DcDirect vs Mattel – Revised
December 3, 2009

Based upon the feedback from my prior blog, I’ve done some thinking.  What I’ve realized is that once I got started writing, I tried to put too many ideas in the blog which were not necessarily a good fit together.

Click here to visit the referenced blog.

1. Saving money.  In this economy, we all need to save money.  Anniversary sales, like the one I attended are a good place to do this.  That topic, followed by what I bought, and the prices I paid, would have made a fine blog.  Since that time, I’ve picked up an odd PVC statue of a GL Guardian glued to a GL base for $1.99.
2. DcDirect vs. Mattel DCUC.  In these days when money is tight, and the cost of the figures is about the same, who gets my money?  DcDirect usually gets mine.  Why?  a) I can find them easily.  I just go to my comic store on a regular stop for comics every few weeks and there they are.  b) I do not care that all of my figures do not fit together exactly in style.  Why is this OK for me?  Because my display area is broken up into fairly small sections which only allow 4 to 8 characters to stand together.  And not all people look the same in the real world either.  DcDirect figures often have unique sculpts which makes them stand out more.  Yes, my Shazam from Hasbro’s 6" line looks a little cartoony.  To me, that makes him fit into my grouping of Justice League International heroes even better.

This is a typical display in my living room.

3. My big gripe about Mattel is that I cannot find anything new DC related at retail.  I want to be able to visit a store on the way home and find some figure that I want for my collection.  Mattel cannot seem to do that.  People are finding DCUC wave 10, and talking about waves 13 and beyond on line.  But I have not seen anything past wave 7 at retail.  That is why I finally decided to buy the DcDirect Mr. Terrific even though I like the representation of his T-spheres in the Mattel version better.  JLU has also been so absent at retail that I no longer even bother to stop and look for it although I could easily stop at 2 different Targets on my way home each night.  Matty.com is ok, but it’s not the same.
4. Wally West Flash.  I was really waiting to see what the costume change for Wally would be.  DC Comics had said that his costume would be revised.  To be honest, I got tired of waiting.  And I realized that Kyle Rayner’s costume keeps changing.  I had neither a Barry Allen or Wally West Flash in my collection.  I went to the sale, bought the other 2 (Terrific and GeoForce), left, got in my car, got back out of my car, went back in the store and bought the Wally West Flash figure.  The 7$ price tag was too much to pass up.  As you probably know, the revised costume for Wally was revealed about a week later.  Maybe Mattel too was waiting to see what his new costume would be.
5. GeoForce.  To me, GeoForce is an example of that fairly basic, generic super-hero costume that could easily be done by Mattel without a lot of new real sculpting on the body.  Especially in his current design.  This one could have gone either way.  DcDirect just got there first.  As one of the respondents to my prior blog pointed out, Mattel has gotten there first with a bunch of other characters.  I’m stoked about their upcoming Iron figure.
I need to add that I’ve been doing this collecting thing for a while.  I have a bunch – say 35 or so – DcDirect figures.  After paying 15$ on average for them, I cannot justify buying another 6" figure of the same character and putting one of them ‘away’ or selling it for half of what I paid.  That includes many of the big names.  I also gave up being a completist long ago.  It is just too expensive.  At $12 to $15, I pick and choose.  Besides, I could never compete with Larfleeze.  So it is the previously unmade characters in this scale (or the ones I missed the first time around) from both companies that I am most interested in.

Erik "Superfriend" Skov
"Gathered together from the four corners of the universe." Oh, wait, that's the show, not me. Erik "SuperFriend" Skov never actually got to appear on the show, although he did watch it every week. Erik spent 6 years working for Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI before leaving for a job that paid more (Why else would a collector leave the company that was making Star Wars, Transformers, and while I was there Batman). I used to post all over the net. These days I tend to hang my hat at AFI.
Read other articles by Erik "Superfriend" Skov.





  • chad says:

    i agree with you when it comes to be able to find the dc characters dc direct has Mattel beat. not to mention it should not matter if the characters are not the same size they would not be if they were real.as for wallys new costume. Mattel proably was waiting for it to out there to get around to do wally

  • As I said in your last blog, Mattel can make the greatest figures in the world, but if I can’t find them what good does it do for me? Sure I could pay two to three times as much off of Ebay for the figures but if I’m going to pay $30+ for figures off of Ebay I might as well get some awesome Japanese imports.

