With SDCC 2014 bearing down on us, Todd McFarlane took some time out from preparing for the big event to answer our geekiest questions and give a teaser of a new line we’ll be seeing on the show floor.
McFarlane Toys will always be known for bringing horror back to the world of action figures with its now legendary Movie Maniacs line and has further cemented its place in toy history with an excellent run of “The Walking Dead” action figures.
We started out with a question that’s been eating away at us for a good long time. When you establish a line of incredibly popular 7-inch horror figures, why switch over to a 5-inch world of zombies? Todd explained that not everything is always an artistic choice. Sometimes things simply come down to what a retailer asks for… be that price, style, or, in this case, scale. Retailers expressed that all the other companies were reducing the size of their figures and that they’d like McFarlane to follow suit. â€œWhen the people who are buying tell you what they want to buy, you usually accommodate them or risk becoming a dinosaur. You won’t survive very long,â€ Todd explained.
We’d been given a sneak preview of McFarlane’s new “The Walking Dead” Construction line previous to this interview; think one part LEGO-like brick building and one part snap-kit innovation. The result is a build-it-yourself environment any minifigure would be terrified to enter.
We asked Todd how this line came to be, and his answer was very simple. â€œI walked down the toy aisles 20 years ago and wondered why the figures couldn’t look better. Cooler. So I started my own company because the answer was figures COULD look better and cooler. Now that question is being applied to the brick aisles. ‘Why does the final version of these builds have to look clunky?’ I guess maybe it appeals to 6-year-olds or moms, but if you’re trying to sell something to a 25-year-old and you make it look not realistic – when you CAN, but you choose not to – it seems like you’re shortchanging the consumer. I looked at that aisle and said, ‘I am going to make it as realistic and detailed as possible and carve out my own little niche there.’â€
We asked how McFarlane will reach a collector fanbase that’s been tempted by the lure of LEGO mini-figures for years now, and his answer, bluntly, was, â€œI’m not!â€ He went on to explain that he’s after the 28 million fans who watch “The Walking Dead” every week (when it is on the air), which is a way higher number than the â€œcollectorâ€ base everyone is always talking about. â€œMy job is to go to those 28 million people and say, ‘What is it that you like?’ and then make the product look just like what they see on TV. Why the other companies do what they do… you can take that up with them, but I’m going to add realism to an aisle that has very little of it.â€
And now…DETAILS!! Series One will have single-pack, blind-bagged (approximately 2-inch) figures with articulation, a five-pack of figures with both humans and zombies (low difficulty of build for all figures), Daryl Dixon on his chopper (around 150-160 pieces) riding down the highway with a zombie in the grass beyond the guard rail, The Governor’s Room (just under 300 pieces) where he sits and watches the fish tanks with those floating, decapitated heads (the fish tanks light up!) and a cage door with little Penny lurking behind it, and finally, the deluxe box will contain one of the prison towers as well as around 18 inches to 2 feet of â€œgnarly,â€ dirtied-up fencing with customizable grass and Glenn with a dead zombie lying on the ground. If you snap up those blind-bagged figures and five-pack, you should be able to reenact one of those pivotal prison conflicts that have kept us on the edge of our seats.
Knowing McFarlane’s business model fairly well, we had to ask if they were thinking of expanding this new construction model to their other licences. Todd answered with a resounding “YES! What I think is missing in that industry that appeals to adults, hopefully I can touch on it and then go after more licenses that make sense.â€
We couldn’t let a Todd McFarlane interview go by without asking about the return of Spawn to the big screen and, inevitably, the toy pegs. Todd has answered this question many times, and in this case his response was pretty much in the tone of â€œnothing new to report.â€ He thinks the right time for Spawn to return to the action figure aisles is when there is a significant vehicle for him to ride in on… and that means a full-blown film rocketing to theaters across the globe. â€œThere’s a handful of people that are waiting for me to finish my script, and once we do that, I think very quickly, once it gets polished up, we’ll be rolling film on it. I’m looking for a replacement writer on the Spawn comic that will free me up. I keep threatening every year to finish that damn script, but I keep getting distracted with things like the comic book and new toy lines so I have a tendency to fill up my idle time not with the movie script but with coming up with other creative endeavors.â€
In closing, Todd remarked he wished the photos they are taking could convey the cool factor of these Walking Dead Construction builds, but SDCC will be the first opportunity for fans to see them in all their glory, first-hand, and that will be the highlight of the show for him.
The Building Sets: MSRP $9.99-64.99 â€“ Daryl Dixon with Chopper, The Governorâ€™s Room, and Prison Tower with Gate. Expand your brick building apocalypse with additional figure and accessory packs.
Blind Bag Figures: MSRP $2.99 â€“ Daryl Dixon, Michonne, The Governor, Carl Grimes, Riot Gear Walker, Michonneâ€™s Pet Walker, and Herd Walkers.
McFarlane Toysâ€™ The Walking Dead building sets and figures will be available this fall only at Toysâ€œRâ€Us stores nationwide and online at ToysRUs.com.
