Tag Archives: mattel

Super-Articulate: Catching Up on DC Multiverse

Let me set the parameters on this one right away. This isn’t an exhaustive look. It’s more of a highlight reel of the past few assortments of DC Multiverse figures. I’ll be checking back in with DC Mutliverse a few times throughout the year; unfortunately, as the DC master license leaves Mattel, the line is on a ticking clock. On the upside, I think that the character selection and sculpts have steadily improved over time; the downside, again, is that Mattel will stop making DC figures after a couple of years filled with some exciting choices.

Presently, a new assortment is making its way to stores; it’s a four-figure wave featuring Batman Beyond, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner (in his classic outfit), Kingdom Come Superman, Kid Flash (DC Rebirth), and a Lobo Collect & Connect figure. We don’t have any of those to show yet; as for myself, I only plan on getting the Kid Flash, as I have representations of the other characters that I’m pleased with. And that brings up a salient point. Be a completest if you want, but you’ll be a happier collector if you simply buy what you dig.

So, with our column today, I’m going to go back to a pair of figures from 2017, and several more from throughout 2018. First up is Batwing, which featured in the Batman Exo-Suit/Rookie Wave from Summer of that year. I chose to go all the way back to Batwing because he’s an interesting figure and it’s running fairly inexpensively on eBay. If I’m not interested in a C&C figure for a particular wave, then I’m totally comfortable picking up loose figures online for less rather than paying full price with pieces I don’t want.

At any rate, Batwing is a decent, not spectacular, figure. I’m really glad he was made, particularly because of the key role he plays in the excellent Detective Comics run in Rebirth. I do wish there had been a swappable head for him because I’m certain that not a lot of people outside of the direct readership realize that he’s a member of an underrepresented community. I do like the wing assembly; despite the weight of the thing, the figure is still able to stand, which is a huge plus. Not great, but certainly good.

Wonder Girl from late 2017, however, is excellent. Great sculpt, solid presentation of a character that many have loved since Young Justice, then Teen Titans, then Young Justice on TV. The only bummer was that if you wanted the rest of the Doctor Psycho C&C figure, you had to get a DKIII Wonder Woman. I didn’t care for the story, the design, or the figure, so I passed. But, as for Wonder Girl herself, very well-done. I really like the way that the lasso hangs on the figure, and there’s some fine detail in the hair. She’s looks great next to the Superboy on the shelf.

Batwoman and Green Lantern Jessica Cruz came from the spring/summer 2018 Clayface C&C series, and that’s a great set overall. With that one, DCM went all in on Rebirth. I vastly prefer those to the TV and film figures; in fact, I think that the overabundance of TV, Justice League film, and Dark Knight Returns figures really hurt the line. Some of those figures continue to hang in stores. While the face on Jessica Cruz isn’t the greatest, I’m simply delighted the figure exists at all. I took a picture of the back to show that the costume detail continued on both sides, which is great. The power battery is well-done, the power effects are okay, and it’s generally an agreeable figure. Batwoman is the superior of the two; the extra head is great, but the mask is particularly well-sculpted. It’s kind of shock to consider how few Kate Kane figures there have actually been between DC Direct/Collectibles and Mattel, so we should be glad that we got this one.

The final two I’m looking at come from the DC Rebirth Lex Luthor C&C wave, and those are The Ray and Spoiler, which started dropping in November. This is a generally solid wave, and a strong reminder that DCM was doing their best when they were doing Rebirth. Their plan through 2019 really shows that they were determined to present a strong assemblage of characters from Detective, Justice League, Justice League of America, and the Titans titles, and they were doing pretty damn good job of it. Again, a shame this license is leaving now.

The utter lack of a mass market Spoiler until now has been confounding, but I’m glad she’s here. I’m a little bummed we didn’t get the original look first, but for God’s sake, at least it’s Stephanie! This is a rock-solid figure. Well-designed, well-sculpted, and with nice hood and hair elements, I’m sure it made a lot of fans happy. I wish that she had a little more articulation, but it’s a damn fine addition to Bat-or-teen-hero shelf.

