I jumped at the opportunity to review Figure Fantasy: The Pop Culture Photography of Daniel Picard; the idea of seeing some of my favorite comic and movie characters in everyday, realistic situations is intriguing and funny. Using 12-inch figures from Sideshow Collectibles, Picard creates these well-detailed, meticulous scenes that take playtime to a whole new level.
I’d always wanted to see the Joker face off with G.I. Joe or the new Star Wars characters interacting with the old Star Wars figures. Photography for me is a way to express my own stories as a fan. – Daniel Picard
The book is a bit smaller than I expected, in terms of length, width and height. At 9.5” x 8.5” and 120 pages, it is a coffee table book that can be easily carried in a midsize purse, backpack or briefcase. Initially, I flipped through it quickly and the first picture that caught my attention straddled pages 12 and 13: The Gentlemen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer walking their dogs; images such as these fill the book.
What is most enjoyable about the volume is discovering the intricate details in the images. Though they are actual photographs taken in different locations (many of which are described on the photos), Picard often includes elements that provide additional realism to the characters inhabiting the world he created. One of the introductory images, for example, shows Batman kicking down a door in what looks to be an old rundown apartment building; littering the floors and walls are The Riddler’s trademark green question marks.
The real message seems to be that it’s important to play and have fun with these toys. This book reclaims that notion in a most wonderful way. – Simon Pegg
The book also includes two forewords and an afterword. The first of these, written by Simon Pegg, sits side-by-side with his figure from Shaun of the Dead looking over a body. He captures the way play has been taken out of the collection of these figures and reminisces on a time when this was different.
And after years of making snow angels with my Snowtrooper doll as a kid, one look at the stunning, hysterical photographs in this comedic (and artistic) collection is like a time machine back to a simpler age. – Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith wrote the afterword. Like Pegg, he also felt this book captured the notion of play. He emphasizes that his dolls lived in the world that Picard created and he could revisit those mash-ups in the pages of Picard’s work.
Picard is upfront about his relationship with Sideshow Collectibles, and though you could think of this as an advertisement for the companies product, I didn’t feel bad when I wanted to look them up and see what other collectibles of interest they had in stock. In all, this book presents a creative mixing of of some familiar characters’ universes and back stage peeks into their lives, some less familiar. The book is an enjoyable first read and would also stand up to subsequent reviews. It should have a spot on the coffee table for anyone into collectibles or video games, comic books and other pop culture characters.
You can purchase Fantasy Figure for $29.99 (hardcover) at Insight Editions.