Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Maxx- then and now review from McFarlane Toys and Shocker Toys

(still bad ass after all these years)

The Maxx was comic book series created by Sam Kieth and published originally monthly by Image Comics and now collected in trade paperback collections from DC Comic's Wildstorm entertainment. The comic book spawned an animated series that aired on the MTV's liquid television (along with Aeon Flux and other great forgotten classics). The first appearance of The Maxx was in Primer, issue five published by Comico Comics in the early 90's to the best of my knowledge.

(the reason I became a junior high school insomniac)

The series follows the adventures of the titular hero in the real world and in an alternate reality, referred to as The Outback. In the real world the Maxx is a vagrant living in a box while in the Outback he is the powerful protector of the Jungle Queen. The Jungle Queen is similar to the Maxx in that she also exists in the real world as Julie Winters, a freelance social worker who often bails the Maxx out of jail. While the Maxx is aware of the Outback, Julie unfortunately is not, though it is integral to both of their stories arcs.

(homeless people, now in purple flavor)

McFarlane Toys' release of the Maxx action figure as a total surprise to 15 year old Tom Khayos. I had been a big fan of the cartoon and quickly started collecting the comic books from the local shop's discount bins. I never got a full set of the comics but I had recorded every episode of the Maxx from MTV's late night programming block. The show was creepy, confusing and damned cool; the very notion of having a figure of the main character was exciting. Before I even knew this was happening I had already taken a Toy Biz Hulk figure and painted it purple and sculpted Izs in art class at school.

(WARNING: the prototypes always look 10 times cooler than the actual product)

Anyways, McFarlane Toys was coming out with about 6 new, highly desired figures every couple of months and this became a problem with my wallet. I eventually had to start picking and choosing which figures to pursue and which to hope to pick up on clearance or at the flea market because working part time stock at KB Toys just wasn't covering my toy expenses. Even only buying two or three figures per line I had accumulated a nice display of Spawn figures; from Spawn and Malbolgia to Violator, Angela and even the Spawn Alley play set. With series 4 coming out, I had decided that the Maxx was the only figure I would be buying, mostly because series 5 was heavy with must haves.

(this is what we got, WHAT THE HELL TODD?)

McFarlane Toys really changed the toy collecting game by introducing store exclusives, variants and repaints on a major level. Little did I know McFarlane Toys made several variants on the Maxx figure along with online and store exclusives, so simply buying one figure turned into a quest for all the available releases of the figure. After 4 months and about $80 later (remember, McFarlane Toys were the first figures that retailed for damn near $10 each) I had every Maxx that was available but had forgotten to buy one to open! By the time I had realized this, series 4 was no longer available and series 5 was nearly sold out and I had a veritable army of Maxx figures and couldn't talk myself into opening a single one of them. It wasn't till several years later when buying a friend's collection of toys I finally got my loose Maxx figure.

The McFarlane Toys' Maxx figure was definitely more impressive in the package than it was out of it. Nothing at all wrong with the sculpt or the paint job, those were just fine. My gripe was the scale, the Maxx is supposed to be taller than a human and nearly as wide chested as the Hulk and this figure was just a little on the small side. Also, the lack of articulation hindered the collector on being able to take him out of the crouching pose he was locked in. The Izs on the other hand were really awesome, well sculpted with different faces and bendable arms made me wish I had a Julie Winters figure to torment with them. I guess I was hoping to more of a deluxe scale figure or maybe something with a little more articulation. Not a total disappointment but the figure left me wanting more.

(hey Todd, fuck you man!)

Where McFarlane Toys failed to impress me, Shocker Toys did nothing but impress me. The Maxx from Shocker Toys is massive, heavy and gives the collector everything they had wished for. Not only is the figure finally to scale, but he's nicely articulated so the collector get decent range of movement without compromising the sculpt. Not only does The Maxx come with a couple of Izs, everyone else in the Indie Spotlight line from Shocker Toys includes at least one Iz and The Maxx comes with an additional head so he can transition to Outback Maxx. A total must have, no doubt about it.

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