This month's ToyFare published a letter from one Joe Lindsey of Fort Worth, TX. He wrote in with a whole list of questions, but here's the one that caught my eye:
"I read the argument over less or more articulation with DC Direct all the time. Why can't they just give us ankle and wrist articulation? They don't have to do 30+ points of articulation like Marvel, but 9 to 13 is crap. The Green Lantern Series 1 had ankle and wrist articulation and it was one of the best sets they have put out in a long time. Do they not realize why the Superman with 21 points of articulation is the best-selling figure ever?"
Well, first of all, good for you, Joe. It's always nice to see someone else calling companies on their crap, and you're right, 9 to 13 points is a joke for superhero toys. Secondly, you forgot waists. The all-important waists. Ankles and wrists would be nice, but next time you get an audience, throw in a request for more waists, too.
And finally, where are you hanging out online that you ever see someone saying DCD figures need less articulation? Those people have brain damage, and you shouldn't hang around with them. Come to our message board, here you'll meet and interact with many more sane people.
Anyway, ToyFare got an answer from DCD's Georg Brewer:
"The ankle joints can be a challenge to produce reliably and still be rigid enough for the figure to stand. We got mixed reaction on the aesthetics from the collectors in the form vs. function argument."
Okay, the ankle thing we can maybe buy. Maybe. But "mixed reactions" about the articulation? That's a load. Like Joe pointed out, the articulated Superman was the best selling figure DCD ever produced. Why? Because of the articulation, guys.
The so-called "mixed reaction" you got is the same thing that led McFarlane Toys into its long, slow slide to mediocrity: a few loudmouthed fanboys, embarrassed by their own hobby and wanting to pretend they're buying statues, bitch and moan about articulation "ruining" a sculpt and drown out the voices of everyone else. It's like the Moral Majority thinking they're either moral or a majority.
The numbers are right there. Superman sold out because he was articulated. He was re-released and sold out again for the same reason. All the figures that were based on his mold sold out. And all because of articulation.
Meanwhile, the Planetary figures, some of the least articulated figures you've ever made? You ended up selling them to discount stores where they still failed to sell at bargain prices. I have no doubt the character selection had something to do with that, but still: articulation.
So ignore the whining, DC, and test the waters. Give us a series of recognizable, popular characters with the extra articulation. See if those joints keep the fans from buying, or if your "mixed reaction" is really just a handful of complaints that mean less than all the rest of us, who are willing to vote with our wallets.
We already voted for articulation once, with Superman. Where's the counter example, of an articulated figure that failed to sell?