DC Direct was the collectibles division of DC Comics, the Time Warner subsidiary that publishes comic books and licenses characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Batman, Aquaman and Hawkgirl, from 1998 until April 2012. DC Direct produced statues, props, replicas and prints for the direct market, a distribution and retail network primarily serving comic book specialty stores. DC Direct produced a number of action figures for this market as well, most of which were produced in the 6 to 7-inch scale. On April 11, 2012, DC comics announced that it's collectibles product line was being relaunched as DC Collectibles.  The Batman: Arkham City: Series 2 figure assortment, which arrived at retail stores on April 25, 2012, was the final release from DC Direct.
Beginning in 1998 with three figures based on characters from Mad Magazine, DC Direct has released several hundred figures based on popular and obscure characters based on properties published by DC Comics, including those under the Vertigo and WildStorm imprints.
For the first several years, the most recognizable DC characters were not released. DC Direct focused on lesser-known characters and comic series designed for mature readers such as The Sandman, Preacher, and Transmetropolitan. Now, DC Direct has increased its production of recognizable characters such as Batman, Superman, The Flash, Batgirl, Aquaman and Robin. Figures were first grouped randomly, then thematically and now in official groupings that may be released over several years. The first three series in 1999 had a variant for each figure, but the practice was quickly dropped. Of those figures, only the variant of Death has never been re-released. Currently DC Direct shares the licenses for many DC characters with other toy manufacturers, notably Mattel which has the master toy license for all DC Comics properties, but DC Direct alone holds the licenses for Vertigo figures.
While most figures have been released on blister cards, some have been available in boxes and a very few in clamshell packaging. There have also been several boxed sets featuring multiple characters or a character with a particularly large accessory.
Because DC Direct sells primarily to the comic book specialty market, the figures ship to stores on predictable dates, a rarity for toys.
There was a proposed series of figures based on Alan Moore's Watchmen that never got past the prototype phase. Rumored to be scheduled for release in July, 2001, a few of the figures were displayed at summer conventions: the Comedian, the Silk Spectre and Dr. Manhattan. There were two different prototypes of Dr. Manhattan - one solid blue, one with a translucent chest. It is unclear if other characters such as Nite Owl, Ozymandias and Rorschach were to also receive figures.
The proposed figures were to be part of a 15th anniversary celebration of the miniseries, as was a Watchmen hardcover. Moore and co-creator Dave Gibbons decided not to take part in any such anniversary, in part because of a long-standing dispute over merchandising over the series. DC has since released a new line of Watchmen figures. This time the series is based upon the Watchmen movie and the figures reflect the film's style rather than the comic book's. Currently there are figures for Rorschach, Nite Owl (Modern), Nite Owl (Classic), Silk Spectre (Modern), Silk Spectre (Classic), Ozymandias, the Comedian and Dr. Manhattan. Along with four variants The Comedian (Flashback), Rorschach (Prison Toys R' Us exclusive), Rorschach (without mask) and Dr. Manhattan (translucent).
- "Mattel Wins Master Toy License For DC Comics". Action Figure Insider. June 28, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2008.[permanent dead link]
- TJ Dietsch (April 19, 2008). "Mattel, two of the Four Horsemen and DC talks DC Universe Super Heroes, Infinite Heroes and much, much more". Toys. Archived from the original on April 21, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
- "DC Direct". 411 Games. July 28, 2000. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
- "No Watchmen Edition, Figures". Comic Continuum News. August 25, 2000. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
- TJ Dietsch (April 18, 2008). "DCD reveals Green Lantern box set, The Spirit figure and Watchmen prototypes". Toys. Archived from the original on April 21, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
- DC Direct website
- DC Direct News and Reviews
- DC Direct Action Figures
- DC Direct Action Figure Archive