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Thread: MOTUC Director's Commentary #18: The Goddess - mini comics alive!

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    Heroic Master of 200X MegaGearMax's Avatar
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    MOTUC Director's Commentary #18: The Goddess - mini comics alive!

    This is the final Commentary before SDCC!

    2009 was coming to a close! We had one last figure to get to, The Green Goddess, or just “Goddess,” as many fans call her.

    This was our second repaint figure/experiment to test the waters and determine if the customer base was high enough to support more than one figure per month. To mitigate our risk, it was decided that both test figures needed to be repaints only. We specifically chose Zodak and The Goddess as characters for this very reason. Each figure did include one new accessory, but both new accessories were tooled with the original figure (Zodak’s staff was tooled with Zodac and The Goddess’ staff with Teela). By working ahead, we were able to successfully create deco only-figures and test the market for multiple figures a month.

    One of the very significant things about The Goddess is she was one of the first figure in Classics who not only did not have a figure in the vintage line, but she has NEVER had a figure ever (Grayskull was the first, but he was more of a preview figure and not in the main monthly line). This brings up a very interesting point about the toy making process. When a character is made into an action figure, fans like to call this “being immortalized in plastic”. This actually rings very true. In the industry, we call this “permanence.”

    When you have a toy of a character, that character becomes much more than just a passive image on a TV or movie screen (or comic book panel). Translating a 2D character into a fully articulated action figure/toy makes that character more permanent. This toy process translates them from a static, passive form of entertainment to an engaging, interactive format. You can now take said action figure, pose him, her or it in any way you want. The figure can hang out with other figures from other brands or stand by itself. The end user has complete control over what this figure does, how it is posed, and how it interacts with other intellectual properties. (Like posing Spiderman and Batman together on your shelf. You will never see this in a movie, but on your shelf in toy format, this can happen!)

    Permanence, or as the fans call it “immortalizing a character in plastic,” really does become a major factor that is taken into consideration with each and every figure we do for all brands. Once a character becomes a figure (and a highly articulated one, at that) the ownership of said character is now with the end user/consumer. It is no longer in specific, locked entertainment like a movie or comic book where the IP owner can control what said character does. Giving a character a toy is really like giving that character over to the audience/consumer to control. So we take these decisions very seriously. There certainly are characters we don’t want immortalized in plastic; for others, like The Goddess, the MOTUC line became the vehicle to finally deliver them and give many characters their first-ever action figure!

    So with that said, a little background on who exactly this character is and why she deserved to be immortalized in plastic!

    In the original 4-issue mini comics that came with the 1982 MOTU line, two female characters were introduced: Teela and The Goddess.

    As a cost saving measure (and because, in general, boys don’t buy female action figures), in the vintage line both The Goddess and Teela were combined into one toy with a swappable head gear that was supposed to distinguish between the two characters. To further create a difference, in the very first mini-comic, The Goddess was also colored with green skin. Most notably in the famous panel where she presents He-Man with his force field armor (a concept left over from the original 1980 He-Man Trio pitch where He-Man would get new armor with new powers every adventure). The Teela figure was even called “Heroic Warrior The Goddess” to help explain to kids that this one figure could be two different characters in their backyard adventures.

    To add more confusion, the green skin was nixed by issue 2 and the character name was changed from The Goddess to Sorceress. Mattel attempted to clarify the confusion by coming out with a new mini-comic (I believe it is issue 7) called “the Tale of Teela.” In this issue, it is made clear that Teela is the cloned daughter of The Goddess/Sorceress character and that they are clearly two separate characters, even if they were packed as one figure with two looks.

    When it came time to do MOTUC, one of the guiding edicts we went by was to use the bios to justify as many different characters as possible. Doing Teela was a no-brainer, and Filmation had recreated The Goddess/Sorceress character as just “Sorceress” and given her a bird look vs. the toy’s snake armor look. Additionally, Mattel put out a Sorceress figure late in the vintage line in the Filmation bird look. All of these were signs pointing that if we did a The Goddess figure, we had the perfect rationale to make her a separate character and therefore sell a separate toy!

    Despite the shared parts The Goddess had with Teela, she was actually quite fan-demanded. So much so that many fans create fan art and pin-ups of her over the years. We used one of these images in an early presentation of the line at NYCC in 2009 to show she was a character we wanted to get to and represented how deep the line could get. This led to some friction with the creator of this art, wondering why he didn’t get credit for it appearing in our fan panel. In all honestly, I searched “MOTU Green Goddess” on Google and this art came up so I used it. Nothing more to it than that. Hope there were no bad feelings!

