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!