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DC Multiverse Outsells Marvel Legends In 2021?!?


JayC
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This is toy related story of the year for me so far! Love the competition. I quit both lines (though I had to buy legends sleep walker) and not being biased but just observing....my own 8 to 12 targets near me: hasbro legends always sells faster than mcfarlane while mcfarlane multiverse for the most part pegwarms. The items that hurt legends were shang chi and eternals. If not for both waves, legends would be non existent on my target shelves.

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All I can say is the places I frequent pretty much run out of ML right away while the DC stuff just sits on the shelf.

I also don't have any faith in McFarlane to give us figures we want.  I'm still sitting on the same JL Animated figures from the launch and haven't had any more. Marvel and Hasbro just seem to give me a lot more fill of what I want. 

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I buy far more Hasbro products than McFarlane. Marvel, Star Wars Black, GI Joe Classified, Transformers, and Fortnite. Even some Power Rangers. I buy a bit of DCM, but since I'm not a hardcore Batman fan, the endless variants of him do not interest me (I'll but nearly any of his villains though)

I agree with many posts here. The ways the numbers are calculated may be skewed, plus Eternals and Shang-chi may have been slow sales in addition to endless delays of new Star Wars figures. I like some of Todd's stuff, but his lines are usually the first ones that get cut when watching the Budget. I like DC and Marvel pretty much equally, so I dont have a real bias one way or the other...its more of a combination of quality control and character choices, despite the lower price point.

 

 

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Its kind of funny, when i started to really get into collecting, I was collecting McF stuff back in the day and hated legends when they first came out bc they were too "segmenty". skip about 20 years and here i am with a crap ton of Legends and 2 mcf figures that are MK11 stuff. 

I find this kind of a hard pill to swallow. Hasbro has more lines and are sometimes very hard to come by. In comparison, I see tons of McF stuff lining the pegs. I dont know if hasbro just doesnt give enough stock or McF gives too much stock but I know Hasbro provides more appealing products overall than McF for me. He does have some great offerings and its nice to see hes added some articulation but everything ive seen seems to be articulation just for articulation sake and not all of his cuts seem to be there for purpose. I do have to say tho, McF has definitely come up pretty well in comparison to other toy companies out right now on store shelves. 

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Makes sense to me. Technically, they are not competitors, but simply similar products. ML is a 6" line and has been top of the heap for a long time now. DCM is a 7" line and they are more statue than "action" figure. Part of me thinks, though we all hoped McFarlane would delve into the 6" market, that he did the line at 7" a) because he had just recently had articulation experience with only a 7" format and b) he really didn't want to compete with ML as they had consistently trounced Mattel's DCM on a regular yearly basis.

I'm not a fan of the McFarlane toys as per their "playability", scale issues even within it's own line and facial likeness, but they look good for the most part and the detail is top notch. I do hope they do fairly well as I still hold out hope that a good performance by McFarlane at 7" it might convince the top dogs a Warner (now Paramount) to award a license to a company such as Jazzwares or Spinmaster to do a true 6" scale line to compete with ML.

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Spent a lot on both lines but probably more on McFarlane. I also see a lot less McFarlane DC on shelves esp when new crap arrives. Certain pegwarmers persist, but most of Marvel's 2021 lineup was one big pegwarmer given their Kung Pow Phooey and The Young and the Restless lines didn't sell with the latter still clogging most aisles.

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“Yeah, that checks out.” he says while faking he understand’s what Ting’s talking about.

Truth be told, I feel like Todd is (and has been for a long time) a talker. He seems to like bragging when something goes his way, or when he perceives something going his way. I honestly doubt McFarlane sold more than Hasbro, just number wise it doesn’t add up, you know? Like he just went and said “well, if we sell everything under the same umbrella we’re obviously gonna out sell them” just to get the apparent upper hand. Like a man in a padded shirt believing he’s actually more muscular. 

Anyway, what a time to be a toy collector, am I right? 

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It seemed like McFarlane was pumping out a new wave of figures every week. It felt like he had a very limited window with the DC license so he was trying to grab as much cash as possible, rather than building a brand over years, or even decades, as in Marvel Legends case. If one outsells the other in a particular business cycle, that doesn't mean they've won the race.

