SPAWN (TODD TOYS)
“The kids like chains.”
SPWAAAAAAAWWWWN! He’s X-TREEEEEEME! He’s the hippest dude on the block! He’s fliggity-fly! Other goofy and dated phrases as well. In the ‘90s, Spawn was just like Raymond: everybody loved him. And why wouldn’t they? He had all the best stuff. He was like Batman and Spider-Man and Venom all rolled into one. And he even had the one thing so heinously lacking from those three: chains! Kids love those things! Todd McFarlane used Spawn as one of the main launching points for Image Comics, with the hopes of building a merchandising empire to rival his old employers at Marvel. He initially shopped Spawn and all associated characters around to various established toy makers, including Mattel, who almost took Todd up. Ultimately, Todd decided the process was just taking too long, cut out the middle man, and founded Todd Toys* to release the Spawn figures on his own. I’m looking at one of those early figures today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Spawn was released as part of Spawn Series 1. He was the main Spawn of that particular series (there was also a Medieval Spawn released), based on Spawn’s standard look at the time, which is more or less the same look he’s had for all the years since. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation. His sculpt was new to him (though pieces of it were used elsewhere later). For all of Todd’s insistence that his toys were the next step, this figure feels very much like a slightly dumbed down Toy Biz release. This dude would look right at home with the Spider-Man figures of the same era. The detail work is all rather on the simplistic side, and the details are a little soft, especially as when compared to Todd’s rather sketchy illustrations from the book. I mean, admittedly, I sort of like this look a little bit more than Todd’s stuff, since it’s a little bolder this way. Hands down, the most awkward feature is that damned sentient cape. It’s big, and it’s floppy, and the “hinges” on the sides don’t really work at all. Also, unlike every other cape on every other caped figure ever, there’s this weird extra attachment piece that plugs it into his lower back and keeps it elevated above his shoulders in a really awkward way. When a character whose whole gimmick is his cape looks better without the cape, you may have made a wrong turn at some point. The paint work on Spawn is okay, but not top notch or anything. It gets all the basic work down, but most of it’s pretty fuzzy around the edges, and there’s not really anything beyond the very standard color work. In addition to his removable cape, Spawn also included a….wooden board…with a nail…sticking out of it? I don’t know Spawn that well, but I don’t recall this being one of his signature items.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I went almost 25 years of my life without a single Spawn figure. Which…seemed wrong somehow. I found the standard Spawn at Lost in Time Toys over the summer, and figured why not, right? He’s okay. Nothing particularly special or noteworthy. But this launched a toy company, and had quite an impact on the industry as a whole in the long-run, so it’s a nice piece of history. And now it’s in my collection. Woooeeee.
*Todd Toys is now known as McFarlane Toys, due to pressuring from Mattel, who wanted to avoid confusion with Barbie’s younger brother Todd…who they then abandoned.