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I haven’t always been a huge fan of the way Mattel has handled the DC Comics toy license. I’ve taken them to task many times, particularly in regard to the DC Universe Classics 6” action figures. I’ve gone toe-to-toe with Scott, Bill, Eric, Dani, Brett…everyone involved in the line. In the end, while we may agree to disagree, I do respect them and what they do. I hope they feel the same about me. But whatever our personal feelings toward each other, nobody could ever in a million years accuse me of being a “Mattel Apologist” when I state:

We all need to sign up for Mattel’s DC Club Infinite Earths subscription plan.

Just to recap, here’s what was announced at Mattel’s Comic Con panel last week:

The DCUC line will be rebranded for 2012. While it will still be 6” DC figures, designed and sculpted by Bill Benecke and Four Horsemen Studios, it will no longer execute in “waves”. There will be no “Collect & Connect” sales model. They say that the character selection will pull from modern and historic designs, but I imagine that is only because there aren’t yet enough new DC designs to fill up figure assortments. All indications are that DC Corporate wants visible, retail merchandise to reflect the upcoming “reboot” of the DC Comics Universe, and the new 6” line will reflect that eventually. What Mattel has added to the mix is an online-only, collector-based, subscription model similar to what they’ve done with Masters of the Universe Classics and others. Sign up for $30, and commit to buying each online-only figure and you will also receive an exclusive, subscribers-only figure. They have announced that there will be 12 online-only figures; 9 regular figures ($15 ea.) and 3 “over-sized” figures ($30 ea.), as well as the club exclusive figure which, incidentally, will be an “over-sized” figure and is included in the price of the subscription. That’s a total of $255 (though you are only billed for each figure+shipping, as they come out). Three online figures that have been revealed so far are Atrocitus, Jay Garrick, and Starman (Thom Kallor). Mattel is currently running a fan poll to determine the club exclusive figure. Choices are Shaggy Man, Metron with mobius chair, Rocket Red, and Black Lantern Swamp Thing.

That’s the scoop. The point of the club, says Mattel, is to bring fans characters that may not be viable at retail either due to their size, obscurity, or whatever, but that are high on collectors’ want lists, nevertheless.

While some collectors have gotten on board for the club, others have chaffed at the idea. So why do I recommend purchasing a subscription? Being a completist ought to be enough reason in itself, but since I recently wrote an entire column on that subject, I’ll avoid covering well trodden ground again here. Let’s start by asking ourselves-  if one is a fan of DC action figures, why wouldn’t you buy in?

Many have taken the stance, “I’m not buying into something blindly- what if it turns out they offer characters I don’t want?!” It seems to me you already took that step when you began collecting DCUC. You don’t know what characters will appear in future retail waves, and while you technically don’t have to offer up your monies until they’re revealed, you almost certainly will have to buy characters you wouldn’t necessarily choose, in order to build a Collect & Connect figure or, because you can’t find the line at brick & mortar stores, you must order a full case from an online retailer, or any number of other reasons. The online subscription is really no different. Instead of buying one or two unwanted characters for a C&C, you’re buying them for the subscription’s existence itself.

Many have complained that the character selection of recent retail waves has left them cold and therefore they will forego the club. This seems counter-intuitive in the extreme. Mattel has stated the very reason for the club is to offer more niche characters, and to finish “building teams” for collectors. If you’ve been lamenting the lack of Metal Men or Doom Patrol characters in the retail offerings, it’s a reason TO join the club, not a reason NOT to.

As I said before, I’ve often been a canker on the gums of the DC team at Mattel. So why am I such a cheerleader for Club Infinite Earths? In my mind, it takes away all of Mattel’s excuses. Whenever they have failed to give us what we want, they have a number of platitudes to fall back on; “It didn’t sell well enough” “It’s not something retailers would bite on” “It didn’t appeal to kids and moms”. With a subscription club, all that is gone. No kiddies to please. No retailers to entice. Sales are built in. No more excuses. Once this subscription goes live, it will be me vs. Mattel; mano a mano. No holds barred. Give us what we demand or I’ll put you on the mat, Mattel, and you won’t have a leg to stand on. I confess…I can’t wait.

But it will take your support to make it happen.

To subscribe, go here.

Cliff

(Please buy. Don’t make me punch a wall and make another set of infinite Earths)

Club Infinite Earths

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