Après plusieurs mois de silence et surtout un changement d’employeur, Scott Neitlich alias “Toyguru” , qui a été à la tête de la gamme The Masters Of The Universe Classics pendant plusieurs années, s’est exprimé sur le forum He-man.org sur la nouvelle souscription 2016 et également sur la gamme en générale.
Soutenu par une partie des fans, mais également très décrié par une autre sur les choix des personnages dans la gamme MOTUC, Toyguru ne fait pas l’unanimité auprès de la communauté internationale des collectionneurs. Dans son long post, Scott Neitlich félicite la nouvelle équipe pour la validation de la nouvelle souscription 2016 (lire l’article) chose bien naturelle, mais s’explique sur de nombreux choix qui ont été faits lorsqu’il était responsable de la gamme, une sorte de mea culpa qui, sous couvert de contraintes de production et d’obligations du marché du jouet, a un peu de mal à passer sur un secteur qui a pour cible un public très exigeant : les collectionneurs. On regrettera que le fiasco de la mini collection 30ème anniversaire ou encore les problèmes de la taille du Château des Ombres n’aient pas été abordés (on évite les sujets qui fâchent).
Le choix du forum He-man.org n’est pas un hasard, Toyguru y a toujours reçu un très grand soutien. Néanmoins depuis la publication de sa lettre, Toyguru a de nombreux échanges (on est déjà rendu à 6 pages) avec les membres du forum, ce qui laisse une ouverture potentiel aux débats.
Okay. So I’ve been “relatively” quite the last few months, and I can confess that has been deliberate. I didn’t want to speak up, especially during the sub sell in period as to not throw off any efforts from the new team or skew any potential sales for them. I really do wish the new team all the best in the world for long and fulfilling collector line!
Now that 2016 sub sales have closed, I had a few “closing thoughts” on the brand I wanted to share, mostly jut to clear the air and ensure the new team is set up for success to continue brining you amazing MOTU collector figures for years if not decades to come. So what follows may be a little rambling, but I wanted to close off some loose ends that have been dangling since my resignation to help clear the air and ensure the new team is in no way to “blame” for things I have set up *(and vica versa if you will). So without further adieu, some closing thoughts on MOTUC as I headed into the sunset.
Okay. Let me clear the air on this guy and how/why he wound up in the line. So wayyyyyyyyy back in 2013 when the 2015 line was planned Dare was not in the line. As prices crept up and character selection dwindled it became clear we needed to refocus the line to ensure the “vintage line and A list characters” were complete before the price point hit $30.00 or more.
The line was planned out and indeed Dare was not in it. Hence the statement I made only once on the He-Man.org boards stating directly that Dare would not be in the 2015 line. (this is the same quote where I misspelled Crimson Rose, using a code name fro Ever After High that was stuck in my head!). This is a PERFECT example of how I have always said “things change all the time!” and this is a textbook example.
Back in 2013 when this statement was made, Dare was not in the line. The December figure was 200X Evil Seed. The revised plan for 2014-2015 that was drafted in 2013 was to complete:
A: All vintage MOTUC characters including variants (which brings up the additional point that if fans did not want Buzz Saw Hordak, due to him being too similar in “look” – back in 2013 was the time to speak up and ask for him to NOT be on the roadmap. Asking in 2014 or even 2015 for him to be removed from the promised complete roadmap was too late.
B: All original POP figures from the vintage line. We knew that if we tackled variants for POP as well, it would be too many slots to offer in 2014 and 2015 because we also wanted to include in the wrap up road map-
C: A list characters from other media. This included Filmation. 200X, comics, books, and (dah dah dah…) concept eras like SOHM.
So with that criteria set up, adding characters like Lizard Man and Evil Seed (200X) made perfect sense to include in the revised roadmap. BUT….as I noted above, things CHANGE all the time in the toy industry. When the POP add on sub in 2014 sold very well, we got the last min greenlight to add a 200X mini sub in 2015.
Evil Seed was then moved from the Dec 2015 slot to a leading slot in the add on 200X sub. As arguably the most demanded of all 200X characters, it was felt very strongly across the team that he should be included in the 200X sub to help sell it in (this was before the new upper management came in and clearly changed things where now full year’s roll out are being shown, which BTW I am very jealous I never had this tactic available to me. It is definitely ironic that new upper management came in a week before I resigned, so I never had the opportunity to work within there new rules, a situation the new team is blessed to be currently in!)
Okay, I’m off topic. Back to Dec 2015.
So with Evil Seed 200X moving from Dec 2015 slot to a lead spot in the 200X sub *(to help sell that sub when we were working under the direction of the then “current” older management that did not allow figures that had not been approved to be shown to the public) it left the Dec mainline sub slot open. So when I made that statement in 2013 about Dare not being in the mainline, it was true. He was not in it at the time. But things changed…
We reviewed quite a few candidates for the Dec slot including Masque, Miro, Mara, Critia and others. In the end, upper management felt very strongly that Masque and Darius should NOT be in this slot. They both lost a fan vote, fans had the chance to vote them into the line and did not. Therefore the “losers” of the fan polls were immediately taken off the table by upper management for the Dec slot. They asked for a few options and one of those we presented was Dare, son of He-Man.
There are multiple reasons Dare rose to the top as the replacement candidate once 200X Evil Seed moved to the add on sub. At the time, it was thought Dec 2015 would be the end of the Classic line in name. Having the line start with He-Man and end with his son felt very bookmarky. Additionally, we wanted to use 2014-2015 (as noted above) to wrap up the vintage line and A-list characters from other media. Since we had already done a few characters from the “Son of He-Man” era (King He-Man, Laser-Lot, Unnamed One etc…) this era was firmly established. Therefore, it made a ton of sense to do the “A list” characters from “son of He-Man” era, namely the actual son, Dare AKA He-Ro II.
