Legendary comics artist and toy entrepreneur Todd McFarlane today unveiled his latest, crowdfunded action figure featuring the character of Spawn, the character he has been working with in one capacity or another for more than 25 years. This particular project, in fact, is a 25th-anniversary victory lap, celebrating the first McFarlane-produced Spawn toy from 1995. The new version is a "remastered" take on the '95 model, which helped change the way fans looked at toys back then but now feels like less of a quantum leap forward than it really was. McFarlane has taken the identifiable elements of the '95 figure and given them a 2020 spin.
The original toy came with a comic included to incentivize fans who might not be regular toy collectors to check it out, too. The comic, too, will be remastered for the present day as part of a presentation that brings McFarlane's original offering fully in line with the standards of what he's putting out today.
"The first figure came out in '95, so technically, we're at a 25-year anniversary of the release of that original toy," McFarlane told ComicBook.com. "So, there's a bit of an event, but that first year, the toys also came with a comic book. So, it was this weird combo that you don't usually get. And so, I was going to experiment with crowdfunding anyway, just to see how it may work out because I've obviously, I've sold to small stores, big stores, and Internet sites. I've done it through my own, but I've never done a crowdfunding. And so, it's an experiment. I don't know how it will or will not work until I do it. So, at some point I just said, 'It's time for us to do it.' And now you combine it with what's happening in the world in real time and all the comic shops essentially going dark, so there's no comic books. But it doesn't mean that our geekiness goes away. We're still fans, it's just we don't have access now to new books, and to something fun that reminds us that we're geeks."
You can check out the listing for the Spawn Masterworks figure on Kickstarter now. The figure will be 7" tall, and come with a huge folding cape and weapon. The articulation in this version will be more than double what the original toy had, and the included comic will be re-drawn by McFarlane himself. The "remastered" version will come in a collector box with a slipcover to help preserve the condition of the figure, comic, and packaging. The actual interior blister packaging will mimic the original design from the classic toy of 1995, though upgrades will be all across the final product.
The Kickstarter will have four levels. Here's how McFarlane describes them:
- A CLASSIC costume version.
- A MODERN costume version (with new head)
- An ARTIST PROOF (what we’re calling the ‘black & white)
- 3-PAK bundle which will include a Classic, Modern and Black & White figures.
The first three levels will be offered with or without an autograph while the 3-Pak will only be offered with an autograph. And each of the single figures will have a new, never seen before cover drawn by McFarlane.
A prototype of the figure debuted at Toy Fair earlier this year and made a big splash, even though McFarlane wasn't ready to roll with the crowdfunding. He said that's because he wanted to get it out in front of fans who have been asking for new Spawn toys.
"I think that it's fun because there's a hunger for Spawn figures out in the marketplace," McFarlane told ComicBook.com. "There hasn't been a steady flow of them like there used to be the first five, six, seven years I had the company. So there was some enthusiasm. They had seen the Mortal Kombat Spawn that had just come out in the game here recently, and was just about hitting the stores with the toy. But I think just them seeing, and me reminding them, that McFarlane Toys sort of was a bit of a trailblazer, and going back to the roots because for a lot of people collecting Spawn at least that first series, was sort of the beginning of this whole wave that included way more than just my company, but myself and other companies that started doing these really cool detailed awesome looking toys, right? That were not in abundance when I started my company."
Spawn and the cape
McFarlane is trying out the crowdfunding thing, and not fully certain whether or not it's going to be a long-term thing he can add to his business, but going all the way back to the '90s when he started his own comic book company with a bunch of friends, and then started his own toy company in order to make collectibles based on it, McFarlane has never shied away from trying something new to see if it sticks.
"I think there's two directions I can go once the first one comes out. Either A, they're going to like the product and they're going to say, 'Hey, I can get Spawn, I can get a comic book, I can get a Todd autograph,' and they're going to like that and they're going to want more of that within that same series, right?" McFarlane mused. "So, here's a couple of things that could happen, they could sit there and go, 'Oh my gosh, you remastered Spawn, the first six figures in that line....Can you do more?' Now, maybe not. Maybe they'll just say, '"Hey, do the medieval Spawn and move on.' Or they'll say, 'Hey, you had 35 series of Spawn, why don't you remaster that Spawn or that Spawn or that Spawn.' Right? From all the dozens and dozens and dozens of figures that we have done. Or, they may say, "Hey, you know what? Cool, we've got our comic ball and we got our figure, we got our autograph. Hey Todd, can you give us something else? Can you give us a new tortured soul? Can you give us a new McFarlane Dragon? Can you give us a new Movie Maniac? Can you give us a new Twisted Oz?' All the things that sort of put me on the map and help sort of build my reputation on the toy side at least, they may ask for that, right?"
The idea of creating only four reward levels was to keep things simple sine this is McFarlane's first time out, but he does have a potential stretch goal in mind if the figure is funded quickly. "We'll put one simple one, and make it one that everybody's going to get," McFarlane said, "which would be that we'll put real chains on all the figures instead of plastic chains."
The Classic Packaging
You can check out the images here for more details or head over to Kickstarter for any updates. McFarlane is offering discounted shipping for the higher tiers, so pricing varies depending on whether or not you want autographs on the levels where that's possible, and how many figures you want.