Subpocalypse, Cont’d > The Four Horsemen Make a Personal Appeal

The Four Horsemen have been asked by Mattel to intercede on behalf of Masters of the Universe Classics. They posted the following on the forums today:

Hey, all of you He-Fans and She-Ravers!

As we’re sure you’ve all heard by now, the number of subscribers to the 2013 Masters of the Universe Classics Club Eternia at Mattel has dropped drastically from last year to this year. This has put the future of the line in danger of being cancelled altogether.

We’ve seen a lot of the discussion on various message boards and blogs surrounding this issue, and many people have commented that this may be some sort of ruse by Mattel just to sell more subscriptions and that there’s no true danger of the line ending. Well, you should know by now that we’ve always tried to be as open, honest and transparent with the fans as we could possibly be, and we’re telling you now that the Masters of the Universe Classics action figure line IS currently in danger of ending sooner than expected because of a sudden and drastic drop in the number of subscriptions to the line.

Continued after the jump…

Mattel has never reached out to us for our assistance about anything of this nature in the past. In this case they have, so we know this is serious and we’re 100% confident that everything you’ve heard described by them is absolutely true, but it also tells us that there are people at Mattel that are as passionate about this stuff as many of the fans are and don’t want to see it end prematurely again. They’re not trying to get subscriptions because they need the extra money. As beloved as Masters of the Universe Classics is, monetarily it’s barely a blip on Mattel’s enormous radar. MotU Classics is a sort of love letter to all of the fans of the property who’ve kept the Eternian fire alive for this line over the past thirty years, and hopefully will continue supporting the property in their usual rabid manor however they can for many years to come.

We’re not going to get into the speculation of why or how the number of subscriptions might have so drastically dropped between last year and this year. You’ve probably read all of that stuff over and over again at this point. But we will say that even with the hiccups that have taken place throughout the history of the MotU Classics line, we still feel that it’s still one of the coolest toy lines produced today (possibly ever – at the risk of sounding conceited), and it amazes us that a massive corporation like Mattel has such love for the toy line and the fans that they’d continue to make every effort to produce the figures even without any sort of media backing or any huge return on their dollars invested. What may seem like just a giant toy producing machine to many of you, is actually a large group of people that are just as excited and anticipatory as each of you are about each new MotU Classics figure’s release. When these “hiccups” within the line occur, you can bet that it upsets them just as much as, if not more than, it upsets you and us.

So what happens now? Well, at this point we’re going to beg you to subscribe if you haven’t already. And the only real reason we’re begging at this point is so we’ll all have a shot at getting all of those awesome characters that you’ve all wanted to see in 3D plastic form in the MotU Classics line since it’s inception. We want them too! Ninjor? Mermista? Dragstor? Octavia? Squeeeze? Hydron? Peekablue? Saurod? Rio Blast? Batros? Gwildor? (okay… maybe not Gwildor) Freakin TWO-BAD?!? C’mon. Cornboy WANTS his Two-Bad… Are you going to make Cornboy cry? Don’t make Cornboy cry. There are obviously many more characters we could list here, but you get the idea.

We’re not saying that any of the characters listed above are currently scheduled to be made, and we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to get to every single character that’s been requested, but what we can guarantee is that if the subscription levels needed to keep this line alive are not met, there’s absolutely no way we’ll get to see all of the characters we’d like to see in MotU Classics.

So, the bottom line is – PLEASE subscribe, and please spread the word as much as possible to get others to subscribe as well. There’s only a little more than a week left to get your subscription rolling, so time is of the essence. You can go here to begin your 2013 subscription to the MotU Classics Club Eternia.

We’re not asking as a bunch of guys who’re working on the line. We’re asking as fans of Master of the Universe and this toy line. Please subscribe to the 2013 Masters of the Universe Classics Club Eternia.



Personally, I’ve never doubted the line was in genuine jeopardy. I just don’t know that there’s any way to get the numbers up to where they need to be now.

