Todd McFarlane Lines Up Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Janis Joplin Figures

After helping director Tim Burton make his “Sleepy Hollow” characters smaller than life, “Spawn” creator and toy magnate Todd McFarlane is turning his attention to the world of music with collectible figures of Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, and Janis Joplin in the works.

While in New York with Burton last week to mark the arrival of “Sleepy Hollow,” McFarlane said that his McFarlane Toys has collectible versions of Zombie, Cooper, and Joplin in the works and is trying to secure the rights to do a Jimi Hendrix figure.

McFarlane should be no stranger to rock fans after bringing his animation to videos from Korn and Pearl Jam and supplying the cover art for Korn’s “Follow The Leader” album. He has also cranked out collectible figures of Ozzy Osbourne as well as several lines of Kiss figures.

As we first reported in September, McFarlane’s next music-related project will be a collectible Rob Zombie figure that is expected to surface next year (see “Rob
Zombie Headed To Toy Shelves”
). McFarlane said that his association with Zombie actually grew out of his work with Korn, and a prototype of the figure has already been completed.

“What we’re trying to convey with him, just like we did with Ozzy, is just to sort of go, ’Who is Rob Zombie?’ He’s a freak too, right? And you’ve just got to capture the freak part of it,” McFarlane recently told MTV News. “He’s got his costume with the big, long tentacles on it, and he has the prosthetics on there, and then the backdrop is part of the stage, and there’s the dreadlocks, and he’s sort of hunched over. He’s not standing up sort of regal, like some of the covers I’ve seen on some of the magazines where he’s sort of tall and imposing. [RealAudio]

“I sort of made him a little gnarly like a troll-like character because of his hair and stuff,”
added. “We’ll see whether it passes boot camp. Altogether, it looks pretty impressive. I just saw the first finished version a couple of hours ago, and it works for me. So now we just have to see if it works for him.” [RealAudio]

For McFarlane and his in-house artists, the fact that Zombie himself is a strong visual artist presents a unique new challenge after dealing with subjects who are strictly musicians.

“Either we’re going to butt heads a lot, we’re going to have a difference of opinion, or we’re going to actually get, hopefully, a better product out of it, because he’ll be sort of pushing me and go[ing], ’Todd, you’re missing this and this and this.’ Those are things that only someone close to the inner circle can do,” McFarlane noted.

The Zombie figure should hit stores in the first quarter of next year, while Cooper and Joplin are expected to follow later in 2000.

— Robert Mancini