Do You Support a line or Collect it?
February 20, 2010

[quote="Leeway"] JLU: Do we support this line or not? [/quote]

To me, this idea of "supporting a line" is just strange.  I work too hard for my money to buy things I don’t like.  Sure, I should have canceled my subscription to the Green Arrow/Black Canary comic 6 months ago because it was awful.  But I like the characters and thought it would get better.  For toys, its even clearer.

If I do not like the character, why would I buy it and put it on my shelf, subjecting myself to looking at it every day and knowing I could have spent the money on something I would rather have?

Back in the day, I loved the Satellite era of the Justice League.  I also loved the early International era.  But I’ve aged since then.  The rose colored glasses are gone.  I no longer consider everyone who served on the Justice League to actually be worthy of the honor.  Alex Ross, with his series "Justice", proved that characters can be added to the team if you want to.  DC editorial wrote Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Hawkman off the team and retroactively added Black Canary years before she joined.  A month ago, DC promoted most of the Titans to the JLA.  So why can’t I build the team I want out of plastic?  Simply put, I can.  I am not restricted by what others have done.  My collection is complete when I say it is.

I know this post was about JLU, but the first wave of DCUC explains my position perfectly.  Batman, Penguin, Red Tornado, Orion, Etrigan.  While I applaud Mattel for the variety here and the potential it shows, I cannot buy ANY of these.
1. Batman. I have a ton of Batman figures in many scales already.
2. Penguin. I am sick to death of Batman villains.  They have been done over and over again since the Batman film of 1989.  I am just over exposed.
3. Red Tornado. Just not interested enough in the character to spend the money.
4. Orion. I bought my 6" Orion years ago from DC Direct and do not need another.
5. Etrigan.  Not interested in the character.
So despite liking the idea of the line, I did not buy any of it.

JLU itself has hit some additional problems beyond character selection.  The number one problem with JLU is finding the product at retail.  I have yet to see the following at retail:
Obsidean, Volcana, Barda, Deadshot 3packs – this issue is being dealt with.
League 6 pack w/ Vibe, Steel, Deadman, Crimson Fox, …
Villain 6 pack w Atomic Skull, Shadow Thief, …
Batman Beyond, Warhawk, Cheetah 3 packs
Plastic Man, Cyborg, Capt Cold, Capt Boomerang 3packs.

#2. Expecting that we will buy a 3 pack for 1 new character.  This is just wrong on so many levels.  Not only do we collectors not want the product, Mattel is wasting the planet’s resources making them.  Mattel should NEVER put 2 of the founding 7 members of the TV Justice League in the same 3 pack with 1 new character.  EVER.  A recent bad example  of this is the Superman/Wonder Woman/Blackhawk 3 pack which I left at the store.  Replacing Wonder Woman with a 2nd new character would have sold the pack to me.

#3. Expecting we will buy ANY character.  Mattel has done a good job listening to the comments we have made on line and looking at fan site polls like the ones we’ve run here at Action Figure Insider.  But sometimes they respond to the loudest voice which has no real support.  They need help diving between a few people asking for the same character over and over again and real demand.  The Batman villain pack 4 pack at exemplifies this.  There was a lot of talk about these characters, but the sales were not there.  Mattel seems to have missed the comments from fans like me who felt that the Hasbro versions in their collections already were good enough.

#4.  I think Mattel misunderstood the number of people who would be willing to buy JLU in this way.  If they had gradually rolled out the same characters at retail, I think sales would have been higher.

Take the 4 pieces.
Split them into 2 sets of 2.
Add Batman to one pair, add Superman to the other pair.
Package as 3 packs.
Ship to Target, 3 of each pack to a case of 6.
Why? Because I want to be able to walk into a store and buy my toys off a shelf.
And after the stories I read about folks trying to buy stuff from, I just don’t want to deal with it.

So, no, I will not ‘Support’ a line, but I will collect it in so far as I will buy the characters I like.


Erik "Superfriend" Skov
"Gathered together from the four corners of the universe." Oh, wait, that's the show, not me. Erik "SuperFriend" Skov never actually got to appear on the show, although he did watch it every week. Erik spent 6 years working for Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI before leaving for a job that paid more (Why else would a collector leave the company that was making Star Wars, Transformers, and while I was there Batman). I used to post all over the net. These days I tend to hang my hat at AFI.
Read other articles by Erik "Superfriend" Skov.





  • Mikey Wood says:

    I agree 100%.

    As far as JLU is concerned, I buy any new character they throw at me because A) I really enjoy them, design-wise. Love the “animated” style. And B) The VARIETY of characters both common and uncommon is just staggeringly cool. I mean, for God’s sake, who would have EVER thought we’d have a VIBE figure? Or an AZTEK? Or a freakin’ GENTLEMAN GHOST?