Interestingly enough, judging from my poll it appears that the main reason for people not re-subscribing isn’t the price, isn’t Scott Neitlich, isn’t the character selection (i.e., Star Sisters, Fighting Foe Men) – but Digital River. How utterly sad it is that MOTUC may be done in by no more than the terrible e-commerce outsourcing company Mattel chose. I can’t imagine how many more qualified vendors there are out there. I suspect I’m on the right track in thinking DR was the lowest bidder – whom Mattel went with because MOTUC and its fellow adult collector’s lines were “barely a blip on Mattel’s enormous radar.”

As for me? I am not going to make an appeal for you all to subscribe; it would be hypocritical. I just barely made the decision to subscribe myself, and part of the reason I did so was because I felt a mild obligation to continue reviewing the line for you folks, plus the extra traffic I’d get might help lure some new advertisers and thus offset some of the sub cost. Full disclosure: I even briefly considered a Kickstarter “Help cover Poe’s sub” drive before realizing what a horrible, selfish idea that was.

Anyway, point is, I ain’t asking you to subscribe.


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  1. Aaron

    This is a very hard decision. I love MOTU but I don't want most of the characters that are produced. I really dislike this subscription idea.

  2. I think it's the international fans we are missing. The new shipping cost causes them to pay high duties! There are a lot of international MOTU fans! Just my thoughts…

    • toyman

      I think you are right too. Besides the retailers opting out this year, sub numbers have definitely dropped do to the price increase and losing a majority of the international folks.

  3. toyman

    You know, it occurred to me that the missing subscribers preventing the 2013 sub from hitting it's minimum might very well be most of the online retailers and comic/specialty shops. I'm not sure if this has been discussed here or on another site yet, but I don't think there are too many people who signed up last year and didn't sign up this year. The low numbers are from retailers who see their stores still stocked with the Star Sisters and other duds and don't want the risk of it happening again next year. They took the risk in 2012 because they knew they'd be getting the highly demanded Shadow Weaver. In 2013 they'd be stuck with the fairly unimpressive King He-Man (I like him but it appears that many do not), not to mention the FFM. I sub every year but it's obvious that the "cherry pickers" are the ones who kept the line going, either from day of sales or purchasing from the retailers. Now the retailers aren't biting, hence the drop in sub numbers. Just my thoughts anyway.

    • Brilliant analysis. I hadn't even thought of the online retailers, but that totally rings true. Why would Mattel go to all the trouble of forcing unwanted characters on people? Could the profit margins on the star sisters have been THAT dramatic over a figure that more people wanted?
      I like King He-Man too, and in fact was really excited at almost all of the reveals. I bought my sub (and DCIE sub) immediately. I guess I am in the minority though. It's sad that all the negatives have outweighed the desire for cool toys for a lot of people. For me, I am done with all the politics and negativity. I just want the toys.

  4. Man, I wish Mattel put half this much effort in to saving the Ghostbusters line and Sub last year. 😉

    Forget passionate videos, and pleas from the 4H… I just woke up one day with an email saying "GB Sub cancelled". o.0 That was it – no warning, no nothing. At least now, I can prepare for the inevitable outcome with MOTUC… sadly, I think the line is screwed!

  5. Dark Angel


  6. Misterbigbo

    I echo Dayraven in that I won't be subbing, but believe the plight a bit more; i still can't justify a sub to get only Ram Man.

    But be warned, Matty, if after all this you don't make quota but still run the line, as you did last year with DCUC, that'll be it. You'll gnash your teeth and wring your hands come 2014, and your fans who still haven't gotten Modulok or whoever might wail, but nobody else will be fooled. And it won't be the fans killin teh lien.

  7. Dead Man Walking

    DEATH TO MOTUC! Lalalalalalalalala!

  8. stack32

    I have to admit I think it's pretty funny that Toyguru's credibility is so low that Mattel has to call in the Four Horsemen to make us believe the sub is actually in jeopardy.

