December 8, 2008, 07:24pm
Personal Service Provider
MOTUC Character Selection: Too Predictable/Not Exciting Enough?
Let me preface this by saying I love this line and it's something I've wanted since mid-2005 (I had a wishlist about this and it was called MOTUC and EVERYTHING!) and the fact that I'm even seeing happen in real time is mind-blowing and exciting.
However, as more and more pictures and figures are surfacing, I find myself going "... neat," when I should be going, "OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!1111onetwo"
But I'm not. I was wondering if anyone else felt the same way as I do. So I guess I'm going blog-style on this as I wonder out loud, why it is I'm not as excited as I should be about this line. It seems everyone has had their opinion, so what's one more, right?
It isn't that I don't want Beast-Man or Zodac. Heck yeah I do! But the line so far has been way too predictable. There are a lot of fans that are waiting at the edge of their seats to see who's coming next. Um, I can tell you.
It's probably Man-At-Arms.
And he's going to be so interesting because he'll have the mustache, which is amazing. But c'mon, we know he's coming. And Teela, and anyone else on the 8-back. Mattel stated they wanted the line to have legs and that the A-lister/big sellers should be spaced out. Well the 8-backs seem to be the heavy hitters and they're practically coming one after the other.
DCUC just released shots of wave 8. Giganta is a C&C, Hawkgirl is the lead character in the line, with a whole but of obscure guys, for a MAJOR RETAIL CHAIN. So many DC fans went cool, while many others went, "Who's Commander Steel? Who's Vigilante. That's not the cowboy. He looks like Snake Eyes." It's sort of like taking a MOTUC assortment and making them consist of Ninjor, Frosta, Queen Marlena, Optikk, Rattlor, and Mantenna, and they all include pieces to make Panthor. That lineup is just so awesome because Scott and the Four Horsemen believe in the line so much, and the Four Horsemen's love of MOTU and their reputation for quality stuff back them up and the fans just devour it. We got 2 women, and a slew of c-list guys. I want that for He-Man's crew also.
I understand we(Mattel and the fans) need the first year to perform well. I just feel like Mattel's setting up the same pattern they always have. When the line was introduced at NYCC, we were shown images of Queen Marlena, Princess Adora, Count Marzo, King Grayskull, and He-Ro. The line was presented to us as a sort of "He-Man Unlimited." There's almost nothing holding them back from really stretching the boundaries.
But what have we seen? He-Man, Beast-Man, Skeletor, Mer-Man, Stratos, Zodac, and Faker. We already have had discussions on Man-At-Arms and Teela because fans are guaranteed that we're pretty much getting them. I love these guys, every one of them. But back-to-back? I thought they wanted the line to have legs.
I feel Mattel got some awesome enthusiasm with the powerpoint image. We got King Grayskull as an exclusive, but I don't want every character in the slide as an exclusive. I feel Mattel needs to change the order up a bit. Let's use the Sorceress as an example
Everyone is talking Teela. Everyone expects her to be first. And she will be no doubt. But that's where you can create excitement. You don't put her off indefinitely, but what if the Sorceress came first? Mattel seems to forget that they did have some heavy hitters at the end of the original MOTU 80's line. I feel Mattel is saying, "Sorceress is super popular so we're going to hold off on her." Do something different! Switch her spot with Teela's. Put her out now and save Teela for later. People will be sure to stay tuned to the line. It's not like people are going to say no to the Sorceress (IT'S THE SORCERESS!), who's another female headlining character. But in previous attempts she's ALWAYS been pushed to the end, if not done at all. We're barely got her in the staction line. Seeing He-Man and Beast Man at Comic-Con were awesome, but having a Sorceress sculpt next to them, would've made people do say this: "Sorceress is AWESOME! The Four Horsemen did an amazing job!" and they go, "Hey, why isn't Teela first? Where is she?"
MOTUC choices is sort like acting. There's no real bad choice. All of the choices are good ones. But Mattel needs to ask the question, "Which choice is the most interesting one?" Teela and the Sorceress are both awesome, but Teela has always come first. I personally want Teela first, and NOW, but making Sorceress would show Mattel is committed to something that is creatively different from everything we've seen before. Right now, it's more of what we've always seen and expected. And because of that it's too predictable. Just as King Grayskull was a Comic-Con exclusive and he was in the powerpoint presentation, I wouldn't be shocked of another character in the same shot, like Count Marzo or Adora, was the next exclusive.
So, Teela's female number 2. Cool. WRONG! Next is Frosta. What the four-letter-words? Let me explain why I would pick her next.
