Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

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Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

Post by The Scream Man on Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:02 pm

Iím all for articulation. I love articulation! frankly, I think DCUC could use a little more of it. And Marvel Legends (Or Spiderman Classics to be more precise) set the benchmark for articulating figures in the western toy world. But which is better overall?

(For the sake of this, all marvel 6inch stuff Iím calling Marvel Legends, including the Spidey and FF movie lines)

I get that a lot of this is personal preference, so I'll try and just state what I think the main points are and people can choose as they will.

When ML Started I thought it was the best toyline ever. the first Spidey figures were amazing, and I rushed out and bought all 3 the second I saw em. That first Spiderman remained my favorite figure till the McFarlane Spider came out a couple of years later. But when the first ML line hit, I was even more psyched. I had a passing knowledge on Cap and Iron Man, and remembered Hulk from his cartoon. And the figures knocked my socks off. To this day, that Captain America is one of the best figures Marvel ever put out. A little loose here and there, but just an amazing toy. Iron man was also great. Hulk was ok, but the bendy wire hands (with no wire in them) really wrecked the figure for me. I never did get Toad, but both he and the Venom from the first Spidey Classics wave seemed a throwback for me; more like the old toys than the new. And so there it started; suddenly the world of Comic toys was a new and exciting place for the collector.

over the years the line had its ups and downs. Some stand out figures that I still consider favorites include: Brown and orange Wolvie, McFarlane Spidey, Deadpool, Blade, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Gambit, War Machine, Thor from the WM wave and Movie Punisher (I know that last one is just me). but even when looking at those figures the issues that would start to annoy me in the line had wormed their way in.

First off was scale. Iím not a huge Scale Nazi. But can't we all get behind the idea that Iron Man should be bulkier than Captain America?! I mean after the first wave, Iron Man is a skinny skinny dude in that suit! and often he is shorter than Cap. I eventually got Faceoff Cap, and if u look at him with the version 1 Cap, u start to see what happened to the line. It sort of shrunk and got hunched. It bugs me NO END that Face off cap has those huge neck muscles that so many of the later Legends had. and he is SMALLER than the original cap, but a noticeable degree! now by this point the line had certainly changed. I personally think it was around wave 5 when things started to shrink slightly. The toys suddenly got a bit more realistic (So to speak) and looked less fantasy. By the time toy Biz lost the license many fans were a bit more wary than we were at the beginning. A bit more nervous. breaks, loose plastic and terrible sculpts were getting more prevalent by those last waves.

Scarlet Witch anyone? Spiderwoman? Wasp? Hawkeye? The shoulders on Silver Surfer and those that shared his mold? C'mon there were some UGLY figures in that line. It wasnít a total loss, it's true. Giant Man and The Sentinel were amazing BAF toys (And ML created the BAF concept, and it is one of the other great feats of their legacy.). The Captain Marvel sculpts were great, as was Psylocke. but when I look back at that early Cap and Iron man, and compare them to those later figures....it felt like the energy was gone.

And of course Hasbro got the line then. I personally donít think it's all bad. King Thor, Black Knight, Cyclops, Crossbones and more I donít have...there is some nice work in there. But the price leapt up, the availability slid down and now we have heard that after the 2 packs and Nemesis wave that ML is on Hiatus. For the record: Sigma 6 was put on a Hiatus. Isnít back yet, nor do I anticipate seeing it again. I leave that thought to you.

In the end Legends left us with a new toy world. Articulation should be high, sculpting and paint are important, BAF's will make people by a wave, secondary characters can sell.... a lot of this was proved by Marvel Legends! the line will ALWAYS have some place on my shelf, and rightly so. But it could have been BETTER I say.

Last year long come Mattel, the maker of Barbie of all things, and say they will do 6 inch DC figures. Now they had done some before with their DC Superheroes line, but hadnít QUITE nailed it there. While the figures were liked, they werenít loved...until DCUC.
With a varied character selection, excellent stylized design by the 4 Horsemen and an aggressive release schedule, DCUC hit at a time when ML was really in a slump. And people responded quickly, soon putting a lot of figures on the shelves of collectors across the US. by the end of 08 almost 50 characters could be on your shelf, which is a substantial amount by anyoneís standards! So why did they grab the minds of collectors so easily?

I think it was a few things. First the Horsemen do awesome sculpts. There is a style and a simple elegance to their toys that make them leap out at you. The colors are bright and glassy and the articulation, while not at ML level, certainly allows for most of the poses people would like. The character choices were far and wide, from Killer Moth to Black Lightning to Nightwing. This gave us a nice collage of the universe, and also left us begging for more. And the line is CONSISTANT. There is no mistaking these are one line. Do they reuse a lot of body parts; yes, but thatíss not so bad if it's done well. There are at least 4 distinct body sizes that have been used more than once, and it shows. Some have complained the lines toys are to similar....tell me again how different Series 7 Vision is to Silver Surfer? no one seemed to mind then! Hell, Iím sure that body was even used for Daredevil for christs sake! Let's not pretend every marvel sculpt is unique.

Now DCUC isnít without its own hassles. Distribution sucks even in the US, let alone down here in Australia where we MIGHT be seeing these on shelves 6 or 7 months later! The toys have a tone of QC issues including stuck joints, joints that snap of, paint splatter and wrong body parts on figures. Mattel say they are cleaning up their act, and the few people who have series 7 seem happy so far, so I guess we'll see.

For me...I prefer DCUC. I like the line feels like one line, like all these guys are hanging in the same universe together. Stand Cap next to superman; they look totally off. Hell, stand Cap next to union Jack or red hulk; even they donít necessarily look like the same basic designs. This essay sums up my feelings on the 2 lines as best I can, sorry for being long winded. I just find it curious...Marvel fans seem to be hanging on with their nails right now. they wonít accept they have a contender up against them who is doing what they did and are coming close to being neck and neck for popularity.

