HOLY CRAP! This is it dudes, the absolute Crème de la Crème of fake Madballs. IT'S RUDE RALPH TIME! Made by Axlon around 1986, Ralph is a deluxe version of a Madball with the size and detail to make him extra disgusting. He makes noises, he's got hair, multiple colors of paint that are applied well and that horrible eye. Ralph IS gross like his tagline suggests, but in a different way than his predecessors. While most of those were monsters or surgically altered (stitches, cracks, etc), this nerd is basically a straight up ugly dude. Sickly colored skin, buck teeth, warts, pock marks, crooked nose, this dude is gnarly. For some reason I imagine him as British. Maybe it's the teeth. Does that make me racist? It may also be the British Horrid Henry books by Justine Fontes, that have a character with the same name.
I never had one of these when I as growing up, and this one came to me very recently as a present. The first thing that I noticed was how big this goblin is. I knew he was big, but I really didn't know how big because none of the photos I've seen of him have anything for comparison. So, check out Ralph and Aargh for scale. It's pretty insane. Awwww, they look like they may be related. Yeah, think about how awesome that family reunion would be. Just a bunch of scary heads rolling around making small talk about work and their yards. Would you need a chair if you were just a head?
While Madballs were made of soft foam and many of their imitators were soft inflatable rubber, Ralph is made of hard cast plastic. One thing you can notice from these profile pics that's extra creepy, is his gingery doll-like hair. I don't know if this was an intentional side effect or if Axlon was just going for detail and got disturbing instead. But it bothers me. Especially with the green hue of his skin. It's troll doll hair and that in of itself is deplorable, but this is such a massive quantity! Ugh.
You can also see all the wrinkles that make a cool pattern on the one side of his head. These left and right views also highlight just how comically crooked his nose is. You can't even see the honker from one side and when you do see it from the other, you notice that wart looks like a Boston Baked Bean! Maybe he's a troll or something. If it wasn't for his name I'd thing this was a lady and even a Baba Yaga head. The warty nose and wrinkley face are super witch-like as well as those awful chompers. From those profiles you can also see his suspiciously simplified ears. It's oddly dark in there, no? Well, look above to see how far those earholes go. This was another decieving part about his size. The package I got in the mail was large but light. I had no idea this was what was lurking inside.
The fine details are what make Ralph so nasty. A close up of his crooked teeth show how textured they are and that they're crammed into deep-red, squishy gums. And his tongue....ewww......cratered and rotten. I would hate to imagine what his breath smells like. If you look at the sides of his mouth you can see what appear to be freckles, but on closer inspection reveal themselves to be pock marks. Could he have been an acne riddled teen? Do Madballs go through puberty?! Maybe they're beautiful at first and then they go into a cocoon where they turn into the garbage monsters we know and love. Unless they had added stitches and slime there's no way they could have made this more revolting.
Now, we're at the pinacle of Ralph's grossness. All the other stuff was cool and super-sized but really, the eye is what you bought this dude for. You can PULL IT OUT! OK ok ok. So look at it first. It's huge, bloodshot and creepy. Now add the pulling it out part! If that's not enough for you, he makes four different noises when you yank on it. Since mine's a bit old, all the noises sound the same. Kinda like a general "arrrrrgggghhhhhhhhhhh" sound. I think, theyre supposed to be a fart, a barf, a scream and a yell? I'm surprised it even works at all after 24 years but I can distinguish 3 different sounds! Don't overlook that while that one eye is awful, the other eye isn't there at all! I hope he can super-see out of that bulgy one.
Unfortunately, I didn't get the package with my troll head (which is a shame cus it's sooo rad) but you can check it out here.
In conclusion, if you can track one of these idiots down, buy it! I know they go for around $50 to $75 but, trust me, it's worth it. IT'S HUGE first of all. It's got those teeth, that matted hair, and that EYEBALL! Because it's made out of that hard rigid platic, it's not very functional but that's the only downside to Ralph. He's the Cadillac of Sadballs.
ps-If you're diligent, you can find one for cheap on Ebay. I've seen auctions close at $5 with one bid.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
"You'll Want 'Em All! Catch 'Em! Toss 'Em! Bounce 'Em!"
