Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Marvel Universe Scarlet Witch Custom

It's sad that a number of collectors were fooled to believe that the recent Scarlet Witch is a rare figure, making them pay more for the item. Locally, somebody payed at around US$24 (poor guy) when internationally a lot of sellers let it go for US$14 or less. (I checked eBay selling history.) How did that happen? Simple, by controlling the distribution!

Here's how. Make the item scarce in a most areas, ideally where a lot of collectors reside (group A). Make that same item available where there are ample number of collectors who are willing to resell (group B). Create some good publicity about the item via blogs or video reviews to pique everybody's interest. Group B will hoard the items thinking that they can make a profit from group A. And the manufacturer wins because their item will sell out to group B whether or not group B will be successful in reselling them.

Magneto (center) with son Quicksilver(L) and daughter Scarlet Witch (R)

Unlike Mattel, Hasbro didn't have to resort to labeling/branding something as "collectible", "limited edition" or "for the adult collector" because branding means additional cost without adding value to the product. They are making their products sell faster (because selling slow makes the seller lose money) just by distributing cunningly. Don't you just love marketing strategies? I'm learning a lot each day.

Had this figure been released when I was younger, I wouldn't bother with it. I think earlier toy versions for this character were flops. I can see a number of ads selling the old versions cheap. But with Marvel's interesting character arc, I considered buying.

Between DC and Marvel, I like Marvel more when it comes to character arcs. DC characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman almost never changes whereas Marvel characters can be a villain or hero depending on the situation. To me, a requirement for a good story is a good character transformation.

Just look at your favorite story. I bet a character or two changed as the story progressed. The change can be from good to bad or the other way around. Good stories don't have to end happily.

(That is why, I guess, I like action figures more now than Barbie because Barbie is a flat character. Her character never changes. She just goes through the same old problems of what to wear, what not to eat, how to decorate her room or what new job to take. Flat characters are good for comedy, though. They are usually funny and laughed at.)

One interesting character arc done by Marvel is that of the Scarlet Witch. She started of as a someone who had unreliable powers who then became a villain to the X-men and then a hero upon joining the Avengers. Her sanity was questioned more when she was had a controversial marriage with a robot/android. She conceived twins magically like the Immaculate Conception. She eventually became one of the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe altering the Marvel reality not once but twice--first, when she envisioned her family to be the rulers of the society and second when she removed the mutant powers of a lot of characters by simply saying "No more mutants."

Isn't she a cool character? She has become a popular character from being a supporting role. The only problem is that the figure became too popular, it came with a "popular" price tag, thanks to the scalpers. Toy reviews also revealed that the new figure is inappropriately taller than the earlier female figures from Marvel. So I decided not to buy her.

I'm really thankful that I still have enough sense not to fall victim to those scalpers. If there is one thing I learned from superhero stories is that one can transform from a victim to somebody who can work around a problem if not solve it.


Andrea said...

Scalping seems to be a popular sport in the Barbie community too. But with Barbie it's even worse. The scalpers sell off the doll in one auction and her outfit in another, both overpriced of course. To me this is so disgusting.

Thank god it's not in my genes to want a doll at any cost, lol. If I can't find the doll I want for a reasonable price, then it wasn't meant to be at that time. Most dolls I wanted found their way to me sooner or later.

Changing the size of a character was not a good choice.

And yes, a good character should be versatile enough to give a story an interesting twist.

D7ana said...

I've always been more Marvel than DC. When I was young, my faves were Spidey and Dr. Strange; then as an adult, I found the New X-Men and Alpha Flight.

Only liked Batman from DC though. Sometimes Wonder Woman and the New Teen Titans during the 1980s. The other DC characters were not as interesting to me.

Niel said...

Thanks Andrea. If I learned one thing from collecting, it would be patience, patience for the price to go down. And prices do go down.

I'm with you Dana. I like most of the character/group you mentioned, too.