I typically have a problem with seeing licensed pieces as art toys. Sure, I love marveling at sculpted renditions of my favorite movie, tv show, and comic book characters, but these usually feel more like cool collectibles rather than works driven by an artist’s vision.
So when I got these Mighty Jaxx produced XXRay series releases, I wasn’t sure what to make of them. With the base figures designed by illustrator Ben Qwek and rendered by sculptor Adam Tan, they really look to be slightly more realistic — though still cartoonish — takes on Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman using the same big-headed, Super Deformed style as Good Smile Company’s Nendoroids series and Hot Toys’ Cosbabies line.

My Impressions of XXRAY Justice League of America, Wave 1

What makes these stand out most, though, is how the pieces are given a quarter-cut dissection, showing the fictional inner workings of these character’s bodies. For those familiar with New York-based artist Jason Freeny’s work, this might appear strikingly similar… and it should. You see, the XXRay line is an ongoing collaboration between the Mighty Jaxx team and Freeny.

The figures themselves are cast in PVC and have no articulation, making them truly sculptural in nature. And the officially licensed renditions of DC Comics’ well-known Trinity is only the beginning, as the Justice League logo on the box indicates; all seven members of the current New 52 line-up will be interpreted, adding Aquaman, Cyborg, The Flash, and Green Lantern to the series.
Emphasizing Freeny’s involvement in a subtle way, the packaging to each of these 4” tall figures is transparent with solid printing, recreating the feel of Freeny’s art, letting one view inside but only in certain places. It’s really a brilliant touch that definitely pushes this slightly more towards the conceptual art side of things.

My Impressions of XXRAY Tossakan

If you’re still not sold on these limited edition pieces being proper designer toys, then perhaps the addition of the below-pictured Thailand Toy Expo released Tossakan to the line will help. Made in partnership with JPX, this is a stylized rendition of Thotsakan, the King of Demons of Lanka, from the Ramekien, the Thai tale derived from the Hindu epic Ramayana.

Even if you have no clue what I’m talking about, you can get the idea of the traditional depiction of Thotsakan from his sculpture that guards one of gates to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Thailand. Typically shown with 10 faces, Thotsakan has not only a normal face on his head but also a trio of three faces tiers stemming from his crown.
This Freeny dissected version only has six faces — the main one, two on tiers, and three painted on the backside of its head — but given the small stature of the piece I think we can forgive that. While this red-skinned version was exclusive to Thailand Toy Expo, there was also an more widely available green version released.

The Future of the XXRAY series

And as the XXRay line continues to expand, it looks like it will firmly embrace designer toy based works, such as the recently solicited dissected versions of Sticky Monster Lab’s characters and a forthcoming rendition of tokidoki’s Sandy (2006) figure.

Editions of XXRAY Justice League of America, Wave 1 [show]

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