August 4, 2014

A Sad Lack of Gamora

Remember when The Avengers came out two years ago, and Black Widow was missing from merchandise and toys? It sadly looks like Marvel and Disney licensees didn't learn from their mistakes because there's a sad lack of Gamora in the Guardians of the Galaxy product on the market. New hashtag: #wheresgamora.

Without stepping into spoiler territory, I can say that Gamora was just as important to the film as Peter Quill/Star-Lord. I'd call them co-leads. However, she's not featured on as much merchandise as him or even Rocket Raccoon. What really irks me though is when she isn't included with the entire team. Take this men's t-shirt I spotted at D Street in Downtown Disney, Anaheim:


I heard about the design from Shawn Marshall and had to see it for myself to believe it. This shirt has five columns. Perfect for featuring the FIVE members of the Guardians team, right? Apparently not because instead of including Gamora, they just doubled or tripled up on male members of the team to fill in the five columns. It's like the designers said, "Let's pretend there's no female character on this team."

Then at Walmart last night, I got sidetracked by a Guardians of the Galaxy display near the registers. The four-sided display had some toys but mostly it was pillows, blankets, tees, and cups. Though Gamora was featured in a group shot at the top of the display, the rest of it seemed to be about excluding her. The sides prominently feature Rocket, Groot, Star-Lord, and Drax and so does a coffee mug... but they leave out the female assassin. #wheresgamora



A quick search on Amazon shows Gamora is available as a 6 inch figure, a Funko POP! toy, a smaller figure sold in a two pack with Star-Lord, and a LEGO minifig. It also shows this Guardians of the Galaxy team party pack that only features Gamora on one item. The rest of the team is on every item. #wheresgamora


She's not excluded from everything. Gamora is on a folder I purchased, and I've seen her included in sticker and activity books. But, why isn't she part of all the group shots? I don't understand. #wheresgamora

Update:
Another interesting merchandising decision: Gamora and Nebula are both included in the Guardians of the Galaxy Minimates release. That's cool, but you know what's not cool? According to Marvel, the other four members of the Guardians are available at Toys "R" Us online and in stores while Gamora (along with Nebula) will only be available at specialty stores. Seriously.

18 comments:

  1. Wow, to only leave out the one female character of the group really speaks to what they think of their female audience. Coming from the action figure world it has been true female figures generally don't sell as well. But explain to me how a mug with the entire group would sell less than the mug without Gamora on it?

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    1. Yeah, and it wasn't a plastic kids mug either. So weird.

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  2. Without stepping into spoiler territory, I can say that Gamora was just as important to the film as Peter Quill/Star-Lord. I'd call them co-leads.

    I'd call her a hell of a lot more. She's the heart of the entire team. She's the conscience, the ethical center, the crux of the whole Guardians biscuit.

    Without her Peter is just a grifter, a Han Solo without a Leia to remind him that even scoundrels need to think of more than themselves and their next score. Without her Drax is just a thug, Rocket is a homicidal procyon with a hard-on for heavy weapons, and Groot is a thumb-breaking topiary.

    So leaving Gamora out says without words "I could care less about this story - I just want to sell action toys".

    The only way I can see this is someone in marketing couldn't figure out how to sell a Gamora figure without making her a Barbie with green skin and figured that no preteen fanboy would buy an alien Barbie doll (Ryan's point about selling female AFs). Which brings us right back to the whole "I don't care about this story..." thing.

    Either way, it's bullshit. Saldana's Gamora was terrific, and this tells me that Marvel and its marketers are clueless, cowardly, or both.

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    1. Agreed with your comments about Gamora's role!

      The t-shirt especially gets me. It seems so deliberate.

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  3. I was so happy That Funko made such an incredible Pop figure of Gamora and I think. both she and I think nebula are in the mini-figures as well. Its sad that she isn't included in mainstream merchandise as much as the others.

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    1. Yes, they are included in the mystery minis. Actually, I think there are even two Nebulas.

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  4. Why would they? I mean, girls don't watch superhero movies...or buy superhero toys...or read comic books....