I know a few weeks ago I said Foul Balls were the worst imitation Madballs I'd ever encountered EVEN worse than the nerds I'm about to discuss...HOWEVER, upon further inquiry I have to recant. Super Bouncing Weird Balls are just as bad. But I still haven't decided who gets the final crap-crown and maybe you can help make that decision. It's too much pressure for one dork.
Both are really lazy, and Foul Balls originality was a hindernance because it was so bizarre and trippy. The laziness involved in Super Bouncing Weird Balls is SO intense that it may eclipse it'
s rivals shotcomings. I will give SBWB one thing in their favor, they're made out of rubber and not foam, so maybe the medium presented some difficulties to the manufacturers but....they're still awful. Wait. I'll give them two. I really like their logo. I know that's lazy too but I really like the bones that spell out "Weird Balls".
At a quick glance, these seem like traditional second tier Madballs (second tier Weird Balls more likely). Like, a REALLY quick glance. Like, from a speeding car. Closer inspection reveals that these are rubbery examples of how drugs can hurt your toy design career. Let's look at the two I've got. Of course, these don't have any names. This may be saddest part for me because it's the most often copied element of the winning Madball formula. Make a buch of gross dudes that loosely function as balls, then give them (sometimes) clever names. Even the Argentinian rip-offs have names! But here we are, stuck with this dude. I guess I should try to be clever and think up a name for him but all that comes to mind is Half-Assed Harry. Done. Named. You want a better name, you should make sure you're designed better. Anyway, Half-Assed Harry seems like he may be an attempt at an Argh type character. The blue skin color the stitches, the grimace, the one eye. Let's talk about that one eye. Yeah, the one with the "worm" in it. This is part of what's baffling about SBWBs. If you've already painted part of his mouth black why wouldn't you paint his gaping eye-hole black? It can't be that much more costly. Oh and his stitches are great. Of couse, I mean great in an abysmal way. The stitches themselves aren't sculpted, they're just stenciled on, but the holes they would've made are sculpted but not painted. So confusing. OOF! I though Half-Assed Harry was bad. What the heck IS this?! It looks like a rotten apple that kinda resembled a face that someone made a mold of and had underpaid workers in Taiwan paint. The sculpt has no eye detail, barely a mouth and no teeth. What it does have is a few pock marks and scratches. WOW! How did the sculptor find time to eat or breathe with all the rendering he/she had to do?! Screw you John Stanley Ind, Inc. I suppose this dude is a second rate Slobulus or another Argh but he looks like crap. We'll call him Gramma Dried Apple Head. He doesn't deserve any more of our time, though. Let's take a closer look at that packaging.
Somehow, this offends me less. It's possibly because I didn't spend money on these guys and I'm looking at someones poor unsupervised ideas for fake Madballs. Like looking at bad art on Deviant Art. It's funny to look at and laugh at but to actually own a piece would be a bit too sad. The first batch here looks like everyone just got their asses kicked. Some dude that had a goatee and tennis visor on got into a fight with a purple muppet monster. A lizard tried to break it up, caught a few in the nose and needed some bandages. The purple dude must've gotten hit with a mallet while the tennis guy asked him how many lumps he wanted for his tea. That's probably how the whole thing started.
The rest of them look like aliens of some sort. Well, that first dude looks like the three-eyed vagina mouthed variety of alien. The second one just looks scared and the third is the kind that gets eaten by alien moutain lions. Actually, this batch has a lot in common with their Foul Ball brethren (genitalia faces and being caught in an non-descript monster's mouth). Dummies.Various searches for "John Stanely Ind, Inc" yeilded nothing, so I don't even have anywhere to focus my rage.
Siiigggghhhh...In conclusion, I still can't decide who's worse. Foul Balls or Super Bouncing Weird Balls. SBWBs win the lazy award hands down but the Crap-Crown still needs to be awarded. You make the call.
"Spook your friends with assorted monster balls."
Madballs in miniature! I love monster faced bouncy balls. They're usually sturdier than Madballs and actually usable as a bouncy ball. This weeks post is about three sets of the little buggers. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about the first two groups because they were bought from wholesalers or with no packaging. The first set are super small, at an inch in diameter. Most of these are really cool and the few clunkers are so weird they're worth having.