    HOWEVER…I don’t purchase each and every BATMAN or SUPERMAN re-paint. Other than the yellow Flash, I don’t even have the Justice Lords (even though Justice Lords Hawkgirl is pretty awesome)and, even then, the yellow Flash isn’t the Justice Lord Flash but REVERSE FLASH (or Prof. Zoom, whatever). I have the gray DOOMSDAY only. Have no desire to own the red DOOMSDAY unless it’s for custom fodder. I am quite satisfied with my gold BOOSTER GOLD and I can’t tell the difference between a “more show-accurate repaint” of Green Arrow enough to buy him again.

    Another example is Mattel’s THE BATMAN line. I never really caught many episodes of the show (and the ones I DID see didn’t really impress me)but I really dig the character designs and how they translated into 3d plastic.

    EXCEPT for the Joker. I absolutely hated that version of the Joker and, other than the head-sculpt, none of the figures made me like him any better.

    SO, did I buy any of the Joker figures? No. Will I? I mean, the line is defunct now but I really don’t think I will. Does it leave a gaping hole in my collection? Kind of. But why spend my hard-earned on a character I find aesthetically displeasing?


  • Sector1014 says:

    I hear a few of your points (need 2 new characters per 3-pack), but overall I’m really glad that most DCUC and JLU collectors don’t share your buying habits. 🙂 All lines would die after one wave.

    I don’t see how anyone could put the DCUC Orion next to the old DCD Orion and honestly say that it’s not worth it to upgrade. If you felt that way, then you didn’t need to buy any DCD figs of characters that you already had in the Super Powers line. 🙂

  • chad says:

    i could not agree with you more for one thing the three packs should have included characters fans wanted not one character packed with two fans already had thats waste money . secondly who says one has to have every member of the jla to be complete for some ones jla team is differant then some one elses.though never touch jlu. just dc and dc classics for me. supporting and buying one dc universe line. mixing from two companies

  • jamiwa3 says:

    Your reasons are understandable for not supporting the line, since you’ve obviously have been a collector for a while. For me, JLU is the only line I’ve ever collected so there are no other figures to substitute.

    I am a completionist in the sense that I want every character they make. If they release a Secret Society six-pack of Blue Lama, The Monocle, Dr. Spectro, The Javelin, Lady Lunar and Neutron, I’m picking it up even if I don’t care about any of the characters. I don’t need all the repaints, although I pick them up if it’s a sensible repaint (like Sinestro Corps Sinestro or Classic Batman), or it makes a new character (like the Justice Lords, or Ryan Choi Atom). However I don’t feel obligated in the least to buy Cyber Defender Flash or the new Brainiac to “support the line”. I will support the line by buying about twenty Manhunter robots though! (Bring on the Parademons and Thanagarian soldiers!)

    I couldn’t agree with your second point more. I can understand flooding the racks with Batman and Superman if those characters truly support the line, but two of the original seven in the same pack? Why would Mattel think it’s a good idea to make us pay $17 for what is essentially a single without an accessory? Considering many people missed the Commander Steel and Atomic Skull six-packs, the only way we should be getting two old figures in a three-pack is if it’s a Big 7 and a hard-to-find character.

    On a side note, why can’t I get my account activated to use the forums? I signed up almost two months ago.

  • Joe says:

    I too am a completist and I collect every new JLU figure out there. In a sense, I support AND collect anything NEW from JLU.

    But like Chip said, it gets frustrating when you have to buy a 3pk just to get ONE new character.

    One 3pk with TWO new characters is the best way to go.

    Now, Matty, if you MUST put two PAST characters in a 3pk, at least give us a good repaint.

    The new Batman repaints and show or comic book accurate repaints of other characters LOOK GREAT.
    However, imagine how much cooler it would have been if we got these repaints INSTEAD of an umpteenth Wonder Woman or Batman. Look at the upcoming Katma Tui repaint in the GL and Despero 3pk! THAT is how to do a re-issue in a 3pk.

    Imagine if that Blackhawk three pack featured a Light Blue 80s shade for Superman. A minor repaint and still a bit offputting that we another Superman but at least it’s not the EXACT same superman for the nth time. Now imagine if that Blackhawk three pack had Vandal Savage! Even better. It CAN be done.

    Some of the newer 3pks are better though. That Superman/Weather Wizard/Livewire is perfect. Heck the recent Superfriends 3pk was ALL new. I must say though, that putting the two Manhunters in a 3pk was an inspired choice. It gets them more use of the mold (which is important in costing) and allows army builders an easier time of building one.

  • pacinofan says:

    I really dislike when Matty seems to blame the fans when an exclusive doesn’t sell well. I’d love to buy more matty product… but the problems w/ Digital River scare me away from the website.

    • Erik superfriend says:

      I wonder if Mattel considered the fact that some otherwise die-hard fans might not buy stuff on line simply because it was “on line”.

      • Hourman says:

        The phone company eventually stopped making rotary telephones. There are probably some people who would rather have a rotary phone over a touch tone phone, but its a small enough slice of the market that the phone company decided it wasn’t worth the expense of catering to an increasingly niche market. To analogize, given that many, many people have been online for 10 or even 15 years now, how many even semi-serious toy collectors aren’t buying something online these days? And I don’t necessarily even mean toys. Books? iTunes? Service subscriptions like Netflix? I just find it hard to believe that there’s a huge market of Luddite die-hard toy collectors out there that Mattel (or whoever) is deliberately excluding because they don’t want to transact online.