In the 200x line POP fans were constantly begging for She-Ra to be made and Mattel told them they had to support MOTU, which isn't hard because the toys and cartoon were awesome anyways. They plead and petition and they got a SDCC exclusive out of it, which was sadly a repaint with soft goods that divided the fanbase. When the line ended the stactions started and fans yet again begged for some POP love. Lots of fans wanted to see the Four Horsemen work their magic and they were sure anything the Four Horsemen touched would be embraced by the MOTU and POP fans alike. Sadly, it never happened. Now in 2008, we get a slide show with Adora’s mug in there and a pitch that POP is officially being integrated into MOTU and the Classics line is all encompassing. But we haven’t seen a single POP female to show for it. If there is one character that I think could easily illustrate POP in an MOTU world in 2008 AND sell through, it’s Frosta. This is why. She doesn’t have a girly gimmick, which would make her a hard sell, like Perfuma. She’s the most like a MOTU warrior. She’s essentially a female version of Iceman. She’s also been written as the most sexually aggressive of the female heroines, coming on to He-Man. Outside of She-Ra and Catra, she’s arguably the most popular female in POP. She’s hot. The Four Horsemen would only make her hotter.
Making Frosta would also accomplish multiple goals for the MOTUC line as a whole:
1. It’ll help fans to anticipate (read: agonize over) major characters like Teela that much more. She-Ra as well.
2. It’ll show fans who originally wouldn’t buy a doll in 1986 that they can support a Four Horsemen sculpted action figure of a hot warrior chick that’s new and yet is 100% MOTU-related, and is 100% ACTION FIGURE.
3. It’ll officially tackle a touchy subject in the design phase of the female figures. How do you do a super-articulated action figure of a character with billowy, long, thick hair, a cape, and a skirt and STILL be able to do them all in soft plastic/rubber so the neck can be posed, the cape is bendable, and the hip articulation isn’t hindered at all so she can stand, kick, or sit? Some fans don’t want rooted hair, but they don’t want the sculpted hair to be windswept either. They want it long and thick, but laying flat made out of soft rubber so they can be posed. Jakks did it with their WWE women, so at least the Four Horsemen have a model of sorts.
4. Mattel will finally be addressing POP fans directly that the money they’ve spent supporting MOTU since 2002 wasn’t in vain. Because if you talk to enough She-Ra fans MANY of them bought toys they didn’t want for YEARS out of a small hope they might get something from Etheria and they got nothing. Mattel launched this line and said, “OK now POP is officially involved.” So where are they? At least one in the first year would’ve been a show of faith.
5. MOTUC will officially be a new, unique line, different from any previous incarnation of MOTU, yet SIMULTANEOUSLY nostalgic. Right now, it’s kind of talk with nothing to back it up. I guess I can wait.
Teela 3rd? Yes. At this point she’d be heavily demanded and if any other female came next, heads would roll (if they haven’t already). HA!
The examples above is just to stress how predictable the line is. I hope Mattel hasn’t forgotten that some characters at the end were A-listers too. Putting them first this time around mixed with what we know is coming would help. In Mattel’s DCUC line, Wonder Woman came after Supergirl, Batgirl, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn. We still haven’t even gotten Martian Manhunter, and Flash isn’t even out. That’s how I feel about secondary characters like POP. Yeah they were once dolls (over 20 years ago), but to me, they’re like Hawkgirl, Batgirl, Supergirl, and Big Barda. They’re derivative of their male counterparts to be sure, but the Four Horsemen would make them awesome. If people aren’t convinced, there’s one way to find out. Have the Four Horsemen sculpt one that isn’t She-Ra or Catra. Frosta is the easiest sell of the bunch, in my opinion.
Same goes for the guys. I would’ve held off on super popular ones line Man-At-Arms (ducks tomatoes). What about getting Hordak or King Randor out first? Randor’s basically a He-Man body. Same tooling. He’s only been a staction, and people will want Marlena, and they’re both top-tier characters. Fans will support them in order to complete the 8-backs. Same thing with Hordak. Why does he have to wait? Take an 8-back guy and push them back. It’ll mix it up, and create excitement, and eliminate this feeling that we’re getting more of the same again. I already know what Trap Jaw will look like. But how will the Four Horsemen make Scare Glow cool?
I feel that this line is such an uphill battle because everyone has an idea of how the line should be done both creatively and from a business standpoint. I'm excited Mattel finally did something for action figure collectors in the way of a website, but I'm not stoked that each figure comes out one at a time. I like getting a bunch at once :-). As I said above, it’s also long past due that they started Collect & Connect characters. Certain characters, like Perfuma or Hydron or the Faceless One, may not sell well one after the other, but fans have been clamoring for Battle Cat, Panthor, Modulok, and others. Mattel already has it in the DCUC line and it allows them to do action figures of characters that have a much smaller fanbase, like Commander Steel, Vigilante, Etrigan, Ares, Captain Atom, etc. as long as they can build their Giganta or Solomun Grundy C&Cs. Battle Cat and Panthor should’ve already been done. But maybe that’s for year 2. Who knows?
I know Mattel wants to do it, and I know the Four Horsemen can sculpt it. I just want to see it. I love this line, but right now it just feels like I’m watching a re-run… in slow motion. Does anybody else feel like I do? Anyways, thanks for reading.
(I'm waiting for all the FRAT comments, and I apologize in advance about any typos)
Last edited by Agostinho; December 8, 2008 at 08:28pm.