Speaking with Jim Fletcher of DC Collectibles.

Speaking with Jim Fletcher of DC Collectibles!

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If you’re a fan of DC Comics, then DC Collectibles is definitely a company you pay attention to.  With the DC Films set to start in proper this year with March’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and August’s Suicide Squad, all eyes were on the California based company’s booth during the 113th Toy Fair.  With retailers, exhibitors, and media converging from all corners of the world upon New York City’s Javits Center, we were able to secure an appointment with DC Collectibles one week ago.  Showcasing new products such as a continuation of their successful Batman: The Animated Series line of action figures, to an expansion of their DC Icons line; perhaps the line that shined as bright as Hal Jordan’s lantern was the upcoming DC Films line and other television/movie based collectibles.  Having one week to recollect ourselves, process everything that we took in, here’s a look at what DC Collectibles has in store for fans, young and old.

In speaking with DC Entertainment’s Creative Director, Mr. Jim Fletcher, we learned of just how much DC Collectibles is planning and of just how much thought has gone into every action figure, statue, and prop replica planned for release through this year and next.  Having been a major action figure fan since my days as a child, it was great growing up with the likes of Kenner and Toy Biz, to name a few.  Having toy companies aim at delivering a comprehensive line that would cover nearly every aspect of the given property was always very rewarding.  Being able to enjoy Kenner and Hasbro’s Lois Lane action figure from Superman: The Animated Series remains a highlight to this day.  So when DC Collectibles announced plans to resurrect their Batman: The Animated Series in action figure and vehicle format some time ago, the six year old in me wanted to sing praises of jubilant cheer.  After a walk-through of DC Collectibles during last year’s Toy Fair with Creative Services Vice President Mr. Kevin Kiniry, it was exciting to get the 2016 perspective on what’s to come with Creative Director Jim Fletcher.

While finishing a quick snack during a more quiet moment during the four day, trade show circus, Jim Fletcher walked me through the DC Collectibles showroom.

DCBatwing (1a)Steven Biscotti: Now it’s very exciting to see this because we now have the Batplane; I remember speaking with Kevin [Kiniry] last year – we had the Batmobile.

Jim Fletcher: So not only do you have the Batplane, but I’ll show you how big it is.  I’m gonna hold it up for you because it’s pretty freaking big. So there it is – the Batplane’s a beast. It’s pretty cool, it’s gonna have a working cockpit so it seats two figures in here. It’s gonna have retractable landing gear and right now we’re actually working on how people can actually display this because not everyone has a table this big just to sit it down.

SB: Oh of course. It can just hang over our beds (laughs).

JF:  Maybe fishing wire, but we’re looking into it with a wall mount or some kind of display we can put it up like this.

SB: Now this will light up? Make noises?

JF: It’ll definitely light up, but we don’t have any plans for sound right now. We were just working on this to get it in time for the show so we’re just working through all the details right now. But it will definitely light up and have the landing gear and the two-seater thing for sure.

SB: Great and I see we’re looking at ship date of fall 2016.

JF: Yep and we’re looking at $150-$175 depending on when the final pricing comes in. So we don’t have that all quite figured out yet, but it’s in that range.

SB: Great!

JF: Yep bigger and bigger. Bigger and bigger.

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SB: And then of course based on the success of this could we be seeing Robin’s motorcycle at all?

JF: We have a whole list of stuff that if this does well, we want to do stuff even bigger … so if this works…

SB: Oh wow.

JF: But yes, that’s also a possibility.  The motorcycle would be great.  There’s a lot of vehicles in the show so I would definitely wanna go after all that stuff.

SB: Well we have the Batmobile and we loved the first one.  It was a great holiday seller.

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JF: Oh great.

SB: It’s exciting to see that we’re going to be getting a workable Batsignal, Batman and Robin.  Very excited about that, but I think what we’re even more excited about is seeing this line continue.

