Figure Flashback

FIGURE FLASHBACK: Exo-Skeleton Spawn (1996)


It might be hard to believe, but there was actually around a decade in my life where I did not collect action figures. In fact, toys and collectibles weren’t even on my radar from around 1985 to 1996. That’s not to say I didn’t dig pop culture, it just took other forms I digested at the time, such as movies, video games and music. That was until one fateful day when I popped into my local Toys R Us and took an adventurous stroll down the action figure aisle…


There it was hanging on a peg: Exo-Skeleton Spawn (Spawn Series 4, 1996). Who was McFarlane? What was Spawn? Where had Spawn been my whole life?


Exo-Skeleton Spawn is an incredibly original figure (to this day), with a wild tribal bone costume/armor/disguise that you can attach to the core 6-inch figure. I had no idea what this character was OR what the story was behind him. I just knew that he looked cool as hell… and I wanted more. 


Exo-Skeleton Spawn was the start (return) of my collecting toys. It eventually led me down a path of learning HTML, starting my own “blog” (Action Dollz Online) and randomly getting discovered in the toy industry (toy karma, baby).


I’ve met Spawn’s creator Todd McFarlane many times since my purchase of Exo-Skeleton Spawn, but it wasn’t until a few Toy Fairs ago that I actually gathered the nerve to express my graditude in person for his influence on my life. Always the humble man, he accepted his role and thanked me for being a fan. I am one of many – Todd has changed millions of lifes – but for me it was a full circle moment; to go from a random life-altering toy find, to confronting the master behind it all. It was like a Blade Runner Roy Batty meets his maker moment, minus the gouged-out eyes. Think of Todd McFarlane as you will, but I’ll always know him as an honest, down-to-earth guy that simply digs cool-looking stuff.

Check out my *new* photos of the vintage Exo-Skeleton Spawn below, a figure still proudly displayed in my collection.

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1 Comment

  1. CJ

    McFarlane was a game changer for me, too. I had no idea who shadow hawk was, but I loved that first version of him and played with him often! And I spent a lot of time talking to McFarlane reps at the philly expo in like 93-94, when they were pushing the total chaos line. Major player in the collecting game in the 90’s to now!

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