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Points of Articulation

Rustin Parr
Getting Matteled

yo has previously shared (his version) of the story of how we first met, when he stole the idea and the statue that should have rightly been mine! (And will be again someday, once I write myself into his will [and then cause him to disappear into the Bermuda Triangle].) That evening we attended the "Spawn.com message boarder" get-together dinner, and by the end of the evening, he, Poe and I were all great friends, and a few weeks later, they invited me to join OAFE (I swear I'll be contributing more in the future, everyone!).

In my very first "tryout" review for the site, I coined a phrase you're all familiar with: "getting Matteled." I even provided a specific definition for he phrase, tho' Poe and yo said it was a bit too much, and took it out of the published piece. I can understand that, but given what happened at SDCC this year, it's time for you to finally know the truth:

Get·ting Mat·teled: [get-ting muh-teld] verb

-verb (used with object)

  1. To be bent over and forcibly anal-raped without lubricant until you pass out due to blood loss.


[Now you know why they wouldn't let him put that in a review --ed.]

This year, Mattel was as screwed up as it ever is. I got no MotU art books, no He-Ro and no Wonder Twins.

Mattel has a long history of bad decision making (second only to McFarlane Toys) and an even stronger reputation for being the toughest of all bears when it comes to the ease of purchasing Convention Exclusives. Nothing better exemplifies both of these terrible qualities than the abysmal nightmare of Gleek. Much has been writ about the debacle, and for my own two cents, all I care to say on the matter is that to publicly and highly limit a unique character, that is also a 100% unique sculpt, displays paramount misunderstanding of the market and consumer. Rather than to rail further on the infantile ineptitude of that decision, let me recount to you my own endeavors in pursuit of this blue simian fiend.


When I walked by the sales booth Preview Night, it was predictably a madhouse, so I moved on. After all, there's always tomorrow.


I returned Thursday and, after half-a-goddamned-hour of waiting and asking, was finally directed to a completely nondescript Mattel employee (I assume they worked for Mattel) standing nonchalantly about 30 feet from the throng of fans trying to get into line but being denied access by security. This guy had a stack of postcards he was handing out as though they were just the usual "see my movie" BS you turn down at the con. Turns out they were actually "appointment cards" for the Mattel booth giving you a day and time to return. Nice. Though it was Thursday, my card wasn't valid until Friday at noon. Whatever, "they have enough stuff to get them through Friday at least. I mean, Christ, the limit is six per person per trip through line," I naively thought.


Well Friday was also the Mattel panels, DCU 11am-noon then Ghostbusters/MotU from 1pm to 2pm. I wanted to attend both of these, so I figured two-to-three hours late wouldn't make too much difference and I would hit the booth after the second panel. And indeed after the panels, I headed on down to the booth and got in line. Once near the front a guy climbed up on the steps to their second-floor "breakroom" overlooking the line and shouted out "in case you haven't heard, we are all out of the Art Book, He-Ro and Gleek for the day." What the %$@#!? It was only 2:30pm! Well, in hopes of an error or of extras, I made it to the front of the line and got the same response from the cashier, so I loaded up on JLU GLs and Egons, deciding to hold off on Wonder Twins so I could get Gleek the next day (having gotten another "appointment" card).


Well, as you may or may not have read (but totally should have), the DC Direct "Rainbow" Hal Jordans were not only my most-desired exclusives of the con, but also the biggest pain in the ass (at least in terms of supply & demand). I went to that line first and after two and a half hours finally had my GL ticket in hand, so I immediately went down to Mattel, this time between 11am and noon. Boom - all out of He-Ro, Gleek (maybe the Wonder Twins, too) and the MotU Art Book. "I'll see you %$@#ers first thing Sunday."


Well, I get into the building five minutes after opening and beeline to Mattel. No one is in line. And now every exclusive except for the JLU GLs is sold the %$@# out. Period. Shortly after discovering this, I look over and spot Scott "Toyguru" Neitlich standing on the opposite side of the sales booth gabbing with the dude who designs the packaging (Frank Varela). I stalk Scott, the self proclaimed "Toyguru," until he is free and then approach, trying to stay calm.

