Friday, July 1, 2011

Throwback Day Late - She-Ra Classics Figures

Sigh! I WAS going to post twice yesterday, but I suddenly realized that among the casualties of the basement flood was my entire collection of Jem dolls! I had them all, except Rock N Curl Jem and the Starlight Girls. :( Sad clown! So I was depressed and just drank a lot. I know, not something to be proud of, but that was like losing a little chunk of my soul. It got worse, too, because the woman from the sewer district told me to look up eBay auctions and print them out as evidence of how valuable my collectibles were, but a LOT of the Jem dolls are so rare now that there AREN'T any eBay auctions for me to use! When I got the three original Misfits, they were BEYOND MINT condition, they'd come out of a never-opened case! They were PRISTINE, crisp, glossy, absolutely ZERO shelf-wear of any kind. And yet, there have been ZERO auctions for the original Misfits within the range of their "Completed Auctions" listings. Waaaah!

Okay, so my Throwback Thursday was gonna be She-Ra, Princess of Power! I originally planned on writing a She-Ra blog shortly after my post devoted to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and I actually started writing it, but sort of fizzled out and left it alone for a while. I was inspired to finish it because I just received (after much tribulation) the new Masters of the Universe Classics Catra and (not new) She-Ra. (I already had Adora, thanks to Tee.) She-Ra has two different heads. The one she is packaged with is based on the way the original She-Ra doll looked. (Which is lame.)
I ALWAYS hated this look and don't really know why the dolls in the She-Ra toy line ALL looked completely different than the way the characters looked on the cartoon. So in order to put on her "cartoon" head, I had to open her. (And Catra's shield was rattling around loose in her package, so I had to open her as well.)
(These are not my pictures of course. I cannot take such crisp shots of such tiny objects with my iPhone. This is the site I am BORROWING the pics from. Hope they don't mind!)
Catra is the same. Above is how she looked on the cartoon. Below is how the doll looked.
There's absolutely NO resemblance there. Huge black fur skirt, pink and silver color scheme. Silver cat-face mask. Fans are clamoring for Mattel to re-issue Catra with the same cartoon-based sculpt, but painted in the colors of the original doll, which I think is a nifty idea, so I'd be all on board with that.
There really was never an Adora figure in the original line. Oh sure, supposedly, if you switched her head piece upside down, she was supposed to change identities, but that was STOO-PID and obviously, bore NO resemblance to the way Adora was rendered on the cartoon in a red leotard and white undershirt.
Interestingly, with her red/white/orange color scheme, she looks LESS girlie than her brother Prince Adam did in his purple/lavender getup.
I'd read some complaints about Adora's "granny panties" which... I can kinda see. But upon opening her, I realized she isn't wearing "granny panties" at all, that's a SKIRT! I have no idea why they rendered her that way! The cartoon clearly isn't wearing a skirt!
There are all kinds of legal issues with this line. For the longest time, Mattel stated that they were unable to render ANY of the characters as they appeared on the cartoon. They had to make them look like the original dolls. But then Adora appeared. Then She-Ra with her cartoon head. Part of the "loophole" was that Mattel published a style-guide for licensees that depicted the characters as they looked on the cartoon. Then Queen Marlena and Cringer appeared. Sooooo... what does that mean? They kept insisting that they couldn't make characters like Shadow Weaver that only appeared on the show and never had toys. I dunno. I don't get it, but those legal reasons are why She-Ra's sword is gold, like the original She-Ra doll's, although it's shaped like it appeared on the cartoon, NOT the way the doll's was. However, Adora's sword is rendered in grey/silver the way it was on the show, so... yeah. I don't mind the gold sword myself, to be honest.
Along those lines, Catra's (shown here wearing the silver cat mask that the original doll included) weapons are rendered in silver and pink to match the original doll's coloration. But... like... that doesn't work, because they clash with the actual figure which is in the cartoon colors! Maybe if they DO re-release her later on, colored the way the original toy was, that version could include accessories that match the cartoon-colored figure and collectors can swap them out.

I like these figures over all. The women in this line are a LOT sturdier than those in Mattel's DC Universe Classics line. The DC heroines are like twigs! The Masters women are more like warrior women, which is important when they're standing beside huge mountains of muscle like He-Man et. al. The one "issue" I may have is... well, in that book I read, the guy that may or may not have created Masters said that they used to refer to Teela as "Ol' Thunder Thighs" and... well, that nickname COULD certainly be applied to these figures. It's not a deal breaker or anything, but it's something I noticed.

