You’ve been waiting for it, and VeeBee (it’s not my fault!) has kept you in suspense. Here’s the final installment of our San Diego Comic-Con chat with Mattel Associate Brand Manager, Scott Neitlich. He’s the man that brings us our DC, Masters of the Universe and Ghost Busters figures! Contained within is an all out shootout of questions and answers from all of the lines that Scott oversees. And yeah, he drops some gems!
This article is reprinted from TheFwoosh.com, and there’s a discussion thread here: Fwoosh Interview with Toy Guru!
You can read the rest of the interview here:
- Interview with Mattel Associate Brand Manager Scott Neitlich – Part 1
- Interview with Mattel Associate Brand Manager Scott Neitlich – Part 2
Fwoosh: Since it looks like we still have a few minutes, let’s circle back real quick and discuss rights as they pertain to DCUC. A lot of fans are saying that DC Classics is the second coming of the Super Powers line and many fans of the original line are wondering if you have the rights to the characters that were created purely for that line.
Scott Neitlich: Oh, you mean like Cyclotron and Golden Pharaoh?
SN: Oh, wait until 2010! We have some great stuff coming down for fans of Super Powers next year. It’s no secret that we are big fans of Super Powers with the variants of Steppenwolf and the Parademon, so hopefully people are picking up on some of the hints that are being made for 2010- just want and see what we have in store. Same with some of the characters that we are doing in JLU with Samurai.
F: Infinite Heroes – it looks like you guys are making a major push to up the articulation on these guys with the Public Enemies assortment. Is that where the whole line is going?
SN: Yeah, you will see new stuff getting integrated all the time. In fact, we just sculpted up a new villain figure that is just unbelievable, it is probably one of the best 3 3/4 figures I have ever seen.
One of the first things that Bill and I did when we came on with it was go back to the drawing board and revamp it with a lot of things that we as toy fans would like to see in it. So, we are getting all new bucks and starting a bit from scratch and infusing some new blood into it to make it stronger than it has ever been.
F: So will those all still be handled in-house at Mattel?
SN: Yes, there are Mattel sculptors.
F: I may have missed it in the panel, but have you announced what the theme will be for the next year with Infinite Heroes?
SN: No, we do have a theme but we have not revealed what it is yet. The theme will actually go through all of our lines in 2010!
F: Really? So will that dictate character or team choices for next year?
SN: A little bit of everything, but there will not be a proof of purchase clipping program for next year. But the theme is really cool and we will probably announce it sometime in the fall.
F: On that note, the big thing at DC this year is Blackest Night, are you guys going to jump on that this year or will that have to wait a bit?
SN: Down the road you will probably see some Blackest Night characters and other Lantern Corps.
F: I could see the formula used for that two pack for every colored Corps in the future, a great way to get some of those new Lanterns out there.
SN: Yeah, and we are really excited to be doing the Sinestro Corps figures since they are some of the first, along the DC Direct’s Kryb. So we want to take a crack at the others too.
The pack out for Karu-Sil is really cool; in the package the dog construct is going to be coming right out of her ring, so we were really happy with that.
F: Do you have an ETA on when that is supposed to hit?
SN: That is… [pause to check the massive master release calendar spreadsheet] that is 10/15, so October 15th.
F: So Animal Instincts would follow?
SN: Yeah, in December or January.
F: That is a really, really fun set. I am not sure whose brainchild that was but I am really excited for that!
SN: That was all Bill Benecke. We kind of take turns and I did the Sinestro Corps pack and Bill did that one.
F: Animal Man is absolutely amazing, his face looks like he stepped out of a Brian Bolland cover from the old Morrison series and B’wana Beast was totally unexpected, especially this early on, I love it.
SN: Yeah, he is such a great character!
F (SamuRon): Speaking of obscure characters, I have to pimp Jonah Hex. Please Jonah Hex!
SN: Oh, I have been backing Jonah Hex, Ambush Bug, OMAC, Kamandi…
F (VeeBee): Oh, Kamandi! Pretty please.
SN: All of those historical figures. GI Robot too.
F (VB): Well, if Ron is going to pimp Hex, I have to plug Hourman, Liberty Belle and Cyclone from current JSA series!
SN: Oh, I am such a huge fan of that book that I cannot wait to get to them, you have to have them! If you want a whole modern JSA team, they have to be there! The team that the put together just works so well. I dunno, a Collect and Connect Gog or Magog?
F: Or STRIPE! I know he was not in that run, but a STRIPE Collect and Connect series with Stargirl in the assortment would be awesome.
SN: Ah, I really want do a Courtney figure. I love that team so much.
F (VB): And the Golden Age team too. Johnny Thunder and Thunderbolt and the original Mr. Terrific- they have never had figures!
SN: Them too!
F (VB): And the Forever People too! Please, please, please! How deep is that team? Doable?
SN: We actually had a Forever People character slotted in series 10, but we went with Forager instead.
F (VB): Ohhhh, you are killing me!
F (SR): Yes! Forager!