    DC Direct has better distribution that most of Mattel’s DCUC line and it’s sad. DC Direct figures also come at reduced prices. A lot of people said last time about how expensive DCD is, but most comic shops run sales and such. And again, if I have to buy DCUC off of Ebay, it negates the price anyway because with Ebay you have whatever the inflated cost is plus shipping.

    If Mattel handled the line right, they would have put DCD out of business last year. As is, I doubt they’ve hurt DCD at all.

    • Hourman says:

      You realize you can pre-order entire waves of DCUC figures well in advance of their release from any number of online retailers? Its not like eBay is the only recourse you have if you can’t find DCUC at retail.

      You guys can sour grapes all you want about prices and distribution, but when you get down to a side by side, figure by figure comparision, Mattel turns out a better product 99 times out of a hundred. I live in a small town in a very rural part of the country, and I have every DCUC figure I’ve wanted, either from brick-and-mortar retail or online retail. If I can do it, anybody can do it.

      • Erik superfriend says:

        That may be true.
        But you admit you had to get them on line. Which you should not have to.
        You probably paid more than retail cost for them. Which you should not have to.
        You also had to pay shipping, an added expense. Which you should not have to.
        If that works for you, fine, but it does not negate the fact that Mattel has a problem with getting these out to retail on a reliable basis.

        • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

          I just don’t see ordering online as a problem.

          These day, there are MANY thing that I can’t find reliably at retail but are a snap online. This includes books, pet supplies, cosmetics (for my wife, lol), OTC medicine and toiletries, hobbies and art supplies, the list goes on.

          Sure you have to pay shipping, but often I can avoid sales tax (which is basically 10% now, since I live in CA), as well as find free or flat rate shipping deals. And while sometimes prices online or on eBay are higher, other times they’re lower if you’re lucky or know where to look.

          Once upon a time, shopping online was an “extra step” while retail shopping in person at brick and mortar stores was normal, but for me this is definitely NOT the case.

          The time, aggravation, energy and gas it requires for me to do brick and mortar shopping often ends up costing much more than paying shipping or online prices.

          And living in a big city like Los Angeles, with an army of scalpers means that I rarely if ever find EVERYTHING I want at retail no matter how well it’s distributed.

          So I’ve adjusted. Online ordering not only my normal but preferred method of shopping. There may be a higher up front $$$ cost, but the overall cost in time, effort and energy spend makes it more than worthwhile for me.

  • alcinde4 says:

    I pretty much straddle the fence on this issue. My collection consists of about 80% DCUC figures. The other 20% are DC Direct for various reasons. For example, I own an Infinite Crisis Power Girl made by DCD, which (in my opinion) looks light years better than the DCUC version. The same goes for the Batman and Son Batman, and Superman/Batman Despero, made by DCD. They just look better (again, in my opinion) than their DCUC counterparts. I also own a Hush Huntress and Catwoman, and a JUSTICE Plasticman all by DCD, because the Mattel line (for whatever reason) just hasn’t gotten around to making them yet. However, I don’t collect the DCD figures due to a lack of availability of the DCUC. DCUC’s retail availability is abysmal, and most of us are very aware of that. But I’m only willing to supplement my collection (in some instances) with DCD figures that Mattel just flat out isn’t doing a good enough job with.

  • Christo says:

    Regarding the folks who regard online ordering as a viable alternative:

    I’m pretty old fashioned, so I prefer to purchase my figures from stores locally. There’s just something fun about the toy aisles … something that always brings me back to my youth.

    Nevertheless, I learned early on that for DCUC, online was the way to go, and I got Waves 7 and 8 through an online retailer.

    And then came Wave 9, where even the online retailers were shorted, receiving only a percentage of their product, and I found that I was out of luck. This was the same wave that Matty said they would be selling on their own website … but then changed it to Wave 11, leaving those of us who waited out in the cold.

    And of course, Wave 10 … another Wal-Mart exclusive.

    I’m afraid that online ordering isn’t everything that it’s cracked up to be when it comes to DCUC. At least so far.

    In the past few days, I’ve often asked myself: when I’m missing a whole two waves (three waves, really, with Wave 5) … do I really want to keep driving myself crazy by collecting this line?

    (I would also argue against the idea that all Mattel sculpts are better than DCD sculpts … but that’s merely my opinion.)

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