golden gown. And, with two interchangeable lower bodies she can stand or, when she tires of waiting for the coming of Gozer, sit on the included bench display.

Disney • Pixar Cars 2012 Comic-Con Mater ($30)

This year’s Comic-Con vehicle captures the hilarious scene from Cars 2 when our beloved Mater finds himself in a Tokyo bathroom stall. Just like in the movie, Mater is surprised with flashing lights, catchy music, and a thorough scrub down! This memorable moment comes to life with moving side jets, as well as a jet that springs up to clean Mater’s undercarriage, lifting his back wheels off the floor. Covered in suds, Mater experiences hi-tech action unlike anything he’s ever seen in Radiator Springs!

Polly Pocket® DC Comics Villains Set ($19.99)

It’s a guaranteed adventure with this trio of comic-book character costumes for Polly® and her friends! Polly®, Lila® and Lea® arrive in a themed 3-pack dressed as their favorite DC Comics villains: CatwomanPoison Ivy, and Harley Quinn.

Images of these items are in the works as you read this so be sure to come back soon!

  • Hot Wheels® Masters of the Universe® Volkswagen Drag Bus
  • Hot Wheels® Scooby-Doo!™ The Mystery Machine
  • Hot Wheels® K.I.T.T. Knight Industries Two Thousand
  • Monster High® – To be revealed. It’s a mystery to us, too!

via MattyCollector.com Online Store.

14 comments
Charles
Charles

Personally I am thrilled with what they are doing as exclusives!- Normally I have to go on ebay and hunt down and pay crazy prices for what I want out of San Diego (ie wonder twins- grrrr)- this year, there's NOTHING I want! Go Mattel!! Keep making crap exclusives! Thank you!

Toon
Toon

The reason they didn't do Ram Man for SDCC is...because it's SDCC. A mutant overcrowded version of the fun comic convention it was before Hollywood took over so thoroughly several years ago. I've exhibited at SDCC with other artist friends...we're all sick of it now. It's too bloated. And as a toy fan, too, it's not fun! It's just a hassle, dealing with the crowds, the queues, the staffers who tell you you can't stand in one queue, you have to wade through the crowds to go upstairs to the crowded Sails Pavilion to stand in another queue to get a ticket to stand in the queue downstairs at a specified time--and for some SDCC exclusives, the upstairs queue only gives you a CHANCE at winning the right to stand in a line downstairs! Sometimes, you pick the wrong color ticket and you have to try again an hour later! Not fun. Now, combine all of that with a wildly-popular toy exclusive, which MOTUC Ram Man would be. It's a recipe for disaster. Ram Man is a ridiculous character, of course, but one we grew up with in the cartoon, and one of the oddest original MOTU figures. He's memorable. He's the last of the MAJOR main characters left to produce. Restricting him to 'exclusive' status is begging for irate fans to storm MattyCollector/Mattel's place of business with pitchforks and torches. It would ONLY work if a bizarre color-change (or something equally lame) Ram Man were the SDCC exclusive with a regular version being a larger run and available on MattyCollector soon after, like the Orko/Prince Adam figures. But Vykron? An odd duck only appealing to 'MOTU historians' or other curiosity-collectors? That's PERFECT for an SDCC exclusive! That, and repaints of existing toys, those are great! Their exclusive status gives them some collectible value already, regardless of the actual characters or deco produced. Vykron's like the Skeletor and Mo-Larr pack, perfect for hardcore collectors and fans of limited editions, but doesn't hurt the rest of the MOTUC collectors AT ALL.

J.J.
J.J.

Argh. MOTUC is painful. Bring on the RAM MAN already! They've released jack I want... I guess I'm saving a lot of money this year.

StrangePlanet
StrangePlanet

No DCU? That's disappointing. And while that Death is nice lookin', I buy toys. Statues don't interest me, and certainy not ones in some new scale I don't have any toys of. Boy, it sure would have been nice if we got a DCUC-styled toy of Death that kinda looked like that, huh?

brian
brian

Classics Vykron.IT IS THE MOST LAME M.O.T.U I HAVE SEEN. WHY NOT MAKE SOME COOL LOOKING FIGURES?5-10 YEAR OLD BOYS MAYBE WILL THINK THIS IS COOL.THIS LINE IS JUST DEAD.ITS GETTING MORE AND MORE LAME.

Jason
Jason

Well, at least I don't have to bother with Mattel this year.

Ewan
Ewan

Yeah, I'm not minding the Vykron that much because hey, MOTUC is doing all right and they can afford some kookiness like this. But Death as a Staction? Do they realize how expensive and undesirable those MOTU 200X stactions were? And they proudky declare they'll be following in in the same vein. Here, here, Wesitron. Make toys dammit.

tsarivan
tsarivan

Vykron is not that bad. Even i think its a really good exclusive. If it is something that everyone want and it is exclusive, they will definitely complaining since they'll pay more for it. Now since it is not something that everybody wants, then easy pass, save your money. And at least its not appearing on the sub, mattel saved one slot on the sub for Ram Man.. The Death staction, i like it, but i'm not so sure about it. Where will i display it? Definitely not blending well with my DCUCs.

Captain Zero
Captain Zero

Disappointing. I'm not interested in anything there. A Sigourney Weaver action figure would have been nice,.... but so would something from a Batman Legacy line, a DC Universe set of action figures.! Count me out!! (And I wanted "in".) Mattel is marketing to someone other than me.

wesitron
wesitron

I got so excited when I initialy saw pics of Death. I thought it would make for a great DCUC exclusive. Then I saw the close ups, then the explanation. Oh, Mattel. Do you really not have one person who works for you who said, "Hey, this is a bad idea"? It's like they all work for George Lucas or (shall I go there?) Geoff Johns. You're a toy company. Make toys.

DisThunder
DisThunder

I couldn't agree more. SDCC would've been a nice opportunity to re-instil some faith in some of us lost DCUC fans, but instead, putting it nicely, we're left scratching our heads. Stactions and failed concepts would be an odd choice during high-times, but with so much in Mattel's hands meeting its end this year, I just hope it's not a fatal choice.

NimNams
NimNams

...Is Death doing what I think she's doing?

JimPansen
JimPansen

So didn´t they get the rights for Sigourney Weaver?

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  1. […] opened up pre-orders for the Mattel San Diego Comic-Con 2012 exclusives. As I previously discussed, I think this year’s exclusives, including the Masters of the Universe Classics Vykron, are a l… – I’m probably going to leave it up to my show floor impulses to decide if I’ll pick […]

  2. […] but in hindsight, aside from how they handled Gleek, the choice sure makes a lot more sense than what Mattel has planned for this year’s SDCC exclusives. The nice thing about all these figures is that because the Four Horsemen designed them all, and […]