Mr. Rant says, “Stop showing unproduced figures!”

img align=left src=”” hspace=4>Last weekend’s Comic-Con gave us a ton of interesting news and great pictures of the upcoming toys this year. But there was one thing that stood out to me like a glaring imperfection, and it was something Mattel doesn’t plan on bringing to the fans.

After all the years of rainbow, neon, ultra-violet, and caramel versions of Batman that fans have been bombarded with by various companies, you would think that every variation of Batman’s costume would have been made at least once. But you’d be wrong. As I perused the pictures that flooded back to us from San Diego, a shiny black and white beacon of awesome stared back at me from the Mattel case. Zebra Batman.

Learn more about Zebra Batman here.

He’s outrageous. He’s awful looking. He’s from a completely ridiculous non- continuity story. And I love him. Sadly though, my hope was quickly dashed by Julius Marx when he confirmed on Twitter, “that Zebra Batman in Mattel’s booth- Not planned for any wave…yet. Just did it for fun and put it in the case. A nod to the Silver Age.”

This brings me to the meat of my rant. I am sick and tired of toy companies showing us all of the awesome toys that they’ve already cancelled. Now, Zebra Batman is a little different. He’s not a cancelled figure. He’s just “for fun”. But he’s indicative of an irritating trend of toy companies taking a line they’re done with and showing us the figures that would have been in the next wave.

But that next wave doesn’t exist. Those figures will never be released. And for some reason, they always seem a little bit better than the ones that were. Now, maybe that’s just the whole grass is greener feeling coming out, but it seems to be that the companies are just getting around to the important secondary characters or better sculpted versions of the main characters just in time for them to end up in the “We’re Not Making These” case. So I have to ask, do these companies get off on the disappointment or what?

Everyone knows about the DC Direct Watchmen figures, but how about the Sigma 6 Scarlett figure? I don’t even collect GI Joe and I wanted it. How about when Toy Biz showed us the X-Men babies and Frog Thor that were supposed to be pack-ins with the regular figures? Batman Beyond had the Stalker figure. The Earthworm Jim and Darkwing Duck lines each had an entire wave canned after showing them off to fans. And remember the Doom Patrol figures from Bandai’s Teen Titans line? They were awesome! And Bandai was finally going to make a Silkie! But instead, all we got was disappointment.

I’m sure the toy companies don’t think of it like that. I’m sure they think that they are doing us a favor. But it doesn’t feel like a favor to me. It feels like they are making sure we know our collections will never be complete. That you almost got that figure you always wanted, but wait, never mind.

What’s really frustrating is that in the modern interweb world, the direct market can be catered to. Large and small toy companies have websites to peddle their wares and I don’t see a problem with them selling those last few characters that they just had to show off. Sure, they might have pegwarmed at retail, but online the production run can be smaller. Small enough to cater the hardcore fans and finish up any dangling toyline. Masters of the Universe is selling direct to the consumer right now, but that’s only after they showed us those last eight 200x figures. I love Classics and I loved the stactions, but I still won’t forget Mattel just had to show us those figures.

Until toy companies realize the full power of online retailing for themselves I say thanks, but no thanks to the toy companies. I would rather not know what figures you got that close to making.

Oh, and Mattel? It’s time for Zebra Batman. Period.

-Mr. Rant

11 thoughts on “Mr. Rant says, “Stop showing unproduced figures!”

  1. yup, it stinks seeing unproduced figures. i remember the unproduced ones for the toy biz lord of the rings and the minimates too and i’m still wishing they released them. not to mention all the ones you mentioned too

  2. Wave 5 of the ironman animated series, crimson dynamo, samurai ironman…..THAT WAVE HAS HAUNTED ME FOR YEARS!!!!!

  3. I’d buy a Zebra Batman. *le sigh*

    It seems cruel to show us the lovely things they’ll NEVER make… like showing a dog a new line of chew toys or treats and then never letting it play with them. The only difference is that we remember…. dog’s probably don’t.

    *Shakes fist at evil toy companies*

  4. I don’t know if I want to buy it, but it did look cool.

    I would buy a Zebra Man though. ^-^

  5. Yep, I agree completely, Mr. Rant. There was unproduced wave of Ultraforce toys too. It contained Sludge, Rune, Primevil, and Lord Pumpkin. I wish I’d never seen them, because now I know I can never have them.

  6. This has been going on forever.

    I’ll never get the Egon’s Lab playset from Real Ghostbusters. 🙁

  7. That Zebra Batman is a waste of an otherwise good slot, so I hope they don’t do it. Maybe as a Brave and the Bold figure, it at least appeared there.

  8. I love that everyone has something they remember seeing and not getting. For me, I’ll always remember two unproduced things. First, the Super Powers Tower of Darkness. I didn’t see that until years later, but still I can imagine how much fun it would have been as a kid.

    And then there’s GI Joe Firefighters. I love Fire Trucks and some time in the early 90s there was a mockup for the GI Joe Hammer as a firefightin’ vehicle. Again, I didn’t see it until a couple years after it was too late, but I would have loved firefighter joes. Some people hate those themed subsets, but I would have loved to see some red/white deco on Lady Jaye, Mainframe, Shockwave, and others as a Firefighter Subset. I’m still tempted to customize a set sometimes.

  9. see, i like unproduced figures for one reason only… they spur conversations like this, where we lament toys we’ll never get, but in so doing, are reminded of how great some of the toys we did get are… sure, the unproduced sigma six stuff hurt, but that was a great line and i have a ton of EXCELLENT figures from it. i’d love to get more, but i’m very happy w/ what i did get.

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