The Intertaional Toy Fair in New York begins Saturday, but this is when companies start dropping their big news, and today we’ve had a couple of bombshells so far.
IGN reports that McFarlane Toys has been granted the license to produce collectible action figures from six to twelve inches tall, based on DC Comics comics, movies and television shows, along with corresponding vehicles and accessories. The report uses the term “Multiverse,” which was the name used for Mattel’s collectible line of DC Comics figures. This deal begins in 2020, so we aren’t likely to see anything or know any details until next year’s Toy Fair, but it is an interesting move.
This likely means that the Spin Master deal, which we told you about late last year, will likely only cover DC Comics action figures that are aimed at the kid’s market, like the Mattel True Moves 12″ figures, or the upcoming Batman Knight Missions and Justice League lines from Mattel.
Many fans of the DC Multiverse line were wondering what the change of licenses meant, and now it means that the license for DC Comics action figures has been split between two companies. Most likely, the Spin Master figures will sell for ten dollars or less, while the McFarlane Toys figures will sell for twenty bucks and up.
This is a real surprise since Todd McFarlane, who owns McFarlane Toys, is one of the founders of Image Comics, one of DC’s competitors. Before creating Spawn, and co-founding Image, McFarlane drew comics for DC and Marvel, notably Spider-man and The Hulk for Marvel, but also Batman, Invasion and Infinity Inc. for DC. It will be interesting to see if McFarlane expands his toy company to handle the extra business, or if he cuts loose some of his other toy licenses, like The Walking Dead and Call of Duty.
In retrospect, it may not be that big a surprise. McFarlane handles Game of Thrones, and just scored the license for Harry Potter and Wizarding World, and both of those are adminstered by Warner Brothers Consumer Products, who also run DC Comics’ licensing business. So this may have been in the cards.
At Toy Fair, McFarlane will be showing off his newly-acquired licenses for Game of Thrones and Fortnite among others. The DC Comics license does not start until 2020.
Also today comes news that Diamond Select Toys, the toy arm of Diamond Comic Distributors, has purchased collectible figure maker, Gentle Giant Ltd. Let’s go to the press release:
Beginning February 1, Diamond Select Toys and Collectibles, LLC, will assume operations for all of Gentle Giant’s existing licenses, and release previously developed and newly created busts, statues and scaled-up vintage action figures. Any in-progress and future products will be offered to retailers through the Previews catalog, published by DST’s sister company Diamond Comic Distributors.
Gentle Giant’s collector club, the Premier Guild, will continue to operate, with exclusive items for members and reserved access to certain products. DST has pledged to fulfill any outstanding exclusives and rewards to current members, and to expand on the club’s scope going forward.
“This is a great moment for DST,” said Diamond Comic Distributors owner Steve Geppi. “The unification of many of Gentle Giant’s licenses and built-in fan base with DST’s sales and distribution channels is a recipe for success. Two wonderful companies uniting talents to produce the best of the best. I am confident the final product will be well received by both companies’ wonderful supporters and customers.”
“It is a great honor for Gentle Giant to continue our strong creative relationship with Diamond,” said Karl Meyer, VP of Entertainment at 3D Systems. “With great pleasure, I am personally thrilled to have DST uphold the Gentle Giant Ltd brand and work with our artists in bringing entertainment magic from the screen to the collectors’ hands.”
“I have been a longtime fan of Gentle Giant’s products, and I am excited to continue their legacy,” said DST president Chuck Terceira. “Once we’re up and running, we plan to deliver seamless service of existing product lines, so expect to see the same level of quality, with the added bonus of DST’s broad distribution.”
In addition to resin busts and statues, DST produces Gallery PVC Dioramas, Select action figures, Minimates mini-figures, Vinimates vinyl figures, D-Formz PVC figures, prop replicas and vinyl banks.
This is a bit of a surprise, but not really a shock, since the two companies are compatible, and Gentle Giant was dependent on Diamond Select for much of their distribution anyway.
We’ll have more pre-Toy Fair news all week.
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