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!