Young Justice 2.0
May 5, 2012

If you are a fan of the Young Justice TV show, like me, you might wish you could collect some form of figure of the characters on the show that reminded you of the show.  Mattel offered this in 2 forms, 6 inch and 4 inch, both of which the general public rejected.  Before they can offer something else, they and the mass market retailers – Walmart, Target, Kmart, Toys R Us – need to know why we rejected it.

I can only offer my own reasons.  Price.

The 6 inch line.  The price was too high.  While the diorama bases were interesting, they did nothing for me.  They did not influence the buying process.  In my gut, I felt that the diorama was a way to try to justify requesting a higher price for the item.  Now I perfectly understand that any good execution of a license offers both high end and economical product.  But the price asked was just too high.  At the same time, the price for the similar DC Universe classics product had jumped to 15.99 in my area.  This was also too high.  It forced me to skip buying waves at retail and to buy the characters I wanted on eBay, opened and without the CNC part, for a more reasonable price of 11.99.  I only bought the 6 inch line when Mattel offered it at a cost of 34.00 for 4 figures on their website.  This showed me that I was interested, but not at the original price requested.

The 4 inch line.  Again, it was the price.  The thing that hurt the 4 inch line in terms of price was comparing it to other Mattel lines of the recent past.  JLU for the longest time was 5$ for a single figure.  DCUC started out at 10$ for a figure.  Asking 10$ for a 4 inch figure is a hard sell with those memories.  Then there was the fact that McDonald’s offered Happy Meal toys based on the show before Mattel’s toys were available.

Beyond that, I have been collecting a long time.  It takes something to spark my desire to collect a new line.  It felt like Mattel was trying to market Young Justice not to YJ fans, but to fans of the JLU line.  As a JLU collector, I had been angry that the initial offering of Infinite Heroes was full of characters I wanted in my JLU collection.  I was not interested in starting a new line then.  So appealing to the JLU fans made sense.  And the CNC Hall of Justice was intriguing.  It seemed like a good idea.

There was also the economy.  Many who had previously bought a ton of unnecessary things like comics, music, toys, cut them out because they are unnecessary.  I know I cut back.

A number of collectors have talked about the style of the figures, about the hand positions.  But history shows us that even though Mattel never fixed the one leg shorter than the other problem in JLU, many of us continued to buy the line, not letting the fact that the figures could not stand on their own stop us from buying the figures.

Hind site is 20/20.  I think the KEY is offering a product that people want at a price they are willing to pay.  For me, the KEY problem was the price.  Adding value is not the criteria here.  It is the actual price per product.  Unless Mattel and their retail partners can come up with a way to offer a product at a cheaper price, I think any retail line will fail.

Erik "Superfriend" Skov
"Gathered together from the four corners of the universe." Oh, wait, that's the show, not me. Erik "SuperFriend" Skov never actually got to appear on the show, although he did watch it every week. Erik spent 6 years working for Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI before leaving for a job that paid more (Why else would a collector leave the company that was making Star Wars, Transformers, and while I was there Batman). I used to post all over the net. These days I tend to hang my hat at AFI.
Read other articles by Erik "Superfriend" Skov.





  • Joe says:

    JLU started at $4.99 for a single and $9.99 for a 3 pack. Which made repeats and repaints in a 3 pack tolerable, okay and great respectively if the 2 pack had 1-3 new characters. By the time the price rose to $8.99 for a single and $19 for a 3 pack repaints and repeats became intolerable add to that really bad paint apps and quality control made for one nightmare. Character selection also at those price points was poor. There were no completed teams. !0 years and no granny goodness, stompa and mad harriet 3 pack??? No re-release of volcana, unacceptable!!! Also collector’s were already pretty deep into collecting the line before the price hikes and had already made an investment. IH was also a mess with 3 different versions thrown in like no one had planed anything and they were throwing stuff out to see what sticks. Ball jointed thighs was a big no-no.IH has to be one of the worst planned toy launches ever.

    Collector’s want completed teams and they don’t want to wait forever to complete them. They want to complete them and constantly live in the fear that they will not find them or they will not be produced leaving them with incomplete teams. Nobody wants to be an ebay victim, nobody. Scalping has made collecting painful and i’ll admit in some case helpful when you find a seller that is fair. Hunting is part of a collector’s life an there is some pain that goes along with it but nobody want to be living a nightmare. Collecting before ebay was fun now it is a nightmare.

