At the beginning of the month Mattel revealed the line up of their 2013 San Diego Comic Con exclusives. Fans of the old DC Universe Classics line and the newer DC Signature Collection Club Infinite Earths subscription line waited with baited breath hoping for another one of their favorite characters to be marked off their wish lists. In 2012 there was not a 6″ DC SDCC exclusive so there was a lot of anticipation for this reveal.
Needless to say there was a very strong reaction from the fandom when the 6″ DC exclusive was revealed to be the New 52 Shazam. It opened up a lot of questions for collectors of these lines. Why a New 52 character? Why not (fill in the blank)? Does this mean we’ll be getting New 52 characters in the sub? Why can’t you sell this character at retail as part of the DC Unlimited line? Mattel and Scott aka Toy Guru were gracious enough to allow us to sit down and ask those questions that are on the minds of the Mattel DC collectors. I attempted to address all of the big questions that I had seen asked around the web as well as those that folks have been asking me.
But first- We received a sample of the SDCC New 52 Shazam figure on Thursday of last week, so we have it in hand. Let’s take a closer look at the actual figure first and then move on to the Q& A.
Action Figure Insider: Why did Mattel choose a new 52 character as the SDCC 2013 exclusive as opposed to something “DC Classics?”
Toy Guru: Now that we offer DC Classic figures each month in Club Infinite Earth on Mattycollector.com, it just didn’t make as much sense to offer another Classic character at SDCC as those characters show up every month now. Before CIE, SDCC was a unique opportunity to offer a Classic character. Now we do this every month. For example, we just did Wally West in CIE. Could he have been a SDCC item? Sure. But it makes more sense to put him in the club. Offering a new 52 version of a character (and one never before done as a toy by anyone) made the SDCC offering different and unique from what we offer every month online now.
AFi: In the past fans were told that the SDCC exclusive slot was for figures/characters that wouldn’t fit at retail (Lobo, Wonder Twins, Plastic Man, Swamp Thing), but it seems to most fans that New 52 Shazam would fit perfectly in the DC Unlimited retail line (he has enough media exposure being on JLU, Young Justice, several of the Direct to DVD projects). Why put a character that could easily sell at retail over another fan-demanded character?
TG: There are really two answers to that. One is that we did not have a retail slot for another DC figure in 2013, so there wasn’t a spot for Shazam at retail. The second answer harkens back to the answer to the first question above. Take for example a “fan demanded figure” like Huntress of Elongated Man. Both are offered in the club. Sure we could have made Huntress the SDCC figure, but she made more sense to offer in the monthly club. Offering a new 52 figure at SDCC was something different as New 52 figure are not in the online club and it made the SDCC item unique. Just as you mentioned in your question, Shazam is a figure that wouldn’t fit in the online line (because we don’t do New 52 in CIE) or the retail line (because no available slot) this year. Hence an ideal SDCC item.
AFi: Many fans were hoping for an oversized figure that would require new tooling such as an oversized Doomsday or Granny Goodness. Were those characters ever considered for this slot?
TG: We’d love to do both Granny and Doomsday! The issue is they are both fully tool’d figures. We just don’t have enough current DC customers/sales currently to justify the logistics and cost for a fully tool’d figure either in the sub or at SDCC. Last year when we sold in the subs we noted a meter showing two levels. Level one was the bare min number of sub holders we needed to keep the lights on and actually do the 2013 sub as planned. Level two was the sign up level to explore more tooling and more skus for the future. We barely hit level one which is why you don’t see fully tool’d figures this year. Until we have the customer base to justify the tooling, fully tool’d figures will continue to be a challenge.
AFi: You took last year off from doing a 6” DC exclusive saying that the sub took the place of needing that slot. What changed for this year to bring back an exclusive DC 6” figure?
TG: I actually did not work on last year’s DC SDCC items, so I can’t really speak for the strategy as to why or why not a 6” comic figure was included in the offering, but for this year, when we were given the opportunity to do New 52 Shazam ahead of any other toy company, it worked out well and gave us something new and different from standard monthly classic figures.
AFi: With the launch of the DC Unlimited retail line we are starting to assemble a Justice League with Batman, Superman, Hawkman, Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. They are all original sculpts with the costume lines etched into the figure. Shazam has that detail tampo printed on the figure. Why that change?
TG: It was a cost saving. As noted above, we are at the bare min for sub holders in 2013 and that means we have to be very conscious of our tooling and expenses to deliver product. The lower the run (of any consumer product) the higher the cost to produce. The more sub holders we have, the more tooling and resources we can apply to figures. It is a direct correlation. Fans really do vote with their purchase.
||Posted by Daniel Pickett • Comments Off