Hey He-Fans and She-Ravers,
Okay, so I started this blog well before SDCC 2012 and am now finishing it three weeks after the show. It has been a VERY busy past few months, between prepping for the show and then working with the fans and fan sites to sell the 2013 sub program. Now that we have success behind us and 2013 is a full “go” it is time to get back to the show, and how appropriate to start with a fresh year of figures, the first figure from 2010: Adora! I hope to get back on track and keep these blogs going on a semi weekly basis (the best I can, no guarantees!). Thanks for everyone’s patience while I made it through the summer Con season and the sub sell in period. And now, on with the show….
I was so excited to get to Adora -- our first Princess of Power figures and now again, a character who never had a figure in the vintage line. For starters, Adora was not supposed to be a 2010 figure. On the books, she was a 2009 figure and the original idea was she would have been the December 2009 figure, just getting in a “hint” of POP into Year 1, ensuring that each year had at least some POP in it.
Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men. Arg.
Mer-Man was running late and that threw a kink into the entire year. Not only was Scareglow no longer the October figure for Halloween 2009, but Adora now also got pushed a month which moved her from December 2009 to January 2010. While fans still got her figure as planned, this kink threw off our whole “POP every year goal” and the first year was almost all vintage MOTU figures. Oh well. Not the end of the world - but we really did try.
When it came time to figuring out who would be the first POP figure, the choice was really around three figures. She-Ra was an obvious choice, but both Bow and Adora came up a lot, too. It’s funny with POP. The fans of this segment (or “faction) are some of the most vocal on the internet. It seems like no matter whom we make from the POP faction, fans and customers continue to feel like we missed someone or have not gotten to someone who “should have had a figure by now”.
I just know that had we gone out with, say, Mermista or Peekablue first, fans would have been happy but would have loudly screamed for Adora or Bow. So going with them first was a gamble. In the end, Adora won out as the very first POP MOTUC figure for a few reason. Chiefly, she was a “She-Ra” figure without doing She-Ra. I think it was pretty clear that if we got to any POP figures, She-Ra would happen. This was for certain. By doing Adora first however, I had hoped it would help send the message that our POP figure selection would not be limited to only She-Ra (the obvious choice). Adora really symbolized everything MOTUC was about -- getting to figures that really “should have been in the vintage line” but for one reason or another never were, as well as all the other characters introduced since then that really needed figures.
And yeah, you can argue that by taking off the vintage She-Ra’s mask it is Adora, but that was not going to fly in the new collector Classics line. If we were going to do Adora we wanted to really do her right as her own legit figure, just like Prince Adam had a figure in the vintage line (and now in Classics, too).
Back when Adora was being worked on, we did not yet have rights to the classic Filmation series, which solidified her look (red tunic, boots etc.). The original plan that we discussed with the Horsemen was to find a way to make her look “close to this look” without stepping on Filmation’s copyrights. (Obviously things changed once we got full rights to the Filmation series in 2012 as part of a larger licensing program with Classics Media) but Adora way pre-dated this deal and we were really challenged with how to pull her off in a way fans would like without stepping on any copyright.
Usually I am not in favor of bending the rules or trying to work around any copyrights. It just is not fair. Mattel respects other company’s copyrights, just as we expect other companies to respect ours. But in the case of Adora (and the other POP ladies), all had appeared in a 1987 official Mattel licensor kit in a look that was very close to the animated series. This gave us a clear way to style Adora in the colors that closely matched her animated appearance. For the record, Adora was clearly owned by Mattel as a toy character; the specific colors of her outfit were what we didn’t want to tread on.
To plus her up a bit, the Horsemen gave her a removable holster and blaster. Removing the holster gave her almost a perfect animated look. And as a nice hidden Easter egg, the blaster was actually modeled after Teela’s gun from the 1987 live action movie – a little nod that would also repeat itself with another female figure down the road, Queen Marlena.
Other than the gun and holster, Adora was pretty much spot-on as if she jumped right out of the vintage series. Many fans took issue that her tunic looked like (and pardon the phrase) “granny panties” with the way it folded in the back. Honestly, and I mean this in the nicest way, on this particular issue, I just don’t see it.
I get that fans want the female figures to have a little bit of sex appeal, but for my money, the Horsemen got her just right. A lot of the time when fans make comments online about slight improvements, I tend to agree with these choices (like adding black to the back of the Faceless One’s neck piece). But for Adora, really I felt she was perfect from day one. After all, she is supposed to be wearing a tunic, not a one piece swimsuit. She is in the Great Rebellion on the run from the Horde, not frolicking on the beach. Of , we went in the complete opposite direction and did a pure “sexy” version of a female figure with our Battleground Teela a few years later, putting her in a sci-fi metal bikini (with apologies to Jabba the Hutt’s slave wardrobe assistant). But for Adora, I still think she is right on and honestly wouldn’t change a thing. (Not like I could have anyway. By the time fans were commenting on her it was well past the point of making sculpt changes. Deco changes are occasionally possible, but sculpt changes really are not).
As the first POP (Princess of Power) figure, Adora was also the vehicle to introduce a new “faction” sticker that we had previously used for the Horde members. (Hordak has an “Evil Horde” sticker). A lot of fans also asked why we went with a Princess of Power sticker and not a “Great Rebellion” sticker to indicate the name of the group Adora worked with. Honestly, we did think about both options. In the end, we went with POP as that had way more brand equity. Yes, we clearly know she belongs to “the Great Rebellion” but there was a lot of intellectual property equity in using POP.
We actually eventually found a really cool way to do both by including a sticker sheet with a 2012 figure, Rattlor, that had “Great Rebellion” faction stickers created just for that sticker sheet. Fans could over label the POP sticker at their discretion. We even included an oversized GR sticker for Swiftwinds’s box! See, we think of everything Wink
Adora was a very early favorite of mine and I still think one of the top 5 figures in the entire line. To , there is just something extra cool about having a figure that really “should have” been in the vintage line but never got made. POP is always a tricky thing. Had we held off on Adora until a later year and gone with, say, “Glimmer” or someone else earlier, I think the fan outcall for Glimmer would just be for Adora or visa-versa.
In the end, there really are only a handful of POP characters (outside the Filmation series, which we did not have access to until 2012). So doing an extra figure like Adora helped increase the amount of POP we could get into the line.
From day one, we very deliberately spaced out the relatively few POP characters to ensure every year has a robust selection. Had we frontloaded them, we might have gotten to 2013 and had very few left to do. If you look back where we are now (Fall 2012) we really have done quite a lot of POP skus. Heck, we did five in 2012 alone!
Fans of POP tend to be some of the most, dare I say, picky, often only counting a figure as “POP” if she (he) was a member of the Great Rebellion and had a vintage toy. Under this extremely narrow vision, characters like Catra (who was in Wave 1 of POP in 1985) or even Star Sisters (who were in the TV series and had proto toys made) don’t “count.” I respectfully disagree. POP in my mind covers anyone who was in the vintage show or toy line. Catra is just as much POP as Adora, and both characters need to be considered when looking at the total number of POP figures we have done and continue to do.
She-Ra and others would follow soon enough, but with Adora immortalized in plastic (see last blog) we had now firmly planted a foot in the POP realm and had no intention of getting out anytime soon.
Until next time!