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Or, when is green not the right green?

We all know Mattel has had some issues in the manufacturing of our favorite DC Comics characters. But the one that really puzzles me is how often the colors of the final product do not match the paint masters supplied by the Four Horsemen, or even the designs as seen in the comics.

Sure, they are the right color, per se. But they are not the right value of that color. And this should be a very simple process: your get a paint master, you match each base color to a Pantone guide, you figure out which parts are molded plastic and which are painted, you send these numbers off to the factory in China, and eventually you should get back some color chips that show the actual plastic that will be used, and what the base plastic looks like painted.  At this point you double check the samples against your original Pantone numbers AND the paint master. If they deviant, tweak them and send for new chips. This seems like a pain, but the manufacturing window is long enough that you should be able to handle at least 20-3 rounds of tweaks if necessary.But for some reason, what we see in the prototypes IS NOT what we get.

Case in point is the new Superman/Brainiac 2-pack shown at NYCC. The sculpts are great, but the green on the classic Brainiac (seen on the left)  is waaaaaay too blue, and waaaay too dark. In all the original comics he was more of an olive shade of green. Who makes the decision on what PMS was used? And is it too late to adjust it? See the original comic cover at right, and my quick photoshop mockup below left of what I think it should be. I just don’t understand going to the trouble of making these characters and not going all the way.



And speaking of color, check out the Superman on the right in the pic below, too.  If we’re going to get yet another Superman (albeit one with short hair with the new body) why not adjust the color on him, too, and give us a classic Superman in the shade of blue that the old comics used? The shade of blue that Christopher Reeve wore in the Superman movies? The shade of blue that was used for the Super Powers Superman figure? You get the picture. Fans don’t want to feel screwed with rebuying the same character,  so why not do everything you can to make it feel different?

How about it, Mattel? And if you need someone to double check your colors on any other upcoming figure, give me a call. Better to head these things off up front than let a substandard product go to market.

Posted by Jason Geyer [11] Comments
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So longtime readers will know that there is no love lost between me and Shocker Toys President Geoff Beckett. I’ve never been a fan of the company or the guy running it, and my occasional harsh reviews of their product has been met by attacks and legal threats. I preface this post with the above to try and ward off any accusations of for some reason being a company shill.

Because I talked to Geoff Beckett at NYCC last week, and saw the product that he had brought with him. Hold on to your hats: it wasn’t bad. In fact, it was quite nice! Now, he did not have the full line-up of Indie Spotlight series 1 there, nor did I see any packaged samples, or even any painted samples. I can’t judge any of that stuff (I have seen pics that show he did have some test shots there later in the show, but when I was there they weren’t out).

What he did have were the NYCC Exclusive versions of "Smoky Maxx and Smoky Scud". I was able to play with both figures fairly extensively while I talked with Geoff, and I was quite impressed with what I held in my hands. The construction is solid, the joints are nice- not too loose, not too tight. Neither one felt in the least bit breakable, and were able to hold many more poses than I thought possible just looking at the pics of them. The sculpting is polished and not the usual unfinished stuff we’ve been seeing, and both figures looked as on-model as I could expect, not being a fan of either property. But definitely as on-model as anything I’ve seen from Hasbro or Mattel. And the Maxx felt a lot tougher than any recent product I’ve seen from either of those companies. And he’s HUGE! Like I said, I’m not a fan…but I might pick up one or two of these if the final product is as nice as what I saw. And if Dick Tracy and the Phantom are equally nice I will definitely pick them up. 

So that’s the figures.  The harder thing to judge is that company itself. I had a long talk with Geoff, and while our previous conversations at cons have always been cordial, I was pleasantly surprised at how pleasant our talk was! Geoff was very contrite about his past behavior, and just in talking with him face to face it was hard not to believe that he truly understands how much of a problem his behavior has been for his company. There were no excuse, no justifications, just a remarkable humbleness and he was very apologetic about letting himself go overboard online. Seriously; I would never have known this guy was the same guy who runs rampant on the message boards.

But that’s also the big hurdle Geoff needs to clear these days. And he very much knows that. I’m as surprised as anyone that I left his booth wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt. But as he also knows, the only thing that can possible redeem Shocker Toys now is getting the toys on shelves AND having those toys be stellar, not just good. So here’s what he told me about that: They are just now shipping to distribution centers. When they show up in stores depends on the stores, but the target is later March/Early April. Product was delayed getting in (not sure if anything else is being show at Toy Fair, but very little was at NYCC) and they are/were taking preorders for the NYCC exclusives (show in the pics here) shipping out for delivery in late March.

Where will you be able to find the mass market toys? Good question. Diamond is no longer their distributor, but they have 2 smaller ones signed up. They will be available to comic shops and the Hastings chain, and are in talks with larger stores. Toys R Us is still interested, Geoff said,  but new deals need to be made. Shocker also had their version of "Mighty Muggs" on display at NYCC, with licensed versions possible if the concept is sold. These were similar, but more articulated that MM and a bit smaller.

For something so ambitious I can at least say what I saw is much better than all the Indy toys that flooded comic shops in the late ’90s. But who knows if it’s too little, too late or just the tip of the iceberg. My final advice to Geoff was to stay offline altogether, so we’ll see just how far that advice goes. But if I got anything wrong in the article, feel free to correct it in the comments, Geoff. My memory only goes so far these days.Will these ever actually get it stores? Will people be able to easily buy them some day in the near future? I have no idea. And to be honest, I’m not holding my breath. But if they do get out there I think others like me who might have dismissed them out of hand might be pleasantly surprised.

So that’s that. Only time will tell what happens with the long running Shocker saga, but after so many missteps the real "shocker" will be if the final product actually turns out to be everything Geoff has said it would be, and more.


Posted by Jason Geyer [30] Comments
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So I’ve been slacking off a bit on the ol’ blog, what with work demands and two major cons back to back.

But I haven’t forgotten you, my friends. I have a bunch of really cool stuff to blog about int he near future, including part 2 & 3 of the "Rejected! Star Wars" concepts. And in fact I’ve realized that it has been quite awhile since we’ve visited that old Hindu state of yore, Bollywood. Well, South India. Or something.

In any case, in the great tradition of Chiru’s Thriller, and Shammi Kapoor’s Beatles Parody, I bring you…Indian Jeff Lynne???

YouTube Preview Image


I know, I know, it’s no rural village dog marriage or nothing, but it’ll do for now.

Posted by Jason Geyer [2] Comments
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