Sunday, September 17, 2023

LooseCollector - TAARNA and AVIS!

Heavy Metal - Taarna (with Avis) - Executive Replicas  LooseCollector 2022

Taarna is the character from the self-titled final segment in the 1981 animated anthology film, Heavy Metal. I always thought this was an animated story based on an established character in Heavy Metal Magazine, but today I discovered that she was introduced  both on screen and in print simultaneously in Aug-Sept 1981. Additionally, I learned she was actually based on the Arzach (Arzak) comics by Moebius that featured a lone (male) character soaring on a pterosaur-like creature over a desolate fantasy landscape. The same comic inspired NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind (1984) and I can totally see the the similarities. I grew up seeing the classic image of Taarna riding Avis through the clouds with her sword held high (the same image on the back of the packaging below). It was on posters and t-shirts frequently and is very nostalgic to me. But I didn't see the movie until the early nineties when it started airing on MTV and Sci-Fi. It was cool the finally see this famous image in motion. (Sexy erotic 18+ motion).

No joke. I was pretty shocked by the erotic adult nature of this animation (two contradicting genres in my young mind). There were nipples and butts everywhere. And sex and violence and explicit language. I just watched some of the segments and I'm still shocked at what they got away with. Overall the vibe is pretty crude and sexist, but Taarna at least puts some clothes on (eventually.. and it's more like a series of complicated straps) and proceeds to battle green lava mutants. So I can solidly categorize her as a "warrior" character as opposed to the fantasy sexpot a lot of Heavy Metal ladies unfortunately were. This LooseCollector figure is a great representation of an iconic but mysterious character. Let's check her out below!

An interesting note about the plastic viewing window on the packaging. It looks very cloudy and cheap... like Plastic 1 vs  Plastic 2. But when I was tearing apart the carboard and plastic for recycling, I noticed that the plastic has a removable protection film still intact like you sometimes seem on picture frames. If you want to display this figure boxed and have cloudy plastic, you could probably remove the film and make it crystal clear.

Taarna comes with two hair pieces, two heads, two sets of hands, and a sword and scabbard.

Here are the four hair/face combinations:

Taarna also comes with her steed, Avis.
Avis is articulated at the legs, wings, and neck. 
The tail fins are disconnected in the packaging, but not actually articulated.

LooseCollector puts a lot of effort into posteriors.
They have a different construction than most action figure lines. Notably, each cheek is unbroken, where toylines like Marvel Legends have an articulation cut along the underwear line, diagonally about 1/3 of the way up each cheek. But LooseCollector has only a single cut hidden by the natural undercut of the cheek. Either method looks good and functions well, but considering that LooseCollector's character selection has largely been bikini-clad warrior women, this is a smart design.

I'm admittedly not a fan of the Heavy Metal animation style. You can tell that many of the scenes are just traced live-action film.  Rotoscoping is fine when used in moderation, or altered in a cartoony way (like He-Man), but when it's this blatant I think the end product looks weak. Animated movies like Lord of the Rings and American Pop are practically unwatchable to me. The saving grace is that Taarna has a great design and the environment is magical.

I've never seen any vintage Taarna comics, but I would love to. I believe there are only two ten-page Taarna stories in Heavy Metal Magazine prior to her 2018 reintroduction in traditional comic form. But I can't find scans of the interior magazine pages anywhere (and the issues are pretty pricey on eBay).

In 2018, Taarna appeared in a four-issue comic series followed by an additional six-issue series in 2021.

Time for some Group and Comparison Pics!

Here is Taarna with her 2019 figure from Incendium.


1 comment:

  1. What a great figure. I recently opened up mine as well. They did a great job on her and Avis. I remember being a young teenager when I saw Heavy Metal. Blew my mind.