SN: Who was it going to be? I can’t remember… We made the change because we thought the Forever People were a little out there so early, but we will get to them. We want to do all of the Kirby characters.
F (SR): You made the right choice!
F (VB): Shut up! If it was Big Bear I am going to cry.
SN: No, it wasn’t Big Bear. It was…
F (VB): Vykin? Mark Moonrider-
SN: It was Mark Moonrider!
F (VB): Oh… it stings!
SN: Yeah, he got knocked out by Forager when were planning the assortment.
F: Ah, what are those sessions like for you guys?
SN: Oh, it is crazy- let’s do this guy! No this one, he appeared in this comic and this cartoon show! But the fans really want this! Look at the sites! Look at the polls and the Top Ten! Look at the coverage on this site with all of the fans!
Definitely fan interest in a character always helps because we are definitely listening. There hasn’t been a huge universal push for one really obscure character, but one that we do see a lot is Catman. We have seen a lot of interest in him. He wasn’t one that we were really thinking of, but he has come up a lot online that he has gotten a lot more thought because of that.
F: We have a staff member at Fwoosh whose head is going to explode when he reads this. Catman is a big one.
SN: Yeah, so if you want someone, keep talking about them online!
F (VB): Okay, Fwoosh is changing to a Liberty Belle and Forever People site until they are made!
SN: We are always reading the forums so keep showing your support because it does help!
F: So is there a summation idea or statement that you would like to give for DCUC or Masters for the next year or so? What can we expect?
SN: Well, for 2010 and DC Classics, we want to be the definitive DC line of all time and we are going to keep putting out figures of characters that will help us get there. Also, World’s Greatest and the 12 inch Movie Masters are also big ones for us too.
F: Ah! Christopher Reeve Superman! I can’t believe I almost forgot about that! Con overload.
SN: Yeah, don’t forget about him! We are so excited to do that figure
F: People have been barking up that Chris Reeve tree for 30 years!
SN: We know, and are glad that we can finally bring one to the fans.
F: Yeah, after everything that has been shown here, I think I will just start signing over pay checks to Matty.
F: And as long as we are ending in a free for all- any hints on wave 12 for DCUC?
SN: Hints for wave 12… we did show a hint at the panel! But right now that is all I can say.
[Note: We now know DCUC 12 will consist of Copperhead, Mary Marvel, Iron, Eclipso, Desaad, Dr. Mid-Nite, The Spectre and C&C Darkseid]
F: Okay, how about Masters? We are up through March now that you have revealed with Mossman. The new head looks so good and I am such a fan of the original figure, so that was a big surprise.
SN: Yeah, we thought the Horsemen would do more of a 200x design but we got this one from them and we love it.
F: Kind of a kinder, gentler, 1980s head.
SN: Exactly. They are so talented that really, we don’t tread on them. We trust them so much and they know so much about the properties they work on. We told them two heads and they took it from there. If you notice, the Beastman head is actually looking to the left, his eyes? They are looking to the left, just like the old figure. That is something that Terry added, so a lot of talented people help make there figures.
F (SR&VB): [in unison] Will he smell?
SN: [laughs] Yes he will smell!
F (VB): Woo!
F (SR): Yes!
SN: Yeah, we really wanted to do that and next year I think we will pass out Mossman-smelling deodorant at Comic Con!
F: It is certainly needed for some folks!
SN: [laughs] Yeah, he will absolutely smell and probably that certain other character that smells will smell too. We actually know what the original smells were, I found them when I was doing my research for the book. So we are going to try to replicate it exactly.
F: Yeah, I remember exactly what Mossman and Stinkor smelled like! Burned into my brain!
SN: Oh yeah. And you will be able to smell Mossman through the package because of the punch outs in the bubble.
F: So when he shows up on the porch you can smell him before you see him! That is cool because I don’t think there has been confirmation of that yet.
SN: Yep, we can absolutely confirm that. He will smell and he will be flocked. (NOTE: Since this interview Mattel has learned that fully flocking Moss Man caused the flock to fall off when he is posed, so they are looking into alternatives such as a partial flock)
F: Yeah, I am pro flock. I know some aren’t but I love the flocking. On Panthor too.
SN: Yeah, I think with him people are worried about it taking away from the sculpt, but I think he should be flocked. I know there are fans of both, but we will probably end up doing the flocked one and then maybe sometime down the line we will get to a non-flocked version.
F (SR): Is the technology better for that now? I remember having Joes with the flocked hair and after you put the helmet on, the hair would come off.
SN: Yeah, it has come a long way for the most part. We tested it out and I actually have a black flocked He-Man on my desk from when we tested it out to see if it would work. So that is one of my treasures. The prototype Mossman was just a flocked He-Man in black fur.
F: You might be on to a designer line for Matty collector…
SN: [laughs] Yeah, we will just flock everybody in crazy colors! Who knows?
F: Well Scott, I think this free for all at the end is a good way to wrap this up. Thanks so much for sitting down sitting down with again this year, we love sitting down with you at Comic Con. Keep up all of the great work.
SN: Oh, thank you so much, this one of my favorite parts of the Con! We will be in touch!