2017 is a huge year for DC: it’s the 75th Anniversary of Wonder Woman (she technically debuted in December of 1941, but the celebration continues), and a blockbuster film starring Gal Gadot as the titular Amazonian will hit theatres in June. At Toy Fair, it was clear that DC Collectibles, the company responsible for certain action figures and statues of DC characters, was on it.
In front of a backdrop promoting Wonder Woman 75, DC Collectibles showcased a range of statues and prop replicas paying homage to the various eras of Wonder Woman, with special attention paid to the upcoming movie.
Yes, DC Collectibles has even made it possible for you to own your own bullet-deflecting (don’t try this at home, kids) gauntlets, tiara, and Lasso of Truth. With such a massive investment in Wonder Woman, I asked a DC Collectibles’ Jim Fletcher what he thought of the myth that merchandise made for female characters doesn’t sell. His response: “[Wonder Woman] won’t sell any different than these guys. She’s a member of the Justice League just like they are…Our collectors want complete sets.” And, as Fletcher showed me, this isn’t just limited to Wonder Woman.
The cities of Gotham and Metropolis will grow in 2017, thanks to DC Collectibles’ Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series action figure lines. Incoming for the Dark Knight’s stomping ground are Poison Ivy and tough cop Renee Montoya, a character created specifically for the animated series, now getting her first ever action figure. They will be joined by Mr. Freeze in his Batman: The Animated Series costume, not to be confused with his The New Batman Adventures look, which has already been released.
Killer Croc and Bane round out the line-up of villains, and they’ll all (Ivy, Croc, Bane, and Freeze) be boxed with Montoya, who is tasked with keeping them in their cardboard cells. A Lois Lane/Superman 2-pack is also due out this year, making sure that the Daily Planet is well-staffed. While Jim Fletcher expressed uncertainty as to whether or not Lois Lane and Renee Montoya will sell (he wasn’t sure how many fans of the Superman animated series existed, and he noticed that previous Batman cops Commissioner Gordon and Detective Bullock didn’t sell as well as the star heroes and villains), he noted that the risk was worth it because these were great characters. If there’s any attitude that will reshape the action figure landscape for the better on the production end, it’s his. Of course, other, less-risky offerings also help, such as the soon-to-be-released alter ego of Barbara Gordon.
Yep, Batgirl from Batman: The Animated Series is on the way, offering a nice complement to The New Batman Adventures Batgirl figure DC Collectibles released in 2015.
DC Collectibles had success recently with their deluxe action figure sets (I’m thinking specifically of 2015’s Man Bat, here), and those will continue to roll out. Batman from the animated series will be offered with a plethora of interchangeable heads, making this possibly the most expressive Batman figure yet. The Joker will get similar treatment, and he’ll have trench coat and inner-tube accessories for all your maniacal play needs.
If you’re wondering where to put your legion of new Batman and Superman action figures, this Batcave might be a good purchase. It comes with Alfred Pennyworth, joined by his duster accessory to combat the dust build-up that is any action figure collector’s worst nightmare. Of course, no discussion of Batman can happen without also mentioning Harley Quinn, who is up for some new action figures and statues this year as well.
The wide-brimmed hat on this Harley Quinn statue uses a magnet to stay on, meaning it can be moved and posed to your liking. It’s a Harley Quinn look fans don’t get to see in collectible form very often, and was my favorite of the statues showcased.
Harley Quinn fever continues even if you’re not a fan of the animated series (though, like, why not?). With plenty of DC Collectibles‘ new products featuring likenesses seen on TV or in the movies, the forthcoming line of DC Bombshells action figures highlights the women of Ant Lucia‘s popular comic of the same name.
While other toymakers are producing all-male waves of action figures, DC Collectibles is producing waves of toys that are all-female, a refreshing and important counterbalance.
This cannot be overstated: DC Collectibles is doing something special, here. They’re offering numerous female characters in quantities large enough to ensure all collectors can find them. This should be the norm, but, amidst recent trouble fans had finding Black Widow and Rey action figures, it is clear the toy industry has more work to do toward creating a gender-equal catalogue. DC Collectibles is leading the industry in the right direction, and that was no better captured than by their offerings at Toy Fair 2017.
Jonathan Alexandratos is a playwright and essayist who writes about action figures and grief. Find him and his 60 Pre-Recorded Phrases on Twitter @jalexan.