Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Great JSA Debate

Being here on the other side of the Tasman, I generally get my action figures about 18-24 hours after my stateside friends, which means I either have to stay away from the Net for that time or hear the opinions and reactions of others before I pick up my own set. I've come to see it as a double-edged sword. On one hand, it makes it difficult for me to have an unprejudiced first reaction, but it does have advantages as well, like knowing I need to keep an eye out for sloppy paint apps on that character's boots for example. There's often another positive by-product of this delay as well - by the time I make it to my local comic shop, I've often read so many angry, sometimes hysterical rants about what's wrong with what I'm about to buy that what I'm picking up doesn't look that bad by comparison.

That was my initial reaction when I picked up my JSA Wave One set yesterday. These figures have set the online collecting world on fire and I didn't know what to expect. In the package the two things that stood out to me were that the Atoms looked a bit short and that Hourman's headsculpt was nothing short of rotten. Otherwise I was pretty pleased.

This blog isn't about detailed figure reviews - there's enough places to find those already - rather it's about one collector's journey and thoughts - so I'll skip most of the individual figure critique here. Essentially once I had them unpacked and laid out with their mates (you can't really judge them til you get them out there on the shelf), my verdict was this: MA Figures really not that bad, GA Atoms a travesty. Yes, the Hourman headsculpt should never have been approved and the legs for H-man and Mr Terrific are awful, and yes I had to put Hawkgirl in boiling water to make the holes in her back large enough to insert the wings to avoid the breakages others have experienced (!), but the MA JSA I'm building on my shelf doesn't look too shabby. Some of the earlier MA JSA figs are going to look shorter but I'll deal. I did note the irony that the Hawkgirl headsculpt is one of the best female headsculpts we've had in quite a while and it's one you stick a helmet over. Where's the mask for my Alex Ross Justice Zatanna or my Michael Turner Identity Crisis Black Canary??

The disappointment over the Atoms is totally justified. As has been pointed out elsewhere these are quite different from the solicits, are totally out of scale and not at all worth the very long wait. Wretched.

The wash up is that one of the most anticipated DCD Waves in a long time should have been done well and it just wasn't, right down to the packaging which looks lame and very last-minute. For some this seems to be the proverbial straw. Online, folks are talking of ending their DCD collections. Some of the loudest critics I have heard of these figures are people who haven't seen them in person, and they've come under some fire for that. The reality of course is that there's alot under the surface of the reaction to this wave. We are battered and bruised from a long run of solicits ranging from the predictable to the farcical (Armoured Justice anyone?). There are scale issues and less than great paint applications everywhere we turn, and the list goes on.

So what's the deal here? Do we want to much? Are our expectations unreasonable? Do we need to face the fact that a bunch of (mostly) middle aged guys who have actually read the comics and understand the characters are NOT the target audience for these toys (and let's remember, they are toys....) and either shut up for move on?

Sometimes I think this, and then I pick up my AR Plastic Man, my IC Power Girl, or even an older figure like Uncle Sam, which captures the character in every flawless way, and remind myself that DCD can and has done this well, very well, and I believe that it's fair and reasonable to hold them to doing what they do well all the time.

This collector is down but not out and determined to be more vocal. DCD, your quality control and your character selection suck. They suck big time, and this little blogger is going to call you on it, every time. As an incentive, I'm also going to be just as loud about what I think you've done right.
So get going!
Yours in blogging,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, love the article and website, just discovered this, I know its a little late, but you realize the GA Atom is supposed to be much smaller in scale to the others, right? That's why they called him the Atom, because he was small but packed a bug punch. That's the history of the character. I have had some of the same complaints as you, but just like you, I keep on collecting! To me the fun is the hunt. Keep up the good work.

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