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All in all, I do have a fondness for both, but, while Marvel Legends continues to just toss a new paint job on the same old body molds, McFarlane uses uniques sculpts for every figure. I do wish that the paint was as strong as the sculpt in most cases, but they do make for great custom fodder. At the same time, Marvel Legends continues to give us new characters, where McFarlane has a batman for every occasion. There's still a lot of great and a lot of less than great to be said about both.

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I'm not sure if it was the best line, but I can see how it would be the best selling despite many annoying hiccups with this. I think I got more marvel legends than DC multiverse but this year I plan to get a lot of the newer releases mcfarlane has placed out rather than ML. I do love and collect both lines, for years now. Funny for me, I collected more BAF waves under the mattel line rather than McFarlane, but with McFarlane I feel I have the option to pick and choose. When it comes to BAF's so far, ML takes the cake for me, I got 6 ML BAF waves last year. 

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I have a very hard time believing anything DC could outsell Marvel in these MCU-crazed times, least of all McFarlane's ugly figures. They have the grossest gummy-looking paint apps, limited range of motion on the joints, and a character selection mostly focusing on the latest comic stories instead of popular classic renditions. (Is anyone else sick of Heavy Meta Bats and Supes clogging up Target shelves and falling down on you every time you try to check the Transformers pegs?) I'm much more inclined to believe Ting, especially since he's given a clear explanation as to how the calculations were, how shall we say, less than scrupulous.

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  • 5 months later...

Todd McFarlane was on-hand last week at San Diego Comic Con doing the interview circuit promoting various projects he's been working on including a new comic book crossover with his Spawn and DC's Batman, I wonder if their will be a crossover action figure line with the two? Anyway in the interview he did with CBR, he did some bragging about how his DC Multiverse line was the number 1 selling action figure line for 2021 in both the US and Canada, outselling Hasbro's Marvel and Star Wars lines. He even goes on to point out that he accomplished this feat while only having a portion of the DC license for toys, one he shares with a company called Spin Master.
 

Now this isn't the first time we have heard Todd make this claim, and the basis of the claim as we first reported back in February is based on an award he won from the NPD Group.

Of course when Todd first touted his DC Multiverse line was #1, that cause the Hasbro Marvel Legends brand team to try and hit back at the claim stating, "When tracking US Retail Point Of Sale data, NPD does not aggregate a manufacturer’s similar waves/assortments/collections with unique item numbers."

Never-the-less that doesn't seem to have dissuaded Todd in his belief that DC Multiverse is currently at the top of the sales hill when it comes to action figures right now, something he is obviously quit proud of.

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The one thing that confuses me - if what Todd is saying is actually accurate - is why I see so many McFarlane products readily available all the time from virtually any retail site you want to visit, with so many of them going on sale / clearance sale and such a smaller percentage of Marvel Legends figures that follow the same path. Yes, there were some recent, unfortunate exceptions like Eternals and some others, but even with those taken into account, my shopping/collecting experience seems to indicate that I almost never have to pay full price for any regular McFarlane fig, because virtually everything will be available from Best Buy or Walmart or Target or Amazon on some significant sale or clearance before long. Again, that's not universally true with everything, but that sure seems to be the case far more often with McFarlane's stuff than with MLs. 

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Well , an award is an award. Todd won fair and square and its true.

He does not have the DC master license and still out sold Hasbro/Marvel.

If Hasbro wants the title, make more figures at an affordable price. Not to worry aboot share holders 

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Disclaimer: I'm a Marvel Legends guy through and through. I've been collecting Legends for 20+ years before they were called Legends. They are the primary line that I collect and everything else is secondary. They are the only line that I open anything from. All other lines I buy stay in the package. I also bought at least one version of every DC character that either Mattel or DC Collectibles / DC Direct ever made from the very beginning just like I've done with Legends.

