When the DC Universe collectibles line from Mattel ceased production in 2014, DC Comics went direct. DC Direct, now known as DC Collectibles, released a special line to take over, called DC Icons. Featuring the same 6-inch scale of the Mattel product, these weren’t strictly toys. The DC Icons line featured artisan sculpting and superlative articulation.
Announced in February at Toy Fair 2015, DC Comics stated that the line would focus on their superheroes over decades of comic books. Instead of just modern costumed characters of the New 52 line (in 6.75-inch scale), DC Collectibles Icons would feature iconic moments in the characters’ histories.
This meant that collectors could get a classic Batman from “Last Rites” storyline of 2009. Or a Superman figure from the 1986 DC Icons Superman “Man of Steel” storyline. Fans were very excited about these high-quality collectibles. Demand ran high through the first two years of production.
DC Icons Scale
DC Comics clarified the decision to use the 6-inch scale on their blog, providing a sizing guide.
The DC Icons line includes more accessories, according to DC Collectibles management, and features design under the auspices of Justice League artist Ivan Reis
According to DC, larger scale figures are based on the work of a specific artist or TV show character, because it allows them to include more detail in the action figure.
DC Collectibles provided a sneak peek at the line at San Diego Comic-Con that year.
One of the goals of the DC Collectibles Icons line was improved articulation for the action figures. Some of the upgrades include ball joints at the neck, shoulders, and hips. Elbows and knees have double pivot action. Biceps, wrists, and ankles swivel and pivot. There’s even sliding swivel movement in the abdomen and swivel in the lower abdomen. This results in an action figure with all kinds of potential for either posing or play.
2015 DC Icons Figures
The first year of production saw classic characters from the DC universe, such as DC Icons Batman from the “Last Rites” storyline.
Also released was the 6-inch scale Batmobile to accommodate the new size figures. It featured lights and sliding door access.
2016 DC Collectibles Icons
Some of the most lauded of the DC Icons collectible figures from 2016 is the John Stewart Green Lantern action figure. Like other DC Icons, this one replicated the early 1990s design. The costume features a sparkling bright green against matte black. It features battery-powered effects with his ring, and even a spare set of forearms.
DC Collectibles Icons Joker is also a fan favorite. This Classic Batman bad guy hearkens back to the 1980s version of the character, with purple overcoat and fedora. This Icon figure comes with machine guy, crowbar and some extra hands.
“No Man’s Land” Harley Quinn is also a fan favorite. This DC Collectibles Icons action figure features her from Batman: Harley Quinn the graphic novel. This is debut in the DC Comic universe from 1999.
Early in 2017, DC Collectibles announced some changes to the Icons line that had collectors concerned. Instead of releasing single figures, they announced they would focus on “iconic moments” in the series.
One of the line’s strongest selling points was that it released figures in all eras of the DC Comics history, including Silver Age and Bronze Age figures. The range was popular with collectors, especially those who favored old-school comics and storylines.
DC Comics icons released a slew of new action figures in spring 2017, including Static Shock, Swamp Thing, Cyborg, and Deathstroke. They also released Wonder Woman, two months before the live-action blockbuster hit the screen. This DC action figure features Wonder Woman from “The Amazon Virus,” a 2014 storyline, and sees the superhero in a darker version of her classic costume, with silver accents instead of god. The figure comes with shield, sword, spare hands, and of course, the lasso of truth.
Rebirth DC Icons Action Figures
Fall 2017 saw the release of Rebirth versions of Supergirl (pictured above), Batman, and Superman. The new two-pack line featured Robin and Superboy (pictured below), also both part of the DC Rebirth relaunch.
The last DC Icons collectible of 2017 is the Death of Superman Doomsday two-pack. It features an iconic moment featured in “Death of Superman.” This storyline was a big hit in 1992. Superman’s demise at the hands of Doomsday struck a note with fans in 1993, when he died in the arms of Lois Lane.
This two-figure set features Superman in his torn costume and Doomsday in his final form. Accessories include Superman’s tattered cape, rocks, and a rocky base to commemorate the battle scene. Superman himself has two effects, including heat ray vision and a punch effect.
Problems with DC Icons Collectibles
Some of the planned superhero action figures from the DC Comics Icons line have been canceled. It may be that the line will be discontinued to pursue more popular lines.
Many complaints from fans and critics have to do with the size. The 6-inch scale is not compatible with action figures from the Marvel Legends line of action figures. This seems to have dimmed enthusiasm from collectors. The Marvel line by Hasbro is closer to 7 inches, which makes it difficult to pair Icons with Marvel characters. The DC Classic line from Mattel is more compatible with the Legends scale.
And fans of the Mattel Classics line have been reluctant to start all over, accumulating figures they already have. And ones that don’t quite match up to either the old DC line or the Marvel line. DC Collectibles has been slow to launch new Icons characters. In addition, the choice of characters has been a bit odd, too. Very few but the most hard-core DC Comics fans know many of the characters released. Pop culture favorites like Supergirl and Wonder Woman had to wait for Mister Miracle and Blue Beetle.
The Future of DC Icons
The trend toward “iconic moments” may save the line of 6-inch DC Icons line. But DC has already launched a new line of single action figures. DC Essentials features the Rebirth storyline with new articulated figures at 6.75-inches.
Jim Fletcher, Executive Creative Director of DC Collectibles, told IGN:
“DC Essentials will be an evergreen action figure line and will feature classic representations of DC Universe characters including Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman, among others.”
The DC Collectibles will launch the Essentials line in summer of 2018. Many, such as Batman, The Flash, and Deathstroke are already available on Amazon for pre-order.
Gotham Garage DC Collectibles
Other new lines include Gotham Garage, starting with gritty versions of Supergirl and Batgirl. The Batman Animated Series line will get an expressive Harley Quinn and a Jokermobile. And don’t forget Catwoman (pictured above), because she’s getting her own Gotham Garage, too. Their DC Artists Alley will feature vinyl characters focusing on artist interpretations of seven classic characters.
The future for DC Icons looks hazy, but fans of the collectible line are holding out hope that the two-pack “iconic moments” theme can add momentum.