Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Toy Topic: Marvel Legends Retrospective

After I watched this video, it got my mind going. I was gonna leave the reviewer a comment but realized that it it would be a long one.

I kind of touched on Marvel Legends in this blog, but I'm gonna dive deeper.

I believe as an old man, I will love to bore kids with my toy stories, so instead of going into my history with the line. I'm just gonna give my thoughts on the line as a whole. "From balls to bone"

When the first super posable spider man line came out, I bought the back costume spider man and gave it a try. It was pretty cool, and i liked How the base also let you hang the figure on the wall if you wanted to. Very nice. The design of Iron Man was very cool. and he was one of the figures that I got I liked how he was able to put his hands forward to do the repulsor thing and I loved how the face plate came off to reveal a well done Tony Stark face.

To this day I still love that figure. It was a step above what had come before in terms of Toybiz figures. I had gotten the x-men vs street fighter figures before that, and they paled in comparison.

I started collecting these figures because they were a good price point, and a good size. Plus they came with a comic book.

At first I only picked up figures that I liked. (I passed on Toad for this reason.) But eventually the completest in me started collecting everything that would fit with the line.

Whole lot of Legends

The line had it's problems. Like the Ben Affleck "Daredevil", the "spinning meat" issue, joints being stiff and trouble making a good female figure. It wasn't until She-Hulk in the Blob wave that they were able to produce good looking female figures.

Warming the pegs, and Jenifer Garner's bed.

There was also problems with distribution. The Deadpool and Hawkeye lines were some of the rarest waves that ToyBiz produced.

A lot of the figures had trouble standing by themselves and the displays were starting to become erratic. there was a semblance of a plan at work with the Sentinel bases, but they didn't match up.

When the Build a Figure concept was introduced. it was a godsend. Just look at the fact that other companies started imitating the concept.

I don't know how they did it but ToyBiz smashed the competition when compared to things like the collect and connect metamorpho or the Metal Gear Ray. That was, until the oil crisis.

Galactus,Sentinel and Apocalypse will for ever be a testament of the height of popularity that Marvel Legends reached. But by the time Onslaught was released, Toybiz was on a steady slope downwards.

Recently I realized that in life, you always have a series of up and downs. One day you're rolling in dough, another day you're broke. One day you're happy and then another you're sad. You never stay in one state.

What are you talking about, Tony? Ups and downs..sheesh

But you always have to remember that you were happy one and you can be again. You were rolling in dough once so you can reach that level again. What I mean is that Hasbro can make the line great again.

When Marvel sold the toy licence to Hasbro, it was a different era. It wasn't like Jordan returning to basketball. It was more like if his son entered the game.

People expected the same. And if they got different, they were going to bail. I for one, decided to give it a shot.

The character selection for Hasbro's first wave was abysmal. There was a hint that they were experimenting with a different scale with the Spider-man 3 line. And that boiled the blood of the purists. "They took away our beloved paint wash and now this?!!"

The second wave followed the same pattern, and I can find it at my local discounts store right now. The rest of the waves faded into obscurity, even though I vaguely recall seeing the red Hulk wave in Target (I think it was exclusive) and the Fing Fang Foom wave in Toys R Us times square.

From then on...dust in the wind.

Gone were the comics, which I thought for some reason was because Hasbro didn't have permission for them. And we go a new packaging design and a new "ugly" logo.

Diamond "peg warmer" Frost

Hasbro should have realized that change was not the ball game. Continental Airlines and United Airlines have merged but they still treat each entity as separate. They operate just like they used to except an continental passenger my be on a plane that says United. But I'm sure the service stays the same.

If Hasbro would have keep everything the way ToyBiz had it, I don't think the line would be in the condition it's in.

Recently we got the Toys R Us 2 packs. And I guess to make up for the cost, the prices slowly went up.

The Icons line was something that Toybiz introduced with a bang, but by the time Hasbro has gotten to it, things started to dry up. I picked up the Thor which was the best they produced.

I think the Icons undoing was how long it took for the figures to show up on the shelves. I can still find phoenix and daredevil. And I've been tempted to pick up the phoenix.

And here we are now. Waiting till next year for the Terrax wave to surprise us with good quality,and a greater character selection.

But what was it the made me leave the line despite vowing that I would be a "brand" follower.
  1. Interest. Like a girlfriend that just won't do it for you. I left, for a better looking girl. The last wave I bought figures from, was the Blob wave. X3 juggernaut and Jean were poor choices. Wolverine had a ugly face sculpt. Quicksilver and Yellowjacket shared the same body sculpt. It's like if Jesse Falcon said "I;m gonna mess this up so they can call me to fix it" I don't know if that was true, I wasn't there.
  2. Availability. Thor and She-Hilk were the only figures I picked up because they were the hardest to find. Only until a few months later did I see figures like Yellow jacket and Quick silver because both of them has variants.
  3. Storage. the new packaging was bot gelling with the way I would pack my figures in my boxes.
  4. Useless variants. Clear White Queen, vein jean grey and Silver Wolverine anyone?
  5. Price. From 10 dollars to 15 was not a decision that i was going to make for what i considered an uninteresting line of figures.

Can I love Marvel Legends again? Like an old man yearning for his childhood, or going back in time to tell that ugly duckling that I should have loved her, I don't think it's possible.

Even holding Hasbro to the expectations of lines past, (And remember hindsight is 20/20. So I only remember the good) the only way I could see myself collecting marvel Legends again is for to reasons.

  1. I'm a design guy! Hasbro has to bring us interpretations of the characters that I will like. Things like Hypervelocity iron man and Deep dive armor Iron Man are some of the things that got me to collect that line. Once you hook me in with a good design. i'm compelled to get everything Else even the bland Crimson Dynamo of lame Guardsman.
  2. Price. 15.00 is too much for my blood, when I can get a comic 2 pack for that or wait for Toys R Us to do their 2 for 10 sale. 10 for a marvel legends sounds impossible considering that the regular universe figures are 10 everywhere. But if they can lower their product priced like they did with the g.i. joe 25th anniversary line I will be a very happy marvelite.

So that's it. I don't hate the line. I think it's stupid to stay stuck in the past and that's why my toy nostalgia post might have sounded angry.  marvel legends was good while it lasted. But Hasbro has to start fresh. if the universe line was called marvel legends nerds would have freaked.

But universe should be universe. try and make all the characters famous and obscure.
Legends should be legends. focus on various incarnations of the legendary characters. And call it something else. marvel heroes. marvel Super heroes, but using legends automatically makes people think it's a continuation of the line.

Like Hulk and the Incredible Hulk, Punisher and Punisher War Zone. In my mind I automatically try to make a connection. Even though the movies are diferent continuities.

Here's hoping they make something good and new. Because so far the rumor list is Modern Thor, Bucky Captain America and Ultimate Hawkeye. I can go for the first 2 but Hawkeye? To me it seems like there will be hard times ahead for the line. It'll do a DC Universe and warm the pegs. But I do like Terrax.

Well let me know what you think. And if you'll be buying these. I for one will have to wait until I see them on the shelves.
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