Is the DCUC Sub for you? I think you already know.
August 13, 2011

Everyone else at AFi seems to have weighed in on the DCUC Subscription, so why not me?

I was among the first to tell Mattel they were doing a lousy job with character selection in JLU.  That is why I started with the JLU Most Wanted Polls here at AFi.  With DCUC I never had that feeling.  DCUC gave us character selection from across the DC universe.  Wave 1 gave us Batman, Penguin, Red Tornado, Orion, Etrigan, Metamorpho. With that assortment, we got
2 Batman characters
1 Silver Age JLA
2 Satellite JLA
2 Morrison JLA
2 JL International
1 JL Europe
2 Outsiders
1 New God
and whatever groups Etrigan falls into.

Wave 2 gave us more JLA, more Batman characters, Superman, Aquaman characters and a Flash villain.  Wave 3 gave us more JLA, Green Lantern characters, more Batman characters, Titans characters.  Wave 4 gave us more JLA, Wonder Woman characters, JL International, Titans, and Batman Beyond.  Wave 5 gave us more JLA, Superman characters, Batman characters.  Wave 6 gave us Superman, Shazam characters, more JLA, more New Gods, more JLI. That is 6 waves of great stuff.

Did I like every decision and selection Mattel made?  No.  But my first ‘criticism’ doesn’t show up until wave 7.  Sure Captain Atom in his gold costume was an obscure choice which few people wanted, but there was no need to buy it to complete the CNC.  Meanwhile, using Wonder Woman as a way to sneak Artemis into the line was genius.

Camoflauge Aquaman was the first strange choice.  I never understood why Adam Strange was on Matty instead of in the retail line.  But wave 7 also gave us Flash characters, more JLI, more new Gods, etc.  Eventually we get to the Green Lantern Corps in wave 11.  The Titans lead wave 13.  The JSA headlines wave 14.  Wave 15 gives us the Martain Manhunter for the Silver Age JLA, the JLI, and the Morrison JLA while giving us J’emm for the Morrison Injustice League.

Completely themed waves for 16 – 19 split the collectors into fragments.  This is by far the most controversal move Mattel has made with the line.  Complaints of remakes hurt wave 16.  Short lived costumes upset fans in wave 17.  TV toon characters upset comic purists in wave 18 (personally I love these).  Wave 19  being all JSA passes the tests which hurt the prior waves, but if you are not into the JSA it is a wasted wave.  IMO, if Mattel had done this earlier in the line, entire waves based on the New Gods or the Kenner made SuperPowers toys would  have also upset fans.  So why the switch to themed waves?  We will probably never know.  IMO, if Mattel had split these themed waves across multiple waves, the vitrol from fans would have been minimal to zero.  One deputy lantern or one TV toon character per wave would have gotten a better reaction.

What does all this have to do with the sub?  Simple.  I think all the crying about  needing to know the characters in advance is unfounded.  If you like what Mattel has done so far, you will like what they will do in the future.  Look back over the length of the line.  You know from experience what percentage of figures you had to have right away and what percentage you wished were scrapped in favor other choices.  What is your most wanted unmade choice?  Are you more upset that they have not made Jay Garrick or Wally West?  Was Jay really your top choice or was that just because he was rumored for wave 19 and did not end up in it?  Answer these questions honestly and I think you will know whether or not the subscription is for you.

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.





  • ComicFan1129 says:

    For God’s sake,STOP BEGGING!! If the sub is going to
    succeed it will succeed.Not because some DCUC fan is
    going on-line begging everyday God sends a day.I have
    enjoyed the line,but if it’s over it’s over,and no
    amount of whining,cajoling,berating,is going to change
    that.This has been going on for weeks and the sub rate is
    still at 30%,there must be a reason.Let it go.Lose with
    some dignity..Let it go.

    • j1h15233 says:

      And please stop telling us to stop. Just let it go. Let it go.

