For those of you lamenting the death of DC Universe Classics, rest assured, Mattel is beginning to ramp up DC Comics-based figures again. And they will continue to collaborate with the Four Horsemen on them. However, if you are hoping for the return of a retail line solely focused on DC / Four Horsemen figures, that’s not happening in the near term.
Mattel’s strategy to have one line that encapsulates comics, movies, TV, and video game figures is working for them. The Four Horsemen, who were once the sole collaborators on collector-oriented DC figures from Mattel, will still have a portion of that – mostly the comics-inspired figures. Most of the others are falling outside the 4H aesthetic and are being done internally or by other design partners.
The competition for collectors has ramped back up between DC Collectibles and Mattel. For the past couple of years, one degree of competition had been eased up, with Mattel abandoning 6-inch scale by sunsetting DC Universe Classics. But with Mattel’s move back to 6-inch, more overlap will occur. We’ll keep that in mind as we go through the DC Collectibles offerings from SDCC.
Mattel is putting 4-inch scaled DC figures on hiatus in 2016, and 6-inch scale is back in. And I’m wondering if there was some press release I missed, or if this change just happened and they didn’t really announce it. (Mattel has got the traditional Mattypalooza panel, but no DC panel at SDCC this year.) Both scenarios are possible – I am not actively seeking news. But if I tell myself there’s no way I would have missed a change this dramatic (as far as drama goes in toys), then it stands to reason that Mattel doesn’t want to acknowledge any questionable decisions they’ve made handling their DC license in recent years.
You could even say that they’re still putting some distance between what they’re doing now and what they did so well under the DC Universe Classics brand. For one, even though the Four Horsemen are back on DC, it’s not the same one to one relationship; Mattel is utilizing other design shops. If I had to guess, from the look of it, it’s Gentle Giant expanding beyond their work on WWE.
Second, they’re sticking with the DC Comics Multiverse brand name. And third, the line is rooted in modern, not classic character looks.