January 27, 2014

An Open Letter to the President of Mattel Toys on the Planned Release of the Final Four DC Infinite Earths Action Figures

Filed under: Uncategorized — fairplaythings @ 1:35 am

A more fulsome evaluation of what was DC Universe Classics and DC Club Infinite Earths - good and bad - is forthcoming. In the meantime, it was important to respond to the latest outrage from Scott “Toy Guru” Neitlich promptly and properly, so I offer the following in response.

Mr. President,

I am writing to express my dismay at recent comments posted on facebook by Scott “Toy Guru” Neitlich regarding the DC Infinite Earths collection of action figures.

As you know, Mattel was unable to entice an acceptable number of collectors to renew subscriptions for the 2014 DC Club Infinite Earth. Since then, collectors have been curious as to the final fate of the four figures that were actually advance solicited as part of this aborted line, namely “Hook” Aquaman, Ice, Superboy and Damian Wayne Robin. On January 23, 2014, fans of the line found the response of Mattel to this question - in the form of an open letter on the Matty Collector facebook page linked here - baffling and upsetting.

While Mr. Neitlich used this opportunity to officially announced that the aforementioned four figures would indeed see an official release, he indicated that each figure would be made available (a) in reduced numbers, (b) at a 20% higher price point, and (c) through Matty Collector’s “Early Access” program to those individuals who have a Masters of the Universe subscription.

While I can understand the rationale for reduced numbers and a higher price point - albeit on figures that clearly are already tooled and who represent a sunk cost to Mattel if not released - I cannot understand the logic behind allow them to be issued through the “Early Access” program. Although no doubt some collectors purchase both Masters of the Universe and DC Infinite Earth action figures, it is simply not reasonable to assume that collectors of one line are collectors of the other. To take the final figures in this run, already limited in number, and make them available to those who never directly supported the line is a slap in the face to those of us who had hopes for the continuation of this line.

There are only two reasonable ways forward that offer DC Infinite Earth collectors the respect they deserve for supporting a line across six years and 250 figures. Either MattyCollector can simply hold back on offering these remaining figures to anyone prior to the All Access period to ensure that DC Infinite Earth collectors have an equal chance in obtaining these figures, or MattyCollector offer an exception to those collectors who purchased a 2014 subscription service as a thank you for their contribution to the line. Anything less is simply a disgraceful way for a business that claims it wishes to “give a heroic sendoff to one of the greatest toy lines of all time” to operate.

The DC Infinite Earth collection is a toy line that failed to continue through no fault of the collector community. From its beginnings in 2012 as a collectors-exclusive line, the line has suffered from what can only be described as mixed and poor communication on the part of Mr. Neitlich and his team, communications that has come across just as condescending and malicious as it has amateurish and ill-informed. Coupled with the team’s complete unwillingness to provide even a list of proposed characters and preference to lean toward established characters often previously released through DC Direct (pretty much the entire 2013 line-up) and Mattel itself (Tier 2 Doomsday) at the expense of fan demanded figures upon which the subscription service was allegedly founded, it is no wonder so many fans let their closed wallets do the talking.

These are regrettably the facts. While I appreciate that this toy line is a small part of a tiny corner of your company, it is the little things that matter to customer satisfaction and ongoing retail and corporate success. There is not a lot one can do about past actions, but Mattel has the opportunity to do the right thing here and not end its DC Infinite Earth on yet another sour not. I ask that you consider the merit of this argument and change the decision to allow “Early Access” to these figures.


DC Infinite Earth Subscriber 2012, 2014

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