By JAMES BURRELL
Established in 1999, Diamond Select Toys was launched by Diamond Comic Distributors as a manufacturer of collectibles and toys based on various comic-book, film, TV and video-game properties. Among the company’s most popular offerings are its Minimates mini-figures, highly detailed 7-inch-tall Select action figures and elaborate Gallery Diorama PVC statues. One of the latest releases in the Gallery line is Marvel Comics’ bloodsucking antihero Morbius the Living Vampire.
Making his debut in 1971 in issue #101 of The Amazing Spider-Man, Morbius was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane, and was one of the first vampire characters to appear in mainstream American comic books after revisions were made to the restrictive Comics Code–which for years had banned horror figures like vampires, werewolves and zombies from the four-color pages. A bloodsucker created by scientific rather than supernatural means, he began as Dr. Michael Morbius, a scientist attempting to cure his fatal blood disease by experimenting on himself with vampire-bat blood and electroshock treatment. Although he survives the procedure, the experiment transforms him into a blood-craving being with fangs, chalk-white skin, super-strength and the ability to glide through the air.
Diamond Select Toys has captured the look and essence of the character perfectly with this release. Standing 9 1/4 inches tall, the statue depicts Morbius in his classic comic-book outfit, complete with black bodysuit (accented with touches of blue), red collar and red bat-winged cape. The brooding bloodsucker has been sculpted in a dramatic pose atop a highly detailed, beautiful-looking gargoyle-bat base. The paint apps are excellent; the face is suitably fearsome, with sunken red eyes and fangs, and the sharpened fingernails and pale white skin tone are all extremely well done.
Although I was aware it was made from PVC, I was surprised by how light the statue was when I removed it from its packaging; it has the appearance of being something much heavier, like polystone. The piece comes packaged in a striking black, red and white window box, and overall is a very impressive item. It’s one of the best Morbius-themed collectibles to be released to date, and very highly recommended for fans of the character.
The Marvel Comics Gallery Morbius PVC Diorama retails for around $49.99 USD, and can be found at your local comic shop, purchased on-line from various retailers or ordered directly from the Diamond Select Toys website. For more on Morbius the Living Vampire, including an exclusive interview with legendary co-creator Thomas, check out my feature in issue #195 of RUE MORGUE, which can be ordered here.