(Raging Nerdgasm: A logo you can trust)
So, the time has come to decide whether you want to support this year's Matty Collector's MOTUC line. We've all read the warnings and "threats" that if they don't reach the "magic" number for subscriptions this year. A good portion of die hard He-Man fans have taken these warning to heart and ordered multiple subscriptions to show their loyalty to the line, Scott "Toy Guru" Neitlich has gone online numerous times since SDCC explaining how serious this event is and the consequences of not reaching the "magic" number and they've even had the acting talents of Pons Maar and Anthony De Longis (Saurod and Blade respectfully from the late 80's sci-fi epic Masters of the Universe, I use epic loosely but I'm sure you got the idea) as well as the sculpting talent behind the MOTUC (the 4 Horsemen) pleaded for you to buy a subscription. I know all of He-Man.org, the Pop Culture Network, The Great Rebellion and talents such as the folks from BKBN and Pixel Dan have begged the fans to take a moment of their time and buy into the $505 membership (and that's before taxes and shipping charges). I have been asked my opinion over the last 20 days, give or take, about my stance on the MOTUC in Crisis. I've been supportive on a person to person basis, explaining the pros and cons of it all and encouraging those who could afford it to subscribe and those who couldn't to just be willing to pay the applicable finders fees to be a cherry picker when the website runs out of stock.
(extra points if you hummed the NBC bars)
(thanks to Poe Ghostal's site for this graphic, I think it still conveys the same feeling of frustration that it always has)
I enjoy the fan interaction and try to give them something that the larger toy companies cannot, one on one interaction and encouragement instead of "scary talk" and "threats" that some personalities do. All selflessly might I add, I buy everything I review out of pocket and receive absolutely no concessions from any retailer or company. My gripe is not with Mattel at large, they've done everything they can to round out people's short wishlist but they ballooned far too fast.
(remember the good old days when you couldn't wait for this site to open?)
They started out strong with the He-Man characters those of us in our late 20s to early 30s grew up with, they branched out to 200X Masters figures which were nice additions to the shelf but that's when it all started to get off course. Next came the introduction of Princess of Power figures and don't get me wrong, this is more on the money and on target than 200X figures any day. We get a Hordak, Bo and She-Ra and the fans get their first taste of POP sprinkled into their collection. Then we started getting New Adventures of He-Man figures, which is where you start to lose the purists. I personally loved the original NA line, I was always a space alien nut as a little kid and the idea of magic and sorcery was just bullshit I never really grasped. As a kid, I went through two Optikks and three or more Slush Heads because they went with me just about everywhere. Lastly, Mattel started getting into prototype figures like Demo-Man and Vikor or the newly released Vykron. I mean it's the middle of 2012 and not until a few weeks ago we hadn't even had a mention of Ram Man or other core characters that have yet to be made.
(the screen that prompted me to begin a regiment of nerve pills and lots of trips to the therapist)
The line grew into this monster of a toy line, 16 basic figures and 4 quarterly "large" scale figures or army builders! That's a lot of frickin' toys even for me and I buy something pretty much everyday. That's not including your Ghostbusters subscription, Voltron subscription, DC Universe subscription and all the convention exclusives and surprise must haves such as the BTTF hoverboard, JLU 3 and 6 packs and other things. That's a whole hell of a lot of monthly charges, I hope you don't collect anything else or have aspirations to go on vacation or buy video games because your ass is spoken for; for the next 12 months.
(and you are forced to buy this piece of shit too)
Mattel does have it's faults, namely not holding Digital River accountable for their flubs (how many of you got that less than heartfelt apology from them this week?) and not being more hands on during production (i.e.- sloppy paint applications, backwards shoulders, wrong legs on Swiftwind, etc.). The He-Man branch off series slowly infiltrated the line and fans were stuck having to purchase Hurricane Hordak, Star Sister 3 pack, Bubble Power She-Ra and Thunder Punch He-Man which most fans felt kind of screwed when they got their monthly packages. Granted, they kind of whittled out the 200X figures but replaced them with equally confusing Battleground "variants" of Teela and Evilynn. A blonde Teela is slightly interesting but I still don't have a Meckaneck, poor move on making this a fan driven line. Also the mind boggling notion of making core characters like Orko and Queen Marlena convention exclusives not included in your base subscription.
(and then there's this asshole)
My main gripe is with the man in charge, the self proclaimed "toy guru" Scott Neitlich. For a guy who claims to have the fan's best interest in mind when going over things in motion for MOTUC, he has dropped the ball on more occasions than I care to mention. He's not very personable when it comes to the fans directly, his videos have all the pizzazz of a late night infomercial and he's been less than encouraging within the last few weeks of this membership drive. You are the face of a fan driven toy line, act like it for fuck sake. Answer direct questions when they are posed to you instead of skirting the issues at hand. Stop blaming cherry pickers when your line has given the fans a less than stellar 2012, own up to the mistakes made and push on. Cherry pickers or not, those assholes are buying your product so be nice to them.
(I just like this photo)
In the end my solution is make the MOTUC line a little more conservative considering the tough times most of your fans are experiencing. 1 figure a month is more than enough, maybe make the deluxe packs 3 times a year instead of 4 times and maybe skip the monthly figure that month (or some combination of that) and keep non essential figures like "battleground variants" or "prototype concept" figures limited to the conventions or special "website only" exclusives that people who don't want it can opt out. Keep Digital River accountable for their actions, they are selling your product with your name plastered all over it. Their flubs look just as bad on you as they do on them. And lastly, get rid of Scott "toy guru" Neitlich. He serves no real purpose anymore except as a joke to the collecting world.