AFi Exclusive – The Scott Neitlich 2014 DCSC Subscription Interview
August 7, 2013

I’ve seen quite a few folks asking why Mattel and Scott/Toyguru is appearing on podcasts and rallying so hard behind getting the MOTUC sub to fund and neglecting the DC Sub.   The answer was – no one else had asked him.   So we fix that here.

I sat down with Scott yesterday for an hour to grill him on all things DC Club Infinite Earths, and tried to ask all of the questions that I had seen around the web that folks were asking about this year’s DC sub, such as:

  • About New 52 popping up in the 2014 sub (there are none)
  • The possibility of a fan vote for a sub slot?
  • Why are the Red Hood and Batzarro in the sub?
  • Will we get BOTH Doomsdays?
  • And much more!

Scott is very honest and candid with his answers.

After listening to this podcast, if your question has still not yet been answered then post your question in the comments below and I’ll follow up with Scott.

Feel free to share this interview anywhere you think it will help rally fans to push the sub through for another year of awesome, Four Horsemen sculpted DC figures!

To order YOUR 2014 subscription (I’ve ordered mine) hop on over to

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
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  • Scott Thompson says:

    Toy Guru Scott says they can’t do a Bat-familyI line as a sub? Why not? I find it hard to believe that a Batman-centered subscription line (OK, include some Superman as well) wouldn’t sell through, especially when the team-up movie is happening in 2015, with the inevitable JL film(s) to follow, not to mention a rebooted Batman movie series also on the horizon. You talk about the small fanbase for these lines…so why not focus on the big boys that have such a broad appeal?

  • Scott Thompson says:

    If there is not going to be a 6″ line at retail (odd, since in my area the DC Unlimited, Batman Unlimited and DC All-Star figures are gone in 60 secs), then it seems a natural to have a Bat/Supes-centered sub line in order to get Ventriloquist/Scarface, Firefly, Harvey Bullock, Vicki Vale, Bruce Wayne, comic-style Commissioner Gordon, Lucius Fox, leather jacket Red Hood, and 3-4 whatever Superman-based figures into the hands of collectors. I’d buy that sub right now. Know what else I’d buy right now? A pure 6′ Batman-only sub, based on artist-specific designs, just like the DC Direct Black and White statue line.

  • Darrell says:

    Great podcast – thanks for putting this together for us. I already bought my sub a few days ago, wish I could buy a second one to help support the line but that’s not financially feasible.
    But let me answer one of ToyGuru’s questions here – Batman Beyond as a monthly slot? No, thank you. I have one, don’t need another one. Let’s give it to someone who hasn’t been made yet. Mera, for instance …

  • Darrell says:

    While I appreciate your point of view, Scott, I can honestly say I would likely NOT support a Batman or Batman/Superman only line. They aren’t my favorite characters. Most of my favorite characters are solid B and C-listers from throughout the DC Universe. I’d rather see more Teen Titans, JSA’ers and JLA’ers (Detroit JLA, for instance).
    But then again, that’s what makes Matty Collectors’ job so hard, there are a lot of different tastes they are trying to cater to. Not a position I envy, for sure.

  • Alex says:

    Thanks so much for conducting the interview and putting it out there. I’ve subscribed to both MOTU and DC since the beginning, and I appreciated the fact that both you and Scott do genuinely like these lines as much as I do. I’m a DC guy at heart, so I guess the DC sub is a little closer to my heart (even if I think MOTU is a much stronger action figure line right now).

    Here’s my response to the interview: I’m glad there’s no New 52 for 2014. Scott mentions that there’s a possibility that they could work their way into 2015, but PLEASE DON’T DO THIS. Please keep this a “classics” line, like it was for most of the DCUC retail run. He keeps mentioning Human Bomb and Vixen and (I think) Will Magnus, and this is what I think the bulk of potential subscribers are wanting. I’d love to see the Freedom Fighters more than any other group, but I get that I’m probable alone in that. But I’d be happy if you worked more Flash Rogues in. Or classic Suicide Squad. Vandal Savage. Cheshire. Granny Goodness. Stuff most of us agree on. Just keep it classic.

    All we’re asking is that you aim these figures at the same audience that supported it actively and passionately for the first ten DCUC waves. In this regard, I don’t think it would hurt to tell us more of the probable figures for next year. Fence-sitters might be more convinced that you’re actually serious about tailoring it to us for the whole year (not just the first quarter). If we’re this close to “do or die,” then get the info out there so we know what we’re willingly giving up if people don’t sub. Many of us have done what we can do to keep it going. I’ve subbed for both lines. And I love both of them. And I want Matty to do everything they can do to make it happen. This interview is a good step in that direction. So thanks again to both of you. I hope it’s enough to convince more people to keep this thing alive.