I’ve been a fan of The Ray for years, and I’m glad he’s gotten more a spotlight with the CW Seed animation, the Crisis on Earth-X CW appearance, and his prominent role in Justice League of America. This is a GREAT figure, hands-down. Speaking of hands, it comes with two extras and a “smiley” head; I prefer the serious in this case. But this just another solid, well-sculpted, well-painted figure. I know he’s a little hard to find, but I grabbed one on eBay for less than store price, so I felt pretty good about that. As a matter of act, all of these figures are fairly findable on eBay for decent prices, outside of Jessica Cruz; that one takes more work, but it can still be found in the 20s, despite the fact that some people are pricing Buy It Nows in the $60 range.

At this point, I plan to get Vixen and Rebirth Kid Flash, which are still in release, Katana at year’s end, and several entries in the Killer Croc C&C wave, notably Red Hood and Alfred. Have you been enjoying DC Multiverse? Will you be sad to see it go? What do you want to see before the end of 2019? Thanks for reading, and comment away.

Mattel Loses the Licensing Rights for Some DC Comics Toys

Mattel logo

It’s a rough end of the year for Mattel as their stock took a slide Monday after news broke they’d be losing some of the licensing rights to DC Comics toys including boys’ action toys.

Spin Master Corp. will be the new licensee for DC in the “boys’ action category, remote control and robotic vehicles, water toys, and games and puzzles.” The three year deal begins in spring 2020.

Mattel will be the licensing rifhts for preschool and girls’ toys.

Mattel had a rough year reporting gross sales of $303.9 million of its partner brans as of September 30. That was down 15% compared to the same time last year. They attributed that to lower sales of DC Comics girls and boys product. The stock has dropped nearly 40% this year. Earlier this year they said they were cutting over 2,200 jobs as part of a cost-cutting plan needed after the end of Toys R Us which has negatively impacted the toy industry this year.

A Goldman analyst said that Mattel would attempt to get new licensees and they noted that Hasbro’s deal with Marvel and Star Wars expires in 2020.

There has been persistent rumors that rival Hasbro would attempt to purchase Mattel, that included a “takeover offer” in 2017.

San Diego Comic-Con 2019 and Toy Fair, where many of the next year’s toys debut, will be interesting. The latter is a bit soon for Mattel to unveil a lot, especially new licenses, but the former will be a key time for them to make a splash.

(via Los Angeles Times)

Hasbro Makes a Takeover Offer for Mattel

Hasbro has made a takeover offer for their rival Mattel. The deal would bring the two biggest U.S. toy makers together.

The terms haven’t been revealed and the deal may go nowhere.

Hasbro has properties such as Star Wars, My Little Pony, G.I. Joe, and Transformers as well as the Marvel toy license while Mattel has Monster High, Masters of the Universe, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Barbie, and the DC Comics toy license.

When it comes to board games, Mattel has properties such as Uno, Apples to Apples, and Pictionary. Hasbro has games such as Monopoly, Battleship, Operation, and more.

 

Mattel hasn’t been doing well this year and has a market value of $5 billion while Hasbro’s stands at more than #11 billion. Mattel shares have fallen 47% this year while Hasbro has gained 18%.

(via The Wallstreet Journal)

Check Out the New Batmobile at San Diego Comic-Con

Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Mattel are set to arrive in style and rev things up at San Diego Comic-Con 2017 with the Justice League Batmobile, before Gotham City’s most iconic vehicle roars onto screens November 17 in Warner Bros. Pictures’ highly anticipated action-adventure feature film Justice League. Fans are able to get an up-close look at the Ultimate Justice League Batmobile at its first public showcase in Mattel Booth #3029.

