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An AFI Round Table Interview: A Conversation With The Man In Charge Of DC Direct

Georg Brewer, Tim Bruckner, Shawn Knapp

Mike: Hola, amigos! Welcome to another edition of Open Mike. Once again, George Brewer, Vice President of Design and DC Direct at DC Comics, has graciously taken time out of his hectic schedule to answer some Pre-Toy Fair questions for us. Without further ado, the interview:

Georg: Gee Mike, you really loaded this down. I will try to give you as much info as I can, but please understand where I might want to hold some things back that we have plans to announce at specific times. Let me know if you have any follow up questions. GB

Mike: The Superman Through The Ages gift set is really cool. Any plans to do the same for Batman and Wonder Woman?

Georg: Nothing specific at this point, but if it does well we would certainly consider it.

Mike: There’s been a great deal of buzz on the ‘net about the 13” line. Most people want to know how the line is doing in terms of sales and how long it’s going to run. Do you see it continuing into the foreseeable future? And when might we see our first female in the line?

Georg: The line has been well received and we are really happy with the way it is performing. We have already planned out through ‘07 and adding female characters to the line is a mighty fine suggestion. Stay tuned....

Mike: There’s also a tremendous amount of interest on the boards in the Crisis On Infinite Earth’s and First Appearance lines. I’ve had many people ask me to ask you if we’ll see more of those.

Georg: I have always envisioned these lines running for a long time, as this is a great platform for a variety of characters. First Appearance is a little trickier to find enough popular distinct characters to include, but we certainly are looking to continue lines that do well.

Mike: I love the Alex Ross Justice line. Tim Bruckner and Karen Palinko are doing the best work of their careers on these figures. I believe you’ve stated that you’d like to see 30 figures in the Ross line all told. Is there any chance that you could go beyond that? Maybe include the Silver Age Teen Titans? And wouldn’t an Alex Ross based Ma Hunkel figure be a cool convention or internet exclusive?

Georg: I knew there would be a Ma H. question somewhere in here! I have seen this 30 figure number attributed to me before, though cannot remember specifying. We have more waves coming, and once complete I like the suggestion of branching further out beyond the book. Thanks I’ll keep that one.

Mike: I’m told I’ll die a slow, agonizing death if I don’t ask you about the Silver Age Legion. Are there any plans to bring that line back from hiatus? If not, what are the odds that some Legion figures may appear in future Crisis, First Appearance or Silver Age Superman waves?

Georg: Sorry no plans at this time, but it is never far from my mind when fishing around for ideas...

Mike: In San Diego, you said that you and the crew had discussed doing a Giffen/DeMatteis JLI assortment. Are we any closer to that?

Georg: Time will tell...

Mike: Are there any plans to standardize the articulation across the DCD line? In other words, have every figure in the line come with at least X amount of articulation?

Georg: We do have standard that ranges between nine and thirteen points. However when the needs of the character dictate more, or sometimes less we will make exceptions.

Mike: Any plans for figures or merchandise based on Superman Returns and Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman?

Georg: Yes and too early to say...

Mike: I get sooooo many requests from folks asking me to ask you about the Marvel family. Any possibility of a Marvel family wave of Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Black Adam?

Georg: Another mighty fine idea....

Mike: I love the Ed McGuiness figures. Will there be more of those?

Georg: I love this line too, and we have a few ideas in the pipeline based on his style.

Mike: Villains are pretty popular these days. And Gail Simone’s Villains United series kicked butt. Is there any chance for a Villains United or Secret Society of Super Villains wave?

Georg: No plans yet, but certainly on our short-list.

Mike: Any more Green Lantern waves in the offing? I’m always asked about Abin Sur, Jade, and more villains like Hector Hammond and the Tattooed Man?

Georg: Anything is possible, as the titles around this character heat up we will keep a close watch on it.

Mike: The rumor du jour is that your agreement with Mattel only allows you to make artist specific or story specific figures, and anything more generic is off-limits. I really don’t believe that’s the case. I think it’s just simply that themed waves sell better. Would you care to address this?

Georg: The current agreement with Mattel does not change our ability to produce figures in the same range of styles we have traditionally created.

Mike: It’s no secret that the DCU is undergoing some significant changes. You have George Perez redoing the style guides and Mark Waid and Grant Morrison revamping scores of old characters. How is that going to impact DCD?

Georg: More fun toys, if the fans want them!

Mike: Along the same lines, how are the One Year Later and 52 stories affecting your products? Will you be producing merchandise promoting these huge events?

Georg: It is a fairly complicated story structure, but we are working closely with Editorial to see if there are product opportunities.

Mike: With an Aquaman TV series in the works, might it be possible to see some figures based on the comics? Mera, Tempest, Ocean Master, ect? Also, will you ramp up production on the Wonder Woman merchandise the year that Whedon’s WW film gets released?

Georg: Too early to tell.

Mike: Any possibility of second Long Halloween and New Frontier assortments?

Georg: They were originally planned as multi figure lines, so if the first series does well....

Mike: There is a very vocal group on the message board who have indicated that they’re feeling increasingly alienated by wave after wave of the same few artist specific characters. These folks are nostalgic for the “old days” of varied and esoteric character choices, realistic but non-specific sculpts and plenty of Silver and Golden Age waves. How has the DCD business philosophy changed since the early days of the company? Are we simply seeing market forces at work? Does the modern age artist specific merchandise sell better than, say, a classic heroes wave of Uncle Sam, Phantom Lady, the Question and Blue Beetle?

Georg: Yes as a rule the more modern artist style stuff does seem to sell better, with retailers, and I have to think the majority of consumers. I am keenly aware that there is a large following of our classic & eclectic characters. I believe the plans we have for the coming months will make as many people happy as possible.

Mike: I’m always asked about the Teen Titans. Is there any chance of seeing more Wolfman/Perez era or modern era Titans?

Georg: Always a chance.

Mike: Will the Justice Society line continue with the four modern / one golden age character per wave formula?

Georg: As long as it does well, that is what I would like to see happen.

Mike: Speaking of JSA, the Golden Age Atom two-pack was such an inspired idea! Thank you so much for that! Any chance you could do that for Stargirl and the original Star Spangled Kid since they’re both little peeps, as well?

Georg: Gee, another good idea. I was hoping to make the fans go “Wow, what a cool thing, I never would have expected that!” which I hope to do in a few different ways in our ‘07 line.

Mike: The Long Halloween figures rocked! You guys stepped it up a notch with the accessories and articulation. Will we continue to see more accessories?

Georg: As much as we can cost out, yes.

Mike: I really like the “logos as stands” idea that you’ve used in some of the packaging. Will you continue that theme?

Georg: Yes our plan is to have a base with every figure, which we have been doing for some time.

Mike: Any plans of starting a new line of highly articulated, 4” figures ala Marvel’s Superhero Showdown?

Georg: No, we have an even better idea in the works....

Mike: Again, speaking of Marvel, any plans for a “Build-A-Figure” pack-in like they've done in recent Marvel Legends waves? Atom Smasher as a Build-A-Figure in a future JSA assortment would be so cool.

Georg: I loved this stunt, which I wish we had done first. We have looked at it, and ways to provide additional value, but making it our own, but nothing definite yet.

Whew!

My thanks to Mr. Brewer for another great interview, and to David Hyde of DC’s publicity department for helping make it happen.

Stay tuned to AFI all this week for some fantastic Toy Fair coverage from Julius Marx and the Toy Otter. It’s going to be a lot of fun!

Until next time!

Click here for previous columns.

Got a comment? Send me a line at Sdcomics@actionfigureinsider.com!


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