In the early 2000s there was an explosion of minifigures in the collectors’ market: Minimates, Pocket Heroes, Kubricks, Stikfas, and Shockinis, just to name a few. Some were clearly inspired by the classic LEGO minifigures, while others focused more on customizability and interchangeable parts.
My personal favorite minifigures were the original Mez-Itz by Mezco. Unlike other minifigures, Mez-Itz had uniquely-sculpted heads and other accessories. And they had a slew of great licenses, including Aliens, Predator, Robocop, Hellboy, Edward Scissorhands, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and even Army of Darkness. Later they expanded to their own unique lines, such as pirates and ninjas (much as Minimates is doing now). Sadly, the line died out when the Pirates and ninjas failed to set the world on fire.
In the intervening years, the vinyl figure movement expanded from its niche into the mass market, primarily in the form of Mighty Muggs and its derivates. Mezco hopped on that bandwagon by mimicking the style and size of Mighty Muggs with their newly re-branded Mez-Itz. Now, they come full circle as they shrink the 6″ Mez-Itz down to two inches.