The hybrid prototype military and civilian vehicle, reaching speeds of up to 205 MPH, has been integrated with the latest in covert military grade armaments as well as stealth and active protective systems. With twin .50 caliber retractable machine guns, missile launchers and more, the Justice League Batmobile is over 20 feet long and weighs in at a whopping 8,500 lbs. Mattel will also release a RC replica of the Justice League Batmobile that will be available for presale at retailers nationwide, beginning July 20,2017.

Inspired by its real-life counterpart, the Ultimate Justice League Batmobile comes to life in epic detail, complete with RC functionality, premium deco and real-world features. The remote-controlled Batmobile features smoke release from the exhaust pipe, moving missiles on the hood of the vehicle, roaring engine sounds, and four armored up wheels. Through an app-enabled tablet or smartphone, users can assume the role of the Batman and take complete control of the Batmobile, all from the palm of their hand!

Unboxing: Batman Unlimited and Batman v Superman Mighty Mini’s Plus a Trick to Prevent Doubles!

I crack open two packs from the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Mystery Mini’s Series 2 and six packs of Batman Unlimited Mystery Mins Series 1.

Plus, I reveal how we purchase mystery blind packs and prevent getting doubles, saving money!

For those wondering about the codes mentioned:

Batman v Superman:
05360B.P – Batman
05460B.R – Aquaman

Batman Unlimited:
14760B.A – Batman
14760B.B – Batman Beyond
14760B.C – ?
14760B.D – ?
14760B.E – Robin
14760B.F – Green Arrow
14760B.G – The Flash
14760B.H – Cyborg

DC Super Hero Girls Gets All Sorts of New Toys

At San Diego Comic-Con DC Super Hero Girls was front and center in many ways with lots of new toys on display and making their debut. Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Batgirl are about to get a whole bunch of friends (and toys based on them).

Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet made its debut. It’ll be available from Mattel this fall.

Invisible Jet

Starfire joins the line and flies on to shelves.

Starfire

The superheroes get a new size with mini Super Hero Vinyls that features them on their signature items.

mini Super Hero Vinyls

Hot Wheels character cars inspired by the characters in DC Super Hero Girls will be rolling out.

DC Super Hero Girls Hotwheels Supergirl

Finally, Wonder Woman gets a plush figure!

Wonder Woman plush

This is just some of the items that’ll become available over the next months.

Mattel’s San Diego Comic-Con Exclusives Go On Sale Monday

Mattel_logoThis Monday at noon ET Mattel‘s exclusives from San Diego Comic-Con go on sale. If you didn’t make the show, or weren’t able to pick them up there, you can get some of the exclusives online.

Here’s the full list of products available:

  • DC Comics™ Multiverse Wonder Woman™ Figure + Invisible Jet – $15
  • DC Super Hero Girls Katana – $40
  • Disney Pixar Cars Precision Series Die-Cast Dirt Track Fabulous Hudson Hornet Vehicle – $25
  • Ghostbusters™ Lights & Sounds Multi-Pack – $24.99
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe® She-Ra® – $75
  • WWE® Elite Figure Shockmaster™ Limited Edition – $30
  • Kubros TMNT – Leonardo™ vs. Bebop™ Special Edition Set – $25
  • Kubros TMNT – Michelangelo™ vs. Rocksteady™ Special Edition Set – $25

There will be limited quantities, so good luck!

Tidewater Comicon 2016: Interview with Writer Tini Howard

tinihoward

On Saturday, at Tidewater Comicon, I had the opportunity to do the first interview with writer Tini Howard about her upcoming espionage, sci-fi thriller Skeptics for Black Mask Studios. The comic is set to come out later this year and features art from Devaki Neogi (Curb Stomp). We also talked about how she broke into comics, her upcoming work on the Barbie: Starlight, and there’s even a surprise cameo from a Marvel character near and dear to both our hearts.

PoseidonIX1

Graphic Policy: I know you broke into comics through the 2013 Top Cow Talent Hunt. How did that come about?