    I wonder if Saldana will get asked if she ate a lot of salad to prepare for the roll like Johansson did.

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    1. Oh goodness, some asked Scarlett Johansson that? Geezus.

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  5. I remember reading at the time that Disney bought Marvel (I can't remember where) some speculation that the intent was to cast the Marvel characters as the "boy thing" counterpart to the popular "girl thing" - Disney Princesses. Do you think that the lack of Gamora and Black Widow merch (and the lack of focus on female heroes in general from Marvel Studios, with no solid plans to produce a female-centered film as of yet) is a reflection of this? Or is it the lingering belief - despite all evidence to the contrary - that female heroes 'don't sell'? Or is it something deeper and more ingrained and less specific? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

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    1. I think it's a little of both of the things you listed. Despite sales showing boys bought say, Ahsoka Tano toys, there apparently isn't enough for companies to listen. I get frustrated because Marvel and Disney are big enough that they could step up and take a chance with non-gender biased marketing just to see what happens. I think they'd be pleasantly surprised.

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    2. I don't know if you can go that far. Disney fell down in a BIG way with the Frozen merchandising, too. Especially with Elsa stuff. Parents were caterwauling on Twitter and Facebook about the lack of stuff even in March for a movie released in November.

      Whomever is in charge of forecasting demand is having a challenging time right about now.

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  6. Gamora and Drax are the only two characters whol show their face. Drax is played by a wrestler who has part of his image rights owned by the WWE. If Disney got a good contract, they could have him for cheap. However, Zoe Saldona has to sign off personally on every bit of merchandise with her image on it and get paid. Now, is it sexism or greed?

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  7. If you did a survey of the characters people were most into going into the movie, I would have to think that Rocket Racoon (talking racoon), Groot (talking tree), and Drax (WWE wrestler who has had a ton of toys) would have been the top three. That leaves Gamora and Star-Lord and Chris Pratt is coming off the success of the highly successful Lego Movie which means most likely he would edge out Gamora. I think Gamora was a victim of the numbers game in a movie they only expected to do 65M opening weekend and going in, was their riskiest gamble to date. I fully expect more Gamora merchandise for the second movie now that the first one has been big success.

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  8. Gamora is only specialty exclusive in that she is NOT Toys "R" Us exclusive. TRU got Yondu instead of Gamora and Nebula, which means that those women will be available at a few thousand comic shops, specialty stores and online retailers, instead of several hundred TRU stores. Hopefully, that means more girls will be able to find her, even if it's not at Toys "R" Us. TRU exclusives tend to be scarce, although even some female exclusives have actually lingered in recent years. It's the main reason we did what we did -- we thought Gamora and Nebula would reach more fans (including girls) through the specialty market, while the boys who seem to make up the bulk of our sales at TRU could grab the funny blue guy in the boy-frequented action figure aisle.

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  9. We try to put at least one woman in every Minimates assortment, including Jane Foster (Thor - specialty), Darcy (Thor 2), Peggy Carter (Cap), Black Widow (Cap 2), Gwen Stacy (ASM and ASM2), and Black Widow and Maria Hill (Avengers). Widow was actually a Toys "R" Us exclusive for Avengers, as was Gwen for ASM. The rest were specialty-only, but then, some of those SERIES were only available at specialty stores and comic shops. Next up are Storm and Mystique for DOFP, although that series will not be at Toys "R" Us, either.

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  10. I collect marvel universe/marvel infinite figures (3 3/4 scale) and that line is a real sausage fest.

    To boot, just about every time they make a female figure, the short pack it and make it one per case since they don't think female figures will sell.

    So I try to do my part and have had a whole lot of female characters that will probably never get made, custom made.

    It hasn't been cheep, but it seems like the only way to get these ladies represented in toy form.

    [img src="[IMG]http://i1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/tomnormandy/18ABB227-597B-4F38-9CED-E7B8FB87D5FA_zpsbiwp9h2d.jpg[/IMG]" width=400]

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    1. I think it's awesome that you make custom figures! I wish you didn't have to resort to that to get female action figures though.

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