    So back to the figure herself. She filled out our second “deco only” slot as a test of whether or not the fan base was large enough to support multiple figures a month (turns out they do!). She was a direct repaint of Teela with a new staff. But as stated above, we tooled the staff with Teela so we could execute The Goddess with no new tooling development.

    We cast her in green-tinted clear plastic to help further differentiate her from Teela. Due to a manufacturing error, some of The Goddess figures broke at the pelvis. A lot of fans jumped on the boards to shout out that the clear plastic was “cheap” and was the cause of this cracking.

    In truth, not only is clear plastic more expensive, but Mattel NEVER uses cheap plastic. If we ever have to cost-reduce a figure, our only options are to remove deco or accessories. Using inferior or cheaper plastics is not an option and we never do this. The breaking was due to a manufacturing error with the sonic welding that holds joints together. The same exact thing happened to DCUC figures in Wave 3 and Wave 4 that were produced at the same time as The Goddess. I tried to explain this many times online but fans still to this day shout out that the plastic used on The Goddess was cheap. It was anything but that.

    It kills me when any figure turns out less than perfect. We spend days, weeks and months trying to make every figure as perfect as possible. When something like this happens that is 100% outside my direct control, it is nothing short of maddening.

    To make things as right as possible, we did offer refunds for this figure. But this definitely doesn’t change the fact that yes, some of The Goddess figures do break and I seriously feel for anyone who received one that is anything less than perfect.

    Another odd anecdote Goddess had was a change to her bio Real Name. We had always wanted to use the name Sharella to tie her into the Preternia storyline. The copywriter on the brand at the time (who is no longer with Mattel) changed her name on package without checking with marketing or design. When the package came back, it had the wrong name on the bio. Luckily, we were able to fix this with an over-label. Not the most beautiful thing in the world, but it got the job done.

    Fans have asked over the years if we will ever revisit this older character and perhaps even give her the new 2.0 female body that we introduced with Bubble Power She-Ra. Nothing is off the table, but honestly, I wouldn’t get your hopes tied to this. We have so few “development SKUs” per year that to dedicate one to a “fix me” figure is often seen by management as not the best use of our precious development slots. It doesn’t mean we couldn’t get to this fix one day (as well as maybe correcting Roboto or King Hssss due to shoulder swaps) but honestly, as stated above, the likelihood of this happening is very, very tiny. We just don’t have the slots to “waste” one on a figure we already did (even if he or she was not 100% perfect). We redid She-Ra with Bubble Power She-Ra because she fundamentally could not interact (sit on) her mount, Swiftwind. A few The Goddess figures have leg issues and Roboto’s shoulders function just fine even if attached backwards. As a fan, I’d love to revisit them. As a marketing manager, I know that realistically this isn’t likely to happen. I do keep pushing for it, but so far the answer has been “do a new character with your design slots.” So that is that.

    Overall, The Goddess is still one of my favorite figures. I love that she never had a toy before – ever. And this is really one of the fundamental reasons for MOTUC. We very deliberately wanted to create a line that would present all of the MOTU characters in one scale, in one line and in one collection. By hitting characters who had never been “immortalized in plastic” before, it really helped solidify both for the fan base and management what MOTUC was all about.

    Over the years, we would eventually grow the line to include toys based on concept characters, mini-comics, Filmation and even all-new characters like Sir Laser Lot and Draego Man (and Spector! Had to plug him right!) It has been very rewarding to see that almost every character, no matter the source material, has consistently sold the same amount. This really speaks for the power of the brand and the dedication of our fan base.

    There really are no fans like MOTU fans and I keep saying as long as fans keep buying them, I will do my best to keep MOTUC going as long as humanly possible.

    So for those who got a The Goddess figure, congrats! You have one of the first figures in MOTUC who never had a figure before (and yes, I know King Grayskull falls into this category, too, but The Goddess had 25 years of buildup waiting for her; Grayskull was only introduced in 2003 – well, unless you count the one panel in ,ini-comic # 1. Oh man, now I’m giving myself a headache!)

    Can we just leave it that The Goddess is an awesome character who did deserve to be made permanent though an action figure? She fits in great into the MOTUC canon as a unique character despite being a total repaint with one new accessory. That original panel of her giving He-Man his weapons really influenced a lot of fans over the years (and became the influence for her packout, too!)

