Thursday, April 2, 2009
Perils of Exclusivity
One of the myriad of aspects that's contributed to the San Diego Comic Con's surging popularity is the practice of toy companies offering special items for sale solely at the convention. These items are usually tailored specifically for the hardcore fanbase and the after market prices typically skyrocket soon after the convention. Yet the prices eventually drop off once fans move on to the next big thing. The practice has become so common that it's become standard for the companies to later offer the exclusive via the internet so that people unable to attend the con can have a chance to own them. It's a great gesture even if it does sort of dull the point of having an "exclusive". Mattel is trying to change things with their Wonder Twins exclusive for the 2009 convention. The Super Friends was before my time but of course I've heard of the Wonder Twins, Jayna and Zan. They're the happy pair of heroes created specifically for the cartoon and meant to appeal to kids. It makes sense to have them as a con exclusive. They're probably not well known enough to sell in the mass market and they make more sense as a set than individually. The problem? If you want their monkey sidekick Gleek then you're going to have to buy it in person at the con. Only the twins themselves will be made available for sell online. Mattel's reasoning is to reward the people who made the trek to the convention as opposed to the people staying at home and ordering the exclusive online. Yet out of the number of other exclusives Mattel will be offering only this DC Universe set has any type of incentive like that. Fans are considerably upset about not being able to buy Gleek online. I've got no interest in this set either way but I understand why Mattel is doing this. I just don't think it's neccesary. If you make something people want to buy then not selling it to them is foolish. Now the fandom is now knee deep in GleekGate 2009. Then there's the issue with the Justice League Unlimited exclusive set featuring Green Lantern Hal Jordan without a mask. The uproar over that is so silly but "Hal Jordan" and "silly uproars" seem to go hand in hand. The other major toy company Hasbro has yet to officially announce all of their convention exclusives but a few are known like the one for Transformers. It's a reissiue of Soundwave from the original toyline. That's a great idea for an exclusive. It's something highly fan oriented but not crucial to one's collection because in this particular case it's not something new. In fact Hasbro had already reissued Soundwave as a Toys R Us exclusive just a few short years ago. This new one should be the same with the only difference being the addition of a third transforming cassette, Ratbat. I wanted the Toys R Us release but never found one. I was happy to have another chance to own this classic character. Then I found out it's going to cost $50. Seriously. That's convention exclusives in a nutshell. Complicated to obtain. Expensive. Never quite to fan's expectations. Not usually worth it. And people buy 'em in droves anyways. Not that I'm one to judge. I'm seriously tempted by this. What makes this an exclusive? The packaging. That's it. But good lord man, look at it!