DCAnimatedSeries (4)JF: I know crazy, it just keeps going. I mean it’s not a surprise to us considering we jumped into this both feet first so we’re not really “Oh boy I can’t believe nobody wanted these”. So I can’t believe everyone wanted these; that was a great thing. So it was so such a good surprise when it actually happens. You know, people responded to us immediately, sales have been great even though we had some problems in the beginning of production, but people stuck with us, and we’ve been fixing the issues; working with better factories to get them made and it’s really been fantastic. What I really like about this is doing stuff that hasn’t been done.  I have all the old toys and they’ve all been great, but getting a chance to make them, doing like Christmas with the Joker, that one was never made before.

SB: That was his first appearance in that [Batman: The Animated Series].

JF: Crazy. So we get the Charlie Brown tree.

SB: The hand puppet thing that he had on the show when he hijacked it.

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JF:  So great! Yes, so that’s really fun. Doing Harley in her nightgown, you know with the 2 pack she’s only gonna be sold with the book and the repainted Joker. As a member of the 2 pack she’s not gonna be sold separately; doesn’t make any sense out of context. So she’ll stay with that. And expanding into  Batman Beyond. This show is so great and I was really excited when we got a chance because the line is doing so well; let’s just keep going, let’s see what happens. So if everybody responds well to this, I can’t wait to get to the villains because the designs are so great. I hope people respond well to this we’ll find out pretty soon.

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SB: We’ve seen the line expand into Batman Animated, New Adventures of Batman, it’s interesting seeing you did “Legends” and seeing it expand into Batman Beyond.  Something that I’m really interested about – we have Livewire and we have Supergirl. I gotta ask, will we be seeing more Superman Animated Series characters?

JF: What an entertaining question.

So yeah the 5 packs out and its got those 2 new figures – Livewire and Supergirl, Batgirl and Harley are going to be reissues, but Ivy is a repaint of her first one, but even more white in skin tone. I guess you could say that’s what’s to come.

SB: Well I gotta say when you first put out the press release of photos, my favorite is Superman Animated Series, no offense to Batman.

JF: Your pin doesn’t say so.

SB: Batman v Superman? I want Batman to win. It’s good seeing Supergirl represented under DC Collectibles and someone like Livewire – she’s really interesting.  The 5 pack looks great. I see we also have Bullock and Talia.

DCAnimatedSeries (13)JF: This line is great. The best thing? We have not one, but 2 donuts; ones half eaten so maybe he could offer Gordon one if he wanted. Probably the half eaten one, the way he eats his donuts on the show. Talia’s one of my favorite characters and this version of her is one of my absolute favorite versions of Talia. So I’m really happy we got to make Talia a toy, this Joker is so creepy I love his eyes from the New Adventures.

SB: I noticed that the backgrounds are a little different. Are they for display purposes only?

JF: That’s funny. I’m surprised how many times this question has been coming up the entire show and now I’m interested in doing it. People love these backgrounds.

SB: They look beautiful I have to say they really look outstanding.

JF: We might look into cutting these out. They really do look great. People like these. After the show I’ll send an email out to these guys back in California, we should start crossing out the background. People love them.

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SB: It’s one of those things, the design of them, the aesthetic of them fits them perfectly. Clayface – he looks like a tremendous figure. It’s really great how you’ve blended both Animated and New Adventures together and we’re big fans of the line.  We love the approach to the accessories and how very screen accurate.

JF: Yeah, we’re trying to stay on top of that. Sometimes it limits what it can come with, but it makes sense when we’re doing the figures. We had a lot of debates too on how to release the figures. Let’s just do the Animated series, then we’ll do the next one and then we changed our minds in the last minute so we mixed them all up.

SB: I was a big fan of seeing all of them come out like with wave 1 we had Catwoman from Animated and then New Adventures Batman. I think even for a collector like myself it was a bit more diverse and it was whetting the appetites.  To have a blend is a little more fulfilling to a collector and a little more exciting.

JF:  We thought that was the way to go because it definitely shows that we’re into. Instead of having to wait until whenever.

SB: I see most of them are March 2016 Fall 2016?

JF: We had some snafus before, but now these are in a little better shape.

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SB:  Moving on, we have DC Icons. We have the 7 pack, we’ve only seen this Superman represented in the first DC Collectibles line.