    We also very deliberately gave her He-Man’s weapon and armor (vest) knowing one day there might be a figure that goes with this vest… only time will tell!

    Until next time!

    SdN
    (AKA Toy Guru)

    "There certainly are characters we don’t want immortalized in plastic;" Really? Like WHO?

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    Heroic Warrior He-Man123's Avatar
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    ooooohhhhh boy........
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    Heroic Master of Cats Judeh Simon's Avatar
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    Interesting! So if this is indeed true, it's: Heroic Warrior / Goddess, not Heroic Warrior Goddess.

    I just dont know how much to believe as fact. I'm pretty sure she was referred to as Sorceress in te first mini comic and later changed to goddess, so toyguru got that wrong. But if the title was indeed Heroic Warrior / Goddess, then her intended original name gets even more confusing.

    Edit: That last line almost implies that Oolar is coming! And he won't include the vest/weapons. I wonder what he will come with instead.
    Last edited by Judeh Simon; July 10, 2012 at 10:44pm.
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    Others: Despara - toy version of Catra - Veena - Master Sebrian - Drissi - Caz - Andros - Sorceress (NA comics version)- Kex Queen - Lodar

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    Adora's Father dorrmann's Avatar
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    I'm curious what this is referring to:

    There certainly are characters we don’t want immortalized in plastic
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    Heroic Warrior GozzoMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorrmann View Post
    I'm curious what this is referring to:
    There certainly are characters we don’t want immortalized in plastic
    Me too!

    His point seems to be about "letting" the IP being actually played with and being used by non-proprietors... but I really can't imagine why any character should be less suitable than others for this

    It didn't seem about having or not the rights to do the character, or the importance/appeal of the character, but about not doing characters you have the right to do, just because you do not want your customers to have direct "control" or any "owning" of the character.

    I'm really perplexed.

    EDIT: Googling "toy character permanence", and sub-combinations (since TG said it's a common concept in the industry), led to nothing relevant either.
    Last edited by GozzoMan; July 11, 2012 at 06:42am.
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    Heroic Warrior Teacher of Madness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GozzoMan View Post
    Me too!

    His point seems to be about "letting" the IP being actually played with and being used by non-proprietors... but I really can't imagine why any character should be less suitable than others for this
    Crackers is less suitable. MUCH less suitable.

  7. #7
    Cheap Repaint FAKER II's Avatar
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    You can now take said action figure, pose him, her or it in any way you want. The figure can hang out with other figures from other brands or stand by itself.
    I can’t pose my Goddess. She can’t stand with figures from other brands. She can’t stand at all. Her pelvis exploded.

    but Mattel NEVER uses cheap plastic…Using inferior or cheaper plastics is not an option and we never do this.
    I have to call shenanigans on this. I collect a ton of 80’s figures. I can say without a doubt that Hasbro and Kenner figures have withstood the test of time far better than other brands. Mattel is not even close. As if vintage MOTU isn’t bad enough, try collecting Marvel Secret Wars. It is a real rarity to find a Secret Wars figure in good shape.

    We also very deliberately gave her He-Man’s weapon and armor (vest) knowing one day there might be a figure that goes with this vest… only time will tell!
    Actually, you released the figure that the vest belongs to just one month prior: He-Man 2.0. The He-Man vest cast in gray plastic from the Goddess looks way better than the gray painted vest that comes with He-Man. Getting that gray plastic He-Man vest is the only reason I’m not terribly ticked off about having bought Goddess.
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    Realist. Deal with it. Lord Anubis's Avatar
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    "Some broke"....

    Seriously? Im not calling for Toyguru's head on a pole, nor am I going to argue cause Im sure hes tried to the best of his abbillities, but this one was straight pro-company. Call it like it is man, dont say "Roboto works just fine"...... fact is he doesnt. Sure the shoulders move great, but it caused X amount of stress on the figure to lead to broken torso's. You cant say a figure with no torso works fine, thats simply not possible.

    Hsss...... fine, he doesnt have full movement, nor can he sit right with his hard as hell loin cloth part, but at least he's a solid figure. Roboto, Goddess and Snout Spout really DO deserve a replacement slot. Its cool you guys steped up to offer refunds, and thats a HUGE step in the right direction, but the fact is, whats the point if the only option is to have a missing figure AND still loose out on shipping.

