For 20 years, Sideshow Collectibles has been taking pop culture icons and transforming them into collectible art statues. And now, in honor of their anniversary, Insight Editions is releasing a coffee table book featuring stylized photos of their creations called "Capturing Archetypes."
MTV News is pleased to exclusively debut pages from the book — which hits stores on April 22 — as well as the volume's introduction by director Guillermo del Toro:
Reprinted from Capturing Archetypes: Twenty Years of Sideshow Collectibles Art by Sideshow Collectibles, published by Insight Editions © 2014.
Sideshow and Me
Guillermo del Toro
My relationship with Sideshow Collectibles has always been very special.
I contacted them early enough as a collector that I have seen them grow and expand, and I've watched, in awe, how they never relinquish their quest for perfection.
Their creations are in a league of their own and have created a mystique that many have tried to imitate without success.
Hulk, Polystone Statue, 2010; ©MARVEL and Iron Man, Hulkbuster, Polystone Statue, 2010; ©MARVEL
And yet, their secret is simple: They think like storytellers and feel like collectors. They will not engage with a property unless they have a passion for it. They long to be part of the tale and not an afterthought. Sideshow is not into merchandising, but into mythologizing.
From the start, I viewed Sideshow as my storytelling partners. They are an intrinsic part of the way my films reach an audience, the way they attempt to leave a cultural footprint.
Our flagship experience was Hellboy, which was based on a comic that was loved by a very, very small number of fans. Coming out with a movie that did not have a gigantic budget — around $51 million — we had to create the feeling of a big, pre-existing world — a brand. Sideshow came on board early in the preproduction stage and worked with us in creating iconic pieces that enhanced the characters and the world.
They enshrined "power moments" and elements in the movie to make the audience feel that unique, beautiful, fetishistic impulse that you get as a collector.
Superman, Premium Format Figure, 2014. TM & © DC Comics.
The origins of this obsessive attention to detail can be traced to the fact that most of the people connected to Sideshow have roots in the film FX industry or the apex of the garage kit collectible golden age. In both instances, these people were driven by a passion for film and dedicated their craft to the creation of our modern myths or the preservation of the classics.
The collectibles market started with a rogue group of sculptors and painters who decided, in the early 1980s, to bridge the gap between pop culture toys and fine, epic sculpture. These objects were lovingly rendered tributes to "B" movie stars, stop-motion characters, and grand makeup effects creations. The compulsion to memorialize became a huge component of the modern film fetishism, and it consolidated geek culture worldwide. In the UK, Japan, and the U.S.A., the vinyl and garage kit culture had exploded and was honoring Ray Harryhausen, Jack Pierce, Boris Karloff, etc.
But the creation of these votive objects required enormous discipline and countless hours. It needed love, and it got it from that generation of überfans. Both Sideshow and myself are part of that generation.
Darth Vader, Mythos Statue, 2013; © 2013 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved.
As creators or collectors, we are all building the myths of the future together and continue to memorialize what we love of the past. This is not nostalgia, this is an affirmation, a tribute, a testament to the place that heroes and demons occupy in our hearts, just as they were avowed in clay tablets in Mesopotamia or in murals in Egypt. The heroes have traded armor for Spandex, and the demons have turned into film monsters, but we celebrate them just the same. They need our fervor to live, to breathe. Sideshow brings them to your home, your inner sanctum.
Relics are crafted by believers.
Sideshow is keeping the faith, and we should all be grateful for that.
Batman, Premium Format Figure, 2013. TM & © DC Comics.
Photos reprinted from Capturing Archetypes: Twenty Years of Sideshow Collectibles Art by Sideshow Collectibles, published by Insight Editions, copyright 2014.