  9. Composite Ghost

    Don't worry. We can get Igear to make Cram Man for us and it will look just like it was sculpted by the Four Horsemen.

  10. dayraven

    i trust that the horsemen are on the level, so if they're asking us for help, that's fine, i'm not going to naysay their request… but it doesn't compel me to sub up either. it's just that now, i respect the situation as legit, and not as a ploy.

    that doesn't commit me though to any course of action. just because i know there are legit concerns that the line will die, i am still more than entitled to my legit concerns that the line will continue in the kind of half-assed manner it has thusfar. there's nothing in the horsemen's appeal that says "we're doubling down on QC so that the toys you buy will be as awesome as a 30 dollar toy ought to be," or "we'll be handling all the press from now on so that two-bit hack toy guru can spend all his time up geoff johns' ass, where he's clearly most comfortable anyways" or "we'll see to it that from now on, only poe and noisy are sent pre-production samples of motuc, as a cost saving measure." or any of that.

    all we're hearing is "hey guys, the 30 dollar figs these guys sell, that we sculpt (but only when you don't like the sculpt or design), that are half as cool as the 30 dollar figs we make and sell in-house, are on the chopping block. voiding this line might be exactly the kick in the pants we need to make our studio the next big thing in small toy production because we'll have time to dedicate to our fans and our products, so please, think responsibly and take motuc out back like old yeller and put his ass down."

    or at least, that's how the appeal should have gone. 🙂

    what will make cornboy cry harder, the sadness of losing motuc, or the joy of getting his studio off the ground and truly independent so that they can make the toys THEY want to make, on THEIR schedule, and reap ALL the rewards? getting SMAA made me approx 1/10000th as happy as buy day for the raven will… and that's the bottom line, because stone cold said so!

    • ero

      So you're not going to naysay their request?

    • Don't you think that the Money Mattel Pays the 4H is partly responsible for how they are able to make the figures they want? If they lose the DC line from Mattel and the MOTUC line from Mattel, Where will they get the income to be able to produce their own toy line?

    • Mario

      I doubt they'd be unemployed for too long.

      That said, to all who are worried about receiving figures they don't want, if the sub goes through, those who did not sub will still have to get their figures somewhere, right? Considering how limited the 2013 line may end up being, it won't be too hard to move any unwanted figs.

  11. Mysterious Stranger

    So has the possibility of a few figures coming out next year if the sub fails no longer an option? Didn't Toyguru say that if the sub doesn't go through then we'll be down to just 6 or so figures at a higher price point next year? I'd think that figures like Ram Man and the others we saw at SDCC are in some stage of production so we'll most likely see at least those. Yes we'll have to fight the WSOD and deal with DR on day of sale but that's better than not getting anything at all.

    • The others are a possibility, but evidently Ram Man isn't because of the extra tooling he'd require – or so Neitlich wrote.

      I'm tempted to call BS on this because if he's a January figure, chances are RM's tools have already been made. Don't they operate 6-9 months in advance?

    • Dark Angel

      We have been typically told that 6-8 months out is too late to make changes to a figure – and since Ram-Man is a new set of tooling, he virtually has to be in production by now.

    • Mysterious Stranger

      That's what I though too. 6-8 months out to be in some form of production, meaning tools are cut and paint masks ready to go at the least. So if Ram Man is truly a January figure then he should be ramping up for production as we speak.

  12. 4H's post does have more cachet, but I think I've already gotten past my initial frustration and suspicion of the situation to realize it's the real deal and not just a blatant marketing move by Mattel. Unfortunately, I'm just not moved to subscribe. It's a huge investment that I can't make, and I'm not interested in all of the characters. I'll be really disappointed if I can't get favorites like Ram-Man and Dragstor, but those will just be the breaks. Sadly, the line can't last forever.

  13. JAWart

    Why aren't you asking people to subscribe?

