Boys read comic books. Girls play with dolls. Or at least that's how it used to be in ancient times. Mattel's new DC Super Hero Girls dolls blur tired old lines both ways, so I recruited my doll-loving wife to help us take a look at the newly-launched line. Growing up in much stupider times I used to feel awkward wandering the pinker side of the toy store, but over the past several years that's changed. Thanks to advances in equine animation and my wife's ravenous hunger for Mattel's Monster High dolls (we have somewhere between sixty and eighty in our home currently) I've grown more comfortable with toys traditionally marketed towards the female demographic.
This welcome change in attitude has opened up a whole new world of things for me to spend money on at the toy store. LEGO Elves, which I've covered previously, feature some really amazing pieces and colours I might have missed otherwise. Maybe I wouldn't have purchased Popples for my twin sons, one of which carries a transforming plush ball named Lulu everywhere he goes.
And maybe I wouldn't have been excited enough about Mattel and DC's comic book cartoon and doll collaboration to hit up Target last week for the US launch of the first DC Super Hero Girls dolls. But I did, managing to snag five of the six 30cm dolls released.
I hit up several more Target stores in my area on Monday in the hopes of securing Wonder Woman, the star of the line, but to no avail. Thankfully Mattel PR donned its superhero tights (or so I imagine) and got young Diana here before the wife and I started filming.
The DC Super Hero Girls line is more than just toys. Late last year Warner Bros. and Mattel launched an official website for the property, featuring a series of animated shorts setting the tone and establishing the characters attending Super Hero High.
With graphic novels, apparel and animated shorts both available and forthcoming, DC Super Hero Girls is positioning itself as a strong transmedia brand with an admirable message -- anyone can be a hero.
Of course our main concern here is the toys, so let's get on with that.
For our full impressions of the launch lineup, be sure to watch the video atop the article. My first collaboration with the wife goes about as well as can be expected.
There are six figures in the initial batch of 30cm DC Super Hero Girls dolls, as you've probably gather from the pictures above. They are Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman and Bumblebee, the only character I had to look up on Wikipedia. Being 30cm scale they tower above the 25cm Monster High line, but given that brand's penchant for mutant creatures I don't think it'd be too much of a stretch of a child's imagination.
They're cousins, identical cousins and no they aren't.
Being larger than Mattel's other doll lines has its advantages, such as the ability to stand on their own (saving us from having to increase our metal stand collection.)
Rather than pack each box full of lose-able accessories, DC Super Hero Girls dolls come packaged with only the most necessary bits of kit. Bracelets, boots, lassos, hammers and backpacks. They're ready for action, and action means hair's going to get mussed up.
I'm still not sure who Bumblebee is, but my wife and I agree she has the best hair of the lot.
My wife, campaigning for cornrows since the dawn of time.
The faces on each of the dolls are quite lovely, striking a balance between the sharper features of Monster High and the rounded baby faces of the Ever After High lines.
Ignore the scratch. No idea how that happened. I blame Harley Quinn.
All in all there were only two downsides to the first offerings from the new line. First, the characters with masks (Harley and Batgirl) have their identity-protective devices attached via plastic fasteners that can't be reattached should a child or collector pull them off.
And then there's Harley Quinn's legs.
Rather than having Harley wear coloured leggings, Mattel opted to mould the character's legs in red and black plastic. I think this is clever and looks cool. Emily hates it, and worries that dressing the character up in different outfits will be hampered by her odd legs. That's why Harley is hitting her with a hammer.
My favourite doll in the line? Has to be Batgirl.
The Batwing backpack and the hoodie with the ears? Freaking adorable, and relatively easy to cosplay (don't worry, I won't.)
The DC Super Hero Girls line is off to an excellent start, and it's already blurring the lines between comic book fans and doll lovers. My wife hasn't read a super hero comic in ages, and she's in love with these. And I've got plans to buy even more dolls on top of the dolls I've already committed to buy for her.
Everybody wins? Except maybe Australia, which will have to wait until June for these toys.