Today marks the end of March MODOK Madness across the internet, and it was indeed an epic month. I contributed an image to the MMM blog, and I even went on a MODOK-related quest of my own in celebration.
The character of MODOK (spelled here without all of the periods for the sake of brevity) was created in 1967 by the amazing Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. He is a giant, malevolent, floating, half-robotic head who has the ability to calculate things at such a speed that it borders on premonition. He can also shoot powerful beams, probably also because of brainy math stuff. And he’s awesome, as if these previous statements didn’t thoroughly cement this fact. He’s right up there with Arnim Zola – a giant dude with a face for torso who came along ten years later, and another creation of the unabashedly strange Kirby.
The acronym? It stands for ‘Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing’. I think I just awesomesploded.
There are five figural interpretations of MODOK – one of which I learned about only yesterday, and was actually left out of the official Marvel blog. I’m here to set the record straight on two counts.
MODOK made an appearance in the Iron Man cartoon that aired during the mid-90s, and was made into a fair action figure by Toy Biz as a result. This was in 1995, and is usually regarded as the very first MODOK figure – but there was another.
In 1994, Toy Biz was cranking out Marvel Heroes in tons of formats – five inch scale was common, but there were also a ton of miniature scales in different materials, and much larger figures with speaking features, and even huge 1/6th scale vinyl guys. MODOK made an appearance in the Heavy Metal Heroes line of die cast figures alongside War Machine, both also based on the animated series. Being die-cast, my friend Dan (who alerted me to metal MODOK’s existence yesterday) describes him as a piece which ‘could probably kill a man if thrown properly.’ In true MODOK style.
Nine years later in 2004, MODOK became a piece in the collectible Heroclix game. While Heroclix might not always count towards a figure’s total iterations, I always count ‘em. They’re sculpted, they’re tiny, and while they might not be articulated, they’re still figural. It’s the only way I could really have a full team of Inhumans or the Doom Patrol, and these things keep me tranquil.
2006 was undoubtedly the best MODOK, and was included as a Build-A-Figure in series 15 of Marvel Legends. He’s in scale with the other 1/12th scale figures of the line, intensely detailed, and just plain great. I even have an extra MODOK head which I keep in the back of my car to angrily stare at drivers who get to close to my bumper. His evil glare has kept me safe thus far – at least from behind. Find my a supervillain who can protect my car from falling branches.
This year, MODOK was included in the super-cute Superhero Squad line of figures. This line of small, kid-friendly figures was around for a few years before a (relatively entertaining) cartoon was created around the aesthetic that Hasbro created. MODOK was originally going to be called ‘MODOC’, with the final ‘C’ standing for ‘Conquest’ instead of ‘Killing’, though the final packaging design reveals the ‘K’ in full force. They’ll probably retcon this into standing for ‘Kittens’ or ‘Kissing’, but this tiny, adorable MODOK is fairly essential to my hardcore MODOK collection.
While there are no more MODOKs immediately planned, there have been quiet rumblings about a deluxe, lead MODOK figure on the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection blog, and Hasbro’s new 3.75” scale line is addressing a huge number of characters in a brief period of time, including ones that haven’t really been made into respectable figures before, so my hopes run high.
There have also been previews posted by Bowen Designs that feature a gigantic MODOK bust. Or is it a full sculpture? What is it when your subject is a giant head in its entirety?
For a relatively bizarre, obscure Marvel Comics character, MODOK is getting a lot of action, and that’s exciting for MODOK fans everywhere. None of the existing MODOKs run more that $25 bucks at best, so it’s an attainable collection of really smart jerks just waiting for you.
[UPDATE 11/21/2011! Five more MODOKs have been made since the publication of this post. Click here to read about five MORE MODOKS!]