The only other Princess of Power figure so far released, NOT counting members of The Evil Horde, which are shared villains for both the PoP and MotU heroes, has been Bow. I went ahead and ordered one off eBay but he hasn't gotten here yet.
Once again, there is a big difference between the way Bow looked on the cartoon, with his Errol Flynn mustache...
...and the clean shaven, Ken doll-ish toy version. Like She-Ra, the Classics Bow came with two heads, to reflect both versions and also like She-Ra, he came packaged with the "doll" head attached.
As you can see, Bow is the single figure in this entire line that has been VASTLY retooled from the originals. Most figures in this line are simply modernized recreations of the originals. Bow has actually been redesigned.
This line is a HUGE success for Mattel. The toys are sold strictly through their Mattycollector website and they were selling out within MINUTES of going on sale. They upped the production on them and now it takes a few hours for them to sell out. To avoid losing out on them, Mattel offers a subscription service every year, so you can pay up-front and be guaranteed each figure. BUT then again, a lot of people like to order multiples to make sure they get one with a good paint job or to open one and keep one boxed. (You could always buy more than one subscription.) AND they issue some figures that are extra and not part of the subscription, so to get those, you still have to get on their and try your luck on getting one before they sell out.
Thing is, the line is Masters of the Universe Classics. The Princess of Power characters are a subset within the line, along with The Evil Horde and The New Adventures of He-Man (a failed, sci-fi themed relaunch of the toys from the late 80s). So they're only doing a couple of PoP characters a year! And that's all I want! I did buy Teela, Evil Lyn and The Goddess from the MotU line, but yeah, I kinda only want the PoP characters. (And of course after they released Adora and She-Ra, the next PoP character they did was Bow, the BOY! Let down!)
I guess the She-Ra line was only around for a couple of years, unlike He-Man which lasted the better part of a decade, so there aren't as many characters. I find it interesting, but not surprising, that a lot of the straight male MotUC collectors don't LIKE the PoP characters and don't want them in the line. (And MOST don't want the New Adventures characters, as VERY, VERY few people watched that cartoon or collected the toys as kids, so there's a real lack of familiarity there.) I on the other hand ONLY want the PoP characters and don't care about the male Masters of the Universe, especially since a lot of them are from later in the series or are characters that were planned but never produced, so I don't even know who they are. (MotU has a deceptively complicated mythology, that I don't think many people are aware of and with this line, they are making it even moreso by integrating ALL of the past iterations, including PoP and New Adventures and the 2002 relaunch into ONE mythology, so of course, when I read the character bios on the backs of the cards, I have no idea what they mean.)
If I had to bet money, I'd say the fan-fave Frosta will be the next PoP figure revealed, UNLESS they pull some shenanigans and unveil a toon character, in which case I'd say it's probably Shadow Weaver.
Fans are clamoring for other toon characters like Scorpia...
and Madam Razz...
...but with Scorpia, I think she'd require pretty extensive retooling for her claws and such and Madam Razz would have to be sculpted from scratch! Scorpia I could see popping up in the regular line at some point, but Razz would have to be a ComiCon exclusive or a special release of some sort. The same for Kowl if they do him.
I'm particularly hopeful that eventually they get to The Star Sisters. These characters, Starla, Tall Star and Jewel Star, appeared on the cartoon late in its run and were solicited to retailers, but orders were inadequate so the entire line was canceled and these characters were never produced. Apparently, Mattel does plan to get to them... eventually. But I don't know how they are handling the PoP characters, especially at only a couple a year. Are they doing the most popular/familiar first? What about later characters like Spinerella and Netossa that were produced but are extremely rare today? The next reveal will probably be at ComiCon, so we'll have to wait until then to see.

EDIT: I was getting to a point and forgot to make it. But what I was going to say is, since there are so many fans that are particularly interested in Princess of Power or some, like me, that are ONLY interested in Princess of Power, is it impossible to think that maybe Mattel could spin PoP off into it's own classics line? I mean, they may not be able to put one new figure out a month like with He-Man, but how about every other month or maybe quarterly? I'd subscribe to that in a heartbeat! But as it is now, I have no interest in subscribing to the MotUC service and winding up with a bunch of characters I don't want or in a lot of cases, even know who they are. I mean, yeah, I could resell them, that's a pain in the ass, so no thanks! Just an idea...

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