Ever since DC Comics announced the reboot of their entire comic book line coming in September, collectors of DC merchandise have wondered how it will affect their hobby. Collectors of the four year old DC Universe Classics line of 6″ action figures by Mattel were most interested, because they have been building their collections with the hope of representing characters and designs from throughout DC Comics’ history and of completing era-accurate “sets within the set” such as the Justice Society of America, the Teen Titans, the Metal Men, and more. They fretted that the new character designs would swamp the toy line, pushing aside older characters and designs that collectors might prefer.
Any worries they may have had seemed unwarranted on first blush as, up to this point, the toy line had consistently drawn from a wide range of DC eras and characters. The conventional wisdom was that even if re-designs from the new comics filtered into DCUC, they would only represent a small percentage of the figures offered.
But the latest round of Question & Answers from Mattel, on toy sites across the web, may be cause for worry. Whereas Mattel is traditionally vague and non-committal on questions regarding character selection, they come across unusually candid about DC/Warner Brothers’ desire to see the new designs take the lead in the licensed merchandise. Their answers are consistent over a number of sites:
DCClassics.Com: With DC Relaunch character designs being mixed in for 2012, will a relaunch design take precedence over a classic design for characters getting their first figure?
That is still up on the air. We are working very closely with our partners at DC and WB to get the most iconic versions if each character out from various eras! Time will tell.
2) With DC “rebooting” in September will we see these new costumes reflected in the DC Universe line? While I wouldn’t mind seeing a one or two sprinkled in here and there I would love to see the “pre-reboot” figures completed first.
A lot of that is up to DC and Warner Bros. who are very excited for us to get to the new looks. We will have to wait and see how the 2012 and 2013 lines shape up.
5. A blizzard of new characters and versions of characters are being introduced in FLASHPOINT and the upcoming DC relaunch with number one issues. Some looks and characters will catch on, some are morts who will be quickly be forgotten. Can you shed any insight into how you zero in on certain new characters or new-looks that have yet to really establish themselves?
Much as we did for the Blackest Night figures in Wave 17, we will look very close at Fan polls. At the time Wave 17 was planned (when Blackest Night issues 5-7 were out on shelf) the Lantern variants were the characters fans were asking for the most online. Eventually it seemed fan demand changed to the alien Lantern leaders, but at the time the wave was planned, fans wanted the heroes as Lanterns. Careful what you ask for!
1. How will the big DC Comics reboot affect your toylines, for example are we going to see the new costumes/looks take emphasis over the classics?
We are indeed re-reviewing our 2012 line up. DC has been very vocal that they would like to see the new looks take priority in our lines and we are eager to please!
Perhaps the most notable answer from Mattel this week, was in regard to a question not even directly related to the new DC re-designs:
Q2. DCUC. So far we have Titans in two different scales, young sidekick and older late teen. Will you be filling out the line ups of both eras/versions, even if this means remaking certain characters, or are you going to just concentrate on the later teen versions as it appears that more characters are being made in that scale than in the younger, earlier size used by Robin, Kid Flash and Beast Boy?
A2. Completing all of the DCU teams, modern and classic is a big priority for Mattel. But we also work with our great partners at WB and DC and many times they will have the final say in character selection. So be sure to post on their boards as well!
It really seems to me that Mattel’s team is sending us a message in a bottle: “Hey fans–we don’t want to do the new designs either! It’s not our fault- they’re forcing us! Please help by inundating DC and WB directly with your complaints because they won’t listen to us!”
If you’re a collector of DCUC that’s worried about this turn of events, here are some good places to voice your concerns:
DC Comics on Facebook (different site than the first link)