Super Hero Squad Rumorbuster

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Monthly "the line is doomed!" Rumor

It’s time for our monthly “the Super Hero Squad is doomed!" rumor.

But first, let’s deal with shortpacking! She-Hulk is apparently the first 2-pack to be sold out of Hasbro Toy Shop and that probably has something to do with what Entertainment Earth is reporting as the current case ratio of She-Hulk and Absorbing Man getting 2 packs per case, Black Bolt and Wolverine getting 4 per case, and with upcoming case revisions in July where She-Hulk and Absorbing Man are packed at 1 per case, while Hulk/Wolverine and Hulk/Black Bolt get 5 per case. With 5 times as many Wolverine/Hulk repaints floating around as original She-Hulk and Absorbing Man sculpts, and the generally reliable Hasbro-branded store selling She-Hulk out before the figures get to mainline stores, we could have a scalper’s dream.

Don’t panic, however. When items sell out in Hasbro Toy Shop, they don’t always permanently sell out and they may come back in stock, and while HTS availability is usually enough to temper scalpers (after all, there’s no premium for certain individual figures, there’s often coupon codes, and the prices are competitive with stores like Wal-Mart and thus far more friendly than many online retailers) inability to purchase the figure on HTS and a reported short-pack doesn’t necessarily equal higher prices. Searching through completed auctions on eBay show that all 4 2-packs have been selling at $10 (most likely due to the drought at retail level.)

Also, online retailers are sometimes wrong, or at least offering unusual products, like Cmdstore which is pre-selling the Toys R Us Exclusive Brawl That Shook The World for $16 which is only $1 more than pre-orders of the upcoming Iron Man packs. So they’re selling the Iron Man packs with a 50% mark-up, but the TRU exclusive at a 35% discount? Huh. Ok. Their retail locations are Canadian, so all things are possible, but remember to take things with a grain of salt.

Now, the Hulk Wave 2 drought at retail is what led to the most recent theory about the line being doomed. Essentially, the rumor goes like this:

“OMG! I haven’t seen the new Hulk figures out yet at retail and the Gamma Lab playset hasn’t been released even though some (well, one) checklist said it would be out in May! They must be pulling product and cancelling things! OMG”

“Yeah, I know, all I see are the same Hulk wave 1 figures. They’re not selling!”

“OMG. I knew it. The line [or at the very least the Hulk branch] must be doomed.”

And now for the reality… nobody EVER had ANY information on when the Gamma Lab was going to be released. Any checklist putting out “May” as the release date was guessing based on the Hulk Wave 1 figures.

Cool Toy Review didn’t even publish the typical Hasbro promotional pictures until May 4, as we talked about way back when.

Any delay from a date that was pulled out of thin air means absolutely nothing. What IS known, is that Entertainment Earth is saying it will “arrive” in August and… well... that’s about it. Look for me to use this exact same line of reasoning in two weeks when people start saying “oh no, the Sentry wave was supposed to be out in July and it’s not out yet! The line is over!”

As for the Hulk Wave 2 not being spotted at retail yet, there appears to be manufacturing issue as we addressed when we debunked the myths surrounding the Wave 2 order cancellations many collectors experienced so one could probably assume that if Hasbro’s branded store is having problems getting the stock to fill their pre-orders then the amount of stock trickling out to the mainstream is likewise limited. And just as a general common sense principle, an inability to meet pre-order demand is not a sign of poor sales.

There may in fact be a glut of Hulk Wave 1 out there, and that may result in some stores limiting orders for Wave 2 or the potential Wave 3, but let’s be logical: If you’re pulling stock from the back room, are you going to fill the Hulk pegs with the Wave 1 figures you have in a case in the back, or are you going to fill it with Wave 2 figures that your store does not have and can not put out? Let’s go with “in stock” for the win. And because the pegs are filled with the 4 packs you’ve already seen, that does not mean that there are no sales, and even assuming you have some photographic memory for the exact packs and know that these identical packs have not sold in however many days, anecdotal evidence does not a truthful statement make!

So there we go: Shortpacked She-Hulk might be the next Vulture, Entertainment Earth says the Gamma Lab will be out in August, Cmdstore is pre-selling a TRU exclusive at a hefty discount, and a product not making an imaginary shipping date does not mean that product has been discontinued.

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