Once again, Todd McFarlane has immortalized one of the most beloved personalities of heavy metal as a detailed action figure. This time, however, it's not a living musician he's paying tribute to, but a character from beyond the grave.
Yes, shriveled-faced, sneering Eddie the Iron Maiden mascot has been preserved in plastic.
"With us as individuals, we're not really interested in being made into action figures, because we've got Eddie," Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson explained Tuesday. "We've got plenty of incarnations of Eddie to go on with for ages."
The first Eddie doll was modeled after the claw-bearing, axe-wielding creature on the cover of the band's 1981 album Killers. The figurine's side is split open, exposing his ribcage and entrails.
"If [McFarlane] had his way, he would have turned a few screws and made it even more gnarly," Dickinson said, laughing. "But we're really proud of how he's captured exactly the artwork we were looking for."
The Killers creature has already sold out at retail, said Dickinson, who added that he hopes McFarlane will be inspired to craft other action figures from different eras of Eddie's existence.
"Todd has a very instinctive understanding of what it's like to have created a character and to want to nurture it and look after it, because he did that with 'Spawn,' " he said. "He understands Eddie, because he's a stickler for detail. And he's got an artist's eye, so he notices iconic things."
Comic-book mastermind McFarlane debuted Spawn in 1992, and since its inception, the series which was made into a movie in 1997 has become the best-selling independent comic of all time, selling over 1.7 million copies. McFarlane started to manufacture and market toys based on 'Spawn' in 1994 and he has since rolled out figurines of Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Janis Joplin, Kiss and others (see "McFarlane Hopes To Roll Out Busta, Kid Rock, Zombie Figures At Toy Fair").
Back in the record world, Iron Maiden will release the double-live album Rock in Rio on March 26. The disc was recorded last year at the seven-day Rock in Rio festival in Brazil that also featured sets by Guns N' Roses, R.E.M., 'NSYNC, Britney Spears and Foo Fighters
"It's the best live record we've released since Live After Death, which was in 1985," Dickinson said. "There are no overdubs of any kind. The thing you notice the most is just how loud the audience are. They're singing every single word, and sometimes they're louder than the band."
A DVD of the concert will follow the album's release.
Iron Maiden plan to head back into the studio in September to begin working on their next record, which they hope to have done by the end of the year. They're tentatively planning to tour the U.S. next summer.
"I think it's taken people a little bit of time to get their heads around the idea that Maiden's back and not on a nostalgia trip," Dickinson said. "But now that a lot of kids now are switching on to the band having been alerted to us by Sum41, Limp Bizkit or Papa Roach, and I think we're in a position now where we might be able to start rebuilding things in America."
For a feature interview with Bruce Dickinson, check out "Iron Maiden: Back To The Old School."