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JF: These 3 guys – Superman, Batman, The Flash are all new New 52 figures. They’ll start phasing out the old, actually the New 52 one with sort of the Icons versions. For the hardcore collectors, you would want this if you wanted these 3 guys, but they’re not exclusive to this gift pack. So if you want to get the whole Justice League and call it a day you can get this pack, but I’m not saying that’s the only way these 3 are going to be available.

DCIcons (14)SB: Great. I remember last year and even just following the series a lot of the accessories are interchangeable like the Deadman. So we have pack 1 and pack 2. I would love to hear a little bit about the thought process behind Dr.Fate’s helmet or the original Flash helmet.

JF: The thought process behind the accessory pack we wanted to have something that’s compelling first of all. Why would somebody buy a bunch of stuff in a box? Well we offer a figure and a Legacy piece. So you can actually start creating your Justice League trophy room also another figure to interact with, plus a lot of stuff your character can interact and fight with. That was the thought process behind having accessory packs that were themed, but similar in assortment and the stuff you get in it the whole way through. Probably with Batgirl we had the most conversations about which one. We did that with the Batman ones too. This was really fun to talk about, the conversations about these accessories packs. We’ve had so many different versions of these before we decided on this.

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SB: I’m guessing there’s so many that we may see a pack 3 and maybe a pack 4?

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JF:  We’ve gone to pack 5 already so if this actually does well these toys are very playable they have a lot of articulation. I think a lot of our stuff in the past was very these are collector toys they don’t come out of the box, so these are meant to be played with a lot of people pose them a lot. You can get more of them on your shelf because they’re a little bit more compact well except for Darkseid.

DCIcons (18)SB: It’s great seeing Grail, a fairly recent character within the run, and to see a figure of her Fall 2016. Will that be a 2 pack?

JF: Yeah, that’s a 2 pack.

SB: Any possibility we’d see Grail separately down the line?

JF: Not at the moment. I don’t think we’ll just put her out separately. If she becomes a major character maybe. It’s funny you mention because the other cool thing about this line is it’s going to span the whole DC Universe from any time period you want. We’ve got something from John Stewart, Mosiac all the way up to something that’s happening right now. That’s the fun of this line.

SB: It’s a beautiful line. I think offering the whole universe fans is very cool.  I do have to ask, has there ever been a character represented already or maybe there’s one you could speak of, one that has yet to be produced, that you’re really looking forward to?

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JF: I tend to like the more Bizarro characters in the DC Universe, like in the Batman line my favorite one is The Demon. I love that he’s just this weird character. I love that guy. The New 52, the only one that I didn’t get to do was OMAC. That big giant OMAC, but how important is he to most people? Probably not very at the end of the day. But I love characters like that in the DCU. The one I think I like the best out of here at the moment is Batgirl because she has an alternate head where her hair flows back and she’s got the cape when she’s driving the bike that flows back. I think that design was great.  In the future I don’t know who I’d pick, actually maybe I’d pick OMAC again.

SB: Always been a big fan of Swamp Thing.

JF: Yeah, it’s a more traditional Swamp Thing. I’m really happy to have worked on that. That was fun.

SB: Now I see we have more designer series figures expanding over to Harley and the [Greg] Capullo wave. Are there any plans to do a designer wave based on other select characters? Any other character in a similar fashion to Harley?

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JF: Before we go too far down that road, what’s different about this designer series compared to any other series ever done is these have accessories that will do things. So for instance this is Harley’s beaver that she comes with. This weird decaying thing that she carries around with in her apartment in her first bunch of issues. This one you squeeze it and a hairball shoots out of its stomach. When Powergirl fights this Space conqueror it sort of looks like a pizza I would say. So we’re trying to get this one scented or bendy so you can play with that with your Harley toy. When she has the outfit on there’s a scene in there where she actually does the deal but this will be squeezable and waters gonna come out of her eyes. Fill it with your own tears if you want. We’re trying to do stuff because the book is just so crazy it affects it when you’re doing accessories and this way we have planned out maybe 2 or 3 other ways. It’s kind of like a skinny version of Harley maybe. It’s like you said you have the classic one the superhero one. She’s got a million different costumes crazy accessories not just these crazy outfits.