Tini Howard: I was a finalist in the contest in 2013, and my Magdalena: Seventh Sacrament comic debuted in December 2014 on the same day as Secret Six and Bitch Planet. I was in the company of my heroes. Magdalena was my first work for them, and I was pitching various things for Top Cow. As everyone in the industry knows, we kiss a lot of frogs. Then, I got to do Poseidon IX in September 2015. In the meantime, I’ve been doing anthologies like Secret Loves of Geek Girls.

A friend of mine, Chris Sebela, once said, “Your first in year in comics you do one book; the second year, you do three; and in year three, you do ten.” And my third year is crazy because I’ve got a lot of comics coming out. It’s a been a slow ride. Your first book hits Previews, and you think, “Oh, I’ll be doing Batman tomorrow.”, and that’s not how it works.

TheSkeptics_Cover_1_200pxGP: So, you have The Skeptics coming out from Black Mask later this year. What can Black Mask or general comics readers expect from the series?

TH: I’ve been pitching The Skeptics as X-Men: First Class meets Project Alpha and James Randi in An Honest Liar meets Grant Morrison’s Kill Your Boyfriend. I’m a huge Grant Morrison fan and love the energy in things like Kill Your Boyfriend Sex Criminals, and Saga, and the idea that this girl and this guy are on the run together. It’s a dynamic that I love.

Skeptics focuses on that and features two teenagers in Washington DC in the 1960s. There are Russian reports of superpowered individuals, and two teenagers are selected to appear as an American superpowered equivalent in order to prove that the Russian threat is also false. It doesn’t go that way, and hijinks ensue.

Our two main characters are named Max and Mary, and they’re from very different worlds. Mary is a hardworking academic and an American girl while Max is a British criminal. He’s very skilled with sleight of hand and fast talking, and Mary is incredibly intelligent and often underestimated because she’s an African American student in the 1960s. She uses that to her advantage. But it’s cool because she’s very much a good girl. It’s like Kill Your Boyfriend where she’s learning how to be bad and be unafraid to get one up on people. This is while Max is learning to be a better person. They work with a professor of theirs to hopefully disprove the Russian threat.

GP: Your lead character is an African American female scientist in the 1960s. Did you have any real life scientists you were inspired by when creating Mary?

TH: There are actually two female scientists in the series. There is Dr. Santaclara, who is South American, and she is inspired by a family member of mine and also Sophia Loren. We end up with a lot of sexy scientists, like Tony Stark, but there aren’t a lot of women like that in comics, and that’s what we have with Dr. Santaclara, their professor.

And then we have Mary, who is a psych student, and I did a lot of research into academia in the 1960s. You watch a lot of things like Mad Men, and there’s an assumption that a lot of non-white people were relegated to background roles or tragedy stories. In my research, I found out Harvard had its first African American female graduate in the 19th century. It’s stuff you don’t know. I come from a super white background, and my history books didn’t teach me that. The research taught me about women in academia, who were working hard (And I don’t want to say were included in academia because they were pushed out a lot.) back then, and you don’t see them in these kind of stories.

I didn’t want to tell this super aggressive Civil Rights story because I don’t feel like it’s my place. I feel that there are people, who are way more suited to tell that story than me, but, at the same time, I wanted to tell a story about someone who was doing her best, was an intellectual, and was a real person.

NeogiCurbStompGP: I’m a big fan of Devaki Neogi and really enjoyed her work on Curb Stomp. Why was she the perfect artist for this project?

TH: She was my first and only pick, and I got her. I had been friends with her on social media for a while and saw she had some availability. I loved her work on Curb Stomp, and her beautiful covers for another Black Mask book, Kim and Kim that I can’t wait for Mags [Visaggio] to share. Devaki also has a background in fashion illustration, and The Skeptics is a book that isn’t high action. It’s not a superhero book. There’s a lot of quiet tension and not a lot of punching and flying.

I wanted an artist, who was really good at depicting tension, expression, and fashion. Because I love the period, and the mod and preppy styles of the time. Mary is gorgeous with A-line skirts and big curls. Max has all these mod suits, and Dr. Santaclara is this Sophia Loren fabulous woman. Devaki and I have a Pinterest where I pin all these Sixties fashion photos. We get really excited about it.