    • Erik superfriend says:

      This was in NO way begging. I was just trying to give an alternate perspective. It all comes down to this one line: “If you like what Mattel has done so far, you will like what they will do in the future.”
      I like the variety Mattel has offered. Have I wanted them enough to run out and buy every one? No. Not even for 1 wave. I have no interest in certain subgroups of the DCU. I am a huge JLA fan, but I rarely buy villains. The Sub is not for me. My collecting is just too character specific. But it does make sense for other people who collect a wider chunk of the DCU. Which is why I wrote this.

  • demoncat says:

    could not agree more with the article. for my number one unmade choice happens to be number one on my wish list for dc ragman. and with the sub the chances of maybe having him get made increase a little if the sub works. as for jay not showing up in wave 19 did not upset me for figured sooner or later he would pop up mostly by mattel to complete the jsa.

  • josh says:

    i already bought my sub, and Jay was a big part of it. but mostly i just love everything they do….and 12 figs a year beats the hell out of 3-4-5 sets of 6-8 figs at 15 bux apeice…..

  • josh says:

    plus if it does well….batmobile? they’re doing vehicles in MOTUC 🙂

  • tony valencia says:

    1. the price of the sub bring it down to $20
    o.k. this is what it takes to get me on board.
    2. if we do not want a figure, we should NOT
    be FORCE to buy it.

    make figures we want and we will buy them,
    is that simple

    • Erik superfriend says:

      in case you did not know, the price of the sub covers the cost of an guaranteed exclusive figure. While some stock of most figures might show up on on sale days, this sub only figure would not. So you are paying the 30$ for the exclusive figure AND avoiding dealing with having to place an order every month.

    • Aaron says:

      I agree with you, Tony. For me they would have to promise to finish the Doom Patrol set up front if they want my money.

  • Piper2Reason says:

    A rather enigmatic and pointless history lesson.

  • ComicFan1129 says:

    My point is still this;In these tough economic times
    apparently people are not willing to get locked into
    a subscription where they are forced to buy figures
    that they don’t want.And no amount of on-line cajoling
    is going to change this fact.I’m sorry if my first post
    came off as harsh,but this is FAR from the first article or
    video that I’ve seen on this subject and IT’S NOT WORKING.
    I’m not seeing many people “On the Fence”.I think that the “Hardcore”
    DCUC fans that are willing to pay for Lori Lemaris or Jimmy Olsen
    or someone else they don’t want to get a Batmobile or something in the future have already subscribed.

    • Erik superfriend says:

      My point was simply that if you liked 75% of what they have done in the past, you can expect to like 75% of the sub. If you only liked 25%, the sub is probably a bad idea.

  • douglas says:

    My problem with this signing was the way they put the situation of the DCUC series.In no time they said they would cancel and it was not selling well .. quite the contrary. But suddenly come up with this idea that if we do not have the signature DCUC does not survive.

  • Clint says:

    I want figures that have not been done before..EVER! MATTY is not bullying me anymore. I will order when I want and overpay for what I get from them..either on their site or elsewhere.

  • MegaGearMax says:

    The fans who are complaining about unknown characters were probably cherry-picking back then! Not everyone was buying every character in every wave. This whole experience is showing that to be true.

    • Clint says:

      Not true, I bought every character I DIDN’T need……and hated it every step of the way!

    • AJ says:

      Well . . . yeah. I doubt most people who buy DCUC figures own more than 70% of anything they put out, or even %40; most people (young and old) just want their favorite superhero, or at most key JLA members and a few villains. Completists are very rare. One of the main flaws of the subscription is that it’s geared towards the hardcore fan who will buy anything, which brings us back to SuperFriend’s point: the vast majority have already made up their minds on whether they’re going to get the sub or not. Which makes the evangelism of some fans unlikely to succeed.

  • DaveB says:

    It’s tough. I like Matty’s DCUC toys, but as someone who is NOT a completist, I’ve found myself buying less and less…I have most of the characters I could ever want (and frankly, lots more). While I have over 100 figures, there just aren’t too many more characters that get me excited. And that’s a testament to how much Matty has done right, so I’m not criticizing the Sub, but after so many characters, I just don’t think it makes sense for me–that’s cool if it does for you. Are there more I’d want? Sure, maybe a few here and there. But I can’t believe how many I already have! I applaud Matty for doing such a terrific job, but this just might be the end of the line…quite literally.

