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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

#MarvelCollectorCorps Review: August 2016

Marvel Collector Corps' SPIDER-MAN box arrives 3 WEEKS LATE and filled with disappointment.

Review by Matt Cummings

With the sting of the disastrous Marvel Super Box - now called "Stupor Box" - still in our noses, we were hopeful that this month's Spider-man box would deflect our extreme worry at MCC's current trajectory. Sadly, a very late arrival and another disappointment puts Marvel Collector Corps in a tailspin and their future in doubt.

The Promise

Before we begin, let's look at the original deal and MCC's current offering: promising a value of $50, regular boxes would keep the "fluff" (their words) to a minimum with Funko partnering each time to deliver an exclusive figure. Regardless if you joined at the Founders level or took on a per-box delivery, the Year One box was offered for an additional cost of $135 after tax. That's approximately the price of 4 regular boxes. Founders (like myself) were offered first crack at purchasing these, which were billed as "bigger and better than anything that's come before" in their PR materials.

With Year One Founders already receiving a golden (and somewhat disappointing) chintzy Captain America statue for their one-year commitment, it's clear that such a 'reward' was not exactly what fans had in mind. Based on previous situations, one could see MCC's team learning from their mistake, vowing to never do it again. And yet, the Spider-man box does little to sway our worry that MCC has hit a creative low, both in terms of quality, diversity, and timing.

The Delivery
As always, we use QUALITY and TIMING to base our reviews, so let's see exactly what happened. As always, we'll end our review with some additional thoughts after the unboxing:


The Guts
Considering the enormous support fans have given Tom Holland after his debut as Spider-Man in this summer’s Captain America: Civil War movie, the time seemed right for Funko to release a subscription box celebrating the titular web crawler. But considering what we got from this box, it feels like a retread of past boxes.

Pin/Patch
Granted, some of the items are well made, making their consistent appearance a welcomed anchor. This includes the marvelous pin/patch which harkens back to the 1970's Spider-man television show, as well as the more recent Amazing Spider-man film series. These are well-made and smart additions that celebrate the history of Spider-man, and I'm very OK with their inclusion.

The Comic
There is also the wonderful and completely appropriate variant of Spider-man #16. Again, these are welcomed and entirely awesome products that have defined the boxes and why I have supported them over the past year. WIN and WIN.

The Wearable
It was when I pulled away the comic that the remainder of the box that I realized the remainder would be a retread of past boxes, in that none - and I mean NONE - of Spidey's allies or enemies would be featured. Instead of a much-needed enemies t-shirt, we get yet another Funko POP Tops hat. This wouldn't have been a problem, had I already received the Groot hat in the "Stupor Box" as well as a C3PO lid from the Jabba’s Palace Smugler's Bounty box. That's three hats from Funko in under a month, most of which have either already been sold or dumped in a pile for my students to take. Now to its strength, the hat is well made and designed as you can see. But just like Loot Crate and Geek Fuel, MCC is trying to diversify their lineup by offering other wearables, something that I know many fans really don't want. Give us the shirts and skip the hats!

Unnecessary Overkill
And while the surprising appearance of a Funko Spider-Man Fabrikations figure does check off the box on "new and unique items," it's not exactly a desirable one in my book. True, I don't collect Fabrikations, and yes the plushie is nice, but I also don't collect hats, regardless of how nice they are. Current eBay prices peg the figure at around $5.99, which doesn't exactly qualify as a "high-end item." From all the Twitter activity since my box was lost in "Processing Hell," it seems like fans want unique items which include shirts, Pop figures, and other more rare and popular items. Imagine the interest if Marvel Legends and Funko teamed up for a year of exclusive figures - MCC would run out of boxes. However, few will be impressed if we continue to get mugs we don't need, hats we don't want, scarves we can't use, Hikaris that look worse than the company's original product, and Fabrikations that no one owns. Filling our boxes with content that doesn't sell in stores (Fabrikations, I'm talking to you!) is a business plan that lesser boxes utilize. If you want to be Loot Crate and Geek Fuel, you'll be doing it with someone else's money.

More of the Same, and Yet Less...Again
But it's the bread and butter of the lot that perhaps disappoints the most. The exclusive POP Vinyl Leaping Spider-Man should have been the Green Goblin we received in "Stupor Box." Instead, we get yet another Spidey, which on paper had to seem like overkill and doesn't look good in its execution. At the very least the box feels uninspired, as if MCC literally collected proof-of-concept items from their warehouse instead of going out to its manufacturers for unique designs. This is the same thing MCC has done with Captain America, giving us way more versions than I want/need and failing to dig deep into their character's histories to pull out something special. Sure, the box might retail for over $25, but it doesn't mean I have to like the contents.

The Bottom Line
What once seemed like a surefire hit, the Marvel Collector Corps's model now feels worn and in a decline. We never thought we'd say this about, but with two big-time disappointments (including the "Stupor Box"), we're considering the cancellation of our subscription if MCC doesn't turn it around. At the very least, MCC needs a major refresh for 2017, even if that means divorcing itself from Funko. That's not likely to happen, so we're wondering if fans will stick around for box after box of the same thing. With our renewal happening soon, we're in a hold pattern until we've had more time to process this latest disappointment.

Want to read our other sub box reviews? We've got them all listed below: MARVEL COLLECTOR CORPS
May
June
August
October
December
February
April
June

GEEK FUEL REVIEWS
September
October
November
December
January
March
April
May
June

SMUGGLER'S BOUNTY
January
March
May
June

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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