Tuesday, August 7, 2012

McFarlane Toys DANGER GIRL Series!

J. Scott Campbell's Amazing Trio in a Great 1999 Release from McFarlane Toys

The Nineties were a difficult time for comics fans.  There was decade's worth of painful, yet necessary transition that we all waded through in one way or another.  On the positive side, creator-owned comics and independent companies finally became major players; paper and color quality skyrocketed; and diversity in the types of comics on the market exploded. On the negative side, prices rose drastically; cheesy gimmicks overshadowed story/art quality (holographic prismatic glow-in-the-dark polybagged-with-collectible-card nonsense); most titles took on an awkwardly forced "extreme" tone (overly sexualized and overly violent); and overall comics just became very difficult to read.  At this time, I turned most of my attention to Dark Horse and VIZ comics who were steadily translating some amazing Manga titles and my distaste for what was happening to my beloved characters over in superhero
world grew worse and worse.  Then there were two beacons of hope for American comics.  The first was the Legend imprint of Dark Horse Comics, which brought together many of the true comic masters of the time and really brought the Art back into the writing and illustration.  The second happened in 1998 with the creation of Cliffhanger Comics, an Imprint of Wildstorm Comics, which in turn was an imprint of Image Comics.  The Clifffhanger imprint brought together a lot of the fresh young talent who were shining through the murk and the overall feeling of the work they produced was Fun.

The flagship title of this newly formed imprint was J. Scott Campbell's Danger Girl.  It's hard to explain what a breath of fresh air this comic was.  I was ready to jump ship and just be a casual comics fan, but then here comes this perfect mix of James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Charlie's Angels with fun storylines and great art.  I know it still has plenty of cheesecake over-sexualized imagery, impossibly tiny waists with improbable curves everywhere else, but it's done in good taste.  It's like comparing a Vargas girl to Hustler.  Plus the girls were all tough, smart, and confident.  In other words, it was just what I needed.

McFarlane Toys was the premier collector-oriented action figure producer at the time, but I think these figures still shocked a lot of people with their amazing craftsmanship, literally years ahead of it's time in terms of pure quality.  McFarlane Toys had been around for 6 years at this point and had produced over 30 female action figures, but the majority of these weren't wearing much more than a g-string and were posed like strippers, plus most of them just weren't executed very well and looked awkward instead of the intended sexy.  But in contrast, these 3 ladies from 1999 are some of the nicest comic-accurate (and artist-specific) sculpts I've seen to-date.

The leader of the Danger Girls is Abbey Chase, an American treasure hunter who hasn't always played for the right side of the law.  She comes packaged in a great 4-color box which displays the figure very well and also lays out her diorama pieces in a visually appealing way.

Her diorama is a jungle scenario with an Aztec (I think?) statue, ferns, bamboo-type rods, and a snake.  Her name is prominently displayed in an Indiana Jones-type font.

As nice as this diorama is, and all the set pieces that come with the other girls for that matter, I love that these girls can stand and display well without them. 

Her articulation is pretty limited and the pose she comes packaged in is probably your best bet for display.

Next up is the beautiful Australian Adventuress, Sydney Savage.  She's the seductive one of the group and usually has her trusty whip at hand.  An interesting addition to the Danger Girl team came in the form of Sydney's younger sister Sonya Savage (who has a reddish ponytail and a bow & arrow) during the recent Danger Girl: Revolver miniseries.

Her diorama consists of a dock-type structure with wooden planks and posts with a crocodile chomping right through the wood.  The ropes between the posts are real string and there is a small Koala bear perched on the tallest post.

Lastly, we have Natalia Kassle, the sultry, violent Russian espionage expert.  Sorry I have no pictures of her in the packaging, she was an eBay purchase.  Also, there are one or two shards of "glass" missing from her diorama as well.

Natalia's diorama consists of a rocky frozen base with cool shards of broken glass protruding up at different angles from the back.  A very simple yet effective stand.

Natalia has limited articulation like the others, but her knives and swivel-arms makes for some fun variations for posing.

Time for some Group Shots!


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