EDITORIAL – Thoughts about Toy Fair 2018 DC Comics Product

While Toy Fair 2018 isn’t officially over yet, most of the product that this site and its readers are interested in has been unveiled, leaving us at an end to our Toy Fair 2018 journey. There were quite a few things to take away from this year’s show, and most of it wasn’t what I was hoping to see. There were a few nice things and surprises, but let’s talk about the bad first.

Lack of Big Toy Fair Reveals

It could be my eyes and the things that interest me, but it seems as though Toy Fair 2018 didn’t have as many big reveals as previous years. There has been a downward trend in the reveals department over the past few years.

Some of this could be due to the fact that New York Comic-Con and San Diego Comic-Con have taken such a big bite of the market, that not having saved some reveals for those shows, shows poor marketing strategy for toy companies. After all, that is where the “fan” will be, and the showing will have a bigger impact. Toy Fair is a trades show, so only retailers and media have access. Yes, they provide coverage, but there is nothing like being in the room when something is unveiled, or seeing it in person.

We know that companies have much more planned for 2018, and the event takes place at the first of the year. This still doesn’t excuse the lack of new product on display. Keep in mind, that I am coming at this from a DC Comics perspective and not a toy industry as a whole.

Canceled Product?

Another good indicator of the future of a product line was if it would have new items shown at Toy Fair. This year we saw a few lines not get featured or have very little featured at booth’s throughout the event. This leads to speculation of the line in question being cancelled.

Take for instance the LEGO DC Superhero Girls line. Nothing at the LEGO booth showing any new or current sets from this line. Even so, a new LEGO DC Superhero Girls movie is soon to be coming to blu-ray. This means there is an audience for it, but no actual toys to go along with it.

Mattel who owns the Master DC toy license, had a fairly mundane showing this year. Aside from a new wave of DC Multiverse figures, and some new 12″ Batman figures, there was nothing to really get excited about. One Imaginext set was on display, which was the Wayne Manor Batcave and that was it! 3-4 DC Superhero Girls dolls were shown, and a handful of DC themed Hot Wheels cars.

Funko revealed a new line of Smallville Pops, which was a pleasant surprise, but that was the end of their DC showing at the event. Even the Batman ’66 figures were a no show after Funko all, but promised a wave 2. However, thanks to the site 13thDimension, Funko’s own Reis O’Brien confirmed that wave 2 would be out this summer. Still, why not confirm at Toy Fair? This doesn’t answer why the only Pops on display were Smallville. Maybe better luck at Emerald City Comic-Con in March?

DC Collectibles had quite a bit of merchandise to show off, but that is a given, since that is what there sole purpose. Even NECA, which usually has several 1/4 scale DC figures in the works, and odds and ends items on display, had one Wonder Woman figure on display (that I saw).

Did Justice League really do that much damage to the brand?

Now for the good…

Funko Smaville Clark Kent Pop
Funko Smaville Clark Kent Pop

Smallville Pops. I will say it again, Smallville Pops. It has been a long time coming, but Funko has finally graced us with Pops based on the popular television series. Hopefully fans will buy this, and it turns into a multi-wave series, instead of a one-and-done.

For the life of me, I don’t understand why the DC Multiverse 6″ line of figures doesn’t sell better than it does. There are some fantastic sculpts, and great character selection. The newest wave revealed features Beast Boy, Spoiler, Kid Flash, Bizarro, and Harley Quinn. Come on fans, help support this one!

Eaglemoss killed it with their reveals this year. The company will be producing Justice League Animated figurines, along with Batman: The Animated Series, and even more DC Comics themed figurines. They might have been the surprise of the show.

Some companies are betting big on the Batman Ninja Anime. Good Smile Company had a few statues on display, coming up for the release of the film. Prime 1 Studio, while not having an official presence at the event, will also be creating product for the film as well.

Let’s Finish!

My hope is that upcoming Comic-Con’s around the country will be the showcase spot for more DC Comics reveals. Toy Fair used to be exciting, but it seems that this event might be waning for the collector. I want to see more DC Comics themed items from Funko. They got my hopes up the most with the introduction of the 3 3/4″ line of figures. Hopefully that doesn’t go by the wayside as the Legion of Collectors box transitions to a exclusive retailer.

Mattel really needs to up their game with DC Comics. As the master DC toy license holder, they should be putting out product left and right (although product that people want), but it seems something is holding them back.

I sincerely hope that the lackluster performance of recent DC Comics films hasn’t hurt the brand in the toy aisles. Something is definitely missing though. Wonder Woman was a huge commercial success, but led to little in the way of merchandise. Maybe Aquaman can turn things around?

As always, comments are always welcome…

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