    Also superhero fans like multiple heroes in a show, it keeps it exciting, YJ is now gotten really exciting with invasion. JLU was all about multiple heroes and really got exciting when they went unlimited.

    Loading a case with one most wanted with 4 unwanted (kilowog) is also a bad formula. Mattel is infamous for consistently using the wrong formula for character selection and case breakdown. Marvel does a great job of introducing less known characters. I was never a marvel fan until they released MU. It has been a joy being introduced to new characters in their shows and through MU. I own characters i have never heard of before MU and i love them. Mattel needs to do some education. YJ invasion is a start in the right direction by introducing less known characters like wonder girl, lagoon boy,icon, etc. Mom, pops and kids are not familiar with this lesser known characters.

    I just hope that when mattel releases the 2013 collector line that they learn from all these mistakes and plan it out well. Case and character selection are super important as well as price, distribution, paint apps and quality control. Please thrown in a figure stand that keeps your figures standing.

  • John says:

    One of the main factors for me was price.Selling a figure with five points of articulation at Ten dollars when there are far better figures just below that price point (Marvel Universe)was unacceptable.Plus the line started by giving us Aqualad instead of Robin.The figures look good but the suicide wrists and lack of articulation were major factors in not buying.Sorry to see it go hopefully Mattel gets there head out of there arse and gives us a decent 3 3/4″ line or i’ll have to keep customizing my Marvel figures into what I wish mattel would make.

  • don says:

    i dont mind the figures yeah the price was a little steep but what really turned me off was another batman talking bout the 6 incher come on give us some figure they havent done like icon rocket zatara or a 6 inch miss martian round the actual team out before going and doing another batman or superman oh and do more villians

  • MisterPL says:

    I’d buy a line of Young Justice Minimates in a heartbeat.

  • Kmfollia says:

    I really liked the 4.75 inch YJ figures, but price was the killer for me too. Too expensive. I kept waiting for cost effective multipacks, like the JLU 3 and six packs of yore to snag some of the unique characters the line had to offer.

  • Joe says:

    Not to completely exonerate Mattel but perhaps part of the blame should also go to DC. Notice how their licenses seem to be unprofitable despite sales that (at the time) equal marvel licenses?

    Perhaps the reason why there is a need to jack up these prices is DC’s licensing agreement and fees?

    Look at DC Minimates, They were doing quite well. (Most were sold out save for the last two waves) But they were deemed unprofitable. Yet alongside them, Marvel Minimates and other licenses were doing ok on their own.

  • tim says:

    well in good news(maybe), another company is making or at least designing dc video game figures for dc direct. they just announced the young justice video game… its just too bad dc diret is only trickling out action figures now…both companies suck at bringing product we want!
    I wouldve bought a yj batgirl(they showed her in package at a show), wondergirl, beastboy, bumblebee , lagoon boy etc…mattel loves to get the most out of each sculpt, they need to stop with all the variants. just like they are releasing the final(yeah we heard that before) jlu three packs, but instead of rereleasing aquaman, volcana and the rares we get more batman, and wonder woman figures?
    What ticks me off is if the jlu figures do not sell out within so many minutes such as the he man line, they called them failures, who runs a company like that?
    all their jlu figures sold out, yet its our fault for not buying more?

  • […] on the biggest issue with Mattel’s Young Justice line, the price.  You can read about it here.  Today, I want to talk about character […]

  • born2bHokage says:

    Totally agree price on YJ and other figures has been crazy..I used to purchase just about every SW figure even if I had it as long as it was SW and it came win a new interesting card or new accessories, then Hasbro started jacking up the price too and now I buy 1/4 of what I purchased 2 years ago and have even opted to sell figures as I will not be trying to complete certain scenes or waves if I missed a variant etc. I am missing 2 YJ figure that I will have to buy aftermarket to complete the line because I never found them in NJ…

    I purchased a lot of figures for my kids and stored them I am glad I did that than because just about the only thing I buy now for them is Legos

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