    Goddess was easily one of my fav figures and it sucks that I have to have a hole in my collection when Ive already paid 30 dollars. The figure sold out... so make a new one,sell it AND do a replacement plan. Everyone wins!

    For Snout.... just put the nose in a weapons pack. You have the mold already, so you dont need to tool a head. 90 percent of the collectors here are BEYOND capable of pulling off the nose (its just pluged right in) and putting the new one right in.
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    Lightning League Leader kylun flac's Avatar
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    Its was great reading this blog. Its good to know the best plastic is used no matter what. I'm happy that the goddess is immortalized in plastic. at first I was picky & didn't get her I later changed my mind & picked her up on ebay. I'm glad I did. I love the figure & that unique translucent plastic. so awesome.
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    Warrior of Evolution 13977's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorrmann View Post
    I'm curious what this is referring to:
    There certainly are characters we don’t want immortalized in plastic
    Just what I though mate.

    Quote Originally Posted by super-munkyboy View Post
    I preferred the proto too. The colours really popped.
    Same here, I much preferred the non-translucent skin, I was so disappointed when it was shown with the translucent skin.
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    Heroic Warrior Nekk-ra's Avatar
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    That was a weird aside in referring to making a character into a toy. Just because I own a He-man figure doesn't mean I suddenly have rights to his story. It almost sounds like the Company wishes it could have a contract in with its figures to prevent you from using a toy in a way the infringes their copyright.

    Also, I've come to the belief that some others have on the Org that the problem with the plastic is that it was the wrong kind for toy use, too brittle for the wear and tear involved. Just because Mattel dictates that a certain plastic be used doesn't necessarily mean the vendors that are contracted with them aren't cutting corners.

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    A Real Master Of Arms nato's Avatar
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    To make things as right as possible, we did offer refunds for this figure. But this definitely doesn’t change the fact that yes, some of The Goddess figures do break and I seriously feel for anyone who received one that is anything less than perfect.

    After the fact that they sold off ALL of the remaining stock.

    A few The Goddess figures have leg issues and Roboto’s shoulders function just fine even if attached backwards.

    Never mind the crack in Roboto's torso...and for some, the shoulders. So if the backwards shoulders didn't cause that and it's not cheap plastic....it must be that sonic weld.
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    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    I think that last bit's a hint for Oolar. In the meantime, though, I'm far more interested in the question of who they don't want to immortalize in plastic--hope someone asks in the next round of questions...
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    Fighting Foe Fan Whiplash7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judeh Simon View Post
    Interesting! So if this is indeed true, it's: Heroic Warrior / Goddess, not Heroic Warrior Goddess.

    I just dont know how much to believe as fact. I'm pretty sure she was referred to as Sorceress in te first mini comic and later changed to goddess, so toyguru got that wrong. But if the title was indeed Heroic Warrior / Goddess, then her intended original name gets even more confusing.
    Not only that, but Teela is referred to as the warrior-goddess in the comic as well.

    But despite everything, I'm very grateful for the Goddess figure. Thanks to the powers that be for making it happen!

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    Heroic Master of 200X MegaGearMax's Avatar
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    I think Toyguru could make a Goddess variant with non-translucent skin.


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    Fighting Foe Fan Whiplash7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MegaGearMax View Post
    I think Toyguru could make a Goddess variant with non-translucent skin.

    http://www.he-man.org/assets/images/...96598_full.jpg
    And a minicomic-accurate dress (no leaf).
    And corrected Snake Armor (2-piece).
    lol. I know it'll never happen but I'd like to see it. Along with a corrected Roboto. The "Fix Me" 2-pack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorrmann View Post
    I'm curious what this is referring to:
    COUGHILLUMINACOUGH

    EDIT


    The one thing that continues to irk me is when TG admits Mattel fouled up but then tries to justify it by playing pass the blame to make it look less like their fault. If Mattel supposedly has such high class standards for product testing I would expect this problem to have been discovered IN DEVELOPMENT knowing that the different plastic additives when sonic welded would cause such an occurrence. Long story short, take the blame and apologize and leave it at that.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by MegaGearMax View Post
    I think Toyguru could make a Goddess variant with non-translucent skin.

    http://www.he-man.org/assets/images/...96598_full.jpg
    I still wish we would have got her like this to begin with.
    Last edited by vertigoink; July 10, 2012 at 11:49pm.