OK, I put my three favs first, which may ruin the rest for you but whatever. I'm always a big fan of eye ball toys, a glorious tradition hailing back to Oculus Orbus, and this one is no exception. It's pretty gross. It's bloodshot for one thing and the lid is pretty heavy, so it's a mutant or stoned. If you add the weird bubbly mebrane engulphing the rest of him, I would have to vote for mutant. I guess stoned mutant would work too.
The next dude is great! It's surprising to me that there aren't more pumpkin themed Sadballs. It seems like an obvious design. This one is a skull/pumpkin hybrid with gnarly teeth and heavy red bags under his eyes. He's also grinning...soooo he may be stoned too.
Now this one is the best of the bunch! I love gorgons too! The original Madball design of Snake Bait is the pinacle of gorgon Madballology, but this little lady is no slacker. She looks like a little gramma with her babushka and puffy wrinkled face, but there's snakes under there! Well, that and her fangs and pointy tongue. She's even got a few snakes on the back of her head. Which is oddley the only detail ANY of these have on the reverse side. She doesn't look high but she also looks like she may be using magic to make whatever it is those other dudes are using.
This fourth guy is the grossest of the bunch! Like a bounce ball Freddy Krueger, with a cracked nose that has grub crawling out of it! I imagine he was injured in a magic meth fire the gorgon started. This is a level of gross that usually doesn't make it onto Madballs. It almost looks like real mutilation, not cartoon stitches.
His buddy is a shrunken head that looks like a mini version of Shrunk Punk (oh what could have been...sighhhh). The mouth stitched shut and the bone through the nose are pretty cool. I'm also a big fan of his different crazy eyes!
Big Blue (yeah I started naming them to help) is next on the list and is where things get kinda odd. He's not too odd himself (he's a crazy blue monster/demon with a weird tongue) but he's the gateway to the next two nerds. Design-wise anyway. We're in generic "monster" territory now, but with no referance material these guys came out wrong.
Ohhhh man. Mellow Yellow and TicTac Teeth. It looked like they were goin for a skull or something with Mellow, but WHAT THE HELL IS ON HIS FACE?! Is that a sentient beard?! Is it a bat that he tried to eat? Maybe a gray squid? I'm really at a loss here. There's nothing to indicate what that is on an otherwise "regular" skull design. Maybe the sculptor dropped him while he was working on him and didn't have time to fix him so he just painted the mess-up gray? Is it supposed to be barf? GAH!?
I guess Tic Tac Teeth is a goblin but I don't know why he's got a clown nose. If you're invited to a costume party and you're a goblin, do you even bother with a fake nose? Or do you lie and tell ladies you're really hot under your super kick-ass orc costume? His facial muscles don't make any sense either but that may be me asking too much.
In conclusion, get these dudes! They're cheap, they bounce and they look cool! While the paint jobs are actually quite good for something this small, every once in a while they're off. So be wary. You can buy em here!
I picked up the next six idiots at Toy Joy, one of the best toy stores in the world. Actually, I got four of them and my friend Alexis sent me the other two. They look more like mutants or aliens than monsters but I guess that's a fine line.
These "Super" bouncy balls, measuring at about 2" in diamter and bouncing like nobody's business! Their paint jobs and bright colors are really cool and add to the mutant angle. It looks like the rubber was just swirled and then they painted on top of that, so no two are exactly the same but the general colors are consistent.
We'll start with my favorites again. Monster Cat has a pretty cool color scheme going on and makes me think of a monster from some low budget 80's schlock staring Linnea Quigley.
Then there's this skull demon from hell! I feel like he's laughing at my suffering. Parts of his "brain" are exposed and some other cool detailed bits.
My absolute favorite is this C.H.U.D. looking thing. I really like the purple/black combo and his disgusting yellow eyes. His tiny pointy teeth look dangerous and he's got a rugous skin texture that seems reminiscent of muscle tissue.
OK, now these two are a bit strange. Corncob Teeth is the yellow dude that just kinda seems to be thinking about eating you. The furrowed brow, the half smile and the contemplative eyes...I also don't think he's got enough room in his mouth for you AND his teeth.
Camo Croc has a similar problem but at least his teeth aren't discolored and blunt. He's cooler than Corncob Teeth but still just kinda "meh".
