] type='image/vnd.microsoft.icon'/>

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Justice League @ Target

As many of you have noticed, the Justice League is making a lot of appearances at Target stores lately. I've been seeing stuff in the stories, and then there was this two-page fold-out ad in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly.

Normally, I would use the phrase "tidal wave" to describe the amount of merch the Justice League is being put on--toys, clothes, bed sheets, stationary, temp tattoos, plush dolls, party favors, pool toys--except that, sadly, Aquaman is almost nowhere to seen! In a sadly predictable move, DC and/or the licensors are focusing on "The Big Five", and except for exclusive action figure set, you pretty much won't find the Sea King on any of it.

Between his hit comic series and his appearances on Batman: Brave and the Bold, you'd think that Aquaman's "Q" rating would be high enough that he wouldn't be so shunted aside in favor of The Flash and/or failed movie star Green Lantern. *Sigh*

I read an article somewhere online suggesting that this big branding push was DC's way of priming the pump for a JLA movie, a theory I'm not sure I buy, but it's worth considering. On some level, DC must be so sick of the friggin' Avengers being on everything in the last couple of years, and have decided the JLA needs to step up. They do, it's just a shame it seems that once again Aquaman hasn't been invited to the party.


Shellhead said...

It's even worse than that, Rob.
On the side panels of the in store toy displays are Flash and . . . Cyborg. Yup. Cyborg.
Maybe it's time to start a "Why I hate Cyborg" theme.
It's Shazam all over again!

Eric said...

They did have a bunch of stickers and temporary tattoos with Aquaman in the dollar section when I was there a couple weeks ago.

Earth 2 Chris said...

^Yes, and Aquaman appears in the foam sticker craft set. I'll take some pics of my daughter's set. I keep meaning to!


ryan said...

With all the cool Aquaman stuff emerging every day i find it funny that u choose not to cover that stuff but still take the poor aquaman route . Did cyborg have a car at the detroit auto show? Target is nothing but highpriced crap that is pre-yard sale merchandise. Buck up shrine.

Jason said...

Aquaman is on all the group stuff, the stickers, tattoos, etc. It's all cheap crap anyway, so he's not really missing out not getting his own rain boots or apron or whatever.

Earth 2 Chris said...

One thing he IS missing out on is pool toys. My daughter picked up an Invisible Plane pool floatee. That thing is flat-out awesome. So why Aquaman seahorse? And speaking of seahorses, alongside the JL stuff, Target has regular beach/pool stuff, and there was a sand pail kit with a SEA HORSE...but no Aquaman/JL branding. It's kind of odd.

Imagine one of those water soaker cannon/guns shaped like a trident!


Anonymous said...

Aquaman is a hoss in Injustice, a major player in the Justice League Flashpoint movie and has more action figures out this year than I cna count. Also Geoff Johns is still writing his book!!

rob! said...

Perhaps I didn't state my case well, so I'll try and be more clear---the point of this post was NOT "Oh, poor Aquaman, he has it so bad."

What I was trying to say was, despite the Sea King's exponentially-increased popularity over the last few years, the Powers That Be (whether they be DC or their licensing partners) still choose to leave Aquaman out of the mass market stuff, the stuff that reaches OUTSIDE the narrow world of comics. Yes, fan favorite Geoff Johns still writes Aquaman--but to 99,999 out of 100,000 people, that means less than nothing.

There's a reason why, no matter what the sales figures are, characters like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Wonder Woman, etc. will never have their comics cancelled (other than for a month or two to clear the room for a reboot) is because they have achieved MASS BRAND RECOGNITION. The average person, while they may not know the details, can tell you who Superman is, who the Hulk is, etc.

Part of that has been accomplished by having these characters appearing on store shelves over the decades, on one thing or another. Aquaman has only been sporadically as lucky, and I was simply remarking that this would seemingly be the PERFECT time to include him in a giant branding effort like this Justice League thing seems to be going for.

Aquaman outsold ALL SUPERMAN COMICS last month, yet DC still feels like he shouldn't be a big part of a JL merch line. That amazes and disappoints me, because without that kind of mass market fame, his book will be cancelled yet again if/when Johns decides he wants to move onto something else. That won't happen to Wonder Woman, despite her atrocious sales figures, because DC recognizes her a BRAND, one that's worth keeping out there no matter how few comics she sells.

And as to the point of Aquaman being on a bunch of "cheap crap"--well, that's a matter of opinion. If Aquaman hadn't been on a cheap pencil case in the 1970s, I'm not sure the Shrine would be here at all. Gotta create that new generation of Aqua-Fans somehow!

KJ Sampson said...

You said it, Rob. DC shouldn't license a single ANYTHING water-related without an Aquaman brand. And he should be on everything JLA-related.