If you have read more than three articles on this dorky little blog, then you know two things...I hiss at 3 and 3 quarter inch Marvel action figures (and then buy some anyway) and pray before the alter of the 6 inch scaled plastic gods. While the Marvel Legends line proved to be the raper of my money pocket, sucking me in to buy every figure in every wave PLUS variants and boxed sets, the DC Universe Classics line hasn't been as evil a temptress. You have to consider I was practically raised on Marvel Comics, so that would be the strongest drive to collecting, but the amount of articulation, sculpting detail and paints along with accessories at a price that didn't feel like a kick to the groin kept me hooked until the very end. Mattel's DC counterparts didn't have as much articulation..or paints..and often included no accessories..and re-used bodies very often while prices continued to rise at retail. We asked where the extra money was going but didn't get an answer. Still, there were characters here and there I couldn't say no to, so I popped and took them home. Suffice to say, there is a hefty bin filled with these heroes and villains I could not pass up.
As time marched on, those prices kept rising. What was once the main-stream, less expensive alternative to the mighty DC Direct was now the less pretty step sister with an identical price tag. To make matters worse, it now seemed that Mattel and DC Direct were going after the same character selections, a move that confused fans as DC had always focused heavily on very current comic story lines and the characters found within while Mattel said it all in the name "DC Universe CLASSICS". This battle for the geek buck was over before it could really start when DC announced their "restructuring" alongside rumors that their figure line releases would slow to a crawl. Those who attended San Diego Comic Con witnessed this first hand at the re-vamped DC Comics booth, where very few new action figures were on display. So..it would seem this takes us to right now, with Mattel poised to take the reins and crank out dozens of DC Comics action figures in 2012? Maybe yes...maybe no.
At the Mattel/DC panel at SDCC, we got a look at DC Universe Classics wave 20 with Green Arrow, Red Arrow, Reverse Flash, White Lantern Flash, Hawk, Dove and Sinestro (in his Sinestro Corps uniform..finally) with a Collect and Connect Nekron..and then the bomb was dropped. Wave 20 will be the final wave of DCUC at retail. Prepare for the coming of Club Infinite Earths. Beginning in April (through December), this subscription service would include 9 6 inch monthly figures, 3 quarterly over-sized figures and 1 club only over-sized figure. The series kicks off with Atrocitus, The Flash (Jay Garrick), Poison Ivy and Starman alongside the club exclusive over-sized figure which will be chosen by YOU, the rabid DChead. Will it be Shaggy Man, Rocket Red, Black Lantern Swamp Thing or Metron in his Mobius Chair? Voting takes place HERE, so head over now and be counted. Subscription sales were set to end on August 5th, but the turn out was dismal, so Matty extended the run up to August 22nd. We are now 5 days away from the cut off date and the dreaded thermometer of DC doom sits at around 55%. Mattel says the deal is bust if this meter doesn't reach 100%, casting us into eternal darkness or at least the fanboy/girl equivalent....endless pegs of kid friendly Batman and Superman figures!!! THE HORROR. THAT is the real threat. Mattel stated there will still be product available in retail stores, but the "fan demanded" stuff will only surface in the club. The mind conjures images of The Joker and his amazing technicolor, dayglow jackets in all the hues of the Skittles rainbow. It could happen. IT WILL HAPPEN.
What we know about this "mainstream" line so far...
1. The line will still be sculpted by the 4 Horsemen, in scale with DCUC.
2. No more Collect and Connect build a figures.
3. Character selection will be based on characters the public at large (ie; your mom) knows already and ones the WB would like your mom to know. Safe bets are Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Joker, Catwoman, Bane, Two Face, Lex Luthor, The Flash, Robin and mayyyybe Green Arrow and Aquaman. You are also sure to see the NEW DC Comics' lineups at retail, as WB is hot for everyone to love them, so I'd expect the Justice League in their zazzy new outfits with limited bad guys to pummel and very few ladies, since women don't buy comics (yes, I am being sarcastic) and boys don't play with girl toys. Also no aliens because kids hate them. HATE.
To avoid this terror packed future more frightening than the Terminator, Robocop and Showgirls futures COMBINED, a merry band of plastic enthusiasts have joined forces to SAVE DCUC!!! Within are links to impassioned pleas to jump on board the subscription train ranging from the quite logical to ..well..what amounts to someone screaming STOP BEING FUCKING GEEKS!! Here were some of the best reasons I found...
A. This is the only way to complete the DC Comics teams you've already started as well as getting the ladies, monsters and aliens WB doesn't think kids are into.
B. Collector interaction will play a big part in character selection (since WE are footing the bill.)
C. With retailers off the table as far as deciding who goes into these lines, the sky is the limit.
D. With no packaging and price restrictions, scale limitations are also out the window. Your days of whinging for a Juggernaut sized Doomsday are numbered.
And the most important reason to join up today...
THIS IS IT. If you love the DC Universe Classics line, this is it. If you want a shot at buying the obscure, female, classic suited, alien, monster and long dead characters that still haven't seen a release in any format....THIS IS IT. It's not a shakedown or a long con...it's a fact of life. WB wants their agenda front and center on the pegs of Walmart and Toys R Us...so for you, the die hard DC fan and lover of super powered plastic armies...THIS IS IT.
Now, with the hard truth out of the way, this is what Mattel is promising...
- The total commitment for 2012 will be $255, plus applicable fees/taxes and shipping. You will be shipped 9 Club Figures (9 @ $15 = $135), 3 "over-sized" figures (3 @ $30 = $90) and the Club-exclusive figure (included in $30 sign-up fee = $30) for a total of $255 plus shipping/taxes/fees. No surprises.
- No repaints or rehashes. Does this mean we will get all new bodies for every figure? Doubtful, as two of the 4 new figures look like they're sporting that same old body used on a legion of super heroes before them. I believe what they mean to say is if you join the club, they aren't going to sell you a brown Batman, Mullet headed battle Superman or translucent speed force Flash...though....damn...that Flash sounds sweet. And a mullet Superman all beat up.....aw man...
- All characters will be the "Ultimate" version of that figure, including all parts and accessories you'd need to make that happen.
So...it's Do or Die time. No amount of crying over what could have been later will bring you back to this point in time. Also, no amount of petition signatures will convince Mattel to give this a shot, again, next year. If you are anything like me, you've been cherry picking off the pegs, unhappy with those wild fluctuations in price and endless re-use of the same boring bodies with minimal paint slapped on. This subscription can change all that. We've got a locked in price, no scale restrictions and a hit squad of DC fanboys at the controls of this potential dream machine. I know you may not know all the DC characters by name, but consider this....you can either have something...or nothing. It's a tough call. For my part, if Mattel can make me one very important promise, then they've got my money...
..and P.S...I want a fucking Gleek. Thanks!
CLICK HERE to jump on the Mattel DC love train (or put simpler, where to subscribe!)
CLICK HERE for images of all Mattel's newest DC Universe Classics