Our last dude is a bit of a curve-ball because he's a representation of a Grim Reaper. All the other dudes are generic but stylistic monsters, and then this nerd comes along and is actually recognizable as a cultural icon. A lumpy and asymmetrical one at that!
These last dudes aren't really a collectible set, they're just some gross bouncy eyes in about four different color combinations. My favorite feature is that the eye part glows in the dark! They're made by a British toy company called Tobar that makes a TON of different stuff but these seem to be their only foray into monster ball territory. These guys remind me of our stoned mutant eyeball from that first set but about the size and style of the second group.
These guys are awesome. Well sculpted, gross, glow in the dark and detailed. My only complaint is that the paint on the pupil chips really easily. I noticed that its actually bubbled on the top and bottom center of just about every one. You win some you lose some.
SO! Three time conclusion! Get all of these. They bounce and are super weird/disgusting. They will freak out your sister and piss off your dad! AND they're all cheap and readily available. GO!
I just found this ad for those little dudes while doing a time killing monster ball google search.
Monday, March 8, 2010
In this week's post I'll be showing you Madball rip-offs of the original 80's line and some rip-offs of the 2007 line.
First off we have some gems which were found by Jeanne D'Angelo (who did the Blarghhhspot logo) at Time Passages Nostaligia's website. They're called Eraser-Bouncing Bad Bad Balls and the packaging is so crappy that it's great. It seriously looks like a retarded box turtle with a limited palette painted it. None of them even look like the toys included....they barely look like actual Madballs. And while I guess these aren't direct imitations, the drawings make it seem like there was definitely an attempt to cash in on the Madball craze in miniature form. I'm assuming vendors bought a few boxes of these and dumped them into a quarter machine? That's a pretty good deal for 25 cents. AND you can use them 3 different ways; as a gross thing to freak out your sister (as long as she can see small things really well), as a bouncy ball, and as a pencil top eraser! I also have no idea who made them. The only text on the packaging is "copyright D.V.S. 1987". Oh well, let's have a closer look. This first guy is pretty cool for such a tiny (3/4 of an inch?) toy. He's got a grimace, and ugly face...and A FROG ON HIS EYE! I don't know if you can see it at this size but it's pretty cool and very very strange. I also think the frog's eye is also supposed to double as the monster head's eye. Next to him, is a dude with a lamprey type mouth. Cool, but nothing too exciting. Then there's the gorgon which may be my favorite of this bunch. She's a buck toothed witch with a single snake poking its head over her brow.
The next three aren't too stand out, but still way cool for their style and the level of detail. The first is some sort of psychotic space clown, followed by a different lamprey mouth, and bringing up the rear is an.......elephant? He's not even a crazy elephant. He's just kinda there. A bit ugly but not even like super gross out ugly.
I don't know how well they function as erasers but as monster balls and bouncy balls (I accidentally dropped one when setting them in a display case which sent my cat into a frenzy) they work perfectly.
Overall, these dude's rule. Even though there's not much to them and they aren't especially gross, they have an 80's monster design charm. And honestly the weird poorly drawn packaging alone was worth it.
Just as 80's Madballs spawned a slew of imitations, so has the 2007 relaunch. And from what I've seen the newer fakes are far more successful. This line of uglies from Amscan is called Eye Poppers. Their take on the gross ball idea was to make actual sports balls and stick floaty eyes in them that pop out when you squeeze. I found a ton of them at Party City here in Philly for 3$ each! One thing I hate about modern Madballs and the fakes, is the "Sick Series" style of ball. When you squeeze them and their brains or blood or eyes bulge out of the head. Usually the rubber is sticky and collects dust like a dust collecting thing. Eye Poppers, however, are made out of a squeezable non-disgusting rubber and are actually sculpted really well. They all have gross "arghh" faces with about 3-4 different paint colors, which seem to be on there pretty well. Like, the color for the teeth isn't on the cheek or anything, which is the problem with Squirt Devils.
It was a bit of a challenge to find some nice ones because their "packaging" consists of a white bit of mesh and a small tag. Some were sad sad balls with missing eyes, punctures, and eyes with no water in them.
