Final thoughts

Did Mattel really manage–in a single convention–to create what could become lingering, Holiday Hal-like sore spots for both the DCUC and MOTU collector communities? Or will they be forgiven and forgotten by this time next year?


Keep on Yuckin’ with a Weirdo Toys t-shirt


He-Man and Skeletor return in December


  1. Jethro Tull, man! Jethro FREAKIN' Tull! I will NEVER forgive them!

    Oh, uh, nevermind…

  2. Poe

    When companies commission artwork, there’s generally a clause that allows them to use the artwork for certain non-commercial purposes (promotions, charity, etc.). The definition of “non-commercial” is usually determined by the number of units produced, be it of a toy package or even the art itself. Again, this is all speculation, but I totally get the “legal limitations” reason/excuse.

    @Howard: That's the most sensible explanation I've heard for the art books yet. I don't understand why they can't just say that, but I'm not a lawyer, I suppose.

  3. The production numbers on the artbook don't bother me as much. As I speculated on our post-SDCC podcast (plug, plug), I'm assuming that the limited numbers are due to a royalty structure or something similar. When companies commission artwork, there's generally a clause that allows them to use the artwork for certain non-commercial purposes (promotions, charity, etc.). The definition of "non-commercial" is usually determined by the number of units produced, be it of a toy package or even the art itself. Again, this is all speculation, but I totally get the "legal limitations" reason/excuse.

    What I don't get is the failure to regulate sales numbers. There's no way I should see someone with a stack of 8 artbooks on eBay on Friday morning.

    What I don't get is the failure to stock Gleeks at a 1:1 ratio with Wonder Twins sets. I was there on Friday when they announced that the Gleeks were out of stock and again on Saturday when they said that Gleeks were never coming back into stock. I'm sure there would have been ample grumbling if the WT ran out on Friday or Saturday, but I think it would have been significantly less hostile than the words that have been exchanged over Gleek-gate during the past few days.

    After all this, will I still buy Mattel product? Sure. Personally, I don't think they make much of a connection between the anger at SDCC and the continued success of their toy lines. Hell, look at He-Ro. Still managed to sell out. And I'm sure the Wonder Twins will sell out eventually as well. (Their current "in-stock" status isn't some kind of victory for collectors. The DCUC 2-packs have never sold particularly well at MattyCollector and even Ultraman/Luthor are still available after their restock.) I just hope they learn some lessons from this year and adopt a strict format similar to the one used by Hasbro (each badge is stamped, forcing a strict limit of toys during the duration of the Con).

  4. Zach

    After DCUC Wave 5 and Gleek, I have some pretty glaring holes in my DCUC collection. if the next Wal mart exclusive wave follows suit, I'm finished. I'll finish out JLU and be done with their nonsense.

  5. nerdbot

    I don't think it was so much the SDCC screw-ups themselves that have caused specific sore spots, but rather the evidence they provide of Mattel being incredibly inept at public relations. The most recent in a growing list of insults.

    If they continue with the same clumsy behavior, made worse with nonsensical explanations, then they will be remembered on that list. On the other hand, if they start being more straightforward with us, I think they could erase a lot of the ill feelings. But I think the most likely way SDCC '09 will be forgotten is with even bigger blunders in 2010.

  6. I'm slowly moving away from Mattel products. Yeah, I'm getting a lot of the junk on MattyCollector, but I am steering clear of their other stuff.

    I was interested in the Toy Story line, but Mattel has already irked me with their shoddy releases.

    At one point I was certain I was going to catch up on DCUC, now I'm pretty sure I'm only going to buy a handful of more releases. Why be a completist when I can't get half the stuff?

    JLU is just about done in my view. Unless they really knock me out with a awesome few new figures, I may be giving up my favorite little poorly articulated turds.

    Gleek-Gate isn't the straw that broke the camel's back in my view, but it's another kick in the gut.

    If they screw me over once, JUST ONCE on MOTUC I'll drop it like a bad habbit.

    I only have so much money to spend on this hobby and I'd much rather put my dollars towards satisfaction instead of frustration.

  7. Shadeslord

    I do love alot of the new stuff thats coming out, but like PrfktTear says there PR is a joke. BTW I have a list of figures that came broken in their packages, when you call Mattel, what do you need to get refunds. I'm looking at 2 mullet superman, 1 Black lightning, 1 amazo, 1 Robin,and 1 batman beyond. I don't have the packages anymore… am I screwed?

  8. Nicholai

    I don't think in the long run it will matter much. Only a very small number of people will stop collecting MOTUC or DCUC because of Mattel's latest blunders. That isn't to say I don't think they don't matter, but I don't think that many people will be dropping out of the lines because of what has happened.

