Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Marvel: What If? - part 2, of what might have been

Continuing from my post on what could have been with DC HeroClix, today I'm looking into the Marvel sandbox to scrounge for burried toys.

First up we have a story of a figure that almost wasn't. This photo of Captain America which has floated around since around the time Supernova was released.

The notorious "Smokey Foot" Cap was pictured on a promotional poster for the Avengers set, and never seen again until Hammer of Thor. In the mean time fans were treated to this monstrosity:

Better known as "Potato Head Cap" this figure was sculpted by the controversial Lukas Little who was often slammed on forums for his bulky looking figures with oversized heads and hands (see also Alan Scott and Martian Manhunter from Origins, Grodd and Johnny Sorrow from Arkham).

"Smokey" was a controversial figure, rumored to be sitting on Brand Manager Mark Tuttle's desk but never released, speculation abounded as to why the figure never saw the light of day. Some sources suggest occasionally a figure was made at the behest of a WK employee with no intention of producing it in the mass market. I guess when you have the keys to the kingdom you can do that sort of thing.

As far as other sculpts commissioned but never released go: Mutations and Monsters was released in the fall of 2007, but the spoilers leading up to the set had it initially named "Gods and Monsters." The "Gods" portion was dropped in favor of more merry mutants (and likely most of the grist of 'gods was saved for Hammer of Thor).

Here's a few that we might have seen under Topps run WizKids as pulled from sculptor's websites.

Exhibit A.) Eternals

Ikaris Done for Wizkids during the Topps ownership. 2007. This was another one where the head and hands had to be oversized. - James Van Shaik, sculptor

An Eternals subset would have made a lot of sense given the Neil Gaimen miniseries which ran from June 2006 to February 2007. Interesting side comment about the head and hands, which sheds some light on Lukas Little's sculpts. Also, in the Kirby vein...

Exhibit B: Medusa

If the Inhumans weren't slated for Mutations and Monsters they fight have followed in Secret Invasion. With its Fantastic Four subset, this would have been a perfect time to include the Inhuman Queen.

Exhibit C: Phoenix

Phoenix 34mm Done for Wizkids during the Topps ownership 2007/2008. - JVS

Another red-head that's both monstrous and god-like, it looks like Jean Grey could have gotten an update back in 'Mutations, but was passed over for the tiny Age of Apocalypse subset.

Exhibit D: Thor

Thor-40mm - My version of Thor. This is NOT a part of any commercial product line or sold. - JVS

The comments with this piece are very interesting. Reading between the lines it seems like James wanted a "classic" Thor, especially given that the common Thor from 'Hammer was the Straczynski update. I know I'd have preferred a Simonson era classic that wasn't part of some ill conceived duo.

Exhibit E: Power Man and Iron Fist

Iron Fist done for Wizkids Secret Invasion expansion. In the final piece the wall was removed for production reasons. The final production peice was also put together differently so that Iron Fist is pointing directly at the ground. - JVS

Not a huge difference, but like Catwoman a minor change. Luke lost the literal "Wallbuster" vision some time between design and production.

Exhibit F: Machine Man

This amazing sculpt of Aaron Stack comes strait from the pages of Nextwave via the mind of WizKids sculptor Ben Misenar. It's a no-brainer why it wasn't included in an official HeroClix expansion. All the bits sticking out of the robot's chest would have made for a difficult mold and a lot of broken, or possibly deformed parts.

Instead WizKids went with a simpler design that unfortunately isn't as cool.

He looks less likely to cut up some fleshbags, and more likely to cut up a large pepperoni pie. He slices! He dices! But wait there's more!

And we'll explore more, later, of what could have been in the Indy universe.

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