You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of articulation, a dimension of mind, a dimension of dork and paint applications, one part electric slide one part electric bugaloo, it’s time for another edition of… TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE!

Yes while today does start our official coverage of C2E2, I won’t have most the pictures and details until tonight. So in the meantime, let’s take a stroll down the local toy aisles and see what’s popping!

First I want to point out something new Hasbro has cooked up. Selling masks. Sure, there have always been a handful of masks/costumes in the toy aisle, but Hasbro is now marketing a specific mask for every brand of their superheroes.

And it’s not just superheroes either, Transformers is getting in on the action! These masks are all actually pretty cool because while they resemble the old Ben Cooper masks in a way, they’re much more detailed and are a hard plastic. The GF tried a few on and they fit her alright, so I guess some adults could even sport these.

And if you decide to buy the Thor mask, you might as well pick up the Mjölnir roleplay toy as well.

There was a decent rollout of Thor toys on the shelves as well. The big movie seems to be getting a decent launch, toy wise. Of course I more or less find Thor pretty boring.

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So here’s the new trailer for DC’s latest animated feature: All*Star Superman. It’s expected to be released in Spring of next year, with James Denton (Desperate Housewives) voicing Superman, Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) voicing Lois Lane and Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace) voicing Lex Luthor. In the film, Superman is faced with mortality and has to decide what is truly important to the last survivor of Krypton.

The movie sounds interesting, but I can’t help but feel as though the once great DC animated empire has taken off into a DC Direct model for movies. Each film has different actors, different writing, different universes and even a different drawing style. I realize that the DC animated team are probably tired of exploring the Bruce Timm BTAS/STAS/JLU world… But that’s what people liked about DC’s animated stuff. That world was probably the best damn incarnation of the DC Universe ever.

The rest of this stuff, while good, often varies in quality. We also run into the problem of a lot of these films exploring similar themes. These are basically one shot comics, in a cartoon movie format. It’s a nice idea and all, but I think DC would be better served to create a series of movies that tied together and used the same actors and drawing style.

Am I alone in this?

With SDCC just days away, I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of information to be given out in this particular Q&A. So I tried to get some deeper information as well as have a little fun this time. I can officially say that I didn’t find either to be particularly effective. So maybe this Q&A was a lost cause to begin with. I’m not sure Toy Guru even got his hands on some of these questions (there’s new people helping him answer these), since I think he would have responded with a bit more wit and humor. Whatever the case, here they are.

In recent years the trend has become for major toy companies to license big franchises, Star Wars, DC Universe, Marvel, as well as motion pictures like Avatar, etc… But throughout the 80’s and early 1990’s it seemed like every toy company, including Mattel, pumped out a variety of in-house creations. With the recent revival of MOTU and apparently an entirely mythos being plotted out by Mattel, is there still a drive within Mattel to create new and original in-house properties? Something created within and entirely owned by Mattel, or have those days simply disappeared with the changing times?

Mattel is always working on new projects and ideas and we are excited about both our licensed and homegrown properties. Nothing to announce now, but we are always at work on new ideas for toy lines.

In 1985 Mattel first released the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures to some considerable success. That same year Mattel also released a mail away poster showing all the regular figures. Strangely, years later it’s been discovered that figure #236 known as “Satan Cross” did not appear on the poster. He is the only mass released carded M.U.S.C.L.E. figure to be left out of the poster. Mattel’s M.U.S.C.L.E. fans have wondered for 25 years now, why wasn’t he featured on the poster? Is there anything in the Mattel archives that might give us a clue?

At this point, that project is complete. If we ever did a commemorative version, adding figure #236 one-in might be a fun thing to do. Nothing to announce now.

It’s been noted that because of certain fees, rights and legalities that not all of the classic Masters of the Universe artwork is available for Mattel to use. This has led to some issues with things like coffee table books. If some of the old stuff is unavailable, has Mattel given any thought to producing a new workup of art, similar to the Club Eternia maps and releasing those in some sort of collected form?

We would love to do a book like this but, as you stated, right now it’s just not logistically possible. If that ever changes something like this would be fun.

JLU Lobo sold quite well and equally as fast. Because Lobo only made it a few hours, is it possible that he may see a re-release of some form at a later date?

We don’t have a re-release planned, but we did save a few for this year’s SDCC so JLU fans would have something to pick up.

We assume an announcement is forthcoming (perhaps at this year’s SDCC?), but when can we expect to see those sweet “Back To The Future” Barbie hover-boards? We were told in 1989 that they would be regularly available by at least mid-2015, but no prototypes have surfaced yet. So are they still on schedule or have they been pushed back?

We’re still a few years off from announcing a 2015 line. Plus, we’re waiting for the Hoverboard to be invented.

Another conversation with Scott Neitlich and Matty Mattel about the various brands of Mattel. As always, if you have questions you’d like answered, feel free to respond below. It’s a bit of a challenge to find out certain information because Mattel can only answer certain questions. Here’s the answers for this batch, including the answer to the question that the entire wrestling world has wanted to know…

Infinite Hollywood Reader Red Ricky Asks: In the past, you’ve mentioned that Mattel checks online forums to see which characters the fans want. And recently, I have noticed that fans lobbying for an animated JLU Robin figure (in its Dick Grayson Classic/Super Powers style) also make a point of mentioning that tooling for his Pixie boots could be reused on figures like rickster, Abra Kadabra, Deadman, the Spectre and Felix Faust. As a result I was wondering if the previous is true and that… whn requesting figures, fans can increase the probability of a suggestion being taken into consideration by pointing out multiple uses for a specific new sculpt/tool? Because if that is the case, I would like to point out that tooling for Gypsy’s bare feet could be reused on figures like Ten (Royal Flush Gang), Aquagirl (JLU from Batman Beyond), Fire (in Green Flame form), Katma Tui (Despero Spy Costume) and some of the Amazons.

