This series was released in July 2001 and really fueled the direction of my collection.  I started viewing action figures as a work of art (although at times gruesome and horrific).  I was a big fan of Clive Barker at the time and read his books voraciously.  Below is the first series of action figures he created with Todd McFarlane.  Each one came with a small section of a novella that Barker wrote with these characters as his centerpiece.