SB: It’s a big year for Harley I think it’s definitely a game changer to see DC Collectibles have accessories with a little more interactivity between everything it’s very exciting.

JF: It’s kind of a mix..

SB: All 2016 fall?

JF:  Yea they should be there. They’re already being worked on overseas so we’re pretty confident.

SB: I see we have more Greg Capullo; we have Superman.

JF: Yea we’ve been working with him obviously. The newest one so the Justice League guys I guess are Fly By’s in the book. We wanted to continue his line because his stuff looks great and is one of our best selling action figure lines. So we also wanted to make sure we got to that. So basically the deal with this is it’s a 2 pack it’ll come with regular Gordon Batman and then this piece will be in here already and you can build the figure on top of him.

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SB: Kind of reminds me of the Thrasher suit Batman approach to that.

JF: Yep the same deal except more blue, more streamlined.

SB: Well it’s cool seeing Capullo’s designer series I was excited when the first designer series started Capullo out of all the people that have worked on DC I would probably say him and Bruce Timm are my favorites. Seeing Survivor Batman!

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JF: But where’s Mr.Bloom? Right we still gotta get to that one.

SB: We need Mr.Bloom.

JF: I would love to get him, enough demand we’ll get him done.

SB: I have to say out of maybe the DC Collectibles statues, DC Films, the premium line – we’ve seen you approach Arrow and The Flash, but you’re doing the movies now!

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JF: I know finally. After years of talking about it since before DC Direct days it’s real! It’s really real!

DCFilms00 (26)SB: As soon as I saw the pictures I was very excited to see these characters represented. I think it’s a unique approach you have a Man of Steel included in this line as opposed to just going forward with Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman.

JF: What we’re doing is starting the DC Films line with Man of Steel, so it’s gonna be a forward facing line we’re not saying we’re never going to go backwards but for now it’s a forward facing line. What’s neat about the line is they’re not going to be coming out per movie, they’re going to be like this, you’ve got Man of Steel mixed in with Suicide Squad, mixed in with Batman v Superman – more focused on the world building rather than the actual movie. They’re going to have a lot of articulation, around 40-something points; some of these characters are going to come with these big display bases so if you’re a guy that flies and fights, you’re going to need a big base to do it. The price points right now are around $45-$50, maybe a little less depending on how big.

SB: Well it’s quality that we’re getting; we’re really getting a premium action figure and something that a lot of people I know have been hoping for. I believe James Marsano and Adam Ross, they worked on them and that’s very cool. I do want to clarify something. I’m aware Geoff Johns had made reference to the fact that we could be seeing more obscure characters within the DC films. Is it too early to get a confirmation for the possibility of a Lois Lane action figure?

JF: Yeah, I would be very surprised if we don’t get to that. The plan is to make the whole universe. Sort of like the old Star Wars toys, everybody that walked around got a toy. I don’t know if it’s going to be that deep, but that’s the plan.  Even the scientist that was on the ship Black Zero. Now we’re working on Nam-Ek, and he’s like this tall. That’s where we’re going to go, not just like everybody with costumes on.

SB: It’s interesting because, again, I know it’s a very early line. I think it’s very interesting that Nam-Ek is going to be worked on, especially with the Man of Steel line. We do know he has roots within the comics, but then maybe a character like Chris Meloni’s Col. Hardy, he was created for the movie.

JF: Yeah, he’ll be in there. He gets a pretty significant amount of screen time, he didn’t just waltz through.

DCCapColdPropRep (6)SB: I have to say I’m very excited about these. I think the sculpts are incredible; the whole approach to them is very exciting. I did notice that we have for the DC television series just the two pack of Arrow and Flash, but we do have a Supergirl statue.

JF: Maybe not all we have for the tv series. Maybe not quite everything. This is Captain Cold’s gun, I don’t wanna point it at you but wait you need to start holding this you can hold this. Pull the trigger and the alarm goes off. You just froze your photographer.

JF: So basically it comes on a base – an ice cold base and it’ll screw into the bottom of the gun, so you can display it or you can carry it around, and get in trouble.

