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I am astounded by this video. My heart goes out to this poor man, who cannot contain such power. How has this not hit the national networks, yet? Damn you, mainstream media!!!

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Posted by Jason Geyer [5] Comments
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So just about a year ago I wrote a blog entry extolling the greatness of Mattel’s DC Universe Classic 6" action figure line, and favorably compared it to Kenner’s Super Powers line. Since then, things have only gotten better for this line. 

First, though, I want to address a few comments left after my last blog, about why I’m no longer buying Hasbro products.  The key line people are over looking is this: "I just cannot support a company that mishandles so many lines when I’m feeling lukewarm on toys in general." If Hasbro’s Marvel Legends were still $6 each, I’d probably pick up a few out of sheer inertia. But I’m pretty much tired of collecting toys (not tired of being interested in the toy industry) and there is nothing Hasbro is putting out that excites me enough to overcome my distaste for their mistakes.

On the other hand…yeah, Mattel has really been taking a long time working through that learning curve of being a player in the Boy’s Toys aisles. They’ve made pretty much every mistake you could imagine, and then some. And they really need to do something to fix the distribution issues, because they are losing sales that could help them at least a bit right now. But every time they reveal a new wave of DC Universe Classics it just thrills that long ago kid inside me that started collecting toys in the first place. Seriously, what other line has shown such a willingness to cater to a small group of fans than making two versions of the Parademon, an already fairly obscure background character? I can’t stress enough how much I’m willing to give the Four Horsemen the benefit of the doubt that they will drive this line to be the one to hold the standard to when all is said and done.

And the sheer number of new figures that are coming out means that we are that much closer to reproducing the entire line-up of Super Powers, something that hasn’t been done in over 20 years (although Marvel Legends still hasn’t managed to complete the Secret Wars line-up yet. Where’s Baron Zemo II? Constrictor? At least Kang finally got some love.) We are now only 10 figures short, only one full year into the line. And if the leaked Wal-Mart computer list is to be believed, we’ll be getting three more: Steppenwolf, Mantis, and Green Arrow. Three of the remaining characters are iffy due to rights issues (Samurai, Golden Pharaoh, and Cyclotron) but if I was Mattel I’d call in a few markers at DC and get them to feature three very similar characters in the an upcoming comic and go from there. Heck, I bet Mark Waid would love to write them into Brave and the Bold!

I’ll check in again in one more year to see if we’ve wrapped them up. The Horsemen have already made a good dent into the unmade Super Powers roster (Bizarro, Supergirl,  Man-Bat, Metallo, Vigilante, Deathstroke, and Kid Flash. I’ll expect to see Creeper, Obsidian, and Blue Devil before too long…) and are tearing through the rest of the DCU, with many characters who have never had a figure before. Heck, they are almost near to completing the Super Friends roster as well! In any case, I would lay money on this year being the year I stop picking up toys in general. Except for DCUC, that is. They’ve got me until the end now.

Postscript: I swiped a bunch of pics to make up the fun graphic at top (and shame on you if you don’t recognize it!) and want to give a shout-out to the sites where I got them. Joe Acevedo’s amazing DC figure archives, AFI’s Vader has the indispensable DCUC.info archive, Michael Crawford reviews the heck out of these guys, and I’m sure I made a couple of hearts stop by sneaking in Airmax’s unbelievable Tyr custom figure at the bottom right of the picture. Sorry, it was too good to resist! 

Posted by Jason Geyer [24] Comments
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Posted by Jason Geyer 1 Comment
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Well, as I get older and wiser I tend to look around at my many boxes of toys that I’ve acquired since college and wonder why I am still buying new ones when so many of my old one haven’t seen the light of day in many years.

The simple answer is that there is still a small part of me that loves toys. Not even necessarily a certain collection, or character, just toys in general. Unfortunately, most companies these days no longer turn out toys, but instead collector-focused shoddy crap that falls apart as soon as you touch it.  But still, it gives us a deeper character pool to play with, and a more varied range of figures every year that a solely kid focused line could not do. This is the major reason I’ll continue to pick up Mattel’s DCUC line until it ends. 

But as for any Hasbro toys, I’m done. I just bought my last one: Marvel Legends Union Jack. Ever since I started collecting comics back in the early 1980s, I’ve always been attracted to the goofy c-list and d-list characters that populate the margins of the comic universe. One reason I love Kenner Super Powers so much is that they not only embraced these characters, but went even more obscure and created their own! So over the years there have been figures that I never thought would ever be made that I just had to have: Morbius (except he needs his classic outfit!), Man-Wolf, Taskmaster, Black Knight, Wendigo, and Baron Strucker. Eventually, I’m sure Toy Biz would have made all of my "most wanted", including Jackal, Puma, Razorback, Carrion, Gladiator, and maybe even Swarm!

But even if Hasbro makes these, I won’t be buying them. Putting aside the incredible cost hikes these last few years for a moment (Union Jack was $15!), I just cannot support a company that mishandles so many lines when I’m feeling lukewarm on toys in general. Indiana Jones was dropped less than six months after launching. While this might not have even been more than a 1-2 year line, the incredibly bad planning behind it is inexcusable, especially since Hasbro has sat on the license since 1999 while awaiting for a 4th film. But bad character choices, case packouts, package design, distribution, shipping schedule, and horrible sculpt/paint jobs all prematurely killed it before they could even ship all the product already manufactured.

Then you have thing like the lack of a real animated style Boba Fett. I’ve always wanted a nice 3 3/4" version of the Holiday Special character. But what they put out was a repaint of the same sculpt they’ve used way too many times now, instead of a new sculpt that actually followed the streamlined animated style. They could easily do it- they’ve already put out two whole animated style lines! Gentle Giant made an incredible animated version as a statue. But Hasbro wants people to keep paying inflated prices for crummy merchandise. Thank God I’ve never cared about Clone Troopers!

Taking into account all that, the worst thing about Hasbro is that they’ve bought up all the great smaller companies (Kenner, Tonka, Galoob) and totally butchered what was great about them, leaving no competition for the great toys of yesteryear.  I’ve missed Kenner for quite awhile, and I’ll miss Toy Biz now, too. But fondness for what they used to create alone cannot keep me buying lesser versions of their product.

Anyway, I’ve finally got my Union Jack, and even if he is basically a reused Spider-Man body he still looks OK. But my buck stops here. Sorry, Hasbro.

Posted by Jason Geyer [14] Comments
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Ottertorials 2008 November