Attack of Scalp-Or at SDCC

I need to preface this with the warning that this is all hearsay, even with the photographic evidence. I know some will be tempted to believe it immediately based on their own cynicism about/pathological hatred of Mattel, but before you go down that path, just try to keep in mind that all we have right now is the word of some anonymous people on the Internet.

Now then. As you know, there are a mere 1,000 MOTU art books available at SDCC. The limit on them is supposed to be two per customer. Also, vendors, exhibitors, and professionals were not to be allowed to buy any of Mattel’s SDCC items during Preview Night last night.

But there have been reports of vendors not only buying books, but buying twenty of them–and then announcing it to those waiting in line.

Here’s the story from Ted Biaselli on Facebook, complete with a photo:

THIS is an image of a DEALER with all of the Mattel exclusives that he purchased tonight… including 20 of the Exclusive Art Books! What happened to 2 per person!??! He was right next to the booth and said OUT LOUD “I’ll be selling these at my booth!

What do you think Matty? I waited in line for 3 HOURS! And moved 200 feet. It was a TRAIN WRECK! The most poorly managed situation I’ve experienced at Comic Con!

And here’s more from Ted’s friend and member BCRDuke:

I just finished talking with a friend of mine who was there tonight, and he’s one of our own here.

He has PICTURES of booth-owners buying exclusives in bulk. One booth owner bought 20 Art Books. The booth owner then announced to everyone in line that he had 20 books, and to come to his booth to buy them!

He has pics, and put a few up on matty’s facebook page. There is no getting around this, “matty.”

Thanks for looking out for the FANS. THE PEOPLE AT THE CON WHO RUN THE BOOTHS pretty much qualify as PROFESSIONALS in my book… and since they are renting retail space from the CON itself, they are associates of the CON… which makes them PROFESSIONALS. Their badges may not say that, but that’s what they are.

This stuff happens at every con, but this is the WORST example of this EVER.

The “FANS” who were left standing in line AT the cash registers, were told to leave and given passes to come back at 11AM… two hours LATER than opening… which means that exclusives would be on sale for 2 hours (probably to more BOOTH PEOPLE – since they will be there BEFORE 8AM to set up/open shop/MARK UP THEIR MATTEL EXCLUSIVES), before any of these FANS got to buy anything.

It’s just ridiculous. Basically, the hard-core collectors of MOTUC are going to get jipped out of He-Ro, because there will only be a SMALL number on sale on Mattycollector.

Mostly scalpers/re-sellers were able to buy the Art Book. Whatever… we all know how important nostalgia is to them.

Same goes for those who collect DCUC.. the Wonder Twins pack SOLD OUT its allotment for the day, not two hours after preview-night opened.

And here’s the alleged scalper in alleged action:


There’s also a LOT of good MOTUC stuff already, which I’ll get to in another post later today. But this annoyed me enough to put it out there.


Show and Tell > Jack Burton (by Jon)


And now the good MOTUC news…


  1. PrfktTear

    @Poe: I would not advocate harassment either, fans can be pretty vicious. Do you recall what happened when someone "dropped" their business card in the action figure aisle (I think around GI Joes) and what ensued was a barrage of harassing telephone calls….

    That said, certainly if we knew what his business was or who he worked for people could boycott him. I'm surprised someone didn't follow him and find out where his booth was so people would protest or something! 😉

  2. Poe

    Thanks for stopping by, Ted–appreciate the eyewitness testimony!

    Frankly, I'm surprised no one's tracked down this guy's name and store and posted it online. Not that I'm advocating harassing the guy, it just seems like something that irate, Internet-savvy fanboys would have done.

  3. BCRDuke

    Oh, Ted, Blue Space Chimps… if only.. (sigh)

  4. AnimateTed

    Well that was my picture. I took it, around 8:30, as I was going up to the Mattel booth to find out what they were going to do about ALL of the people still in line that were in no way getting to buy anything that night. After I spoke to the guy with the goatee and red shirt, I turned to leave the booth, and that guy was standing there, with his haul. I heard him CLEARLY say "I'll be selling this all at my booth on Saturday." So I took a picture of him. I'm calling this s*&^ out. I can tolerate MANY things. Two things I can't are hypocrisy – and bad customer service.

    The people around me in line all know me. I was very vocal about my dissatisfaction. I'm a professional. If I did my job that poorly- I'd be fired. There was no excuse for that disaster.

    AND another thing. I was present for every drawing of the Anti Monitor. One guy won THREE of them. One on Thursday and two on Sunday. And when I said to the girl… you put caps on limited items, and you didn't specify one Anti-Moniter per winner? And she said – "There was 5 he didn't win" And that summed up the mental capacity of the hired help.

    Another thing that few people are talking about. They sold out of Gleeks before they sold out of Wonder Twins… I wonder how much the booth workers were charging for extra Gleeks!

    I was lucky. I got everything I wanted, including the book. I bought CONSIDERABLY less than the limit for everything.