And if we were going to release him, personally I wanted to make sure he delivered value since the visuals we had access to noted his design was an early visual that eventually became “New Adventures He-Man”. This was why in the toy release (and in the upcoming mini comics issue 7 and 8) Dare is shown in his Filmation vest as well. I had hoped his belt for the filmation armor could have been included as well, letting fans use the Vykron buck mixed with Dare parts to create the Filmation version as a toy. Maybe that belt can be released one day. But either way, this “Dare” release was designed ideally to include all the “parts” you might need to create either Dare figure (in addition to using the Vikron buck from SDCC a few years back.
Okay, so I hope that clears up a big one. Personally I am really glad we got to Dare. He was always a “bridge too far” and the fact that we have completed the vintage lines made him very acceptable to tackle. Not to mention the 2016 line essentially contains all the figures we “wish” we could have put into 2014-2015 had we not been under the obligation to complete the vintage line before 2015 ended.
So where do we sit now? Well, much like Frodo at the end of the good Middle Earth films, I finished what I set out to do. The vintage line is done! (or at least will be by Dec, you guys, the fans made sure that happened). Anything on top of that feels very much like gravey.
I am SOOOO glad Mattel is offering a 2016 line, and I’m glad they stuck to the road map I left for this year I’m actually pretty excited to see what they potentially could offer for 2017 since that will be the first year I had nothing to do with the line. It is really nice to just sit back and enjoy new figs coming each month. We have had an amazing ride the last 7 years, thank you for being part of it.
Good journey everyone!
PS: The following rumors are just not true and never were:
1: Ool-ar was a deliberate name for Jungle He-Man using jungle noises and MOTU naming convention. He was NEVER a misspelling of Mo-larr. The copyrights just came out around the same time.
2: I never intentionally released a bio to calm issues on the boards. I released bios when they became avail. If bios came out during the middle of a crap storm, it was always coincidence .
3: Green Goddess did not use cheap plastic. There was a problem with the sonic wielder, the same problem happened with DC figs released around this time (Wave 3 and 4 I think). I was quickly fixed and has not happened again.
4: I never blamed the fans for Roboto or Hssss’ shoulders being revered. What I said was “the details in the shoulders were so small that the fan press didn’t even notice”. I was trying to explain that it is sometimes hard to notice these details, I was not at all holding the reviewers responsible for this. Just using them as an example of how easy it is to miss these, noting that even reviewers missed the shoulders first time out.
5: Dare was never meant to take over the line in 2016. As you can see from the 2016 line up, he was just a way of getting one more faction into the line. Much as Penny Dreadful pointed out in a great thread last month, Classics was all about hitting as many different eras as possible in Classics and that included SOHM. The idea that he would take over or supplant He-Man or She-Ra was never in the cards. No more then Goatman did as a GoldenBooks figure.
6: I love She-Ra. I actually like her more then He-Man. The “hole in her head” from her original release was just to allow fans to maximize the display options. Not a commentary on feminism. If it felt like POP had a slower roll out, note that there were always 2-5 POP releases per year. And Bow and Adora count here. A lot of fans over the years only counted POP if you drilled down to POP→female→ had a vintage toy-→ appeared on the cartoon. Under that very small guideline, of course we didn’t get to figs every year. But if you open yourself up to all of POP, you can see we were very POP heavy every year. In fact the 2014 mini sub was basically just the 6 POP that were originally slotted for 2016-2017. Once the roadmap was cut short we had to pull them in to pre 2015 per our 2013 promise.
7: I never intended for Spector to be an important character. He was always a background character meant to bridge different eras (which was a direct request from management for all the 2012 new figs). My only regret was calling him « heroic master of time travel » using the standard MOTU tag line convention (everyone being a « master » of something). A much better tag line might have been « heroic time traveling spy ». I tried to address this in the next mini comic to make it very clear how background Spector was intended to be. He was not the new He-Man or star of the line! But I am glad to have a figure of him!
Thanks for hanging in there guys! I hope all our collections continue to grow and grow. MOTU forever and MOTUC forever. Please try not to be too hard on the new team. These are the people trying to GET you more MOTU toys. They (like me before hand) were never your enemy or the bad guy. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt and know all there actions are in your best interest to get out as many great toys as possible! As I noted in the Dare example above, things change ALL THE TIME in the toy industry and many many times something someone says one day can be completely changed the next. It is not lying to the fans, it is just the way logistics of the toy industry work. So try to cut the new team some rope. We are VERY lucky to have Mark and Kim and Brandon. I honestly couldn’t think of better folk. Mark would have 100% been my choice as a new director for the brand, Kim worked for me for years running the logistics for the site, and Brandon brings much needed enthusiasm for the work that will only pay off with better figures. Having a passionate designer makes all the difference.
There is a new upper management team as well. In fact, they came into place 1 week before I resigned, so I didn’t get to work with them much. This is the forth upper management team that has overseen MOTUC and Matty and it is clear the new team has changed a lot of the rules about what can be shown when. Part of me wishes I had had this management under my time on the brand, but for now, enjoy what we are getting, the huge amount of support Mattel management seems to be showing the brand now, and enjoy collecting what I have always thought was the greatest toy line ever made.
Good Journey all!
Scott “Toyguru” Neitlich