It’s been some time since we’ve heard from Cliff Francis, Publisher Emeritus of Costume Contumely. It took the cancellation of Mattel’s Club Infinite Earths DC subscription to bring him back for this special guest edition of Soapbox Sunday. Read on, as Cliff employs the latest in computer technology to reveal how Mattel could have saved Club Infinite Earths. You can read more from Cliff at Costume Contumely as well as a couple of pieces Cliff has contributed here at AFP. Excelsior!
MattyCollector’s Club Infinite Earths subscription has died, and with it, the entire existence of 6″ DC Universe Classics action figures has been wiped out as if swept away by a crackling, white Crisis wall.
I confess that I feel tremendous schadenfreude over this. Mattel ran this property into the ground from the very beginning and only managed to produce a measly 200-something figures over the span of six years. I have a personal theory that Mattel wanted this line to fail from the start, and was willing to lose money along the way in order to save money in the end by having the line die. But that’s not what this article is about.
This article is about the central problem with Mattel’s 6″ DC line. The fault that engineered the line’s downfall. The “reason for the treason,” if you will. So what is it?
Character selection. Pure and simple.
» There’s more… click to continue reading Soapbox Sunday: DC’s Deserving – a Guest Post by Cliff Francis
I’m not a good G.I. JOE fan. When I was a kid, I had a lot of the original 3.75-inch Joes from the mid-80s. I watched the cartoon whenever I could, and I’d wage a lot of war against Cobra on the floor of my bedroom. But as an adult collector, I don’t buy a lot of G.I. JOEs anymore. And although the Hasbro brand has seen some resurgence after a lackluster first live action movie outing with a better received sequel in G.I. JOE: Retaliation, that hasn’t exactly translated into better sales in the toy aisles to kids and their moms either. With the brand losing shelf space at retail, it’s looking rather bleak for the toy line for 2014.
A couple years ago, I picked up a bootleg Snake Eyes in the 6-inch scale. I don’t know the origin of the toy, but it holds together like something made in a factory. It’s got the articulation setup of the 25th Anniversary Joes. And it’s got almost everything that I’d want to see in a G.I. JOE toy line for the adult me.
That leads me to my topic today – could Hasbro breathe life into G.I. JOE with a new six-inch action figure line?
» There’s more… click to continue reading Soapbox Sunday: Could Hasbro Revitalize the G.I. JOE Brand with a 6-Inch Figure Line?
Just in time for labor day weekend, here’s the Ask Matty Q&A for 8/31. Thanks to Toy Guru and team for answering our questions.
1) You’ve said that 2014 and 2015 would have characters that required more tooling, like Two Bad and Modulok. What does that mean for the number of subscribers needed to support the line? For example, do you need to increase the minimum subscribers needed to support more tooling?
No, the min number of sub holders has stayed the same year to year, we are just very strategic in banking a few fully tool’d figures with other partial tool figures so the year balances out.
» There’s more… click to continue reading Ask Matty Q&A for 8/31
Luke Chueh, Aaron “Angry Woebots” Martin, and Jesse “J*RYU” Yu of Army of Snipers
At last year’s Singapore Toy, Game, and Comic Convention, Jedd conducted a great interview with Max Toy Co’s Mark Nagata. This year, he shares with us a great conversation he had with with Angry Woebots, J*RYU, and Luke Chueh from the Army of Snipers. The Army of Snipers is an international collective of artists, with a wide variety of backgrounds including street artists, videographers, photographers, painters, sculptors, musicians, and graphic designers.
Angry Woebots, aka Aaron, started the group in 2011, and is well known for his designer resin figures and vinyl toys. J*RYU is a west coast-based sculptor and artist well-known for his Forest of Sorrows, the ongoing story of the ghost girl who haunts his works. And Luke Chueh is an award-winning graphic designer and painter active in the artist community in Los Angeles.
Jedd: Aaron, in 2008 you designed the album artwork for Fall Out Boy. If you could choose another musician to work with, who would it be and why?
Aaron: I’m a huge Muse fan, I’d love to work with Muse. I’m a huge Explosions in the Sky fan, and also Mogwai. Even the Killers, I’m a huge Killers fan, or Beck too. I think those are…Cornelius I would love to work with.
» There’s more… click to continue reading STGCC 2013: Interview with Army of Snipers by Jedd
The Club Infinite Earths subscription was declared officially dead last week. So what? – the club exclusive Doomsday, if he had gotten enough subscribers to get him made, was too damn big anyways.
For this edition of Soapbox Sunday, let’s take a look at how Doomsday was portrayed with Superman in the comics that led to their mutual destruction – spoiler! If you’re not convinced that the Doomsday(s) we were shown at San Diego Comic-Con (and subsequently did not support enough to save Club Infinite Earths and get him made) was way too big to be in scale with DC Universe Classics, then you’re probably one of the weak-willed individuals that signed up for Club Infinite Earths, and will never wield a Green Lantern power ring (just like weak-willed me).