    But compared to the management of the Hasbro Booth, Mattel's looked like it was run by Blue space chimps!

  5. americanhyena

    The whole situation was ludicrous. I wound up having to bribe someone in line with $5 to buy Beastman, Skeletor, He-Man and He-Ro for me.

    As for the Wonder Twins, I was "fortunate" to find someone at a booth selling them with Gleek for $50. I gladly paid the extra $10 rather than brave Matty's line again.

  6. Bryan. V

    1st let me say that Im a true figure collector of all sorts. Like many of you when I start a series of figures I aim to have a complete set, includng all exclusives. So when I made plans to get the wonder twins set at comic con today (7/24/09) I was excited. After pushing myself through the crowds to get to the Matty collector booth (Mattel booth) I had no idea how it worked, 2 lines filled with people that were unsure wheather they were in the right line, some with a come back later ticket (a fast pass of some sort) with no idea of how to use it, and me just another collector trying to get theres.

    I got in line at 10:30 am, after 25 minutes of waiting in a line that was suppose to lead to the line for matty collector (supposively)I hear we are sold out of the DCUC Wonder Twins, and MOTUC figures. My first thoughts were "I just got here"! They said we might have some later (which they didnt)or come back tomarrow, well guess what I cant because its a one day pass like most people here.

    I had plenty of money to spend,

    I wanted my free gleek with purchase, and add your figure to the colection. This is ridiculous, there was no organization, the con had alot of pro's but just as many con's,Mattel, your first dissapointment came from poor figure distribution, 2nd was the painted stuck joints, 3rd was he Walmart exclusive wave 5, which Im still missing the Atom w/ piece, now this garbage at the comic con which lasted all day. Get organized, and keep better order as who is selling your stuff at a higher price right next to you!

  7. Poe

    Just thirty minutes until the first Mattel panel…

  8. prfkttear

    How can Mattel not have any product on hand? Even if they sold out of everything yesterday, which I can completely understand, how can they not have any merch available at all?! I have a feeling the Mattel booth is going to be Ground Zero at the SDCC…

  9. Motorthing

    On the plus side that should make the Matty Panel on friday a little spicy for those eager to share their thoughts with Toy Guru and the rest of them.

    We may get to see a live Matty lynching tubed out of SDCC…..and it couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch.

  10. Poe

    There's a rumor Mattel won't have any product on hand today (they won't have a new shipment until tomorrow). If true, that's pretty damned awful for anyone who's coming for just Friday. And holy crap, Saturday will be a f***ing zoo.

  11. scott metzger

    THe books could be explained away as he had 10-15 people getting two apiece for him. But I have yet to figure out a legitimate explanation for the CASES of figures I'm seeing there with my own little eyes.

    I think this photo is going to be iconic, a picture demonstrating not just Mattel's mistakes, but what's gone wrong with the whole convention exclusive concept. What was once a nice novelty to take home from a fun convention has become a beast unto itself, and it's taking some of the fun out of the hobby.

    The whole justification companies give for exclusives is "creating buzz." Well, they sure succeeded in that respect this time around, didn't they?

  12. Not to say I told you so, but this same thing happened last year with King Greyskull. People were buying 25-30 at a time and most were vendors. I don't know hy Mattel allows that, or why they offer such strict rules on the stuff to begin with…

    But I know tons of people are growing tired of Mattel's games. Even the biggest Hasbro haters in the world have to realize they do not treat their fans like that.

  13. I've stopped buying anything from Mattel nowadays. it's like they're determined to be stuck in the past.

  14. Michael Lovrine

    Oh, big f–ing deal its an art book! Lord knows I'm waiting for the next big New York Times best seller from Mattel! Thats the only thing I buy from them…GO HASBLO

  15. I hope this isn't true.

  16. Zach

    look at that stack of books that guy has! that's just sick.

  17. prfkttear

    @Frowny: Aah yes, the Seekers debacle… and those who have so eagerly gloated about it in their signatures…

    @Taruan: The people at Palisades were a class act. I met them at the Wizard World Boston, and chatted it up with a couple folks. I even asked about my Mega Meatwad, and got an gasp answer!!! There was an issue with the bottom seeping out an oily subtance. The guy I talked to told me it was the glue or something, and told me to take a hot blow dryer to it.

    Even better, one of their exclusives was a mini set of ATHF with Fry, Shake, and Meatwad, plus the Mooninites! I wanted to pick up Super Grover, but alas, I was too late, they sold out!

  18. Taruan

    This makes me miss Palisades they knew how to do con exclusives

  19. Frowny McBeard

    Hey Motorthing, "I was only following orders" has a proud tradition that dates back likely thousands of years but at least with the Confederate Army at Andersonville in 1865.

    And I agree the exclusives have gotten out of hand, but as a recovering transformers junkie nothing is quite as bad as when they released the other three seekers as part of the Botcon bundle a couple years ago. People still bitch about that one. (With good reason, as far as I'm concerned.)

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