    We only become as angry as we do about the mistakes Mattel has made because of how much we have enjoyed the products.

    I don't think people will forget, and I do think that Mattel has to watch out for too many more mistakes especially with MOTUC as it is such a online-based, fan intense, collector driven line. The bulk of DCUC collectors may be adults, but most likely only a small minority of those adults care about missing Gleek.

  9. De

    I know I'm at a crossroads on how to go on from here. Wave 5 never appearing in my neck of the woods (just outside Washington DC) and being told to talk to the toy department manager if I wanted to see it in the store was a punch in the nuts.

    The SDCC fiasco in all its myriad forms combined with the price hike was another punch in the nuts.

    I love the product that was unveiled in San Diego but right now, continuing to follow the DCUC line feels like I would be wasting my time with "the chase" when I could be enjoying my time with terrific product.

  10. DankOne

    To me it all about "What have you done for me lately." Mattel has had a few hits and some major blunders. I was not going to go to SDCC this year so I found another avenue to get Gleek (ebay) and yes it sucks to pay more for something but at least thanks tothis site I knew they were not going to offer the monkey on Matty. If I had gone to the show and didn't get my Gleek and found out they passed out a lost box of Gleeks to Fwoosh… I would have gone Ape Shit.

    As far as the book deal, that was really poorly handled by Mattel. Imposing limits and then no following your own rule just makes you ignorant. Telling fans that they are all about fans is much like shitting in my mouth and calling it a sundae!

    I don't think people will Forgive or Forget. Much like a bad relationship, if the sex is good you might stick it out longer than you should. And right now I can't Quit YOU MATTEL!!

  11. PrfktTear

    Like the time I went to Burger King and was told they ran out of burgers?!? 😉


  12. Poe

    @PrfktTear: That's not a perfect analogy, though. It's more like going to a restaurant and getting great food but being treated rudely (and really not so much rudely as with obfuscation), and there are some items on the menu you can't order.

    Obviously there are much bigger problems in the world. That goes without saying. But this is a toy-oriented blog, and the way I see it, you acknowledge that as a given when you come here and focus on the smaller picture 😉

  13. PrfktTear

    In short, yes. I don't think people will soon forgive or forget the Gleek debacle.

    They're making toys, not providing electricity or health care. They're not Santa Claus. They don't need to make enough Gleeks to provide one for every good little boy & girl. That said, they are a business and like any business they want to make money, and like Flash III said, if they only make 1,000 of something and sell out its a success, instead of making 2,500 of something and only selling 2,000 its a loss.

    In the collector's market and in this economy, everything is a gamble. They just seem to be erring on the safe side. That said, they're also pissing off a lot of fans and collectors, and the way they're managing things, as Poe has said time and time again is mystifying. They're making decisions that even someone who has take an introductory level public relations course would question.

    As a friend of mine recently said, there are much bigger problems out there right now, the economy, healthcare, the environment, global relations, etc. So this situation doesn't even register as a drop in the bucket when compared. There are collectors who work hard and this is maybe one facet in their life that they can truly enjoy, and to be continually slapped in the face its really disheartening and angering. If you went to a restaurant and the food was terrible, you might be inclined to never return. If for whatever reason you did go back and you got bad food again and were treated rudely, you would certainly never go back, and you'd make sure to tell all your friends.


  14. Frowny McBeard

    As much as I complain, I'll probably stick with DCUC until I stop being interested in the characters involved. Distribution problems aside, as a Kirby fan I'm flabbergasted I'll be getting a Forager, a Steppenwolf and a Guardian. (But still no J'onn J'onnz? Weird.)

  15. Poe

    I also found this post by Scott Neitlich (a.k.a. Toy Guru)–apparently next year's art book won't be MOTU. Can't imagine what it will be…what other popular in-house boys' toys lines do they have?

  16. The Flash III

    Well, like they say, "there's no such thing as bad press." It's odd that Mattel has launched DCUC and MOTUC as "collector" lines, yet they seem to make some of the pieces very difficult to collect (the art book, Gleek, some MOTUC figures off their web site, DCUC wave 5). I guess Mattel would rather sell out of 1000 art books than sell 2500 and have 500 unsold.

    Hopefully, they will crunch the numbers and find a way to better estimate consumer demand to find a balance between getting items in collectors hands and not getting stuck with inventory–that's my hope anyway.

  17. Poe

    I didn't mean the events of SDCC itself but the issue of few collectors getting their hands on Gleek and the MOTU art book.

  18. outburst

    Forgotten, but maybe not forgiven.

    While SDCC is huge and has world-wide repercussions, very few of us get to go in person and be directly affected by it.

    I just see it as some interesting thing happening on the other side of the continent.

  19. Shadeslord


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