» There’s more… click to continue reading Soapbox Sunday: Sour Grapes – Club Infinite Earths Doomsday was too Big
Update: Thanks to Kevin, who left a comment below, I checked my credit card activity and only have a pending charge for $38.15. So instead of having another reason to hate DR, I just dislike them a little more for being confusing. Please don’t let this discourage you from subbing to any of the Mattycollector subscriptions. Like I have suggested before – compare what figures you’re likely to get from the sub (pretty easy to do in case of Masters) against what you want from the line, and let that guide your decision-making. How you feel about Mattel, Toy Guru, or Digital River is just noise.
It’s more like seventy-five reasons – that’s what I was charged to pre-order the Club Infinite Earths subscription from Mattycollector. For two items that I will (potentially, if the sub actually goes through) get four and six months from now, I was charged the full price for the figures, the shipping, and tax. “Why are you surprised?” you may be asking – after all, I have subbed from the beginning. So I used the dreadful Customer Service link to find my previous orders to compare.
For reasons that are beyond my ability to fathom, the cost has gone up. Last year, for THREE subs, I was charged in the neighborhood of $150. Two years ago, for TWO subs, it was around $100. So, Digital River has found a way to increase what I’m charged four months in advance by 50% ($75 for one sub compared to $50).
But I suppose the more interesting thing here is that while this crappy practice of Digital River sitting on our money has been going on since the beginning, I didn’t even bat an eyelash before, even though the amounts were higher. I guess my dissatisfaction with Mattycollector and how Digital River handles the front end has been building up to the point where I don’t feeling good about buying from them. For someone who loves the toys, that’s saying a lot.
Anyways, time’s nearly up. What did you guys end up doing for the Mattycollector subs?
Yes, I’m a procrastinator. I haven’t submitted my pre-order for the Mattycollector subscriptions. But when I do, I’ll be one of the guys KILLIN THE LIEN. When it comes to Club Eternia, Club Infinite Earths, and the Ecto-1 pre-orders, I’ll be saying no to Ghostbusters and Masters of the Universe Classics, and giving a hesitant yes to DC Universe Classics.
When I started thinking about this post earlier in the week, I was planning on something a little different. The gist was going to be, “I’ve subbed for Masters and DC (note: I always knew I was going to pass on the Ecto-1), and now it’s up to you” – I’d present my rationale for my decisions. I wouldn’t tell you to sub too (I hate that), but rather ask you to consider how the subs line up with what you want and to make up your own minds.
For the past couple of days, I started to really put that into practice for myself. As someone on the bandwagon since the subscriptions started, it was the de facto choice to keep subbing. So I was pretty surprised to come to the decision to stop subscribing to Club Eternia.
» There’s more… click to continue reading Soapbox Sunday: I’m KILLIN THE LIEN (One out of Three Subs Ain’t Bad)
It’s like a Tale of Two Cities – the Four Horsemen are involved in a couple of product pre-order campaigns running in parallel. On one side, they’re the design shop behind Mattel’s Mattycollector Club Eternia and Club Infinite Earths subscriptions for Masters of the Universe Classics and DC Universe Classics. On the other, they’re taking pre-orders for their own Gothitropolis Ravens line through the crowd-funding platform, Kickstarter.
As we’ve seen over the past week, folks from Mattel and the Four Horsemen are tearing their hair out over whether the Club Eternia and Club Infinite Earths subscriptions will hit the minimums needed to survive. Meanwhile, the Four Horsemen’s Ravens are flying high. Their Kickstarter campaign hit the funding target during its first week, and proceeded to blast through every stretch goal they started with and even a few more they had to put together along the way.
You might think it easy to dismiss the stark differences in the success of the campaigns as coming from collectors’ growing dislike of Mattel and their service partner Digital River. And while I see a fair amount of anecdotal evidence for Mattel-hate, I believe there are some clear differences in how they run their campaigns that is causing the Mattycollector subscription fallout. If the Mattycollector subs live to fill in product silhouettes again next year, here’s some things Mattel can learn from the Four Horsemen, to make the sign-up period less traumatic and uncertain.
» There’s more… click to continue reading Soapbox Sunday: Five Lessons Mattel Can Learn from the Four Horsemen
It’s been a long time since our last Q&A with Matty, but we’ve decided to get back into it. Toy Guru provided some answers early, because he’s either going to be driving for every last subscription to Club Eternia and Club Infinite Earths, or he may just be out of the office for a few days.
1) A lot of people thought that the DC Unlimited and Batman Unlimited lines were doing well at retail. What were the reasons for canceling those lines?
We are always working with retailers to find the best way to bring DC figures to mass collectors and moms and kids. Right now the 6″ line will continue on Matty pending we get the min number of sub holders.
» There’s more… click to continue reading Ask Matty Q&A for 8/15 (a Few Days Early!)
Get ready for a little rant – I just had another bad Mattycollector experience. This past Friday was Early Access. Normally it’s no big deal, offering the figures we’ve already subscribed for and customer service stock on a couple of other figures. But this time it was for some of Mattel’s San Diego Comic-Con exclusives.
Hurray for subscribing, right? Nope – leave it to Digital River to make it painful.
» There’s more… click to continue reading Soapbox Sunday: How Much is Digital River to Blame for Mattycollector Fallout?