I guess time will tell.

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Re: Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

Post by The Scream Man on Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:52 am

wow, no response at all? Too long, Didnt read? Wink

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Re: Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

Post by TheSweetestThing on Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:37 am

Just noticed this (and read it) now, very interesting! I haven't been in the toy game long enough to know what ML was like when it began, but I do remember wondering what all the fuss was about when I came onto the scene - about the time they started to get crappy I think.
DCUC are just some great figures all round, so I'm with you on which is better. Shame we can't see this quality with the Marvel characters.
Cheers

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Re: Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

Post by The Dr Of Style on Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:22 am

I'm a Marvel Character Nazi so my opinion is completely biased.... I do prefer the more "realistic" look over stylised figs

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Re: Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

Post by behemoth on Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:34 am

Look I'm 50/50 too.

At the moment DCUC is hot, new and all the big characters are in release or about to be released. But what happens once the big 7 and main villains are released, and they move on the the second and third stringers?

The high body reuse is getting old for me. All these guys can't be the exact same shape, right?

Also, DCUC quality control absolutely sucks, which is unforgivable in this day and age. Not to mention that we can't walk into a store to buy them in Australia.

Of course ML is at the end of their road. And what a road it was, setting a new standard for mass market action figures. Sure there were some terrible figures, but a lot more excellent ones. I also think Hasbro continue to cheapen the ML brand.

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Re: Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

Post by Bondi_Guy on Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:32 am

I am more of a DC fan than a Marvel fan...Always have been...Marvel Legends produced some of the most awesome figures ever...I say that even being a DC fan..They invented the heavily articulated action figure craze...Toybiz were the innovators...DCUC for me is a dream line of action figures that I never in a 100 years thought would get made..I was a big fan of the Kenner Super Powers Collection when I was a kid...and to me this line is a modernized version of that...that's why I don't mind the reuse of bodies...I think it's fine for DC characters but not so fine for Marvel characters (although I would buy a line of Marvel characters in the DCUC style) Now I wont lie,I am very biased being a DC fan since the early 80's but I think that DCUC is one of the best lines of action figures ever and it will go down in history as that...You can argue quality control and bad paint opps till the cows come home but ML had plenty of crap quality control too...I haven't had an issue with any QC problems with DCUC...yet.I'm sure I will in the future..but that's a problem for all action figure lines...

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Re: Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

Post by The Scream Man on Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:35 pm

The Dr Of Style wrote:I'm a Marvel Character Nazi so my opinion is completely biased.... I do prefer the more "realistic" look over stylised figs

The problem was that only SOME Marvel Legends were 'realistic' looking. the style vatried wildly throughout the lines history, which is what bugs me the most about it.

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Re: Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

Post by Shocka on Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:28 am

Honest, I can't give a crap about any of the DCUC because here in Australia they're impossible to get. They're not in any retail stores at all - only speciality - and they cost at least double what they're worth, if not triple. Their QC is horrible and there's no way to get replacements - if you get a bung figure, you're stuck with. So, distribution and cost are the main issues for me, but additionally I'm also not nearly as big a fan of the DC characters as I am of the Marvel characters. I imagine that if I could get the DCUC at a reasonable price that might change, and I could nab and learn about new characters like I did with the Marvel Legends, but that's not going to happen.

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Re: Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

Post by Nightcrawler on Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:10 pm

I agree with 99.5% of what you've said Scream. Hasbro suck and don't care if they kill ML. Toy Biz rocked! DCUC? Meh. I'm sick of figures that just bend at the elbows, knees and neck Ė personally. I forked out $25 for a Titans Robin because I think Perez did the best job of anyone artistically on Robin, but the figure is so static. I prefer the ML War Machine I got for $6 on sale at K-Mart because it is so articulated and has all those extra accessories, even though I couldn't give a s#*t about the character! I just hope we get to pick up more of the later HML lines for $5 each at Crazy Clarks before they go bust.

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Re: Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

Post by The Scream Man on Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:58 pm

Nightcrawler wrote:I agree with 99.5% of what you've said Scream. Hasbro suck and don't care if they kill ML. Toy Biz rocked!


i think thats rose coloured glasses. Toy Biz had just as many sucky figures as it had good ones, especially in later series.

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Re: Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

Post by Grimr on Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:25 pm

O loved the rid eof aweosmeness Marvel legends too me on, buying gazillions of each due to the great value for money. The end of marvel and Hasbro start made collecting marvel legends a nuisance, the figures were much similar (except for the efforts to reduce production costs compromising the perceived quality or at least things we pay attention to like paint apps and textures). Hasbro power through so much stuff, and kick ass at most they do, but Marvel Legends left me feeling ripped. jesse falcon mentioned there would be some thing awesome coming up...don;t recall when he said, but if it was 3 /34 marvel, I am feeling ripped off and disappointed. I hope Marvel select can keep up the 6-7 inch scale market. I am actively not buying into 3 3/4 Marvel, lots of cool...but i have to draw the line.

Dc superheroes are insanely satisfying, I think "will I bother with the next wave?", and when they land in my hands I always say...yup worth the pain of USD conversion rate. The respect to collectors in regard to Matty collector (let alone the kind shipping prices) makes collecting DC superhero exclusives much easier. Big respect for the efforts of Mattel. I'll be supporting them as long as they keep up the great waves and styling.

Overall - in the 6 inch stakes both had their high times and low times, i hope that Mattell can keep up the awesome, and tilt my hat to Toybiz for the golden age of 6 inch figures. Who wins...both of them have taken much cash form my pockets, so I love them both!

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Re: Marvel Legends vs DC Universe Classics. a retrospective essay.

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