  • CJ says:

    Thank you Daniel for that great podcast. It was nice to hear Scott be candid about his opinions on the line, the fans, and the future of the line. With DC Collectibles focusing on major characters in their New 52 versions, the CIE line is really the ONLY way we will ever see any Pre-52 figures ever made in this form again. I bought my 2014 sub the day it went live, just as I have bought the subs the last 2 years. I understand people have other budgetary obligations. For me, I made sure to adjust my budget to accommodate this monthly expense as it is something important to me. Some people spend a bit more on designer shoes, or customizing their luxury cars. This is what I choose to spend a bit more of my paycheck on. I’m one of the rare fans that is happy to have every single figure that is released (as I am a DC completest geek) so not knowing what is coming the rest of the year does not bother me as much as it does others. I’m psyched that more female figures, sidekicks, teens, and civilians are coming and that the is NO New 52 figures clogging the lineup. There is so much wonderful potential.
    Like all things in life, everything ends. If this line dies, it will truly break my geek heart, but I’ll be happy with all the great things that have already come out of it.

  • Alex says:

    Also: Regarding a Batman-only sub-line, I’d absolutely sub for that in addition to the main DC line. I wouldn’t want Batman Beyond taking up a slot in the main sub, but I’d be fine with it as a monthly figure in a line that also included Mad Hatter, Gordon, Scarface/Ventriloquist, Bruce, Damian, etc. But the classic DC line is the one I want most.

    Also sorry for the typos in the previous post. Should have looked back through it before I hit “Post Comment.”

  • TJ says:

    Here’s a question/suggestion: If there isn’t enough buy-in for a sub…and if Mattel is aware of fan-demanded figures…why not hit the fan-demand lists hard (polls wouldn’t hurt) and produce 4-5 non-subscription collector-line figures per year? They’ll be able to consolidate costs on tooling with fewer figures, they’ll know there is a demand for such a run of figures so they know their costs will have a better chance of being recouped, and we collectors can get more figures we want (as opposed to having to take a lame Red Hood figure, for instance). I’d be willing to pay a little more per figure individually if it meant I got a DCUC-style Mera, or a Damien Wayne, or a Jim Gordon, or a Doomsday. The Ghostbusters line pretty much petered out because they ran out of characters, but there’s a ton of characters left in the DC line.

  • j1h15233 says:

    Please make a transcript. This podcast is not playing right.

  • Myk says:

    This was a great podcast and well worth anyone’s time to listen to. While Toyguru was very apologetic about some of the things he had to say, let’s face it, it was the truth. A purely bats/supes line that sounds ridiculous on the face of it… Maybe as a retail line. I for one am excited about what 2014 will bring. Come on sidekicks, civilians, and mini figs (fingers crossed for Mr. Myx)?? To get that sort of cryptic reveal and not be able to hear or see what they’ll be is like seeing your wrapped Xmas gift and never being able to open it. I want my Doomsday unbound!! Let make this happen folks.

  • demoncat4 says:

    nice podcast thanks for letting scott explain and clear up a few things about the sub make things more clear. including that just because mattel is a big corporation even it has limits of what it can do and use resources like for the subs. though scott is wrong about the doom patrol being complete. for the chief has yet to be made. and see only one doomsday some how happening which is good for then granny goodness can get made maybe

  • tony says:

    Thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions.
    If I only knew that there was an AZRAEL for 2014
    I would get the sub!!!
    love what you guys are doing, hopefully we make it 😉

  • GWU says:

    Pretty good podcast. But Scott, you are dead wrong about Digital River. They just had the “white screen of death” just recently on your SDCC sale day. Plus the site crashed for the pre-sale. Fans are still getting the “white screen of death” and still have problems with Digital River. Has not happened in years Scott, REALLY!

  • bnjmnrlyr says:

    Thanks for putting this up Daniel.

    In regards to the sub: Yes, I’m buying in. Unfortunately, I will need to wait until closer to the deadline as I don’t get my next paycheck until the 15th. But, to affirm, YES, I am IN. I am a DC fan first and foremost and will do whatever I can to keep this line alive, regardless of format, selling avenue, transparency, etc.

    That being said, and because Scott asked, NO, I DO NOT WANT Batman Beyond to take a “slot” in my sub. Yes, I would like the new winged BatBeyond figure, but not at the expense of a “never before released character” (especially if it were Vixen as he kept using her as his example). NO, I DO NOT WANT to see something like a Batman-only sub. I love the DCU in whole, trying to support subs that cater to only one aspect of it is not enticing to me (an opinon I share with others here I see).

    to tony: Azreal has been made before. He is out there. I truly hope that he IS NOT in the sub line as that would go against the grain of using the sub to get new characters into collector’s hands.

