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This week we saw another great producer of collectibles come to an end, when Warner Brothers closed the DC Direct arm of the DC division. The company has been producing statues, busts, and action figures for 22 years, first as DC Direct, then as DC Collectibles, and then back to DC Direct again. They've had long running lines like the Batman Black and White statues or the DC Cover Girls, and they've produced some terrific action figures for a wide variety of Superman and Batman comic book series.
In fact, the same day the surprise announcement was made, I received the eight animated Justice League figures in the mail. A lot of terrific people have worked at the company over the last two decades, and I thought it would be a good way to remember the positive aspects with a Top Ten list.
Keep in mind I did not buy everything they ever produced, so my list is likely to be very different from yours. I also tried to cover a broad swath of their stuff, and cover as many years as possible. They made so much product that each person's list is going to be highly personal, but sharing our favorites is a great way to remember their work.
10 - Raven and Cyborg
Okay, these figures aren't great examples of their work, but they are the first two I ever reviewed at this site, way back in February of 2001. So while they might not be anything to anyone else, they do hold a nostalgic value to me. Both their figures and my reviews came a long way over the last 20 years.
9 - Martian Manhunter Justice League Maquette
One of the earliest series of statues I picked up from them was their Justice League animated maquettes. I still have them all, and they are one of the first things that went on display in the 'Institute' recently. It's rare when a series can still hold their own on the shelf after 20 years, but these statues do.
8 - Wile E Coyote, Looney Tunes series 2
While their main focus has always been the core DC superheroes, they have done a few unusual outliers. One of my favorites is the Looney Tunes action figures, which were sold individually but could be combined with another figure to create a larger diorama based on a specific cartoon. I picked Wiley here because he had a ton of accessories and options, but all the figures were great.
7 - Green Lantern, Deluxe 13"
DCD did a pretty long running line of oversized sixth scale figures. I was generally not happy with them, first and foremost because they were simply too big and bulky to fit in with other sixth scale figures. But some of them, on their own, did look great, and it might surprise you to know I still have a ton of them to this day. I think the GL is my favorite, thanks to the addition of all the extra heads, making it possible for you to personalize your version.
6 - Catwoman, DC Cover Girls
One of their long running statue series is DC Cover Girls. It's been around for about a decade now, and I have quite a few of them. Not all, but quite a few. And still the early version of Catwoman is one of my personal favorites.
5 - Batman, Batman and Son
They did a ton of Batman figures over the last two decades, as you might imagine. But one of my personal favorites is the clean, silver age-ish version that was part of the Batman and Son line up. We saw him released a few more times thanks to his popularity.
4 - Batman and Catwoman, DC Bombshells
Another long running line I really like is the Bombshells. It's a simple concept - create a design based on a classic DC character, using a style similar to the old pin up art you'd see on WWII bombers and fighters. The series has had its highs and lows, but it's been more highs in general.
It's tough to pick one favorite (and I'm really liking the Death statue I got not too long ago), but I'm going with the Batman and Catwoman pair. They did several pairs in the series, including Harley and Joker, and Power Girl and Superman, but this one combines the classic characters in a perfect pose.
3 - Batman vs Killer Croc
I never bought many of their larger statues, but this one was just too cool for me to pass up. We don't get a lot of great Killer Croc collectibles, and I think they crushed it with this one.
2 - Batmobile, BTAS
One of, if not THE, best series they ever did is the animated line. With a ton of great looking figures (far more than anyone else has ever produced for the cartoons), great vehicles like the Batwing, and even great play sets like the Batcave, this has become a top ten of all time series for me.
There's a ton of great stuff to choose from, but since I could only pick one, I went with the very cool Batmobile. Not only does it look great, it lights up in various ways!
1 - Mike Mignola Batman Black and White statue, first version
For me, the statue series Batman Black and White is easily the best thing they've ever produced. With over 100 releases, it has highlighted the style of dozens of Batman artists. It is one of those series where having the entire run, all lined up, is a truly impressive sight, with the consistency of the gray scale color tying them all together.
But there's one that will always stand out for me - the Mike Mignola release. It was so popular they re-did it multiple times, always changing something up slightly, but it's the first release that sold me on this series and kept my buying them for years. It mimics his style perfectly, and the paint work creates an almost 2 dimensional figure out of a 3 dimensional statue.
Conclusions:I'm really sorry to see the demise of the group, and there are some terrific people who have worked there. I certainly hope they all land on their feet quickly, and this turns out to be a positive thing for them. I'm going to miss the Batman Black and White and Bombshells collectibles, and it looks like DC fans are going to have far fewer choices when it comes to spending their money. It was a great run, and thank you to everyone affiliated with the company for years and years of terrific stuff!
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