Friday, August 17, 2007

Madman and The Savage Dragon

I've been looking forward to the Marvel Toys (what was Toy Biz) relaunch of their super-articulated, well-sculpted figures for a while, and they've finally started showing up in Texas area Wal-Marts.

Moving on from their Marvel Legends line (which they sold to Hasbro, and themselves look like they will be improving, starting with Wave 3), Marvel Toys, ironically, is now not doing Marvel comic book figures, instead focusing on independent heroes from the likes of Image, Top Cow, Dark Horse, and 2000 AD.

Dubbed "Legendary Comic Book Heroes", Wave 1 includes two of my favorite indie heroes, Michael Allred's Madman and Erik Larsen's The Savage Dragon.

I was able to pick both up at the same time, both sculpts are fantastic, and true to their titular 2D comic book heroes.

I'm pretty impressed with how much Madman looks like his comic book likeness. I'm not sure I've had a toy that looks so much like it was pulled right from the pages that spawned it. Part of it is the sculpt, part of it is the paint job, and part of it is the dull matte white mold that works really well with dramatic lighting and camera angle variations. And he comes with a retro Snap City ray gun, which is funky.

The Savage Dragon figure has a great thick upper body and trademark disproportionately small legs and feet. The jean and tennis shoes part of the sculpt and paint are spot on, as are the meat-slab giant hands -- which have amazingly articulated fingers and thumbs (so you can have him "wave" at baddies; or hang ten; or thwip his spider webbing; er ...). I've heard complaints of flaccid fins from other collectors, but I think that's a personal problem; my fin is stiff and upright.

There are no guns or other accessories for the Dragon, which kind of bites (couple of .45s would be nice). And this sculpt has a couple of imperfections, the irritating one being a white imperfection inside his mouth line.

And, yes, the sculpt above is wearing his trademark sleeveless T-shirt -- that's right, speculative collector bee-otches -- I've taken yet another variant toy out of its package! (Somewhere, an overweight collector with walls and walls of unopened toys is crying and shaking his fist at me.)

The picture above is inspired by Madman Atomic Comics #3, Michael Allred's latest in the current franchise relaunch. This issue is absolutely brilliant, as Allred continues the character's existential meanderings, and pays tribute to dozens of comic artistic styles through the decades. It's like having a pantheon of historical and contemporary artists do a Madman tribute book, and it's stunning. Frankly, I'm disappointed that everyone who values comic books hasn't rushed out and bought the issue.

And the comic panel above is my paltry play at the series' existentialism. You can read it clockwise ... or counterclockwise! (Lookit me!)


(Oh, and a quick rant about Marvel Toys. Their Website on the Marvel Legends side has been in decline for a long time (probably as early as when the internal decision to sell the line to Hasbro was made), with inconsistent product updates and broken database links the norm. Until recently, there has been no new section for the Legendary Comic Book Heroes line. Even now, there's just a placeholder. A robust online presence is pretty key, and not treating the Website like a service translates into lost pre-sales and mindshare opportunities. Especially since the first two waves of their product are already in the marketplace. Marvel Toys, productize your Web site!)

Updated: Based on request, added full-figure and detail pictures.

(The following is a description of the picture included in this post for the blind and visually impaired.)
The Savage Dragon holds Madman and says, "Stop thinking out loud!!!" Madman thinks, "I don’t think that’ll be productive." There is a picture of Madman's face being sucked into his gun, and he says, "Can’t suck my brain out of my head." Madman is holding a smaller Madman which is holding an even smaller The Savage Dragon. Madman says, "I think you’re being --" The smaller Madman he is holding says, "-- a bit small..." The smaller The Savage Dragon he is sholding says, "Gnarliness seriously spent." The Savage Dragon is holding Madman's ray gun. Madman is laying down with his hands behind his head. The Savage Dragon says, "Mind if I borrow this?" Madman says, "Knock yourself out." The Savage Dragon holds the ray gun to his head. The Savage Dragon says, "This’ll shut you up." This returns back to Madman thinking, "I don’t think that’ll be productive."

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