    And because it has been hinted at, Smaller, pack-in figures ala Bat-Mite. OK, so we are all guessing Mr. Mxy. Question remains, who will he be packed with and what other “smaller pack in” type characters are out there?

    • tony says:

      To bnjmnrlyr you are right. Azrael has been made before.
      It was late, and got my characters mixed.
      ZAURIEL the winged angel is who I will love to have.
      I have the total justice figures and love that comic era.

  • George says:

    I second for a transcript if you could.

  • Jroug says:

    Wow, that was a painful hour.

    But glad I fought through it – it 100% helped me cement my decision! I am now convinced there’s NO REASON to subscribe.

    This line has been so badly managed since day one I no longer have any loyalty to the line or sympathy whatsoever for Scott’s whining – “we’re doing everything we can to make it survive! I’m skipping lunch! Subscribe now!”

    Well Scott, thank you for your heroic sacrifice as you beg us to help you keep your job.

    Back when I was paying $15 a figure AND also getting a BAF part, I could rationalize horrible character choices. Not anymore.

    Nu52 figures may be part of the line if people want them? I bet somehow we’ll find out that people DO want them and FANS DEMAND!! that they be included in the Sub! (especially as they already have been sculpted, so there are fewer upfront costs).

    Offer whatever DC figures you can be bothered to make on Matty as individual purchases or as con exclusives. Then I can decide to buy or not (like I did with that awful nu52 Shazam you can’t give away!).

    Telling me how lucky I am to get this line was a big motivator too. I’ll think about that every time I look at a crappy figure I never wanted that I paid $30 for. Lucky me! Thanks Scott!

    I know they can’t please everyone all the time, but TG & Mattel have shown they do not respond to or care about fan concerns (at best, they don’t take action until it’s too late). No matter how much TG swears that isn’t the case, reality shows a different story.

    This line would still be thriving at retail if Scott & Mattel hadn’t driven it off the rails with stupid ideas. Moms don’t know who hook-hand Aquaman is? True. But did they know who all your beloved Super Powers characters were either? Or, if we’re talking about Aquaman, how about Fruit-stripe for that matter? Go to a rural K-mart and these figures are STILL rotting there, years after DCUC coughed up blood.

    The line deserves to die. Maybe they’ll try again someday with a more effective project manager, not a fanboy who can’t see the forest for the trees.

    I will agree with him on one final point; not subscribing is not punishing Mattel – but at least this year it won’t be punishing me.

  • CAL says:

    I would be all in for a Batman sub. no questions asked. As far as the regular CIE sub, sorry no. I just can’t “pull together” with others to get a CIE sub, only to have several figures I do not want or need. I only collect Batman items, and Mattel’s figures are just a small part of that collection. If they stop making them, so be it, there are other company’s that will make stuff I would want.

  • Jorge says:

    Great interview. I really wanted some type of fan choice month. Im glad that if the 2014 sub goes through, we could have that for 2015 (I dont understant why they didnt do it before).

    To answer the question of putting in New52 figures or the Batman Beyond: NOOOOO. Please dont ever include these. It should be left as a classics line.

    One thing i dont understand is why we cant have more reveals if there is no longer a retail line to run with. ToyGuru keeps mentioning how they dont want to fall into the trap of not releasing announced figures like Damian Wayne. But with a subscription system that does guarantee you the customers (if it goes through), why wouldnt u announce more to motivate people who are on the fence? Damien Wayne was a retail fig. that was cancelled. Why would you cancel a subscription figure if, now, you dont have a retail team to deal with and are pretty much the only 6″ line? A subscription system would assures you of a finite number of customers? If all figures are basic tooling that you mostly have, what other reason would you have to cancel a figure? I dont get it.

    Hopefully it goes through, i got my sub.

  • Ralph says:

    I have two main concerns for getting the sub, and even though “Toy Guru” tells me to get over my self I work hard for my money and I believe I have something to say about what Im going to buy.

    1) I understand the whole thing about being a collector’s line and how its different than retail and mom/kids oriented lines, but I have to get 12 figures and I only get to know in advance 3 figures Im getting (plus one of the 2 posible doomsdays), then Ill get figures like batzarro or red hood that even though are ok figures I really dont need in my collection. I agree I wont be able to get 12 figures I really want, but at least let me know which 12 figures would be in the planned even if you dont show us pre productions pics (just give us names), hey if 5 out of the 12 are good figures Im set.

