Collecting Comic Figures part 1-DC Comics

By Christopher Troy

Greetings FPNYC faithful. It’s a new week, so it’s time for my weekly review, and this week’s feature focuses on a topic near and dear to my heart: Action Figures and collectibles based on the 2 biggest super hero publishers in the US- Marvel and DC. Assuming you read the title, you already know that this weeks focus will be on the universe that’s home to Batman, Superman, the JLA, as well a bunch of heroes and villains the average person probably isn’t familiar if they’ve only watched DC based movies and animated projects. Familiar or not, this article was written to help you figure out what figure lines are and aren’t worth your time and money. Let’s begin shall we?

Line: DC Direct/DC Unlimited

Price: Standard figures usually cost around $15-$20, deluxe figures vary in price.

Description: DC Direct started in the 90s, and was usually a toy line created for DC’s non-Superman/Batman proprieties, as well as imprints like Wildstorm and Vertigo. Eventually, the in-house line got the rights to make proper figures on the core-DCU characters, and that’s resulted in no less than a dozen Batman/Superman figures a year. DC Unlimited usually deals with non-DC own properties, mostly video games like World of Warcraft, Ratchet and Clank, Resistance, and soon Bioware RPGs like Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2.

Pros: Diversity. In the image from the right, you’ll see Captain Marvel (Batman/Superman: Public Enemies), John Constaine (of Hellblazer fame), The Comedian (The Watchmen movie) Blue Beetle III (1st appearances) and Super-Lois (All-Star Superman), something you would never see on the shelves on Wallmart. Since the majority of these lines only appear in comic shops, you get a whole bunch of different and obscure character most of the time, based on certain artists or story arcs. Also the $15-20 price point is pretty solid.

Cons: I wasn’t joking when I said 20-30 Batman/Figures a year. Also, while the articulation is okay, it’s limited, especially compared to the smaller and cheaper DCU classic lines.

Overall opinion: Since it’s an in-house line for collectors, DC Unlimited offers a lot of cool figures you’re only going to get through them, and to be honest, they’re usually solid figures that at least come with a base and a accessory. With more Blackest Night figures on the way, plus future lines based on Batman Reborn and Brightest Day, you can expect to see more awesome DC characters join the small army of Batman and Superman figures. We have a large variety of DC Unlimited/Direct toys in stock too, including some older stuff at lower prices!

Justice League Unlimited

Price point- Depending on the quantity and or rarity-$5-$50.

Description: Even though the JLU animated series ended years ago, Mattel has continued the line, even to this day, going as far as to include characters who weren’t even in the animated series, or have never received a proper figure!

Pros: Cheap, great sculpts, awesome variety and a plethora of characters.

Cons:  Scarce, top heavy figures (good luck to get any female figures to stand up on their own), limited articulation, frequent repaints, rarer figures are only available in exclusive box sets that you may have to pay a little more for.

Overall opinion: With the line around for nearly 10 years, it’s definetly beginning to show it’s age, and again, it may be harder to track down some figures without resulting to an ebay or Amazon hunt. We do get some of the packs and box sets in from time to time, so feel free to come back and see what we have in stock if you’re interested.

DC Universe Classics

Price point: $15-20

Description: For years, Marvel owned the super hero figure scene with Marvel Legends, a line of super poseable action figures covering the MU. Eventually, Mattel and DC fired back with the DCU Classics line, super poseable figures covering the 75 year of DC publishing history.

Pros: An awesome selection of figures in their most iconic costumes, and by now you can make collect a Justice League/Teen Titans/JSA/GL Corp to your liking. Also, HUGE build a figures that are just rad.

Cons: Iconic sometimes means outdated. Don’t ask me why the Superboy figure is rocking his 90s look still, while Sinstero is in his current yellow and black costume. The line is also guilty of reusing the same body sculpt for figures, meaning Hal Jordan, the Flash, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle all share the same body. That and there are some odd selections are far as what characters make it into the line, and the fact that some figures end up as Walmart or internet exclusives make for collection annoyances.

Overall:  Grievances, aside, it’s still the best DC toy line out there.

That concludes the DC section for the week. Next week, it’s Marvel’s turn!

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  1. Erin

    It’s probably not a huge boon to you guys, but I’d list their tendency to plummet in price as a pro for DC Direct, particularly for new collectors. On average, I wind up paying $15 – $20 on each DC Universe Classics figure I pick up. When I buy DC Direct figures, on the other hand, I usually pay between $3 and $8.

    Ironically, the ones I don’t see dropping in price are versions of Batman, which (despite there being 20 – 30 a year) seem to sell out consistently.

    That said, I own far more DC Universe Classics figures than DC Direct. You nailed it when you said they’re the best line out there, even if Mattel has them ridiculously overpriced.

  2. Erin

    Although it’s not a boon to you guys, I list their tendency to drop in price as a pro for DC Direct, particularly for new collectors. On average, I pay $15 – $20 for each DC Universe Classics figure I buy. When I buy DC Direct, on the other hand, I generally do so because they’re marked down to somewhere between $3 and $8.

    That said, I own far more DC Universe Classics figures than DC Direct. You nailed it when you said they’re the best line out there, even if Mattel does have them ridiculously overpriced.

    The JLU figures are good, too, though I can’t imagine trying to break into that line if you haven’t been collecting all along.

  3. Chris

    You’re correct on the Direct price drops, but it doesn’t apply to ever figure. The Endless figures for the most part, still go for about $20-30 on the collector’s market, while I paid all of….3 dollars for that Jamie figure in the picture at a Hot Topic a few years back. Tis wacky.

    And don’t get me started on DCUC prices. I remember paying $8 for a Marvel Legends Deadpool figure back in like…2004? Now something like that goes for $14 at a Wallmart or Target, and unless you get there as they put them on the shelves, you usually get stuck with Shelf-warmers like Captain Cold. I complain yes, but I’ll totally going to buy the hell out of that Kyle Rayner DCUC when it drops later this year. even though I’ve bought 2 different versions of the character this past year alone from DC Direct.