The 2011 AFi Mattel WonderCon DCUC Interview
April 22, 2011

Our intrepid reporter Mike Walker traversed almost the entire state of California, driving from San Diego up to San Francisco to attend WonderCon 2011 and do an interview about DC Universe Classics with the gang at Mattel.   This is that interview!  WonderCon was the 2nd stop on Mattel’s ‘Collector Appreciation Tour’, which includes new reveals, contests and even it’s own JLU exclusives.  You can get more information about Mattel’s ‘Collector Appreciation Tour’ at the end of this interview, but for now let’s get to the questions and the answers!


As you know, forum member JQ (David Galan) and myself, SDcomics (Mike Walker) made the trip from warm, sunny Southern California to the chilly, foggy North lands to attend the 25th Annual WonderCon in San Francisco on the first weekend of April. While we were there, we got to spend some time in Matty’s basement with the Mattel team. Mattel was there as part of their 2011 collector appreciation tour.

From left to right, Danielle McLachlan (FanGirl2.0), Mike Walker (SDcomics), David Galan (JQ) and Scott Neitlich (ToyGuru).

Mattel graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us.

Mike: What is the reason for the lack of any substantially different variants? The last variant we saw were the two Starmen and we’ve since been told that there will be no more variants like this. Wouldn’t this be an ideal way to get us figures such as Johnny/Jakeem Thunder, who might otherwise miss out on a place due to being a more difficult sale on their own?

Mattel: We try to find the best ways to release characters, this includes looking at the particular form factors, the channel (i.e., at retail or on Mattycollector.com) as well as the execution (as a single figure, in a multi-pack, as a variant, etc.). If a character that we are producing works best as a variant, then that’s how we’ll release it.

Mike: As the line is called DC Universe "Classics," do you consider a character "done" until you’ve done his long-standing, time-tested look? There’s a worry from the fans that there may be a push from DC to produce characters in their modern looks, which may last only a year or less, and we won’t get the character the way they’ve appeared in comics for 39, 40, or 50 years.

Mattel: We attempt to strike the best possible balance within the line. So while we want to be editorially responsive with current looks, we also try to work in classic renditions as well. This is especially true with A-list characters. Continue to look for both classic and current versions of characters within the line.

Mike: You’ve done a good job so far of encompassing figures from all era’s, but there are still not many produced from the much maligned "nineties" era. There is still a wealth of "A" list characters that could easily anchor a wave from this period who have yet to be produced. How do you and the 4H feel personally about this period, and will we be seeing anymore soon?

Mattel: Speaking on behalf of the team here at Mattel, many of us were reading comics throughout the 90s. We have our favorites from that era that we would love to see included in the line at some point.

Mike: When the Legion boxed set was announced at SDCC (to great applause), images were shown of the characters for which no prototypes had yet been created. Chameleon Boy was shown in Cockrum/Grell/70s red and purple uniform. Yet, when his completed prototype debuted at Toy Fair, it was clearly from the 80s period — in violet/yellow. I’d guess Legion fandom is split on which they prefer (I’m a Cockrum fan). I don’t know what the logistics would involve, but being that both outfits are virtually identical except for the paint apps — is there any way you could offer a choice on which Cham?

Mattel: Because this item is being offered on Mattycollector.com we are unable to offer a variant like we could if the item was sold at retail. This is a compelling variant costume though and we’ll see if there is a way to bring it to life in the future.

 

More after the jump!

 

Mike: Have you given any thought to the challenge of producing key civilian characters like Amanda Waller, Will Magnus, or The Chief or civilian looking characters like Rick Flag or Sarge Steel or Dr. Occult?

Mattel: Yes, this is something that we’ve discussed frequently among our team. We did include Amanda Waller and General Eiling in the JLU line. The challenge is finding a way to release non-costumed characters in an exciting way in a line with broad appeal.

Mike: Mighty Crusaders. THUNDER Agents. Any change in their being made a possibility? The stories do take place in the DCU…

Mattel: These are wonderful characters and we’d love to see them come to life as figures in our line. These figures are not part of any planned upcoming releases, but you never know what the future may hold.

Mike: Would you have any interest in producing a comic-accurate Watchmen line of figures? Would that even be possible? Is it something you’re ever inquired about?

Mattel: We’d be thrilled to produce a Watchmen line of figures. We have discussed this, only time will tell…keep WATCHING!

Mike: Is there any reason we’re seeing fewer female characters in DCUC in 2011? Out of three waves of DCUC, two waves of GLC, one wave of Batman Legacy, the Crime Syndicate five pack and the Legion box set, we’re only getting four female characters: Star Sapphire, Blackest Night Wonder Woman, Superwoman, and Saturn Girl. In the recent Fwoosh Top Ten most wanted voting, seven of the ten slots went to female characters and Elasti-Girl was the most wanted C&C. That’s a good indication that we’re really starting to fall behind when it comes to our favorite heroines and villainesses. Are there any plans in the works to help us get "caught up"?

