DC Super Hero Girls and Our Daughters.
As the parent of two daughters, I have witnessed my oldest involved with manga, anime, and a few super hero properties that have found themselves the target of female attention. My youngest is just beginning school and after having super heroes foisted on her among the various Disney princesses and ponies, I have witnessed her developing her own interest in DC Super Hero Girls.
Currently in its third season of short episodes and a second long form DVD special, DC Super Hero Girls follows a reimagining of DC’s characters as high school students, focusing on a core group of female characters including Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl and Harley Quinn. Several villains are re-imagined as students training to be heroes but many, like Cheetah and Star Sapphire, retain elements that are less than heroic. Some, like (Killer) Frost, are entirely reworked to fit more into the concept of Super Hero High. Villains do abound, such as Killer Moth, Giganta, the Double Dare Twins and the Female Furies. While male characters such as Hal Jordan, Flash, Cyborg and Beast Boy show up, the focus remains on the girls, both in the show and in the toys.
Originally exclusive to Target, the toys quickly branched out to other retailers, which has only increased their visibility. The initial six-figure line has expanded to include series regular Katana,and upcoming figures for Starfire and Hawkgirl. Frost has seen a 12 inch doll, but no action figure yet. Vehicles have been released to add to the action figures’ playability, as well as a massive Super Hero High play-set, which seems to have been the real take-off point for the action figures, traditionally considered only to appeal to boys, but girls are taking to them as well. The Super Hero High School play-set was put on clearance at Wal-Mart after Christmas 2016 and drew in parents and kids alike with an affordable $19.99 price point. Since the play-set is only compatible with the action figures, more demand has ensued, bolstered by the Internet series.
I should note that last year, McDonald’s included a run of limited articulation figures in with happy meals. Featuring Katana, Bumblebee, Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Woman, these figures also generated lots of interest in the characters. Amazingly, almost in the same scale as the regular, fully articulated action figures, these are also compatible with the aforementioned play-set.
The figures are highly articulated, which with rough play, can prove a disadvantage, resulting in snapped joints. With so many characters, one wonders if Mattel can keep up with demand for new figures. Catwoman has been teased on their Facebook page, and an emphasis is being put on the 12-inch dolls, which retain an action-figure quality, but hearken too close to traditional ideas of what girls toys should look like. So what would be in my wishlist for new action figures, or perhaps more likely for my daughter’s wish list for new characters?
Frost, of course has seen a lot of popularity with fans of the series, and with a 12 inch doll already produced, it seems like a safe bet that she will see an action figure soon. Big Barda has been mentioned on the line’s Facebook page, but my daughter has shown an affinity for Star Sapphire and Lady Shiva. The line is vacant of villains, which could include the Female Furies, the Double Dare Twins and Eclipso, which would maintain the all-female focus of the line. If male figures were to be produced, they should be offered through an exclusive outlet like Mattel Shop rather than offered in the regular line. Depending upon the focus they get, a deluxe set featuring Lena Luthor and the Kryptomites could be a possible Mattel Shop exclusive.
Seeing my daughter getting interested in super heroes is something that I like. What I like seeing more is super heroes and their action figures being marketed specifically to my daughter. I hope that this shows the makers of action figures that their market is not as limited as they would believe.