I open with the big question of the con for me: "Why aren't the Ghostbusters figures going to retail?" "Because there's not enough interest from moms and kids, and besides we wanted to offer something cool on mattycollector.com because it's all about you guys, the collectors" - his exact words (I could see the "trademark" logo in his voice after that sentence). Another 30 seconds of conversation on that subject went nowhere, so I switched over to the exclusives. He replies "yeah, I'm sorry but you can always order them on mattycollector.com starting August 3rd (trademark)."

"But what about Gleek? Thats really frustrating me because of the whole six per person thing"

"Oh, well, no one was buying six."

%$@#ing every third person at the con was carrying a sealed case of Mattel something. Everyone was buying a hell of a lot of Wonder Twins, because if anyone wanted the Twins then they sure as hell wanted Gleek, too. So while some folks were buying extras for friends, there were a lot of scalpers buying them just for Gleek - one both was selling polybagged gleek by himself for $30. Anyway,at that point I just turned and walked away admist a group teenagers excited to meet the internet's own "Toyguru."

   ...and in the ensuing days.

You want some more horror stories? Some people got their Wonder Twins before the supposed Gleek sell-out, but didn't get him: he wasn't included in their bag. Other people reported getting extras - more than one had been tossed in their bag. The booth workers were quietly handing them out to people who claimed they didn't get one. And conveniently, on Sunday afternoon, after the WTs were long-sold-out, someone "found" another box of Gleeks at the Mattel booth. Were they given out to the buyers who had been screwed over?

Hell no!

A week or so later, the entire box was given for free to the asshats at Fwoosh. The moderators got to decide who got Gleeks. You think anyone but their friends got them? Their friends or eBay, maybe. Fwoosh is notorious as being one of the worst communities online, so why do they get these figures? Why not give them to RTM or a reputable site? For that matter, why not list them on your oh so precious MattyCollector? "Show us a scan of your con receipt, get the Gleek we cheated you out of." Everybody wins!

Everyone has been trying to get an answer out of Mattel since this went down, with no luck. Look at Nietlich's glib answer to one of our own Loafers:

Q: When you make such a big deal about Gleek being only available at the con, and then a bunch of con attendees don't get the Gleek, and then you find a bunch of Gleeks, how exactly does it make sense to just give the Gleeks to Fwoosh?

A: We found a box of Gleeks late in the day on Sunday and had already run out of Wonder Twins for the show. (and as posted on Facebook, Gleek was available on a first come first serve basis. We made it very clear before SDCC that we would have more WT sets compared to Gleeks at the show).

We found the extra box on Sunday. Fwoosh asked us if any Gleek's were available for them to distribute after the show and we worked out a deal. There really was not a logical way to distribute them at the show since we ran out of Wonder Twin sets. Trying to get them to fans at the show who bought Wonder Twins after we ran out of Gleeks would have been a logistical nightmare as would giving them only to the first 100 people who ordered on MattyCollector on the 3rd. Giving them to Fwoosh seemed like the most logical distribution meathod.

In what %$@#ing alternate reality is that logical? EVERY DAMN "Ask Mattel" QUESTION for the month of August from every site focused on the Gleek screwup, but all Toyguru would do is parrot the same "they sold out, they're a success" line over and over. First come, first served. First come, first served. First come, first served. SHUT THE CRAP UP AND ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION!

Oh, and then there's this:

"Gleek was available on a first come first serve basis. We stated on Mattycollector.com's Facebook page very clearly that we would have more Wonder Twins at the show than Gleeks."

Funny how that's been their excuse all along, but the people who follow their Facebook page never heard a word of it. No one's ever been able to link to the post where it was announced. They say if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth, but I didn't know that was Mattel's corporate motto. They keeps repeating the same bull, hoping people will start to believe it. We're here to say no, it didn't happen that way and no matter how much you wish it had, we're going to be here calling you out.

Gleek was not the worst thing that's ever happened to life; he was merely the simple and logical culmination of everything that preceded him, like Frodo succumbing to the One Ring. Yet, like Luke after waling on dismemebered Vader, Mattel may yet learn from their countless, countless mistakes. Now that they have their little website, why not offer preorders, like Sideshow does? 2010 could be markedly free from such rampant insanity. More of that thinking, and less of the infamous Gleek nonsense, I say!

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