He-Man and Bonfire of the Vanities

He-Man and Bonfire of the Vanities

Mattel appears to be extremely unhappy with Kevin Smith. The toy sales for the Master of the Universe Revelation are reportedly non-existent. 

Whatever brand manager at Mattel who had the ingenuous notion of hiring professional nerd-whore Kevin Smith to helm the Netflix He-Man mini-series has cleaned out his desk by now. The new guy is clearly leaning on Kevin. 

Kevin Smith’s immediate stream after Revelation was launched had him bellowing joyfully about having killed He-Man TWICE.  And how proud he was to have subverted expectations just like the other people in Hollywood who don’t have a shred of talent either. It was the usual kind of online after party that is heavy on the issue-free mindless enthusiasm.  The idea is to keep the exhilaration going long enough for excitable fans to run out to their local comic shop or toy aisle and turn their wallets upside down buying fine (and unusually expensive) Mattel toys.  

It was a little embarrassing watching this 51 year old man, who still has his baseball cap on backwards and wearing a tent-like blazer from his hyper obese days.  I’m sure it fit fine when he weighed three hundred pounds but now, he looks like a kid wearing a grown-up’s dinner jacket. He was talking about how he would hate-watch the show as teenager and went on at great length over how much pussy He-Man eats.

He is a disaster as a brand ambassador. 

The insane part is that He-Man started life as a boy’s toyline. 

Mattel’s bread and butter since 1959 was Barbie. Boy toys on the other hand, were very hit or miss proposition for them.  They had their Agent Zero M line when James Bond was a big thing. 

Yes, that was Kurt Russel.

That line died out about the time that buying your son a cap gun automatically meant you were raising him to be a tower killer.

Mattel followed that up with their Big Jim line of adventure toys.

Big Jim lasted until 1977, when the president of Mattel turned down flat, a chance to start a line of toys for an upcoming movie called, Star Wars.

Big Jim’s sales collapsed completely in the face of the onslaught led by Han and Luke.  Mattel spent the next few years frantically trying to find the next Star Wars.  Since Hollywood wasn’t cooperating in providing one, they decided to create a fantasy line of toys in-house.  Mattel’s marketing department came to the conclusion that what boys age 7-10 dreamed of more than anything else was POWER. Since it was the muscle-bound eighties, a Frank Frazetta space barbarian was a natural fit for everyone.  Filmation was approached to create a story for the franchise and tell it to boys. And He-Man was alive.

Mattel is currently in bad shape.  The past two years have been exceptionally rough on them.  They don’t have the brands that Hasbro does, Mattel over-invested in Ever After High to the detriment of the Disney Princess line.  Disney noticed and moved the line over to Hasbro. That was a major blow for Mattel. Barbie sales are way down.  Basically, the only thing Hasbro has left with positive feelings attached is (or rather was), He-Man.

The market Mattel wanted to crack open was the adult nostalgia market.  Adults have money and can therefore afford a much more expensive line of toys.  The Mastervese line had an initial MSRP of $35 per figure.  Mattel also footed a big chunk of the bill for this series.  Not that Netflix cared, they had to inflict their Diversity and Inclusivity requirements on someone else’s production.  I suspect Smith was mostly carrying out orders but the orders came from Netflix. 

Mattel needed Masters of the Universe Revelation to knock it out the park. And it didn’t.

Consequently, Kevin Smith’s next stream at Comicon looked about as fun as your average hostage video.  The funniest part was Smith letting the cat out of the bag.  Netflix doesn’t care that the fans hate it, they’ve got 200 million subscribers. Clearly, someone had threatened him and since it wasn’t Netflix it had to have been Mattel.  Smith spent the whole stream saying how none of the things he did were his fault. 

When his NDA runs out, I guarantee he will return to his default state and start throwing everyone else under the bus.  He does it every time.

As bad as Teela got hurt, Kevin Smith’s reputation suffered the most irreparable damage.

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