There are some subtle details in these that make me really like them. The basketball and the soccer both have the faces sewn to them and the football has some nasty veins near its eyes, like he's SUPER angry. They're all really angry looking actually, probably from being kicked around and touched by dirty little kids with sticky hands and dried up boogers on their faces.
Now for the fun part. When you squeeze them their eyes pop out! They're googly eyes that roll all around. Actually, I think Amscan must've come into millions of those eyes because many of their products feature them. These are the cream of the crop of wannabes. They're taking an idea in a slightly different direction while still maintaining gross-out-ability, they're sculpted well, and they're cheap!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
"Collect them all...they're the grossest off-the-wall fouls from the sand lots of Southern California."
Now that we've had our first chat about actual Madballs (more obscure but licensed nonetheless) it's time to move on to the serious stuff. Get ready to delve into the world of knock off Madballs
(or Sadballs as they've been dubbed; most notably on Weirdo Toys).
Some knock offs can be pretty sweet (Rude Ralph, Weird Balls) and even give the mainstream guys a run for their money. We will not be dealing with those today. The one's I've chosen may be the WORST Madballs imitations I've ever come across. Now I know there are some awful ones out there. Krazy Balls are pretty bad, and we'll get to Super Bouncing Weird Balls in a few weeks, but most of those are just lazy. I've crowned Foul Balls the worst because there seems to be some effort involved to make a variant toy line. Or at least not directly lift Madballs designs. Lets get into it.
I've tried really hard to find something I like about these things besides their inherent crappiness, but it's been really hard. The logo is kinda cool cus it looks like intestines? Eh? Yeah I'm not buying it either. This particular Foul Ball is named Trunk Lid. I think he's some sort of elephant being devoured by a snake and being helped by a skeleton?
All I can think of when I look at him is...STUPID. That applies to the company that was trying to make a quick buck, the "designer" and the toy itself. Screw you Trunklid! There are barely any details on this hunk of crap and what's there was painted poorly. Not to mention IT'S SOME SORT OF ELEPHANT TRAPPED IN AN EYELESS SNAKE WITH AN UNPAINTED SKELETAL HAND HOLDING THE MOUTH OPEN?!
Well the only other one I own is Slimeclops. That's kind of a cool name...but he's still pretty busted. He may be related to the poorly sculpted snake that ate the elephant, but I'm pretty sure he's just a buck toothed eel with one eye. And a lot of veins. And an awful seam. I'm not sure if you can tell in this picture but his left front tooth curves in too. I don't know the dietary needs of a Slimeclops but he looks like a....swamp predator..(yeah that's it). How rubbery teeth help you catch the fast moving bog-bugs and woodlice you subsist on, is beyond me!
What I find most disturbing about this doofus is the genital resemblance. EVERYONE that I know that's seen this dude, immediately remarks that his "eye tube"(?) looks like a wang vein. It's really gross. The eye ball also invokes the hooded part of a lady's special place. Ugh, I wonder if their designers can be found on Community Watch Dog?
Since those are the only two I own, we'll get back to the packaging to look at the gems of 80's toy design that can be found therein.
These all look like they were sculpted out of Play Doh and not very well. Rubberlip especially. He just looks like a sad old man that accidentally swallowed his nose, not a wacky gross-out toy. Magna appears to be just a sad, sad attempt to rip-off Screamin' Meemie, but with blush. How and why do you apply makeup if the only facial feature you have is a giant gaping mouth? Ohhhhh.....Spiderwad....either he's curled up in canon ball position and his spider legs are tucked up covering his face, and that hole is his butt? OR he's got a segmented exoskeleton mustache.
The only two decent ones on this package are Worm-Eye and Zomball, and that is just by comparison to the other garbage on there. Zomball doesn't have a lower lip but does have a grey skeleton (which includes a nose). Worm-Eye just looks half assed. Like when they hired artists to make Madballs this would be the FIRST stage after a sketch when proposing your monster idea. And maybe you were in a rush to get to a matinee of The Garbage Pail Kids movie.
I was gonna wrap this up with a link to a summary of a lawsuit against Foul Balls manufacturer Lanard FOR copyright infringement, but while looking for that link I came upon something funnier. It's a lawsuit Lanard filed AGAINST someone else for copyright infringement! Maybe this is a different toy company named Lanard making knock-offs that's involed in all this suing. If it is, I apologize.