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Will Turner’s Custom Horror Dolls Transform Your Favorite Scream Queens Into Display Figures
Horror fandom isn’t limited to simply watching your favorite films — more than any other genre, we have seen inspired fans take their appreciation for these films to the creative realm, whether by crafting their own masks or paintings — or by going on to become writers, directors, or special effects artists.
Because of the popularity of mask creation, for example… when referring to the artistry that comes with being a fan, few would point to the creation of dolls. In that sense, Will Turner has carved a niche for himself. As the creative force behind Custom Horror Dolls, Turner transforms the likenesses of your favorite heroines into figures you can display, ensuring the design is fairly representative.
In the last fifteen years or so, we have seen an outpouring of merchandise dedicated to the likes of movie villains… but where’s the love for the scream queens? While Freddy and Jason seem obvious choices for the big toy studios, many have lamented on the fact that final girls such as Laurie Strode and Nancy Thompson have never received the official action figure treatment.
Turner notes, “I started making custom dolls a little over a year ago. I had always wanted a Nancy Thompson doll to go with all the Freddy Krueger action figures I had. I found a Barbie doll that I thought would make a good Nancy, and I bought a small sewing kit. I taught myself to sew and I made her iconic pajamas. [So] I finally had a Nancy to go with my Freddy. After posting a pic online, people started messaging me and wanting to buy the doll, so I sold her and made more. Then I decided to make a Laurie Strode doll and pretty soon, I was making a different doll each week and it took off from there.”
Turner’s collection consists of the femme fatales from such franchises as Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream, as well as from other films like Psycho, Black Christmas, Carrie, and many more. “I would say the set of dolls I’m most proud of is the Death Becomes Her set. They were complicated to do and I wasn’t sure that I could pull it off, but I think they turned out pretty good.”
Turner’s creations aren’t limited to the leading ladies either; he has also crafted dolls based on The Evil Dead‘s Bruce Campbell and Candyman‘s Tony Todd.
But as for Turner’s favorite final girl? “[Scream]’s Sidney Prescott for sure. She’s like a combination of Nancy Thompson and Laurie Strode. She’s a smart and tough final girl.”
As a convention vendor across the States, Turner has showcased some of his work to the respective ladies whose likenesses he has drawn from. “I made an Alice doll from Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and I got the opportunity to give it to Lisa Wilcox in person. She loved it. I’ve also made dolls of Toy Newkirk’s character from Nightmare 4, Jill Schoelen from Popcorn, Adrienne King from Friday the 13th, and a few others and had them delivered to the actors; and they were all impressed and honored.
“The best reaction was when I gave Amanda Wyss a Tina doll from A Nightmare on Elm Street. She loved it and took it to Robert Englund’s table at the convention. He said it was amazing. I almost fainted.”
Every month Custom Horror Dolls features a giveaway, and starting today, December 12th, Turner will be running a holiday sale lasting though Christmas. With dolls typically priced at $50, Turner’s creations will be going for only $29.99 plus shipping! Considering the craftsmanship, I’d say that’s a pretty good steal. For any character that you don’t see, Turner also does commissions… I may or may not have already picked up my own version of Lindsay Lohan in Machete…
“I’m getting ready to start work on some characters from Halloween III, Pet Sematary, Terror Train, Dawn of the Dead, and The Walking Dead. And I’m working on making a Rocky Horror set to be introduced during the sale.”
There Are Stranger Things to Be Mailed This Holiday Season
Holiday cards… the mailing of them is a sadly dying tradition that continues to endure despite the digital age. The reason for their staying power is simple: Few things are as personal as sending out a note of holiday cheer to your friends and family.
If you’re one of those sentimental few who still love sending folks some cool holiday-themed tokens of your affection, then why not send them from the Upside Down?
If you head on over to AlonDesigns.com, you can nab yourself some really cool holiday cards that celebrate Netflix’s “Stranger Things” in the most collectible way possible!
“This set featuring your favorite ‘Stranger Things’ characters is a perfect way to let the special people in your life know that, like Barb, this Christmas they too have not been forgotten,” reads the site. “So before the bad men come and take them away, let these sentimental mementos light up your Christmas brighter than Joyce Byers’ house.”
So, how much will these badboys cost ya? You can get a pack of all 8 cards for just $8.00! Neat!
NECA Announces Ashy Slashy Puppet Replica
One of our favorite horror TV shows is Starz’s “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” and one of our favorite moments from the first two seasons is when Ash brings out his “Ashy Slashy” puppet.
If you’re like us and have been wondering when you could get your hands on an Ashy Slashy puppet of your own, today we have good news.
NECA has just announced its prop replica!
You can check out pics of the packaging reveal NECA did over on Facebook below, and then let us know if you’re going to be buying your very own Ash Slashy puppet.
We’ll let you know when the item becomes available for pre-order!
Rundown via NECA:
Every day can be demented play day with your very own Ashy Slashy puppet from Season 2 of Ash vs. Evil Dead! We’ve replicated Ash’s potty-mouthed little doppelganger from the asylum episodes for your (hopefully G-rated) entertainment.
This is a working puppet – insert your hand, and you can move the mouth; plus the arms are poseable thanks to inner articulation.
Ashy Slashy is approximately 15” tall.
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