McFarlane Toys, a subsidiary of Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc., is a company started by Todd McFarlane that makes detailed models of characters from movies, comics, musicians, video games, and sport figures. Founded in 1994, the company was originally dubbed "Todd Toys," but the name was changed in 1995 following pressure from Mattel (who feared the new company's name would be confused with that of Barbie's younger brother).
Exquisite attention to detail is the most defining feature in a McFarlane Toy. However, it is almost always at the expense of articulation, making them more akin to semi-posable statues than action figures. Still, the line proves popular especially among young adults, and is arguably the most commercially successful toy line at the moment. It has also influenced many other toy lines to try and imitate McFarlane Toys' style.
The line, which originally began with action figures based upon Todd McFarlane's Spawn comic series, has since grown to feature a large number of licenced property lines including The Simpsons and "Movie Maniacs" (which features numerous famous horror icons such as Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, The Terminator, Leatherface, and The Thing), as well as other characters and lines like Basketball and Baseball legends, video game characters (from Soul Calibur, Onimusha and Metal Gear Solid), and Where the Wild Things Are characters. The toy line has also made original works of their own, giving a grotesque twist to fairy tale stories, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and historical figures. They have also collaborated with people like Clive Barker and H.R. Giger to produce other original figures.
The first line of Spawn toys ever produced was released in 1994 and consisted of six figures, the hero Spawn and his medieval counterpart (aptly named Medieval Spawn) and the villains Violator, OvertKill, Clown, and Tremor, as well as a Spawn Alley Playset and Violator Monster Rig. They were notably different from the toys common on shelves at the time because of their level of detail in both sculpting and painting. Other toys utilized only a few colors painted in general areas (a singe flesh tone for the face, etc) and were tacked to cardboard backs. McFarlane’s figures had individual items such as spikes, teeth, claws, and buttons painted individually and packaged encased by hard plastic that surrounded both the figure and blister card, making them more suitable collectors items. Each toy came with a regular-sized comic (although with fewer pages than the standard 22), which were individualized to the character.
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