    2) And more important I got the Voltron sub and had an awfull time with shipping, I don’t live in the US and Matty says they are worldwide and that its for everyone (sort of a lie) yeah you can buy it if you dont live in the US but with a whole lotta problems, some problems involved Customs Laws from my contry (Mexico) and some the Shipping options Digital River has:
    When I had my Voltron Sub I ended up paying twice what I was suposed to pay because of shipping costs and other “extra” stuff (Thanks UPS!!!) The only 2 options Digital River had for shipping were UPS and USPS (standard) and only UPS had tracking option so Matty said that if you didn’t shipp through UPS and didnt get the figure you couldnt get a replacement. So I got UPS and evey figure I got I had to pay the shipping and then import costs and even some extras to UPS, this was the pain in the a$$ part, so bear wih me: Apparently toys fit in the same category with medicines and other plastic products in the import laws in mexico so for some reason you have to get some paperwork done at a government office to state that the product is for personal use and not for resale (It takes 1 day to get this paperwork, I can put up with that) the problem is you need some info to get this paperwork from UPS and its a pain in the ass to get this info, so usually what could take 1 day to get takes like 5 because UPS takes forever to answer with the info. also UPS usually didnt contact me till like 5 days after they got the package in customs so by then I had to pay UPS a fee for warehouse usage that meant they kept the package in the warehouse till I produced the documentation that freed the package from customs, and if I didnt send the documentation they’d opene the toy and and had “Sample” written on it with permanent marker, 2 out of the 5 lions they just shiped them to me like that without contacting me to get the paperwork)

    Again this has to do with Customs Laws in my country but if UPS had a better costumer service Its a very painless process that could be done very fast (Naturally UPS doesnt help at all and It takes a whole week and of course UPS charges you with an extra fee every time to keep the product in their warehouse till you get the documentation which you cant get till they give you some info you need, so its a vicious cicle that only ends up costing you and giving UPS more money)

    I buy almost every month through BBTS and they offer USPS express (air shipping) which does have tracking, is way cheaper than UPS and Ive never had to do anything like that for USPS (I get my package delivered at my doorstep, never opened and never extra fees), I dont know if DHL is any different than UPS but Im on the fence of getting 12 figures if it means ill have to end up paying again for double what I was suposed to pay and ill get opened and marked figures.

    Thats my deal, and also how come Hasbro can do a Retail line like Marvel Legends that has a bunch of obscure characters and Mattel can’t (I know ML has its issues but if you go down to it Mattel says Toy lines with obscure characters cant be done for retail cause its not cost effective, and yet Neca does it, Hasbro does it)

  • Jroug says:

    One of the first lines Mattel did when they got the DC license was a Superman / Batman lines – they were the only character groups Matty had the rights to. What’s crazy is that Matty can’t keep a retail line going with the entire DC stable at their fingertips. How does Hasbro do it? And do you think DC is looking at their options? NECA would do a better job…

    • jay says:

      NECA would dominate. Considering that they offer figures with 10000% better sculpts and paint apps for LESS money than Mattel, it’s a no-brainer.

  • Scott Gordon says:

    What I want to know is simple, what other characters are planned for the sub? The fact that production has stopped is not relevant. I don’t need pictures, and I don’t need guarantees, but Mattel can’t keep saying they plan things out two years in advance and yet there is nothing you can tell us.

    The argument that a vocal minority of collectors will complain because they are too stupid to understand the word “possible” doesn’t fly with me. I don’t need a guaranteed list, and I don’t even need the exact 12. I would assume there are plans, and backups plans for the entire year so give me a list of 18 or 24 characters and that would at least give me something by which to make a decision on.

    I’ve been collecting DC figures since the Super Powers line in 1984, and I have a huge collection of 6″ figures encompassing DC Direct and nearly every Mattel figure that’s been released to date, but I found last year unimpressive and the first four reveals of 2014 leave me cold. I want to see new ground covered, brand new characters that have never been done in this scale by anyone.

    I really, truly want this line to succeed. I want to be excited when that Matty box comes in the mail so that I can rip open the packaging and add a brand new character to my DC Universe shelves, but instead it’s been a year of mostly regret with nothing new or exciting. Sadly, without any idea of what potential 2014 holds, I just can’t commit to another round of $30 figures that disappoint me.

  • Jroug says:

    Of course they know what they have planned and even if some things are potentially shaky, it’s pure BS to tell us to take a leap of faith rather than say “this is what we have planned, but one or two of them may fall through”. Trusting them has not worked out too hot for any of us.

