Alright, this is the geekiest post you'll read all day...or at least on my blog. You've been warned.
I collect action figures. Actually, my action figure collection is in remission, due to $ and space and the hopeless belief that I can kick this nasty habit once and for all and turn my apartment into more something from the pages of "Elle Decor" than "Toyfare."
My BF collects action figures. Actually, he only collects one particular type of action figure: Marvel Legends. For the uninitiated, the Marvel Legends line is the current "big" line of action figures from Marvel Comics.
I think Marvel Legends figures are awesome. But, their super-articulated (read: many joints to pose with) bodies don't exactly fit in to what I look for most in my action figures.
My favorite types of action figures are the Japanese-style chunky vinyl ones. They are usually not very poseable, and often feature a cartoony or streamlined design.
Case in point: Walter from BiffBamPow's Big Lebowski line. This is probably one of my most favorite action figures of all time. An excellent likeness of John Goodman, to be sure -- but the toy doesn't get bogged down with trying to be hyper-realistic. Instead, it features a wonderfully streamlined, chunky, cartoonish body.
Constrast this to the McFarlane line of action figures. I used to be a big fan of McFarlane Toys' extremely detailed figures of characters like Austin Powers and Spawn. But I grew out of it. Maybe it was all the soft-core porn-like female action figures. I dunno.
Nowadays, I'm most interested in McFarlane's line of cartoon figures like The Simpsons & the Hanna Barbara collection. Again -- it's that bright, under-articulated, chunky, cartoony toy-like quality that really sells it for me. Call it age regression, perhaps, call it carefully-cultivated irony, call it what you will.
This brings me to DC Direct & their multiple lines of action figures. Actually, to call them "action" figures is a bit of a misnomer. These are more like little statues. Anyway, the eternal question thus raises itself:
What line is better, Marvel Legends or DC Direct?
One thing that DC Direct has going for it is the willingness to get very obscure and produce fan-favorites and bizarre Elseworlds versions. Another thing is the artist-specificity of their designs. They don't just produce "Superman." You can get Ed McGuinness's Superman, Alex Ross's Superman, Alex Toth's "Superfriends" Superman, Wayne Boring's Superman, Darwyn Cooke's Superman.
Mentioning Alex Ross, their line of Kingdom Come & Justice figures really are superb. I mean, just the armored superheroes from the Kingdom line alone...even if you're not really into the comic, the designs are just really cool.
But, these figures have really limited poseability. Most are frozen in one particular pose or another. Contrast that to the Marvel Legends line, where some figures even have individual finger joints.
To compete with Marvel Legends, DC has put out through Mattel a new poseable line of action figures. These figures look cool, but still lack the organic poseability of the Legends line. These are basically DC Direct figures with more joints.
So which line IS better: DC Direct or Marvel Legends?
If I had the extra scratch, I'd probably buy up some of the DC Direct stuff -- starting with Kingdom Come & Justice, moving into some of the Elseworlds, New Frontier, and Captain Marvel lines. Though I'd get that upcoming Marvel Legends Valkyrie figure, to be sure.