Wednesday, January 15, 2014

McFarlane Toys 12" Angela 1996

I'm taking a look at a surprisingly controversial figure today, Angela, from 1996. She was manufactured by McFarlane Toys, a company I've talked about many, many times before, but there's a definite reason for that. You can't look at toy history without looking at McFarlane Toys. This Angela is a bit different, though. Rather than the usual 5" scale, she was upsized to 12" along with some of the other Series 1 figures. How does she look at 12" tall? Let's find out!

Angela is one of the best examples of McFarlane's tendency to not only get sued, but to spend years fighting lawsuits. See, there were "special issues" of Spawn early on in its run where the issues were co-written with guest writers. Dave Sim, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, and Neil Gaiman all agreed to do an issue, and Neil Gaiman's in particular proved to be really important to the overall Spawn mythos. Spawn was an inadvertent general in the army of Hell, so Angela served as one of the leaders of the armies of Heaven. The twist was that she was shown interacting with a Spawn from medieval times, and that Heaven was every bit as ruthless and manipulative as Hell. It was a good issue and led to Angela becoming a very popular figure.

Angela and Medieval Spawn were so popular, in fact, that they were included in the very first wave of Spawn action figures, and they sold like wildfire. Those same figures were released again, but in a much larger size, a bit later and once again sold quite well. Of course, this also inspired Neil Gaiman to sue Todd McFarlane due to some odd sense of obligation to royalties (as in, he was sane and wanted to be paid for his work) so Todd eventually changed a few colors, called it a different character, and spent way too much money fighting it in court. Once it was finally settled and Neil Gaiman had full ownership of the character, he promptly handed it over to Marvel Comics, where she is now appearing. O_o

A fun little bit of trivia about Angela is that originally, the smaller figure was packaged without any underwear being painted on. This was later caught and fixed with later releases of the figure, but it became one of the most famous "variant" figures ever released. It would be similar to a coin collector treasuring a coin because it has "The Untied States of America" printed on it. if that helps any. Anyway, this variant became known as "Party Angela" because toy collectors are known for their maturity. Still, the point is that Angela was doing is long before Britney.
Anyway, let's talk about the figure itself. I want to apologize for some of the pictures in this review. My lighting setup isn't really designed for 12" figures, so you're going to see some of it in these shots. Feel free to e-mail me and ask for your money back! As always at Fine Vintage Reviews, your satisfaction is guaranteed!
For the time frame, there is a lot of detail in the sculpting as well as an appreciation for proportions that were kind of lacking with other companies of the time. Angela does suffer from 90s syndrome, best shown in the One Giant Boot that she sports, as well as the various straps and weapons everywhere.

Her outfit has always consisted of a large amount of bare skin and a few bits of impractical armor, and that aesthetic is certainly maintained in this figure! What's perhaps more impressive is how well the figure captures Todd McFarlane signature style for drawing hair. That huge forelock is replicated perfectly, as well as the thick mane falling down past her shoulders.
The paint is also top-notch, which is very standard for McFarlane at the time. All of the figures were hand-painted, which gave him a great deal more consistency in the visuals. Of course, this figure is seven inches larger than the original figure, so that makes it a lot easier to be accurate in the paintwork. All of the rivets and seams are painted beautifully, though, which really helps sell the overall appearance of the figure.
In terms of accessories, Angela comes with a sword which fits perfectly into the hilt she wears behind her, a giant spear (with launching missile because action feature) and a translucent blue stand. The spear can be gripped with one hand and then rests in an indentation on the base, which really does look fantastic overall.
These 12" figures can be found for around $20 loose from time to time, and I really recommend all of them. This is the only 12" McFarlane figure that I own at the moment, although I have plans to get at least the Medieval Spawn if not the original Spawn release as well. It really all depends on what shows up on sale. If you're looking for a piece to display on the shelf, you really can't do much better than this figure. Even the wife agrees that it pops on the shelf and works as a great conversation starter. With all of the pieces being larger it can be friendly for kids, especially for as well as it is constructed, although perhaps some of the other 12" figures would be more "kid friendly" so to speak.


Eric Stettmeier on January 16, 2014 at 12:42 AM said...

I worked at Target when Spawn figures were new and hot, and was able to nab many of the sought after figures (Malebolgia, Party Angela etc.) and I admit, I turned them all around for a nice profit. I only have one (non party) Angela left to this day, and that's only because I gave her to my sister way back then, who recently gave her back to me. I need to blog about that figure soon!

Colbey Hopper on January 16, 2014 at 8:45 AM said...

I remember Spawn and the toy line of the same name, but never paid much attention to either. Now that Angela is showing up in one of my favorite Marvel Comics, I'm a little more eager to learn more about the character.

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