How many companies do you know that have grown by... shrinking? Well, it's happened with DC Comics' merchandise-arm known as DC Direct.
In just a few short years, DC Direct's gone from just putting out a few simple action figures, to producing action figure lines, statues, replicas, comic props and most recently, a new three-inch line of figures known as POCKET SUPER HEROES. CINESCAPE hunted down Georg Brewer, VP Design & Retail Product Development for DC Direct, to get the skinny on his company's recent strides.
CINESCAPE: Props. Dolls. Statues. New action figure lines. What's the general overall strategy of DC Direct nowadays?
BREWER: The goal of DC Direct has always been to provide the best quality product possible -- things that the fans desire but could never get anywhere else. The last few years have been a real learning curve for us, and as we have gotten more efficient the variety of our product lines have increased.
Additionally we have had great support from retailers, consumers, and the press, all of which has encouraged us to broaden the line. (Not to mention the fact that there are just too many cool things we all want for ourselves as fans!)
What product line are you most looking forward to coming out this year?
The POCKET SUPER HEROES are something I am excited to have in the stores. We have high hopes for the line, and our ability to make affordable versions of a variety of characters. Additionally the SMALLVILLE figures presented a new set of challenges, and I am very pleased with the results.
What's it like working on the SMALLVILLE line?
With the regular line, all of the material and approvals are internal. SMALLVILLE presented the new challenge of working with the studio and production company at each step. They were great partners in this -- quite a few comic fans -- so things went very smoothly.
How do you decide which characters to do next in your regular action figure line?
Inspiration comes from all over: letters, websites, conventions, the person in the next room. We try to balance the character groups we have started with new properties, different eras, or groups we might have missed. I have a drawer full of designs that for one reason or another have yet to make it on the schedule.
Also, I have been talking with our "online" group about several ways to make our site more "interactive" and things like polls are one of the many things we have discussed. Look for more on this in the future.
Most toy companies choose between sculpting and articulation, in terms of which one is more prominent. How would you describe DC Direct's action figures?
We do what is best for each character and their unique attributes. Regardless of the number of points of articulation, quality sculpting is always a priority. We do listen to the fans, and where once we limited articulation in the female figures, we are now providing more to meet the demand.
What's your [IMG4R]overall take on the toy industry today?
It is an ever-changing world, with a number of people producing the highest quality product the industry has ever seen. The industry is going through some growing pains, especially in the mass market; but in our little corner of the world there is much more competition than when we started. Given that we have the greatest characters and fantastic product, I am confident our line will remain strong. Healthy competition is good, and I look forward to where the next few years will take us.