    I've been with you and your site since the beginning of this line. I understand that many MOTUC customers, including yourself, have become more than disgruntled by issues with Digital River, quality control and Mattel in general, to the point of becoming down right jaded. But have we become such haters that we can't recognize all the hard work and love that has gone into this line, or how much this line has done for us?

    As a community of fans and collectors I think we strive to reconnect to our childhoods, nourishing that connection with, what other noncollectors see as, bits of plastic or paper. The Four Horsemen, Toy Guru and Mattel have managed to do something I never would have thought would happen. Not only have they resurrected MOTU but they've turned into one of the best collector lines out there as well as putting MOTU back on the map. I think that has everything to do with them being fan's themselves and wanting to include the rest of us in as many of the details as they're allowed.

    I think it's easy for us to take for granted now that we're 5 years in. It's easy to complain about the mistakes they've made or how we've been wronged. It's easy to place blame on corporations or on quality control or on the face of the line. It's easy to forget that not every toy line goes to such length to include it's fans in the process. To make, not just a toy or even an adult collector toy, but to make a community.

    At the end of the day if the 2013 line fails, it will be our decision, not theirs. We'll blame them for it until the cows come home, and some of that blame will surely be justified, but it's still our decision.

    • "Why aren't you asking people to subscribe?"

      Partly because I barely subscribed myself and would feel hypocritical, but mainly because I hate asking anyone to do anything (unless they work for me).

      If I felt more strongly about the sub I might be willing to make a plea, but with all that's gone on in this line – Digital River, QC, Mighty Spector, Star Sisters, my Wind Raider fiasco – it's really difficult to make the case.

      It's not that I'm pretending to be above that sort of thing. Right now, if I knew S.H.MonsterArts were in danger of being cancelled unless a particular figure was bought in sufficient quantities, I might make a mild plea for people to try the line out. But with all of MOTUC's baggage and my own personal declining interest in the line, such a plea would be disingenuous at best, and if nothing else, I've always striven to be honest on this blog.

    • What bothers me is when some writers or commentators go beyond asking people to subscribe for the sub into trying to make them feel guilty for not doing so.

    • JAWart

      I didn't mean to offend, and I hope I haven't. I think too often my passion for MOTUC causes me to run on for a bit.

      I guess I'm just feeling like your site is becoming sort of a hot spot for negativity surrounding MOTUC. I guess I didn't mean to ask "why you aren't asking people to subscribe" as much as wanted to know why, if you're still subing in and reviewing the line, there isn't a little sweet with the sour… a little positivity to balance the negative? Surely there must be something you still love about MOTUC?

    • Well, the main reason I'm continuing to cover the story is because it's news. I'm trying not to put too much of a negative slant in my own reporting, aside from the fact that at this point I'm a bit pessimistic that the target sub number will be reached.

      As for a more positive attitude, honestly I've been feeling a little better about the line itself of late. That said, I really haven't had time to write any reviews (thankfully a Power Pal is going to step up to help out). I will be reviewing Spikor, and I'm excited about him. He gives me that warm old-timey MOTU feeling more than any figure has in a while.

    • I'll perface this by saying I've already subscribed, and while I agree with your points I think they are the exact reason many people have bowed out, and why I was on the fence myself – I have no nostalgia for POP, NA or Filmation. All I knew, and am thus interested in, were the Vintage and the 200X figures, so every release that isn't a familiar face from those two cache's was $30, now $40, out the window. Sure some of the figures ended up being cool, like Shadow Weaver, Bow, Optikk, and I'm happy to have them, there's still low tier characters and/or uncompelling designs like Frosta, Slushhead, Carnivus and most unforgivably the Star Sisters, that I have absolutely no interest in. But, between the ease of not dealing with DOS/WSOD and my completist tendencies I still buy in. And while there's plenty of characters I'd still like to see made, similar to Poe I feel, the downsides are too plain to see that I can't begrudge folks for choosing not sub. Lord knows I'd really be spending this money on the myriad of other lines I collect.

