Tuesday, the Four Horsemen, toy designers who currently work on the DC Universe Classics, DC Superheroes, and Masters of the Universe lines posted on their main page forecasting doom and gloom for two of the lines. Here's a selection of what they posted:
So, if you know who we are and you know about MotU Classics and DCU Classics, then you probably know what this message is going to be about. Both lines are in danger of ending prematurely and they need your help to continue. We’re not going to beg you to buy multiple subscriptions or try to convince you that getting a subscription to either or both of these lines is more important than paying your rent or putting gas in your car. Those of you who have followed us for a while know that we’ve never been like that, and that if anything we’re going to do what is natural to us and come at this from a fan’s point of view.
First and foremost, there have been rumors floating about that this is some sort of scare tactic by Mattel just to sell more subscriptions than they really need and that the charts on MattyCollector.com are faked. These rumors could not be farther from the truth. What’s going on is that Mattel is being completely transparent about the subscriptions that have been sold so far and they’re letting you in on it just so you’ll be aware of the progress and consequently how much danger these lines are really facing of being ended. We’re actually floored that the MotU Classics subscription is only up to 35% at the time of this writing and the DCU subscription is only at about 20%!
From a fans perspective we see it like this…
With the DCU line there are still opportunities for all of us to finish off some hero and villain teams that we’ve all have wanted for a while and also to get characters that really need an update and an upgrade from earlier versions that were done of them, like Superman’s nemesis – Doomsday!
As for MotU Classics, there are still lots of fairly top tier characters that are from the original toy lines and cartoons that have yet to become part of the MotU Classics universe. Plus there are many fan-favorite secondary characters that may never see the light of day if the subscription campaign isn’t successful. Characters like Tongue Lashor, Rio Blast, Extendar, Squeeze, Ninjor, Dragstor, Sssqueeze, Flutterina, Angella, Blade, Entrapta, Saurod, New Adventures Skeletor, Evil Seed, Sweet Bee, Double Trouble, Flogg, Mermista, and yes – even Madame Razz and Gwildor ALL need to be made! It’s just plain and simple - without the subscriptions these figures just have no chance of ever happening.
So, it’s not a scam or a scare tactic. It’s just fact. Both of these iconic, history making toy lines are in danger of being cancelled and the only way we can all make sure this doesn’t happen is to subscribe to Club Eternia for Masters of the Universe Classics figures and to Club Infinite Earths for DC Universe figures before Monday August 19th 2013 to help ensure that these two truly classic lines stick around for a little while longer.
Cue the insert link to the subscription service for both lines. This strategy of online exclusives began with the Masters of the Universe line. Unfortunately, it was bogged down by dealers buying insane amounts of product, product selling out in less than four hours on Mattel's main website (which also gave the site networking issues which only added to the hassle), and selling them on various stores for double the price Mattel originally released them as. Recent figure sales haven't been kind. Add to the problems Mattel's semi attempt at bringing the line to retail at Toys R Us in a VERY expensive two pack, pairing the line with DCUC (though the Masters figures would be missing quite a few accessories, which along with the forty dollar price made buyers wary of the packs).
A few years later, due probably to over saturation of lesser characters (ex. numerous Metal Men, Powergirl, and various Super Powers characters), the DC Universe Classics line was moved from retail to online exclusive.
Interestingly, Masters of the Universe figures have been sighted recently at the retail chain Big Lots! for $10. The result is fans flooding said various stores and emptying racks of recently released or exclusive figures.
It's fascinating to this reporter, the whole story of this saga with the series and Mattel. What doomed the Masters of the Universe line to be online exclusive was the 2003 series, when Mattel jammed retail chain store shelves with variants of only He-Man and Skeletor while secondary characters were extremely rare and hard to find.
The "Bumblebee" effect of retailers demanding the hot figure from a line (in Transformers case, Bumblebee) be given multiple amounts in a boxed wave and the secondary figures short packed results in multiple "hot" characters clogging racks at stores everywhere with no one wanting to buy it, since they already own one. It is a sudden disease that's literally killing action toy lines save one it seems - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Stay tuned for updates on this breaking story.