Action figures have long been a perfect compliment to comic books, since every kid (or kid at heart) has that natural desire to act out adventures with their favorite heroes off the drawn page. Every so often, a unique style of figure comes along that breaks the mold, so to speak. Each Saturday, Donny B will be showcasing various offerings from Art Asylum’s take on the ‘block figure’, with a weekly spotlight on Minimates.
With a new X-Men movie around the corner, I thought it’d be fitting to take a look at the very first comic-based Moviemates that Art Asylum released – X-Men 3 Minimates!
These were released as Wave 14 of the Marvel series, and opened the door for a brand new sub-category of Minimates. Not only that, but this particular wave came after what fans consider to be the lowest point in Marvel Minimate history, when most of the characters released were comprised of previously released parts (which saved the company a decent amount of $ in production costs, but in the end, made the products suffer) … it is argued that the X-Men 3 wave breathed new life into a line of toys that may have died out otherwise.
Wave 14 was Art Asylum’s first venture into comic movie Minimates, and so they hadn’t yet perfected the marketing aspect of it. First off, they weren’t released until long after the movie had left theaters. Second, with this wave, we were only given 7 different figures – Storm & Colossus, Juggernaut & Beast, Wolverine & Jean Grey, and Phoenix packed as the variant. This isn’t even close to being the full line up of main characters from that movie, but one traditional wave only consists of 6 releases plus a variant.
It wasn’t until Spiderman 3 that more than one full wave was dedicated to a single movie.
Since then, AA has found a pretty solid formula for producing and selling Moviemates, with one full wave for the main characters, supplemental 2-packs released exclusively via TRU, an “army dump” for villains (like the drones from IM2 or the Frost Giants from Thor), and the occasional 4-pack sold through online stores or comic shops – all of which are now appearing on shelves with plenty of time before the film’s release date.
Interestingly, this wave did one additional thing that helps fans track the history of Minimates. On top of being the first Moviemate wave, and the first in several waves to sport a complete line of new sculpts, it also raised the bar in terms of detail. I can still remember when this line was initially released, many of my fellow Minimate collectors had much praise for the ‘impressive detailing’ on Juggernaut, specifically.
Looking back on it now, these particular ‘mates really aren’t too remarkable. But at the time, they were a sizeable leap in terms of the evolution of Minimate design.
Behind the Image:
This idea is based very closely off of an officially released posted for the 3rd X-Men movie. I essentially just followed the formula of that poster and altered it to feature each of the 6 released Minimates of that film. The backgrounds were simply lit up with different colored bulbs, and each image was passed through some filters in Photoshop to achieve a more dramatic intensity.