    • stack32

      I'm not sure anyone else feels this way, but to me once someone running a major toy site starts pleading for a line I don't feel I can really trust them anymore. For example, can anyone take AFI seriously on Mattel-related subjects? And if those same people are already getting free figures then I think there's a definite risk of losing credibility. Maybe that's not a concern for many, but I appreciate those who consider such things.

  14. ero

    If I may, Poe, what made this such a great site was your regular, awesome reviews of DCUC and MOTUC. Without your reviews (and later, Noisy's) I wouldn't have gotten nearly as into either line as I did. I realize you don't want to push the sub (for a variety of reasons), and that your interest and excitement has waned, but I don't think it would hurt anything if you expressed some enthusiasm for the line. You know, just for old time's sake? 🙂

    • Sorry, ero, you're probably right 🙂 I really was into that line for a while, but ultimately I just got tired of seeing the same body parts over and over again (plus the QC and availability issues). And also I lacked any fondness for any of the characters outside the Bat-family.

      That said, I've preordered the Red Robin figure and plan to review it, so there's that, at least, and I'll review Poison Ivy and Black Mask when they arrive.

    • ero

      Thanks Poe. I was actually speaking more to MOTUC than anything, but in replying to Noisy, I see where that's not really evident.

  15. I think the DC sub is getting drowned out by the MOTU Crisis, many of us are distracted, Toy Guru included.

    I’ve written two Truetorials on this, the first one not published, and while I intended to make larger points about both Clubs, I ended up talking mostly MOTU.

    • MegaGearMax

      I am very surprised about DC though. I knew the New 52 took Mattel by surprise last year, but this year? I liked the lineup enough to sign up for the 2013 sub. I mean Wally West, Larfleeze and Saint Walker!

      Why aren't people signing up? Do they already have all of the major characters? Are the sub figures too obscure?

    • FWIW, I started a write up about all of this and its starting to turn into a five part article series on how MattyCollector is really a startup and failing really badly at it.

  16. George

    Although its somewhat funny, I think its horrible how they are treating the end of the line so bad, MOTU fed Mattel through out the 80's and now 30 years later they supposedly can't make a buck off of them. They should at least finish off the line for old times sake…I mean Ram-man.

    • ero

      Really, this whole line has been for "old time's sake."

  17. Fengschwing

    Is it just me, or does no-one seem terribly worried that DCIE is circling the drain too?

    • I ctually thought it was already cancelled.

    • I'm just not reporting on it…don't really see how there's any way it'll happen.

    • Fengschwing

      Please don't consider that as a slight against your good self Poe, it just seems like a web-wide thing. Last year we had SAVE DCUC every where, this year it seems to be a lot of shrugging and 'well that's that then' it just seems a bit odd to me.

    • Maybe there's just realization that there's only so long you can fight off the inevitable.

    • Bigbot

      Well, we know DC will still exist in 6" form. Teams may remain incomplete, but that happens. MOTUC on the other hand has no other line to supplant it.

    • And lets not forget that even with all the campaigning and extensions DCIE still didn't hit quota last year. Because of that it was clear the line was DOA all the way back then, and I say that as a DC collector who scubscribed last and this year.

      If I learned anything at SDCC this year it was 100% that DCUC flourished as a replacement Marvel Legends in the market place. Just looking at the internal company support, the number of vendor booths selling ML vs DCUC (and the volumes) AND the third-of-the-room crowd at Mattel's DC panel versus the standing-room-only at the Marvel panel. I'd really, really like to see the sub happen, but there's is just obviously not enough support for it.

    • "If I learned anything at SDCC this year it was 100% that DCUC flourished as a replacement Marvel Legends in the market place."

      I've always suspected this was true. However, had DC been better about managing its brand, and Mattel better about managing DCUC, they could have built some real brand loyalty.