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    Heroic Warrior lizardman's Avatar
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    We also very deliberately gave her He-Man’s weapon and armor (vest) knowing one day there might be a figure that goes with this vest… only time will tell!

    Until next time!

    SdN
    (AKA Toy Guru)


    Oolar in SDCC for sure!

  19. #19
    Evil Warrior jibernish's Avatar
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    I am also disturbed by the thought of TG/Mattel not making certain figures because at that point the fans would own them. Seriously? What a way to show us all the big wall between Mattel and their fans right before SDCC. Build that wall up guys Just don't 'waste' a development sku on it. Oh the hubris, the mightier than thou attitude.

    Also, while She-ra was remade becuase she "fundamentally could not interact with her mount," Goddess can not fundamentally interact with her legs, or the ground, so............. I"m not buying it. Just say "We're not remaking Goddess because we don't want to." And I can't believe they are sticking to the sonic welder story when all the clear/translucent plastic used, even plastic with no joints at all, have had widespread issues. This sonic welder isssue is a bone Mattel just won't let go of.

    "This toy process translates them from a static, passive form of entertainment to an engaging, interactive format. You can now take said action figure, pose him, her or it in any way you want. " Anyone here have a Goddess figure they feel comfortable posing? So the Goddess still doesn't have permanence in my book.

  20. #20
    Heroic Master of 200X MegaGearMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorrmann View Post
    I'm curious what this is referring to:
    Me too! I'm VERY curious about that. I didn't know MOTUC had "radioactive" characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by lizardman View Post
    Oolar in SDCC for sure!
    I sure hope so! With an Alcala head!

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  21. #21
    Alcala Idolator Crusader's Avatar
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    There certainly are characters we don’t want immortalized in plastic
    It's Spector ... and you know it


    Quote Originally Posted by Darkspecter View Post
    All Goddess' WILL break in time. People have had them on their shelves in PERFECT condition, only on display (no touching or playing). Then, a few years later, the crotch broke. That happened to me and a few others. ALL will break.

    Roboto's chest is starting to crack for many people.

    Fearless Photog's lens is cracking for many people.

    It must be the sonic welding and not the type of plastic they are using... Whatever is the problem, Mattel needs to fix it! Translucent figures are AWESOME! It's a shame everything they make translucent breaks.
    Didn't Val mention on a RGB episode that he had asked Terry about this and that Terry said that sonic welding had nothing to do with it?

    Anyway, how cool Mosquitor and his blood cavity may be, I fear the translucent parts are going to turn him into a nightmare

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by MegaGearMax View Post
    I sure hope so! With an Alcala head!
    That was also the first thing that "popped" in my mind when I read it.
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  22. #22
    SoH Supporter He-Dad's Avatar
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    @dorrmann - I was wondering the EXACT same thing.....lol

    As far as Oolar goes....maybe as the exclusive???

  23. #23
    2002/DC He-Man Video guy Jukka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toyguru
    "in the very first mini-comic, The Goddess was also colored with green skin"

    "To add more confusion, the green skin was nixed by issue 2 and the character name was changed from The Goddess to Sorceress."
    First appearance - Wave 1 "He-Man and the Power Sword"

    Sorceress




    Second appearance - Wave 2 "He-Man meets Ram-Man"
    Sorceress
    Third appearance - Wave 2 "The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces"
    Sorceress

    Toyguru's entire point about Goddess confusion and name-change was a bit strayed because she actually was referred as Sorceress right from the beginning.
    "Goddess" term came later during wave 2 -minicomics and THEN they tried justifying it with "Tale of Teela".


    Quote Originally Posted by Toyguru
    The Green Goddess, or just “Goddess,” as many fans call her.
    Huh. I always thought it was the other way around. She basically has been "Goddess" when in the Snake Armor, but the first version
    with green skin is a fan-dubbed name "The Green Goddess"...

  24. #24
    Heroic Warrior Darth Daddy's Avatar
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    Oolar is a quarterly variant or the '13 sub exclusive, for sure. Personally, I'd rather see him as a variant (4th quarter of '12, specifically) for the 30th anniversary than the '13 sub exclusive. I'd like a stronger sub exclusive but, others may disagree.
    Say cheese!!!

  25. #25
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    373
    A sonic welding issue? Yeah right. So why did my Goddess have a cracked neck right out of the package. Quit beating this drum Scott and just admit what we already know: the plastic on this figure is brittle and CHEAP!

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