February 8, 2007
World of Warcraft Breeds New Brand Name: DC Unlimited
DC Comics has just announced that it will be licensing and distributing collectibles “based on the world’s greatest pop culture characters and stories” under a new brand name: DC Unlimited.
The first collectibles announced, interestingly, are not DC stalwarts like Captain America or Wonderwoman, instead they are action figures taken from World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment's Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), the world’s best selling video game (19 million copies sold). DC Unlimited will have to go head to head with Toycom, who also produces similar figures.
According to Comic Foundry Magazine, The initial set will feature Blood Elf Rogue, Orc Shaman, Undead Warlock and Dwarf Warrior; while the “deluxe” figures will include a Draenei Paladin and Illidan Stormrage.
Great names indeed that remind me of Tolkien and Dungeons and Dragons. The names also remind me of comics and monster movies of yesteryear: “undead” is a word that seems to come from us from the 1950s drive-in, and Illidan Stormrage is right out of comic culture.
It’s fascinating to me that the first figures DC Unlimited chooses to make come from World of Warcraft, which is swiftly becoming a cultural staple. There is even an entire industry built around gamers who outsource their online characters to pro-players for money to attain higher level status.
World of Warcraft has its nefarious side as well: the Superbowl site was hacked for World of Warcraft passwords while it seems that a whole mini-porn industry has developed around sexy World of Warcraft characters: the blue fantasy movie line is named, appropriately, “World of Whorecraft.”
I suppose this move by DC further solidifies the company’s position as a pop culture touchstone, whose comics have often reflected other entertainment icons as well as current events.
It also is a reflection of just how “real” the characters and their names on the computer screen have become. I may be speaking for millions of gamers when I say that online gaming is creating the mythology of the day.
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