After two releases from our Seventh Kingdom line, our studio’s third FANtastic Exclusive vote was won by a character from another original property – Gothitropolis. The “Lord of the Dead”, Scarabus, emerged as the victor in this voting process, although interestingly he would not be the first figure from Gothitropolis that we would actually release.
Below you can see the initial artwork we used for Scarabus during the FANtastic Exclusive vote, along with some character art done by Nate Baertsch and some of the initial sculpting work for Scarabus.
Enter the Timekeepers and Queen’s Council
Things were changing pretty dramatically in 2008 when we started the pre-production process for Scarabus. The cost of creating action figures had greatly increased from when we had produced our first original figure, Xetheus. As we looked for ways to get Scarabus made, we decided to first move forward with a smaller release to prepare fans for the new Gothitropolis property. The “Time Keepers” were meant to pave the way for their master, while also tiding fans over until we could make arrangements for the larger, and more detailed, Scarabus figure. We even included some additional accessories for the Time Keepers in the Scarabus figures once they were released! You can read an additional article we published about the Time Keepers, and some of the unreleased variants for those figures, here.
In a similar move, we also ended up going back to our Seventh Kingdom property and releasing the Queen Alluxandra and her “council” variants in 2009. Like the Time Keepers, these figures were easier for us to get into production as we worked to find a way to properly release Scarabus.
Creating Variants of Scarabus
One thing that had been a part of all our studio’s previous releases was our approach of creating “variant” figures for a release based off a single base body. We had done this with Xetheus and the Mythocean Seven as well as with Ramathorr and the Antherian Nine. For the Scarabus figure, we decided on the same approach. You can see a factory “test shot” of the Scarabus parts below, including all the various heads and pieces that we would use to create alternate looks and characters for this release.
On Scarabus, we designed the standard head to use a “face plate” which could be removed and swapped for alternative looks. The main Scarabus figure included 3 different face plates that could be used on this one character. We also repainted these face plates, and the rest of the Scarabus figure, to create some of the variants for this release – the Dormant Form and the Demon Fire versions.
In addition to the three faces that came with the main Scarabus, we also created some additional plates that only came with select variants. These included the three figures inspired by Egyptian Gods (Anubos, Thothos, and Horos) and a few alien-like variants (Melchom and Nergal). We also released two figures that came with full additional heads instead of just face plates (Azazel and Haurus).
In total, we released the main Scarabus figure along with 9 variants. We also did a pair of figures that we called the “Light and Dark Talisman” versions, which were actually offered in advance of the normal figures. That pair were debuted and initially sold during the 2011 Toy Fair at our Toypocalypse gallery show at the TT Underground Gallery (just below Toy Tokyo) in NYC. Look for additional “Blast from the Past” articles in the future covering some of these variants in greater detail.
Scarabus Hits StoreHorsemen
Scarabus was finally made available for sale in 2011, nearly 3 years after he won the FANtastic Exclusive vote.
For our previous releases, we had partnered with resellers to offer the variants for that wave as exclusives, while also selling the main figure for the wave on our site along with full sets of the release. The Scarabus series was the first one that we only offered on our website. You can see some images of the final Scarabus figure, both with and without his cape attachment, below.
From the start, we saw that some of the figures were far more popular than others. The three “Egyptian” figures, especially Anubos, sold very well, as did the pair of more demonic looking characters with the animal heads. These figures being popular made sense, since their animal heads made them similar to the anthromorphic characters we had released previously. Some of the other variants in the line, like the two “aliens”, were much less popular, and we actually had these in stock for years after they were first offered. We even offered a small number of Scarabus figures as rewards during our “black raven” Kickstarter, which ran in 2013, nearly two years after Scarabus was first made available for sale. That may come as a surprise to fans who try to find these long sold out figures today and who see the prices that they command on the secondary market. This was a very different time for our studio, long before the popularity of Mythic Legions brought our work into so many new collectors’ hands!
The Story of Scarabus
On the back of the card for Scarabus, which can be seen earlier in this article, we detailed the story of this character –
The day that the demon Scarabus first set foot on our earthly plane is unknown, but the earliest recorded stories of his influence were written around 3000 BC in ancient Egypt. As legend has it, demons must shed their physical form when crossing over into our world, only to be reborn from the lifeless shell of the recently departed. Reborn from the body of his eventual namesake - a scarab beetle - Scarabus bears little resemblance to the creature that granted him new life. Combined with his own hellish visage of horns, hooves, and a forked tail - glistening golden skin and dangerous pincers sprouting from his back are all that remain of the creature that bore him. He is a devastatingly powerful creature able to resurrect the dead, only to transform these sad creatures into his own unholy soldiers. Amassing legions of the undead for millennia, the demon lord has been building an army for some unseen sinister purpose. An integral part of this dark congregation, Scarabus' maniacally malevolent Timekeepers use their Chrono-hammers to open portals that allow him the ability to vanish and rematerialize at will. It is also rumored that the symbols that adorn his armor (later adopted by the Egyptians as the eye of Horus) represent Scarabus' ability to gaze into men's souls.
The foul beast, who has also been called Scarabagoth in some texts, has been both worshipped and loathed. He has lurked in the shadows for centuries, shrouded in mystery, with only his closest of acolytes knowing his true purpose. One thing is for certain to the rest of us - Scarabus is a dark force that may well usher in the end of days. --Book of Atellus Chapter 12
In addition to this glimpse into the backstory of the Scarabus character, the card also included some additional story elements for the world of Gothitropolis:
Vampires, zombies and werewolves do not exist - at least not in the ways that we have been told. There are indeed very dark things that lurk in the shadows, though, just out of our line of sight.
After a bold entrance into our world in ancient days, Scarabus and his kind have quietly lived in the dark corners of our world for ages. It is only now in the year 2332 that Scarabus has led his people into the open to build a great city that can harness his blasphemous power. Many are dedicated to hunting and eradicating Scarabus, but only the Daemothyr family and the Order of Lunogoth possess the true tools to stop him.
If he is not stopped soon we must all fear what will happen. If his evil plan comes to fruition we must all pray that he brings life to his abysmal city - his Gothitropolis!
Finding any of the Scarabus figures today to display alongside your Mythic Legions means hitting the secondary market. Like all of our long sold out figures, these toys now command a considerable sum from sellers. We have no plans to rerelease Scarabus or any of his variant figures, but we continue to add new demonic characters that would certainly give Gothitropolis’ Lord of the Dead a run for his money!
Published on 06.05.20