Classic Comic Book Character Initial Releases Sell Out, New Titles Announced

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A series of small statuettes of comic book characters appears to be having a big impact on collectors. Modeled after products that were popular in the 1930s and ’40s, the new statuettes from Dark Horse, which comprise a series titled Classic Comic Book Characters, are designed and manufactured in a style consistent with the earlier figures. The first of the statuettes, originally scheduled for a Fall 2005 release and now slated for on-sale beginning in November, are Hellboy (Mike Mignola), Bone (Jeff Smith/December) and Magnus Robot Fighter (Russ Manning/January). Produced in a limited edition of only 750 numbered copies, all have completely sold out on the basis of advance orders. “We are blown away by the response to these little figures,” Dark Horse Comics Vice President of Product Development David Scroggy observed, “and we will be continuing the series with new titles. We have already solicited the first three releases as editions of 750. We intend to stick with this as advertised, even though it means we won’t quite be able to supply everyone who ordered a copy. With our fourth release, Marv from Frank Miller’s Sin City comics in February, we are holding the print run to 750 numbered copies, which we think is the correct move to ensure collectibility.”

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Dark Horse’s Classic Comic Book Character statuettes were inspired by “syroco” sculptures. In 1944, King Features and Farina Cereal teamed up to produce an amazing set of advertising premiums featuring famous comic strip characters. They have come to be known as “syroco” figurines, named after both the then-new wood-like resin material they were made from and the company that produced them. They are now highly prized by collectors. Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson was inspired by these, and began a latter-day series of statuettes depicting famous newspaper comic strip characters. Produced under license from comic strip syndicates and other property owners, these new editions were created in 3-D by the talents at Yoe! Studio, one of America’s top creative design shops. Measuring between four and five inches, these statuettes were sculpted in the original style, described by Craig Yoe as “primitive but charming.” Nearly fifty were produced in the series.

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The new series echoes the packaging and special features of the previous series, but affords collectors the opportunity to start with the first release. Each hand-numbered statuette comes carefully packaged in a special fullcolor tin box. Also included is a small booklet about each character and its creator and a vintage-style pinback button of the character. “We have worked hard to create a superior package for these very special items,” Scroggy remarked, “and we think we have met the challenge with help from our manufacturing team.” Following the first four releases are Conan (March 2006) Sergio Aragonés’ Groo (April 2006). Other characters are licensed and are awaiting scheduling.

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