Say you've turned your multi-million selling comicbook into a toy line that has redefined the industry, but you're still bitter about your faded dreams of athletic glory. What do you do? Well, if you're Todd McFarlane, you buy Mark McGuire's balls and start producing sports figures of your own. And if your old fans start complaining that the focus on Sports Picks is coming at the expense of all the other toys? What then?
Again, if you're Todd McFarlane, you slap some new paint on old figures and call it a "bonus" series: Spawn Reborn.
This limited-edition bonus line for 2003 features redecorations of six of the most interesting and visually appealing Spawn action figures from the last several years. Each figure in the line has been substantially changed from its original release and will be offered with updated clamshell-style packaging.
"Substantially changed" would mean that something other than a new paint job. Yes, one figure has a newly molded part, but that's it. And the clamshells? Still suck.
The six figures in the line are drawn from various points in McToys' history, from Series 3 all the way up to a pair of figures from the still-on-shelves Series 21. Kind of an eclectic selection, but for the most part they seem to be "hey, this would be fun to paint!"
From Series 3 comes the Redeemer - an agent of Heaven, the Redeemer seems to have powers similar to Spawn, just with a different boss. The figure, originally a purple and yellow monstrosity, has been "substantially changed" to blue and gold. Huh. His green cape has an odd black pattern at the hem. There are golden flames painted on his hips, though his left hip has to be out of joint for the pattern to line up.
Redeemer is articulated at the shoulders, left elbow, hips, knees and neck. He's wearing a tremendously long golden chain at his waist. Concealed beneath his flowing cape is a battery pack: press the button on the bottom and his right arm and the cross on his chest light up. Overall, the figure's not bad and it gives new fans a chance to get a figure that may have hit stores long before they got into collecting.
Todd McFarlane created Spawn, but it was Neil Gaiman that created the entire concept of the Armies of Heaven in Spawn's world. Todd may not want to give Neil credit for the concept, but the toy fans are always looking for more cool angels. Series 20 gave us the phenomenally pre-posed Domina. Her paint job actually is one of the ones that has been "substantially changed" - Domina used to be a white woman, but now she's been transformed into a fine soul sister.
Additionally, her armor is now a stylish black and teal. Her hair, molded in two separate pieces for a sense of thickness and body, looks tremendously better in dark brown than it ever did as blonde. Plus, there's no variant "kid friendly" version outfitted in gray pants. Domina is articulated at the neck, right shoulder, biceps, forearms, torso, right thigh and boot tops. This is a decent redeco, and it's always good to get some diversity in heaven.
Also from Series 20 - one of the short-lived 'Classics' lines that were promised to deliver comic-based figures - comes Clown IV. Sculpted after Greg Capulo's artwork in the Spawn Bible, Clown's a wrinkly little freak. Standing only 5 1/2" tall, he's got a massive hump, beer belly and plumber's crack. He's dead sexy!
The original Clown IV looked much like he does in the comics: ratty clothes, a wicked smile and stylized blue facepaint. He's now got a few new tattoos - an arrow on his forearm, "Boo!" on his belly and the infamous "love" and "hate" from Night of the Hunter - flames on his shoes, stripes on his shirt, and a Spawn logo on his jacket. Even the smileyface button on his lapel has been changed into a deep red Mr. Yuck.
The most "substantial change" is his facepaint - no longer blue, Clown IV's sporting a bright pumpkin on his melon. While this brought a lot of complaints from Todd's fans, it'll fit in greatly with Series 24's Spawn i.088. Silly name for a figure, I realize, but he still has potential.
Is the "Spawn: Reborn" line evidence that McToys is spending too much time on sports both real and imaginary? I couldn't really say. But I still bought half the figures, despite having no plans to do so. So they can't be doing everything wrong, can they?
What other figures would you like to see SUBSTANTIALLY CHANGED? Tell us on our messageboard, The Loafing Lounge.