Devaki was the only artist I had in mind while developing the series, and Matt [Pizzolo] got her because he knew her from some work she had done at Black Mask before. I am excited to work with her. Her style can be this classic comics illustrative style, and it looks just like I dreamed it would.

GP: About Black Mask, why were they the perfect publisher for The Skeptics?

TH: So, I developed The Skeptics not knowing where I wanted it to go. I instantly realized that it didn’t have what a lot of publishers wanted because it’s weird, tense, and historical instead of being a high action, sci-fi book that they’re interested in.

Black Mask is different. I’m a huge fan of a lot of their books, like We Can Never Go Home, which has a lot of quiet moments. I submitted via the open submissions policy and was very lucky. Matt was able to look at my pitch from the slush pile and got back to me very quickly about publishing it. It was a slush pile success story.

GP: What elements of the 1960s are you going to focus on in the themes, designs etc of The Skeptics?

TH: Well, it’s a Cold War story, for one. I’m very interested in academia. I’m originally from DC so that setting is important to me, and the first issue features certain DC landmarks like Ben’s Chili Bowl. It’s big for DC people, but a lot of people might not know it. There’s some influence from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys with the mystery solving. Our main characters are always creeping around solving mysteries. The Skeptics has that 1960s pulp paperback feel.

I teasingly have called the year in press materials “1960X” because it is an alternate history book. The president is Nelson Rockefeller. I did an alternate history for a lot of reasons. I didn’t want people to say, “That couldn’t have happened, but still wanted it rooted in reality so I went that route. It’s definitely set in the early 60s; more early seasons of Mad Men than the later seasons.

GP: You’re also working on Barbie comics. How did you get to work on Barbie: Starlight for Papercutz?barbiestarlight

TH: I got that job the way lots of things happen in comics. You have a friend, and they’re looking for someone to fill a spot. The editor, Beth Bryan, was putting together a team to do Barbie, and three people had suggested me. I was really honored because I told my first stories with Barbie. My favorite drag queen is Trixie Mattel. Barbie has also had this great reinvention lately where she’s focused being for all girls and removing a lot negativity people have towards the brand.

Barbie Starlight is great. I can’t talk too much about the plot because it ties into the upcoming Barbie Starlight movie, but it’s fun, and there are spaceships. We get to do Barbie in space. And while doing research for it, I found out some of the first Barbie comics were done by Amanda Conner. What great footsteps to be in!

GP: Amanda Conner on Barbie? I gotta track those down!

TH: I know! I saw some of the art, and it’s gorgeous. I love Barbie, and what I’m able to do with her. It’s been a lot of fun, and I watch a lot of Life in the Dreamhouse. I definitely would like to work on some of the other toylines too.

GP: What is the difference in your creative process when working on something licensed or work for hire , like Barbie or Top Cow, than on your own creator owned work?

TH: With license work, there is a licenser that licenses the comics rights to a publisher. And with work for hire, if I pitch to Top Cow, and they love it, they don’t have to get an okay from anyone else. If I write a pitch, and they accept it, I can work on it immediately.

If I write a pitch for Barbie, and my editor at Papercutz loves it, she still has to go to Mattel and see if they like it. That’s one difference in the creative process. You’re not just trying to impress an editor because I’ve had projects where the editor enjoys it, and the licenser doesn’t it. It’s a case of who you’re trying to please thematically. Often, work for hire is a little more flexible because it’s their character, and even if you give them an off the wall idea, it’s theirs to do what they wish. They’re not beholden to a licenser. So, I could do a story about cyborg mermen fighting a sea monster.

GP: I’ve seen some of your critical work for Teen Vogue and Paste. How does writing about comics help with your comics writing?