I've bought tons of both Marvel and DC over the last couple of years. The big difference? Every single thing that I've bought by McFarlane has been bought at at least 40% discounted off the original retail price because everything he makes goes on clearance, and relatively quickly. I've never paid more than $13 for a standard DC Multiverse figure and have at least 1 version of every character that he has made since taking over the line. Even the deluxe figures have been easy to find 50% off within 60 days of release.

I still prefer Mattel's DC product to McFarlane's because I'm big into the 1/12 scale (6") and hate that Todd's figures don't conform to that established norm. I have hundreds, if not thousands of figures in that scale so I was super pissed that Todd had to be different. DC Direct / DC Collectibles varied their scales. They did a lot of 7" also, especially in the early days but did more 6" towards the end. For me, my preference for DC figures is Mattel over McFarlance, but McFarlane over DC Direct. DC Direct figures were more like statues in that they were looked nice but were brittle - but I've still got figures from DC Direct that I never would have otherwise like Vandal Savage, The Shade, Tom Strong, Promethea, Professor Pyg, Firefly, Talia al Ghul, Oracle, etc.

For what it's worth, I've also never received a Hasbro figure broken in the package whereas I've had several of McFarlane's arrive broken in the package. Usually it's arms or hands that have broken. DC Direct was even worse, that stuff was always breaking. For Marvel, I had some Toy Biz figures break over the years but I can't specifically remember anything from Hasbro doing so and that's saying something since I have hundreds of those figures.

So for me, I probably buy something like 2:1 Hasbro (Legends, Joes) to McFarlane (DC, Spawn), but only buy McFarlane at clearance prices and because basically everything they make hits clearance somewhere (Amazon, Gamestop, BestBuy, Walmart, Target, etc.).

Luckily, there are different vendors to meet different people's desires. We don't all have to like the same thing. I don't think it's necessary to put down what other people like. For instance, I thought that The Batman movie with Twilight Boy was really bad (which is why they're already trying to replace him with Keanu) - but people like Bagman must have liked it. To each their own!

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McFarlane: Here is the batcave, batmobile, batcycle from the 66 batman wave all under £30. 

Hasbro: Here's a Fortnite boat....£77

Hasbro has completely crapped on their reputation thanks to corporate greed. Not that they weren't greedy before - they at least stayed reasonable - but in the current climate they ramped up the shizhousery up to 11. Massively inconsistent prices, over priced with nothing added and will have the gal to moan when people don't buy their stuff. I wait til sales on figures now. I'd happily miss out on a fig I want rather than get ripped off. 

I'm not a fan of McFarlane's DC line. They're overall gorgeous looking but the face sculpts are terrible and the articulation is frustrating in how it's sculpted. But mucho respeto on his prices, especially vehicles.

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A lot of my thoughts have been echoed already by other commenters, so pardon the repetition.

I buy Marvel and Dc both (as well as GI Joe, NECA, other Todd offerings, Valaverse, Super7, etc.,) I cannot stress how much I appreciate McFarlane's ability/willingness to keep the price points down. I have my minor gripes with his toys, such as face sculpts on occasion, releasing batman figures from every comic ever :) ,extra hands, scale issues, etc...but its not even close enough to make me consider 'dropping' the line. I enjoy the figures. I do factor in that many of Todd's figures can be found on clearance if you are patient enough and have an eye for what may be a more popular offering (I didn't wait on Bane, thank god)

Hasbro's repeated price jumps have made me more picky and I now do the same calculation to wait on clearance/price drops for certain figures. What used to be my habit of picking up entire waves at a time have turned into cherry picking what figures I guess may be more difficult to find later or are just favorites and waiting on the rest. Thor: Love and Thunder is my latest example...picked up 2 figures and stalking the rest. I LOVE Marvel Legends, but I despise Hasbro and their greed. These excuses to raise prices are just that...excuses. I'm sure their are marvel/hasbro diehard defenders out there who will try to point out covid, inflation, etc...and they are correct to an extent, but they could easily absorb those costs for quit a bit....but that means less profit *gasp* Gotta make sure their shareholders keep getting that unsustainable profit increase year after year....grrr....gonna stop before I go further off topic. I'm not knocking on Marvel Legends fans. I'm one too...its the corporate greed I can't stand.