  • Jamie Guthrie says:

    Pushing the Blackest Night/Brightest Day figures through the Classics line was a mistake in my opinion. I’m okay with not knowing what figures I would get in a subscription as long as I know the figure is not going to be Flash as a Burnt Sienna Lantern. Give me Lana Lang as Insect Queen over Wonder Woman as a Raw Umber Lantern any day.

  • misosazai says:

    Just to clarify/point out that the Club Infinite Earths standard figures will be $15 (about retail for DCUC at most stores). The $30 Price of the subscription is for the Club exclusive figure which is Over-sized. I always knew I would subscribe because I have been a completest when I could find the items.

    I agree that the sub is not for everyone, but if the club doesn’t happen, then there is no cherry-picking the characters we do want on e-bay or at the Matty on-line store because there will be none of them made, at least not for 2012.

    Whether the classics line continues or not I love DC and I love the majority but not all of what Mattel has done with it. I hope in one way shape or form they will continue to put out a variety of DC Universe figures. I’m looking forward to the New DCU. All those old costumes and looks from the 40’s – 70’s drove me crazy; yet I loved the Super Friends stuff. Go figure.

  • don says:

    when i went to toyfair, one of the reps told me, if i ‘blogged’ about their toys, they would make sure it was ‘worth it.’

    the fact we keep seeing these ‘you gotta subscribe to dc’ reports proves, these guys are trying to snag the free toys.

    and who would blame them? the dc figures being at 18 bucks a pop now? doubled in price in 3 years?

    but just to let everyone know, the big toy companies will take care of bloggers, if you blog ‘flattering’ ‘reports.’

    the same thing happens in the mainstream media. all the big corporations are buddy buddy. tv news is just as fake as this blog.

  • don says:

    btw i SUBSCRIBED first week. i wanted those dc figures. so i did not need convincing. it seems someone at mattel thinks reports like these will help the sub.

    so they want us to believe that there are more ghost buster fans, more he-man fans, than DC COMICS?

  • RTVU2 says:

    I got a sub and I don’t care who the figure is. If I don’t like it, I can always sell on ebay to the guy who didn’t get a sub. And while I also have some thoughts about the last waves that came out, overall I am really happy about the overall product and look forward to what they release to the stores now that we don’t have the click and connect figure to deal with.

  • Dan says:

    Another day the needle hasn’t moved and it’s another day that AFI delivers one more subscriber rally cry spouting the same reasons over and over again which means even more comments spouting all the same reasons for and against. It’s a never ending circle for these guys. Only this written POV tediously lists DCU waves produced to date…as if if listing the “best of of” will suddenly change the mind of 60+% of needed collectors. “Oh yeah! Wave 6 WAS awesome! What am I doing?!”

    Plus, since Mattel/Matty keeps moving the deadline with little effect (CLEARLY, that team doesn’t want to appear to have failed), don’t believe the hype that they won’t try again later. If this wasn’t the case the deadline would have come and gone and everyone would have moved on with life at this point. The idea of maintaining multiple subscription plans is clearly the driving force to keep the Matty store going…by repeatedly moving deadlines and posting new (poorly crafted) pleas to join ANY of these clubs at this point tells everyone things are not going well behind the scenes. If the MOTU club membership is so strong, why does THAT deadline have to keep moving as well?

    All this means is that nothing will truly die…Matty needs it all to work too badly and will regroup, retool and relaunch when the time is right. Just watch.

  • gl666 says:

    “If you like what Mattel has done so far, you will like what they will do in the future.”

    And if we DON’T like what they’ve done? Fool me once….