    • Bigbot

      I believe that too. DC filled a void Hasbro left for too long. Once Marvel Legends came back the name-brand recognition of Marvel was more than enough for Hasbro to get back the 6" superhero market.

    • Mario

      I don't buy that. They're two separate entities, with different fanbases, & are ultimately nothing alike. DCUC did not last 20 waves because there was no Marvel Legends around.

    • Tribsaint

      It certainly did not hurt. I read both companies as a kid, batman is my all time favorite character, and given the choice between only being able to buy DCUC or Legends. I'd buy legends all day, every day.

    • Mario

      Sure, in the early goings, those jones-ing for something to fill the void bought in, but in the end, as you say, Marvel Legends fans buy them "all day, every day", thus, DCUC quickly became another heel line for said fans, & they wished & prayed that the world would give them they're beloved Marvel Legends back.

      As far as reading both companies goes, I did as well, but we're talking figures here, not comics. For my money, DCUC was/is the superior line. It had better overall character selection, & mainly, better overall quality. The only Toy Biz era Marvel Legend I still own is Beta Ray Bill. As far as I'm concerned, that's the only SOLID figure that line put out. Everything else, IMHO, was an inconsistent mess.

    • Tribsaint

      I only brought up the comics to say I am not a marvel only reader. If so it would make prefect sense to prefer legends. As someone who enjoys both companies characters. I choose legends.

      It's a matter of presonal opinion, I would disagree with your assertions of DCUC's supiorortiy on just about any level (varying from wave to wave) but overall. But if both lines (in one form or another) still grace the pegs I'll buy both. If it came down to hard choices legends wins.

      Besides hard hunting I never had an impossible time finding legends (hell I bought 4 deadpools at retail) I have 3 unfinished Dcuc CnC. Mattel is a headache and I do believe all the mattel chickens are coming home to roost.

      This happens with a lot of companies Todd, toy biz, whoever all get their day in the sun but there is always a twilight. The only company that seems to be long at the party is neca.

      I personally hope all Mattels subs fail. That way the can reflect and evaluate and come back in a big way or fade away like Todd.

      We got some great toys from Mattel but it might just be time to let go….

    • Mario

      Great points on the whole, but I'll still have to respectfully disagree about Marvel Legends, & I don't think Mattel's time is up just yet, but I know that I'm in the minority with that line of thought.

    • kid nicky

      To say a DCUC figure was a higher quality product than <insert any other product ever made here> is silly.
      I bought them out of my like of the characters and my nolstalgia for the Kenner line, but they are terribly made toys. Whereas I bought MLs of people I only know from their trading cards.

    • Mario

      Terribly made toys? That's a bit extreme, I'd say, but hey, you are entitled to your opinion, for sure. Also, I'm not certain I understand how the last phrase explains that Marvel Legends are better figs.

    • Bigbot

      It's to show he's saying DCUC were not of superior quality even though he has more attachment to DC than Marvel.

    • I would dearly love to give Mattel (or Big Bad Toy Store, or whoever…) $65, $70 for Elasti-Girl. Not $265 or whatever plus postage, fees, blah for extortion–I mean, subscription. I don't think about it much, but apparently I'm violently opposed to subs…

    • It's nice when they're an OPTION, not the only way to get the toys.

    • MegaGearMax

      Even Toyguru isn't too concerned about DC this year.

      "For DCU I did my begging last year. I shouldn't need to beg each year.

      Last year we asked you to take a risk seeing very little of the items. This year you saw not only ALL of 2012 but the first 5 months of 2013. If that is not enough sell the min number of units their isn't much begging I can do."

      If MOTUC goes down, then goes down as well!

  18. ero

    Just bought a sub. First time ever. Go MOTUC!

  19. Well, here's hoping!

    Come on, guys. If this sub goes through, Neitlich indicated that he'll try to wrap up as many fan requests as possible before the end of 2014 (and probably the line). You'll regret not getting that stuff.

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