You’ll recall back in December of last year, I posted a series of articles with quotes from various high-profile collectors regarding their thoughts on Masters of the Universe Classics. (You can read them here and here.)
Well, it’s been nine months, and at this point it’s safe to say that MOTUC has been a success. However, a financial success does not always equal an artistic success (see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), so I thought I’d contact some of the contributors from last time and see whether their thoughts on MOTUC have changed since the line debuted.
There are a couple more contributors I was waiting on–I’ll add their comments if/when i receive them.
Diehard MOTU fan Scott Metzger:
We’re about a year into the MOTUC line, and, basically, it’s surprised everyone with its success, even its biggest proponents. Revisiting the original questions of whether or not it was wise to go with the updated classic versions rather than the 2002 style, the answer seems to be a resounding yes. Is everyone on board now, including 2002 fans having changed their minds about the line? No, and I don’t think you ever will have every single fan being pleased. The arguments still persist. Given the success of the classic approach, some might conclude that the issue is pretty much settled, and the 2002 fans are wasting their breath, arguing for the sake of arguing.
But, looking at the line, I’d have to say that the 2002 fans voices are having an effect. The figures are now showing more influence from the more recent line, obvious especially with Hordak. And we now have the 2002 Zodak coming out in the new line; he’s not just influenced by the version from six or so years ago, he IS the version from that line, albeit made in the new bulky style.
It’s hard to argue that Mattel made the wrong choice here, given figures that sell out in hours (sometimes less than an hour). The approach was apparently the right one for this go-around. But the 2002 fans haven’t been ignored in any way here, with sometimes strong influences on the character designs and figures like King Grayskull and Zodak who are taken wholesale from Mattel’s previous attempt.
Objectively, MOTU 2002 was the least successful of all the He-Man related lines; looking at it from that perspective, POP and New Adventures actually have more justification for being included in the new line. Mattel is really giving a big nod and wink to the 2002 fans here with design, accessories and entire figures.
Rustin Parr of OAFE:
There is no debating that the line is a big success. Though I was staunchly against the thing when first revealed, I have bought one figure and plan on getting a couple more – basically just those the exceptionally attract me. For me, the reason I will never be fully on board with the line is the $28 price tag, which is effectively the core issue with the beast that is the Matty Collector web store. While originally I thought that the retro style was going to repel many collectors, I think it may now be part of why it could prove to be the most, if not only truly, successful Mattycollector lines. Not only is the web store the ONLY to get access to any kind of He-Man product, boosting its collectibility (or at least exclusivity), by going retro they have found a perfect excuse for re-using and sharing tooling amongst characters – they’re being true to the source material, and that reuse is surely part of the nostalgia glee collectors derive from the line.
What remains to be seen is if that same model can equal success for the other lines Mattel is adding to the store. The DC product has seemed to move slower than anticipated, interest in the bulk of the Dark Knight figures seems lackluster due to the long interval since the film’s release in both theaters and on DVD as well as some reticence because this was orginally a mass retail line, and Ghostbusters definitely has a very strong following, but the SDCC Egon was as disappointing as it was exciting, and DST’s Minimates are definitely stealing a lot of the exclusivity and excitement thunder in terms of just being able to have GB product, so ultimately it remains to be seen how these additional properties affect the strength on Matty Collector in the marketplace. Its clear that MOTUC is here to stay, however, and the things look top be only improving for fans of the line.
Rob Bricken of Topless Robot:
I stand by my earlier statements — the 2002 MOTU line had better designs, better sculpts, and stand more to gain with new sculpts, improved articulation, and a focus on the collector’s market (specifically, true scale and the Horsemen’s original designs that Mattel toned down for the mass market).
Furthermore, the fact that I’m paying $20 for a figure that re-uses parts just like the ’80s line hurts my soul. It hurts my soul more than I have to pay a mandatory $10 shipping each month, making these figures $30. For $30, I should not be getting figures with any re-used parts, collector-targeted line or not. I’m sure the MOTUC line is still a small bag of money to Mattel, but the profit margin has to be insane.
That said, I’m warming to the MOTUC line for three reasons. The first is that they are improving. I love the little touches like the extra details on Man-at-Arms armor, or Tri-Klops’ daggers on the back of his harness. I could use a lot more of that (and less of doing absolutely nothing, like the MOTUC Zodak. Grr). The second reason is actually the reason I love all MOTU lines, which is the more figures come out, the better the line overall is. Seriously, MOTU is more than the sum of its parts — each figure, with its own unique design and color and action feature (well, in the first two lines, at least) made all the other figures cooler. I’m not explaining it very well, but that amazing variance it what has always attracted me to MOTU. And the more MOTUC figures come out, I have no doubt the more I’ll continue to enjoy the line.
Third, ADORA. I am powerless before this figure. I will — and did — pay $380 for the figure, courtesy of the 2010 subscription. Honestly, if no other figures had been offered, I probably still would have paid it for Adora.
UPDATE: Yo go re of OAFE:
My opinion on the MotU Classics line has definitely changed. One of the things I disliked was the scale of the figures, calling them too big to fit in with the existing figures. That’s still true, but now that there’s an entire crowd of similarly sized toys, the size isn’t such a problem. It’s no longer just He-Man standing on a self looking too big, he’s got friends and enemies who are all just as huge. The same thing happened when ToyBiz shifted from 5″ figures to the larger Marvel Legends: it took a while before the new scale started to look “right.”
However, just because I like the toys themselves, it doesn’t mean the larger problems don’t exist. Mattel is still overcharging because they can, and they still can’t differentiate between a line that’s a sell-out and a line that’s a success. We’re still getting an in-house line with no back-end licensing fees and re-used sculpts and molds, but because it doesn’t have to compete for physical shelf space at a brick and mortar store, the price can be whatever Mattel thinks people will pay. The line is still scalper-bait, which means individual releases move quickly, and that “Sold Out” marker seems to be Mattel’s bottom line: they’re satisfied as long as things are out of their warehouse, and don’t seem to have any interest in the fans buying this line beyond that.