        • Erik superfriend says:

          I think the phone is a little extreme of a comparison. I’m already at the store buying food or clothing or cleaning products. If I can buy the product while I’m already there, why would I want to go through the hassle of buying it on line. And yes, it is a hassle.

  • wadsworth says:

    i’m with superfriend on this. all the way. i am slowly but surely getting away from my OCD completist ways.
    the fact that we are expected to “buy every figure, no matter the character” is some ignorant, greedy and self righteous garbage. i love “collecting” toys, and i miss being able to “collect” toys.
    when we constantly get kicked in the nuts with this “not enough fan support” BS, it makes me want to fly out to sdcc and ring that little bastards neck.
    if the line needs support, i have a few suggestions:
    1- make the product available to me at my local store. i need to be able to find t crap to “support” it, don’t i?
    2- make product that i want to buy. and when you do, stop makng me buy 2 other figures that i already have to get the one i want.
    (can anyone guess how many eclipso 6 packs i saw without eclipso in them?)
    3- stop being so damn greedy and set the msrp at a price point where we can actully afford to “support” the line(s).

  • GLsector666 says:

    Agreed 1000% with superfriend. I especially have had it with the repeat characters in 3packs, Matty’s BS about “moms and grandparents”, and the sheeple that repeat that lie!

  • Parkdaledude says:

    Up here in Toronto there is a store selling JLU at a discount, I can get the Batman Beyond 3-pack($12.99+Tax/CAD)relatively cheap & a bunch of others as well. The funny thing is that they never had these figures before they went on sale it’s like Mattel was unloading it’s old stock & this store bought it up. Inconsistent flow to the product is what’s killing these toy lines.

  • Frogdog says:

    Bottom line, I tried to support the JLU line. I truly tried. I bought a lot of figures and I have multiple Supermen, Batmen, Wonder Women, GLs and Flashes to prove it. I even tracked down the hard to find figures like Blue Devil, at retail no less. You could do it if you tried and stuck to it back in the day. I really loved this line.

    Then Mattel designated it a “collector’s line”. Let the proverbial kiss of death begin. First, Target gets the line as an exclusive. Target has never supported any exclusive they have ever obtained. They under order, short stock or simply do not stock any of their exclusives. If they make them available online, I have yet to find them. At my local Targets there are currently large gaping holes and empty pegs where these “exclusives” should be located. During Christmas of 2008 when we should have been seeing the six packs of the League w/ Vibe, Steel, Deadman, Crimson Fox,etc. and the Villain 6 pack w Atomic Skull, Shadow Thief, etc., we found only the previous years six packs clogging up the shelves. I hit Targets in 4 states on the East Coast and it was the same in each and every store. I never saw any of these characters offered except for scalper prices on eBay.

    There are three packs I’ve never seen. There are “Eclipso” and “Thanagar War” six packs on eBay I have never seen. In the meantime, I read stuff on this website from that seems to indicate the collector is somehow at fault for this big mess and they’re not supporting the line..

    Understand: I gave up collecting this line that I loved a great deal because a) Mattel chose a retailer that doesn’t support the product. b) Mattel feeds me BS as to how they’re putting two figures I already have into the three packs because of “parents and grandparents” yada, yada, when it was Mattel themselves that identified this line as a “collector’s line”. c) Utter unavailability (this seems to be a problem with many Mattel lines, exclusive or not) d) Inflation of price far beyond that of similar lines (guess if you limit availability you can jack up the price).

    This line became a liability. It was no longer fun to collect and I was missing so many major and desired characters I no longer saw the point of continuing. And just recently,’s cheesy little “Gone for good!!” snipes that appeared overnight on virtually all of the JLU product confirmed for me Mattel just doesn’t give a damn about this line or those who collect it. Therefore, why should I give these guys any more of my money for this line or any other line for that matter. I’ve moved on to other interests.

    So I guess I said all of that to say this: No, I don’t support this line or collect it. At least, not anymore.

  • Neil says:

    I collected it but not support it. i have 1 of each major characters and varients on the same character if it’s significant enough. the line has far too many dups for me to buy every package. the best/worst example of this is the eclipsed 6 pack. eclipso was new. and the other five were supes, ww, gl, flash and hawkgirl. i don’t need 5 dups that are just the same characters with touch ups on paint to get 1 character and pay 30 for it (or more on line).
    the new characters announced at toy fair aren’t that thrilling because few of them every actually appeared on the JLU cartoon. they appeared on superman and batman cartoons. it’s annoying that there are still JLU characters i want (Gypsy and stripes) and we are getting batgirl and penguin (while nice not what i want).
    My target never carries anythign new. They still have the superman/huntress/powergirl and ww/flash/question sets up and have for months. so if i want them i have to pay mark up on ebay and amazon.
    i like the matty exclusives. but all at once they all went “gone for good” before i could get them. the justice guild was up for less than 2 weeks before it was sold out.

Leave a Comment