DC Pumps translates classic DC Comics heroes into unique collectibles
There are a lot of geeky collectibles that people can get their hands on these days and at San Diego Comic-Con you can find almost anything you’re interested in as a fan. One of the items that caught my attention this year I received for free in the Her Universe Fashion Show swag bag for attendees. It came in the form of a small golden box that contained a high heel shoe inspired by a DC Comics character. The collectible is part of Cryptozoic Entertainment’s DC Pumps line. DC Pumps features mini shoes that come in nine designs and three variants all inspired by women heroes and villains from the DC universe. You don't know which character you'll receive in each blind box, which led to many attendees discussing and swapping boxes throughout the fashion show so they could try to get the character they wanted.
The designs in the line are Catwoman, Hawkgirl, Black Canary, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Supergirl, Poison Ivy, and Mera. The three variants include a WonderCon exclusive gold and black Harley Quinn shoe and a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive Batwoman shoe. Cryptozoic associate product manager Kyle Wlodyga told GeekFold that when they were considering how to translate these heroes into a shoe design they looked at what was iconic for each character. For example, the Wonder Woman design incorporates elements from her 75 year history with her Lasso of Truth as the strap and her invisible jet referenced with a clear heel.
“The rest of the shoe sort of looks like the armor that she’s got. It’s a little more Lynda Carter inspired than Gal Gadot, but it’s all kind of there. Then Hawkgirl with the wings and the mask being the front part of the shoe. I had tried to have the mace be the heel for Hawkgirl, but it was a little too much,” he said. “It wasn’t fashionable is what I was told, but that’s part of the design process. You have to see what works and what doesn’t and it helps to have a partner keep you grounded because you can get inside your own head like ‘oh yea everybody wants this’ but then nobody wants it.”
There was a point where they also considered including men as inspiration in the line. One design Wlodyga tried that was rejected featured Lobo. He would love to make that shoe work in the future if possible. When thinking of other possibilities, he sees Plastic Man as an easy design. However, for this first assortment they decided to stick with the women of DC. According to Wlodyga, all of the characters are recognizable and they had many choices without having to resort to looking at the men. They even considered a few characters that didn’t make the cut like Granny Goodness. Some of the women also use elements that are found in some male character designs as well like Batgirl and Batman. This meant they could touch on those elements and still have fun with them without making a Batman specific shoe.
Wlodyga worked on a number of variants for consideration as possible exclusives which included some obscure ones.
“The one I can talk about is I had taken our Mera shoe and done it up in red with clear red and red scales as Red Lantern Mera from an obscure storyline where she becomes a Red Lantern,” he said. “The water heel was blood and it was like ‘dude don’t do that. Nobody’s going to buy the blood heel.’ It’s like ok, fine but that’s one of the best parts of DC is that there’s so much to pull from.”
The whole line came about around a year and a half ago when his boss at the time saw some of the success other companies had with shoe related pop culture collectibles. While they did try bags at one point instead, Wlodyga said they didn’t translate as well.
“Everybody needs shoes. They’re like the perfect fashion accessory and we just kind of leaned into that,” he explained.
According to Wlodyga, his boss felt the DC universe was ready for something like this and it would work for the women characters. To him Marvel was “famously all about their guys whereas DC the women are second to none.” They started coming up with ideas for the core assortment of characters and drawing shoes to see what would work.
For those who want more geeky footwear and wouldn’t mind seeing these made a reality, you’re not alone. One fan did in fact use the Harley Quinn shoe as a reference for making her own high heels. Wlodyga said there has been some discussion of making them into real shoes too, but couldn’t say more.
“We’re just excited that it’s resonated with people. I think part of that is the universal love that people have for these female characters,” he said. “The packaging, the little shoe box, most people are stoked on that when they see it as well and it’s started really picking up which is exciting.”
What else might be in the future for DC Pumps is being kept under wraps for now. There are a bunch of other characters they would love to include, but Wlodyga didn’t want to reveal what they were since a second set isn’t out of the question.
“We’re a little smaller of a company than people realize, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not thinking about the future of DC Pumps and what that all can mean,” he said. “Keep your eyes peeled and your fingers crossed.”
You can see all the DC Pumps available on Cryptozoic's website.
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