TH: One thing I’m careful to do because the line between comics journalist and comics creator is very fuzzy is that I don’t write reviews. I just vomit some of my relentless positivity about certain books. For Paste, I write about comics that look good to me, or I got to interview David Baillie from Red Thorn. 

GP: That is one sexy book. I’ve got to catch up on it.

TH: Red Thorn is fire. Half the questions I asked were about were about why everyone is so hot. Is it Meghan Hetrick’s fault, or is it yours? I get to talk about creators of the books I like. I get to make lists around theme, like my favorite Robins, or my favorite books about sex or religion.

But I’m careful not to promote work about companies that I write for. That’s something some people choose to do. It’s self-imposed and imposed by the higher-ups. It’s a conflict of interest. It’s not a fair to promote a company’s work on a website when I’m getting paid by the publisher.

My work isn’t “critical”. I’m just sharing the love. Good comics criticism is so valuable, and what you, Emma, Matt, Ashley, and the people at Comicosity do is so valid. If I were being critical of a creator owned work while I’ve got my creator owned book coming out, I think that looks shady, like, “Don’t buy theirs, buy mine.”

Occasionally, I’ll do observational pieces, like about female writers writing male characters, that got a lot of traction, such as Becky Cloonan on Punisher for Marvel. It’s something I am passionate about and want to see more of.

The only critical work I’ve done is the “boring” kind. I wrote an essay on Dick Grayson for an academic book about Robins. It’s critical work in an academic sense. But I don’t know do reviews or “comics criticism”

GP: I have one last for fun question. I’m a huge Jessica Jones fan and know you are too. For some reason, if Marvel gave you the opportunity to write Jessica Jones, what kind of story would you tell about her?

TH: I have a serious Jessica Jones pitch in my head at all times. It would be great if there was this story where Luke was feeling insecure because Jessica seems like she’s on the phone all the time, or doing something she doesn’t want him to know about. But she’s actually secretly reopening Alias Investigations. I have a dream team of who she hires, like the X-Factor Investigations crew, because that’s one of my favorite Marvel runs.

My dream book is Jessica Jones working with Monet, Rictor, and Shatterstar. And they would call Layla Miller to help because she’s in college, or maybe she’s an adult now. Either this book, or a Daughters of the Dragon comic where Dani and Danny and Misty’s daughters are all grown up. Heroes for Hire is my everything.

Find Tini on Twitter.

Around the Tubes

The Omega Men #10The weekend is almost here! Anyone going to see Batman v Superman? Anyone reading comics? Going to conventions? Sound off in the comments!

While you’re deciding what you’re going to do here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Women Write About Comics – Diamonds in the Rough: Our Problematic Faves, Who Coincidentally, Are Women  – This is a good list.

ICv2 – Mattel Forms Mattel Creations – A very good idea.

Kotaku – 16 Killer Cosplay Shots From WonderCon – Some great stuff here!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

The Daily Gazette – The Nameless City

CBR – The Omega Men #10

ICv2 – Woody Guthrie and the Dust Bowl Ballads HC

Newsarama – Best Shots Rapid-Fire Reviews: Captain America #7, JLA #8, Daredevil #5, More

Around the Tubes

Captain Marvel #2 CoverThe weekend is almost here! We’re going to be reading lots of comics ourselves. What’s everyone else doing?

While you count the hours down, here’s some news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

ICv2 – Ultra Pro Acquires Ruby Mine, Inc. – Cool.

Newsarama – Report: Hasbro And Mattel In Merger Talks – Well that’s interesting.

The Beat – Report: Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter once fished a paper clip out of a trash basket – Well this is interesting.

The Wall Street Journal – A Graphic Novel Looks at War in Iraq – Awesome to see some mainstream coverage.

GamePolitics – The Political Machine 2016 released – Bring it.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – A-Force #2

CBR – Captain Marvel #2

Talking Comics – Grumpy Cat Vol. 1

Talking Comics – Papercuts and Inkstains #1

Comic Attack – Spider-Man #1

Talking Comics – Spider-Man #1

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