  • Gary says:

    Lets see, I think your points are well thought out. I’ll try to share mine as a fan/collector. I didn’t get into DCUC quite at first, maybe not until wave 6 or 7. I’ve got quite a nice collection of toys and wasn’t really planning on getting more. Anyway, I’d always check out the DCUC line, just to see if any sparked my interest. I’ve got wave 5 (through the found stock at Matty) and a good bit of each here and there, mainly trying to complete the CNCs, of course getting a lot of previous waves has been simple as stores had a good bit of the same stuff for like 5 years straight. 🙁 Bad product movement lead to just no restocks at many, many stores which is annoying as hell. I think I got 11, 12 online through Matty, or BBT, as for the others, 13, 14, 15, I’ve got a few but not the whole set. I have all of 16, here’s where I get off. I absolutely love 17, I plan on getting it, but I’m in the process of trying to buy a house, and have been for awhile. Hopefully I’ll close on that and move in so I can not worry about another 4 series. The 18th though, meh, I mean, I grew up watching SF and all but I’m only interested in 3 of them, IMO, they should have made a Toyman variant or such. Still, it’s a cool thing for them to do. Though a bit different from the previous set. Now I did go to a Walmart that had an endcap, including some GL2 for $10, still no Kyle Rayner (who could also have had an easy variant). I later went to TRU and saw a Shazam/Black Adam 2 pack, which was cool, but there wasn’t anything “special” or unique. Which it almost seems like they took back overstock and repacked it, which is great with me, but they need to do that with a Rep or something who can just help move the stock faster. I mean, I know you can’t sell it if everybody who is interested already has it. With the GL2 set, having switchable heads to make 2 figures is a brilliant idea. I know Mattel has a large audience to please, especially when they want to target Moms.
    I’m glad about the sub, though didn’t sign up yet. The whole going to be moving somewhere sometime soon thing has clogged that up, but of course I’m still looking for the hard to get figures, but am worried (partly) that I can’t get wave 17. Anyway, DCIH sucks, the YJ or JLU doesn’t interest me. I am more interested in articulation. At least with the GL 3.75 line the accessories are interchangeable with the sixers. Plus I have enough rings to go stark raving mad as paralaxhal. So I do look forward to seeing what the subscription is like, but also like some of the other subscription lines, as I do know I may be interested in a few others. I don’t know what the difference it is for Hasbro to make such awesome 3.75 figures. But maybe they can just lease out a line and contract them to do it for Matty. 🙂 That’d be amazing.
    With the upcoming DC relaunch the new costumes or other characters , vertigo, milestone, wildstorm…. ect… they are going to be able to do a lot of new toys if they can. Though at 15.99 a pop, or even the new CS set ($75 at walmart) it does suck sometimes. Though getting a whole set online helps. I just think that if Mattel could toss in more items in each package, like additional head sculpts, hands, accessories, or even variants in costumes it’d be better in the store.

    Take the current new Batman line. Off to a great start IMO. Joker looks great, Mr. Freeze (I’d have to paint it different) is meh, and Batman with an awesome face, and pretty much a great improvement hands down. But even this could be improved, as its only 3 figures, and the same ones at that. But you could do paint variations, give them multiple heads and accessories, and bingo a vastly superior product.

    Take Batman – Mean face, Normal Face, Smiling face (Dick Grayson) Make the belt interchangeable (as a huge problem I’ve had in the past figures is how the belt has changed over the years and it should be an option. Even add on some open fist or pointing or grabbing. Something other than Mattel’s weird looking hands ( :..: ) I mean, its fine but give me some more variety. I can’t imagine that some of these things could be that costly to implement and it’d change the dynamic entirely. Take Spectre (Corrigan, Jordan, Crispin), The Question (Male or Female, booze or gun) or a popular character like Flash (so many basic versions: Allen, West, Alternate West, Reverse, Zoom, Prof. Zoom) I mean, honestly, these are just a few little tweaks, and instead of taking the chance of flooding the shelves with the same exact figure, albeit one may have a better paint job, or shiny metallic paint, but it really could be so much more. If this were a Barbie Doll then it’d be akin to basic articulation, no removable outfits, plastic hair that doesn’t move ect…
    On the 6inch YJ line, they are at least getting a lot better with accessories, but give me an alternate head just to be a little closer with the other line. I mean, I really don’t know how much extra cost it could be, but it should alter it that much.

    I don’t want to go on to praise Hasbro so much, but even some of the crummier figures are still great. I like how sometimes they have a variant to tie into something more current (Cable). Anyway, I’m sorry I went on a tangent, I just am a long time collector and lurker here and just felt like getting that out.

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