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Figure Flashback

FIGURE FLASHBACK: Exo-Skeleton Spawn (1996)

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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…

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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?

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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. 

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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).

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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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