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SB: It’s great to see that. We love the television properties; we love the television approach to the Arrow and Flash statues and I think Supergirl’s fantastic.

JF: And that’s not even a finished head yet we’re still working on it.

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SB: I know when the first images came out she looked beautiful. Melissa Benoist’s likeness was captured marvelously.

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JF: She’s great to work with too. So we thought this head was pretty good, but we wanted it to be even better so we actually went over to the lot with my photographer and she took the time out to do some head shots, it came out even better.  She’s so nice.

SB: Is there a possibility we could see her represented in action figure format?

JF: Yes.

SB: Yes! As soon as this was announced, my first hope was we have to see more of her.  She’s incredible and she’s killing it on tv.

JF:  That’s true. There’s so much more stuff we could do on that show.  We got Legends of Tomorrow on, so yes this line will be continuing into all those shows.

SB: The release date for Superman and Batman we’re looking at June?

JF: No they’re already rolling out some of those are already rolling out some of those are already shipped probably in time for the movie for sure. Wonder Woman is running very late she’s gonna be I don’t know the exact date right now but when they come back we’re gonna have a better release date. What we got back up was pretty good but we want it to be perfect so a bit of a delay but she’ll definitely be out they’ll definitely be there.

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SB: I remember at last year’s toy fair we got a sneak peak and now they’re coming out. It was in private revealed that we were getting Wonder Woman and she looks fantastic she looks great as it is.
I already have them preordered at my local comic shop I can’t wait to add them. I did hear that the  Will Smith Deadshot we’re looking at the possibility of an additional head.

JF: At the moment the plan is to try to release them.

SB: They all look fantastic.  We’re all very excited having it progress from Man of Steel to Batman v Superman to Suicide Squad; it’s natural, it’s organic, it’s exciting.

JF: And the attitudes of these statutes –  we try to capture because we got a lot of shots with these guys.

SB: Jai Courtney, scene stealer.

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JF: Right? I love that scene.

SB: Well it’s great seeing Boomerang it’s great seeing the DC Collectibles stuff and it’s very exciting. Starting from just a clear fans perspective it’s very exciting about the current line up. In concluding, out of everything that you showed us, what are the top 3 pieces you’re most excited about?

JF: Probably this Harley statue it’s amazing looking. I already said The Demon so I guess I have to stick with that one.

 

SB: So you got Harley Quinn, The Demon…

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JF: One more has to be the Batplane. How is it not the Batwing?  That’s so cool.

SB: Really great.

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Walking through the DC Collectibles booth with Mr. Jim Fletcher was an amazing experience.  As a big fan of DC Comics and their amazing library of heroes and villains, I could not be more excited for their upcoming action figures and collectibles.  New York Toy Fair could be just as overwhelming as one of the larger comic conventions, even with the nature of it being exclusively a trade show.  With a whirlwind amount of appointments, DC was one of the highlights for What’cha Reading.

There are going to be many great new additions to lines that people already love – Batman The Animated Series, and with the start of the DC Films, we’re going to be getting several great movie related collectibles that maintain the quality that the company is known for.

As a fan of the DC Films and animated series, it was extraordinarily fulfilling to learn of a classic, Kenner, Star Wars approach to the DC Films Premium action figures, along with a tease of the possibility of seeing Superman The Animated Series being represented in action figure format.

Stay tuned for more on DC Collectibles here on What’cha Reading and be sure to visit DC Entertainment, as well.  All of the above products listed will be coming this year and into next.  They’ll be available at your local comic shop so be sure to visit comicshoplocator to find a store closest to you.

*What’cha Reading would like to thank Sara Ruiz for her invaluable assistance and coordination, and Jim Fletcher for his time and enthusiasm.

*What’cha Reading would also like to thank Matt Ramos for transcribing.

About Author

Mild mannered reporter, Steven Biscotti, has an avid interest in all things comic books, movies, and music (especially pertaining to Coldplay.) Always ready, professional, and on the scene, those closest to him may suspect he's actually from another planet. @ReggieMantleIII

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