Todd may have outsold Hasbro that year...his stuff is on the shelves all the time for better or worse. He does seem to target kids/parents more with his offerings and prices. I hope he keeps it up and Hasbro feels the pressure a bit and drops their prices some (haha...they won't)

 

 

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I'm limited as to what I can store as a collector but find myself buying more Hasbro since I'm a GI Joe fan but with Marvel Legends and DC multiverse I limit myself to MCU only figures no interest in comic waves and DC Movie waves and I have to say McFarland is the easiest to get.  Finding Hasbro GI Joe and Marvel figures have late has been difficult.  McFarland didn't run into the same shipping issues so of course alot of his stuff was going the past year because getting anything else was next to impossible 

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I am sure it has outsold Marvel Legends. I had to buy the Year 2 Batman figure three times, because each time, the arms crumbled into dust, and it took forever for Target to process the return. I eventually gave up on trying to own it. It was the last straw of many such QA issues with DC Multiverse. 

For as much as I have enjoyed some of the Mcfarlane figures, they really are a bit of fool's gold in some ways.

Sure, the costs are "down", but you are also getting extremely brittle figures half of the time, especially at the wrist and ankle joints. The articulation is also incredibly awkward and useless on some figures, not to mention baffling decisions like Side Eye paint apps and being gouged by the endless head swap variants. 

A lot of the "new sculpts" are really just rubber overlays slapped onto the figure, which in some cases, ends up looking like a diaper, and in others, gets stressed against the articulation. These figures actively hate having any articulation, and a lot of them look incredibly ugly as a result. It feels like every other company is doing pinless, well proportioned sculpts, while Todd is catching up to the ToyBiz era. 

The line has definitely seen incremental improvements since it launched, and I have enjoyed some of the figures, but there's a reason a lot of it peg warms, and why a lot of people end up buying these figures on clearance.   

Hasbro has its own issues, of course, but Todd should actually take a look at what he is putting out onto the shelf before he tries to big dog any one company. 

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Even if he's right, he's not comparing apples to apples. Marvel Legends started in 2007. The main characters have all been done multiple times. The only new characters are pretty much from the third tier at this point. Also, McFarlane seems like he's pumping out a lot more figures, like he's trying to cash in before his license is up. No shade to his line. Some of them look really good and I would buying them if they were in 6 inch scale. I'm actually kind of glad they aren't so that I don't feel compelled to indulge.

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I think the explanation provided by the Hasbro ML team makes perfect sense.  At retail each ML wave counts as a new/different toyline.  So when looking at retail sales data they count Spider-Man Marvel Legends waves as a different line than X-Men Marvel Legends wave, which they count as different than Disney+ Legends waves, which they count as different than Eternals wave etc.  

So in other words if at retail in 2021 Marvel Legends sell:

250K Spider wave figures

200K X-Men wave figures

100K Disney+ wave figures

50K Eternals wave figures

50K Shang Chi wave figures

50K FF retro wave figures

Then even though the total for ML across all lines equals 700K in this example NPD group would keep those numbers separate so the highest number would be 250K for the Spidey waves.  Meanwhile Multiverse all counts as one toyline.  Thus if all the DCM waves for the year sell 300K figures they would be the winner despite selling less than half of what ML sells just as a result of how NPD Group does the counting.  
 

That’s what the Marvel Legends team is claiming and I think that’s an explanation that makes sense. 

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And given the above explanation I think that also explains how DCM could beat Mattel’s WWE line since likewise WWE figures would have their numbers split since Elite counts separate from Legends, which counts separate from Top Picks, which counts separate as Basics, which count separate as the Summerslam wave, etc.  If you actually added all those numbers together I would guess WWE and ML would have to be the top two sellers in the category.  

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Given the state of Star Wars though I would have an easier time seeing DCM beating them head to head.  Black Series seems to have totally stalled with an over abundance of repaints and an over focus of new media figures that come out 6 months after the new media has been released and lost momentum.  I’m enjoying Vintage Collection more than Black Series but clearly that line is still struggling with distribution (at least at Targets).  So I could easily imagine DCM beating Star Wars.  

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