    And I STILL don’t understand why they couldn’t do a trad Red Hood rather than that horrible POS – seems to me they have a buck for this too, so how much different could the tooling costs be? As many say, Hasbro does it with ML. Is their overhead that much different than Mattel’s? Did Mattel overpay for the DC license? If so, why should collectors have to “suck it up” and make it work for Mattel or “we lose out”? I don’t get this begging crap from Hasbro and the stuff is at retail.

    Finally, the Horsemen are fine if overrated, I always thought their articulation choices were lousy – that crotch hinge is stupid and the thigh cut is ridiculous – especially when, as with WWE, you can accomplish the same result at a single point, which is not only a simpler solution, but preserves the integrity of the sculpt. Just another reason why we’ll be better off if this line is left for dead and restarted by someone who knows what they’re doing.

    • jay says:

      The feeling I always get from anything I read or hear from Nerdlick is that Mattel, the big toy company, hates DC and sees it as a burden they would be better off without. That they are doing geeks favors by releasing what they do and we should be plenty thankful for any little scrap they throw us. I say to hell with Nerdlick and his sympathy toys that he “fights so hard” to get made for geeks all over. And to hell with Mattel if they can’t handle one of the hottest properties in the pop culture world correctly and release product that is worth a damn.

    • Jorge says:

      You’re totally right about redhood. They could have used the mister terrific body or even the wave 13 superboy body.

  • nuno says:

    So we are lucky to have a reversed forearmed Stinkor huh? Pretty cool huh!?

  • Enterlaw says:

    Scott’s right, subscribing to the line is the only way that we’re going to be getting these figures. I don’t work in the toy business, but I do work in an industry that follows the money. You can scream, piss, and moan about “wrong choices” or “mismanagement,” but at the end of the day, if it makes money, it continues to get made, if it doesn’t, it goes away.

    I’ve signed up for 3 subscriptions, I’ve loved this line from day 1, and some of the biggest surprises have been from characters I don’t even like so much, and so, I’m still in it. If it goes away, I’ll live. Life will go on. This lasted WAY longer than Super Powers did, so that’s good.

    I DO believe that, if the DC subscriptions were moving well, we COULD get a Batman dedicated line not unlike the MOTU filmation line, but we’re SO far from that, it’s crazy.

    And I don’t see this as “saving his job.” He’s a resource, an asset to the company, if the lines disappear, he’ll just be reassigned to somewhere else. This is a tiny, small, niche collector thing. It means NOTHING to Mattel. Just business.

    If you like DC comics classics, and if you’d like to support a line that makes figures out of the great library of DC comics, subscribe. If not, hey, thanks for stopping by, sorry to didn’t see anything you like. Fare thee well.

    • Jroug says:

      No one is saying this isn’t about business. I’m saying it’s BAD business, and after years of getting away with BAD business, the chickens have come home to roost and the customer base is saying “no, we’ve had enough”.

      This line will end someday, no matter what (unless Mattel buys DC I suppose, but that seems laughably unlikely). If it was thriving and surviving, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Instead, it’s a wounded animal that needs to be put out of it’s misery.

      Regardless of whether Scott will or will not be reassigned, it’d be pretty hard to argue that his performance has been an asset to Mattel – even his comms to the fanbase have been embarrassing – certainly a BIG CORPORATION like Mattel has a corporate PR person who could/should be looking over his shoulder to make sure he doesn’t burn bridges. The whole Matty experiment has eroded year over year. The plug to get pulled eventually, no matter what – exactly because it doesn’t make money. Their selection at SDCC this year was a disaster and hardly anything Scott was involved with sold out – even after it went up on the site, post show. That’s a bad sign! Not the case with Hasbro…

      I applaud Mattel for taking the leap to try it, and the direct to fan model for this type of product could’ve/should’ve been a great success, as it works for Barbie & Hot Wheels. IMO, they just picked the wrong guy to run it.

  • tony says:

    My take on this.
    We all want to know what it is that we are going to be paying for. The reason we do not get an answer Is simple.
    If we get the characters we want like Mera, Mr. Myx, Vandal Savage, Granny Goodness, or Kid Flash Bart. Then
    we all jump in, but what about the next year? Notice how they use hook Aquaman, Superboy and Doomsday to hook
    us in? If they get their way why give us GRANNY GOODNESS this year instead they know people want her so save her
    for next year. Right? The problem here is we are not willing to pay $30 for figures we do not want “not any more”.

    • Jroug says:

      I have to say, if the five characters Tony listed were in the mix, I’d be in. But no doubt Conner Superboy & Hook Aquaman are someone’s faves. But they sure don’t seem to be motivating the subs. Doomsday looks boss in both configs, but if these are possible without signing up for what could be 8 $30 figs I don’t want, I’ll roll the dice.

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