Mattel: We do have some female characters slated for some waves that are scheduled to be released in 2012. Be on the lookout for some female representation in DCU Classics and Action League minis.

Mike: Any chance of a young Alan Scott / Jay Garrick two-pack? Or just a young Alan Scott anyway? And for the love of heaven, what about the black cape?

Mattel: These are both major characters and as much as anyone else, we’d love to see the Justice Society completed.

Mike: Do you consider Icicle, Silver Banshee and Major Force "done" in DCUC, with no hope of a re-do because of the Public Enemies line? If so, this doesn’t mean the original Icicle, from the Golden Age is off the table, right? Should we not be looking for a proper DCUC version of Speedy and modern Superboy since they’re going to be cartoon versions in the Young Justice line?

Mattel: No, these characters are not considered “done” just because they’ve been done in other lines. But because they have been represented in 6” form, they are further down the list than other figures that have not yet been brought to life in 6” scale. And Golden Age Icicle is still on the table.

Mike: Since Hasbro seems to be able to do big characters for its Marvel Universe line (Sentinel, Galactus) which hold up well for their Legends line why cannot Mattel do the same for the DCUC line?

Mattel: We are always exploring which characters would work well in alternate form factors. If we have any BIG news in the future, we’ll be sure to let the fans know.

Mike: A Spirit figure DCUC style- is he even possible? Are there any plans to do a Doc Savage figure since he is part of DC now?

Mattel: These characters are not part of any of the upcoming line ups that we currently have planned.

Mike: Classic Villains are a favorite of a lot of collectors, Is there any chance of a Classic Villain Wave with possibly a C & C Starro or Shaggy Man?

Mattel: Villains are awesome characters, and these are some great villains! While we may not dedicate an entire wave to villains, you will definitely see some villains coming your way in the upcoming waves.

Mike: Any chance for a removable Joker’s utility belt with the Batman Legacies classic Dick Sprang style Joker?

Mattel: We are too far into production to do a removable Joker’s utility belt. Even without this though, the figure is still really cool!

 

Bellow is some info on the MattyCollector.com’s 2011 Collector Appreciation Tour.

Hit up Dragon*Con or the New York Comic Con and spend time in Matty’s basement! It’s fun!

Toy Fans,

You ready? Because this is big, and by big I mean GIGANTIC! For the first time ever, we’ll be bad and nationwide when MattyCollector.com’s Collector Appreciation Tour 2011 hits the road!

Yep, we’re officially attending four conventions across the country in addition to SDCC! Come on down to C2E2 in Chicago (3/18-3/20), WonderCon in San Francisco (4/1-4/3), Dragon*Con in Atlanta (9/2-9/5), and New York Comic Con in NY (10/13-10/16) and you’ll be able to hang out in Matty’s basement (my basement!) where you can meet members of Mattel’s Design, Marketing, and Packaging teams from the Green Lantern, Ghostbusters™, MOTU, DCU, Young Justice™, Batman, and WWE® brands. They’ll answer all your questions and give you insights into the people and processes involved in making your favorite action figures. We’ll also have panels, special guests, and cool giveaways, like collector buttons customized for each city that you can only get at the conventions.

Like that? Then you’re gonna LOVE this… in every city we visit, we’ll have not one, but two collector contests! First is Mattycollector.com’s "Best Local Collection" Contest. Submit photos of your action figure collections and the best photo (in our judges’ opinion) wins! Then we’ve got Mattycollector.com’s "City Celebration" Contest. Fans submit photos of their favorite Mattel figures getting their action on in the convention city. Get creative, because the most imaginative photo (again, in our judges’ humble opinion) takes the prize.

There will be one winner for each contest in each city, for a total of 8 winners. The winners of each city’s contests will be announced at the conventions. The winning submissions and a photo of the winners will be exhibited in the display case at the MattyCollector.com booth. The winners will also receive a prize package filled with Mattel action figures, with an approximate retail value of $500! Because these contests were created to celebrate local collectors, you’ll need to be a legal resident of the state where each respective convention is held (IL, CA, GA, NY).

Like all contests, there are lots of fun rules and regulations, so click here for the details and entry forms. I’ll make sure to remind you way ahead of each contest with posts here in my News section, in a special thread in my Fan Forums, on Facebook, and Twitter.

See you soon!

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 www.ActionFigureInsider.com. 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 MSNBC.com, Wired.com, Fark.com, Boing-Boing, Gizmodo.com, 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.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.

 

 

 

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