SDCC 08: Hasbro Tips the Scales with Marvel Universe Line

When Hasbro received the Marvel license back in late 2006, fans like myself lost their minds. It wasn’t that we didn’t love Toy Biz… oh how we loved Toy Biz. No, it was that we knew something from Hasbro was coming, something we’d wanted since the Star Wars resurgence in the late 1990s… a line of 3 3/4” Marvel figures. Toy Biz had begun to fulfill this wish with the short-lived, game-based Super Hero Showdown line, but the fact that both the Legends and the SHS figures were at the same $7.99 price point made it nearly impossible to justify purchasing the smaller scale line.

Thankfully, Hasbro has carried that concept into its evolved state with Marvel Universe, their upcoming 3 3/4”-4” scale line that is certain to be hugely popular among fans. The line was announced during Hasbro’s Marvel Panel at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, but the full glory of these figures was unseen until they were shown at the Hasbro booth (see pics in our gallery here). At the booth, I spoke with Scott George, Hasbro’s brand manager for Marvel, and he gave me some great details on the line.

Starting in 2009 with an initial run of 9 figures in Wave 1 and 6 figures in Wave 2, the Marvel Universe Series will boast 35 figures by the year’s end. With loads of Marvel heavy hitters in the mix, fans will finally get to pit Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine and Punisher against Destro, Darth Vader, and Mola Ram. At present, the line’s sale model includes single carded figures with variants, as well as a mail-a-way exclusive S.H.I.E.L.D Agent.

“Only that we’ve been working closely with Marvel Publishing on this project and we couldn’t be more excited about it. There is so much stuff going on in the Marvel U right now…. it’s mind blowing!”
– Hasbro brand manager Scott George on the upcoming Marvel Universe line

With the entire Marvel universe open to them, Hasbro’s Marvel team has the opportunity to create not only figures from the comics and Marvel films but vehicles and bases as well. Add those possibilities to Hasbro’s incredibly varied retail structure and fans may see Marvel Universe Battle Packs, Comic 2-packs, 3-packs, retailer exclusives and many other diverse products in the years to come.

Building toward the series’ release, Hasbro has launched the site FuryFiles.com , which appears to be the HQ for a rogue and underground unit headed by Nick Fury (awesome). On the site are faux-classified documents (double-awesome), as well as a great video covering news in the Marvel universe that Fury himself interrupts with a warning message (hat-trick-awesome). Plus, fans can then sign up to join Fury’s unit, which will result in additional access to his files and more. According to Scott, “Fury Files is dedicated primarily to the SHIELD / Secret Warrior experience… [and in time] you’ll actually be able to establish your own identity on the site and customize some aspects of the Fury Files experience.”

With all the attention being paid to the Marvel Universe line, fans of Hasbro’s other Marvel products may feel a bit of neglect. However, they have nothing to fear as these other lines are most definitely set to continue. New Super Hero Squad figures, along with a vast assortment of Marvel Legends were on display in San Diego, and it is evident that Hasbro has continuing plans for these lines in the year to come.

You can read more of C.J.’s musings on film, toys and music over at stunksstage.com.

Click here to see our full photo gallery of the Hasbro booth at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con!

About C. J. Stunkard

You can read more of C.J.’s musings on film, toys and music over at stunksstage.com.