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2011’s Hot Toy Craze by Mark Heike

Monster High calender artHave you seen this year’s big holiday toy craze, Mattel’s “Monster High” dolls? These things actually crept onto the market more than a year ago, but it took awhile for them to really take off. The concept is this: a group of orginal (mostly female) teen characters who are supposed to be the second-generation offspring of famous monster characters-or at least archtypes. The 12-inch dolls are cute and creepy at the same time, and pretty nicely designed. When I first saw them last year, I wondered if the Mattel folks hadn’t miscalculated badly and come up with something that would miss the mainstream and appeal only to the collector’s market.Ghoulia Yelps doll photo A lot of other so-called “experts” among retail buyers and chain-store magnates originally had the same thought (“Little girls won’t want this SPOOKY stuff.”), but once the marketing machine (starting out with little on-minute animated freebies on YouTube last year to two animated TV specials this year, leading to a live-action theatrical movie next year, but no comic book in sight so far )) got cranked up, all were proved wrong.

 


 

Older (and male) collectors covet these things, but the 6-11 year old girls are snapping them up at an incredible rate. I’d tell any of you who are FEMFORCE fans to go check them out at your local Target, Wal-Mart or Toys ‘R Us, but right about now the shelves are BARE, and most retailers seem to be having a hard time keeping them in stock. We at AC always felt that there was a little more range to the youth female market Spectra Von Geist doll photothan just pink and frilly stuff, and the Monster High franchise seems to be proving it. Now if only some foreward-thinking toy company would bankroll a line similar to this that focuses on SUPERHEROINE characters instead of monsters (maybe some franchise that ALREADY HAS a long-running comic book?), I know a small group of talented creators who could supply the graphics, comics, videos (live-action and animated) and toy sculpts as sweat-equity. Any takers out there?

10 Responses to "2011’s Hot Toy Craze by Mark Heike"

  1. Mark Holmes  December 30, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    The trick here is that these characters are teen versions of established monsters. You guys would have to make teenage versions of the Femforce to in order to sell action figures to today’s market. Teen Tara fits but all the other gals all got started as adult women. Another alternate universe maybe?

    • JohnJG  January 1, 2012 at 12:13 am

      I’ve always thought that a “Kim Possible” version of Femforce might have a little more mainstream appeal than the traditional good girl art interpretation of Femforce.

      Femforce and the AC Universe is filled with great characters and great designs, and I think they would hold up well even if no cheesecake was involved at all. I’d LOVE to see the FF branch out of its current girl-art “pigeonhole”.

      No alternate universe is required. People readily accept a variety of incarnations of Batman ranging from kiddie cartoons and camp to modern adult crime drama. It’s all just Batman as seen from a variety of perspectives.

      FF gals are interesting characters with cool designs. I see no reason why the Femforce wouldn’t work well from a broad range of approaches.

      The question is… would Femforce fans support a Femforce title that was NOT good girl art?

  2. jim johnston  January 1, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Good art and a story that is engaging and that makes you want to find out “what happens next” with characters presented in such away that the readers care about what happens to them are the hallmark of the Fem Force /A.C. comics just as much as G.G.A. so I think the fan base would support the kind of story you describe I know I would.

  3. Eric Johnson  January 1, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    If it were done right, I could definitely see FemForce being a good animated series.

    And it could have a “girl power” and “positive role model” aspect without being forced.

    Hm. A teen version of the FemForce would make for an interesting side story in itself. Like if a villain was trying to steal the powers of the FF and ended up accidentally imbuing a group of teens with lesser versions of the FF’s powers. Suddenly casting the members of the FemForce into mentor / big sister roles, whether they like it or not.

    Actually, it’s scary how well the member of the FemForce would match up with high school cliques / stereotypes, to get matching personalities to some degree.

    Ms. Victory’s powers could go to the high achiever class president girl.

    Nightveil powers to the goth girl.

    Stardust powers to the brainy straight-A nerd girl.

    Tara powers go to the vegetarian enviromental activist type.

    Synn powers the ditzy cheerleader.

    She-Cat’s powers to the “bad girl”.

    • Mark Holmes  January 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      Your on the right track here but I think you have to mix it up a bit.

      Ms Victory could go to a loner girl

      Nightveil to a popular girl

      Stardust to an under achieving D student

      Tara would be a material girl

      Synn would be the plain jane

      She Cat would have to be the good girl

      Plenty of internal conflict when the girls are called on to use their new found powers. Some would welcome the change while some would not.

  4. JohnJG  January 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    I don’t know that they would need to be explicitly “teenaged” versions of the characters. Something like the current Batman: The Brave and the Bold on Cartoon Network for example still skews younger and works across many media platforms without turning everyone into teenagers… however, Eric’s observation above DOES fall into place fairly organically. :)

    Will Meugniot (Jem, Ghostbusters, GIJoe, X-Men) could definitely get the job done with the right backing. Look no further than his YouTube promo for some of his successful animation projects.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2o-mtVp15A

    I can envision a youth-friendly Femforce #1 solicited under Diamond’s kids section and highlighted on kidscomics.com alongside Archie and Peanuts and Sonic the Hedgehog… but it would absolutely HAVE to be in color to be a competitive youth title.

    • Eric Johnson  January 1, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Yeah, teenage versions wouldn’t be completely needed. But it might help with the appeal if we are talking about targeting the youth female market, in about the same demographics as the Monster High toy line.

  5. Mark Holmes  January 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    If the idea is to expand to a larger young female audience the characters would have to be teenagers. That’s what the market is these days. Young Justice, Teen Titans and Nick’s Avatar work well with preteen and teen girls that like superheroes. (I am lucky enough to have a teen girl in this demographic.) The recent X-Men movies work well with girls also because of the teen girls featured like Rogue.(and the hunky guys). Throw in an emo, angsty vampire and you might have something.

  6. JohnJG  January 2, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Maybe an emo, angsty Black Terror? :)

    • Mark Holmes  January 2, 2012 at 1:29 am

      Too old, Emo Angsty Tim could work;)

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