Like the fans, our designers are also clued into re-use possibilities on shared parts. We do love to hear fan suggestions, and nine times out of ten when fans mention something on the boards, it’s usually come up internally within our brainstorm boards! We are professionals and fans at the same time around here! That isn’t to say that every so often we will see an idea online that we never thought of and think it’s brilliant on its own! Keep those suggestions coming!

Infinite Hollywood Reader Herd Asks: There have been some issues with the Mego-style Retro-Action figures. The torso tends to slump over, the leg bands are too tight in some instances and many fans have been replacing the bodies with other styles of bodies out there. Is Mattel looking into retooling the body any, such as fixing the legs, perhaps making a larger pelvis by Wave 3 or sooner?

We don’t have any plans to re-tool the body anytime soon but we will pass this suggestion on to the design team. At the end of the day, the Retro Figures are designed to work like vintage figures and that is half the fun!

Infinite Hollywood Reader Red Ricky Asks: Last month, Mattel posted (in the news section of its website, MattyCollector.com) pictures of an upcoming JLU Singles wave. Fans immediately noticed that the figure entitled “Future JLU Superman with Starro Spore” contained a brand new Superman head sculpt and as a result, we were left wondering… Will that new Superman head sculpt be the new face of our “present day” Superman, going forward? Or is that particular head sculpt “reserved” for that particular “future” version of Superman?

We will not be using “future JLU Superman’s” head for the standard modern Superman, but we would potentially use it for other versions of Superman down the road…

The WWE has acquired several of it’s old rival promotions such as WCW and the AWA. This includes video archives and intellectual properties. If Mattel gets around to making Legends from these companies, like say AWA’s Verne Gagne, does Mattel have the rights to say the AWA World Title belt design and would that be the type of accessory that the design team would be interested in including?

Sorry, we can’t comment on this at this time. Licensing deals are usually not something we can share with the public until they are final.

And now the question that’s had wrestling fans up in arms for weeks and perhaps prematurely boycotting Mattel products…

This last one might be a little silly and no idea if you know anything about it, but it’s a hot topic in the WWE world right now and rumors are Mattel is involved… WWE recently fired Daniel Bryan rather unexpectedly after an angle was shown on WWE’s RAW. One theory that’s been published is that Mattel was upset with Bryan’s actions leading to the eventual release. Can you set the record straight? Did Mattel have any complaints about American Dragon Daniel Bryan or does Mattel generally not get involved with what’s going on internally in the WWE?

As WWE’s master toy licensee, Mattel is not involved in any decisions surrounding WWE’s Superstars or Divas.

There you have it folks, you can blame Matty Mattel for a lot of things, but he did not make Daniel Bryan get fired. Thanks as always to the Mattel crew for their answers. Remember to submit your questions for the next Q&A on August 15th (there is no Q&A on the August 1st due to SDCC) if you have any!

Some good news and bad news on the Mattel front. I guess we’ll start with the bad. Mattel has somehow managed to screw the pooch with the JLU line, yet again, removing the Justice League Unlimited figures from online retailers like BigBadToyStore just weeks after they had first appeared. BBTS, never one to mince words said this as they sent out emails cancelling the thousands of preorders they had.

Hi – We have just learned from Mattel that although these items were recently solicited to us, that they will now (again) be a certain chain’s exclusives, and that our orders will not be filled. We are very sorry for the problem on this item. We will need to cancel all orders in our system and remove the item from our site. We apologize for the inconvenience.

This is a huge letdown to many JLU fans, myself included and might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Being able to order JLU at places like BBTS relieves a lot of the stress and thanks to stuff like the pile of loot, makes it easier to ship. Just two days ago ToyGuru spoke on how JLU was going to be available online saying:

No, the JLU singles are a retail exclusive which will be shared by Target and some online retailers, but they will not be sold on Mattycollector.com.


So what happened? I don’t know. Many fans are blaming Target, but that seems a bit unfair. Perhaps people are tired of blaming Mattel, but again fault lay squarely in their lap. Mattel should have never sent out solicitations for JLU to online stores if they weren’t allowed to. This is not the first time this has happened. They changed DCUC lineups to online retailers before. Target can’t take the blame, Mattel has to. For what it’s worth, Entertainment Earth still has them up for preorder, but I’d expect that to come down.

In slightly more positive Mattel news, I finally saw the new SDCC DCUC Plasticman packaging. Yeah, it was revealed a month ago, but I just now saw it. I don’t really keep up with DC Universe Classics as much since I quit collecting it.

The package is actually designed to look like Plasticman shapeshifted into the package. VERY COOL! Mattel is infamous for making cool San Diego Comicon packaging and this is no exception. Might even be enough to get me to buy one of these.

Unfortunately, it seems they didn’t learn from Gleekpocalypse last year as the bonus SDCC accessories are simply in a plastic bag again. So expect many people to leave with five or six baggies full of accessories and buying only one or less of the actual product. Maybe they’ll have better control of it, but I’d expect to hear more horror stories.