"Dissatisfaction Guaranteed"We've already discussed (or disgust) Mel Appel's unsurpassed dedication to knock offs in a post about the giant sized Weird Balls. A quick recap, TMAC (The Mel Appel Company) not only copied Madballs and Super Madballs, they also had a Garbage Pail Kids-esque trading card series, a M.U.S.C.L.E. style little rubber guys line and even a WWF inspired action figure set. I think it goes without saying though, that their attempt at fake Madballs was by far their most inspired moment. Not only did they manage to create their own stable of vile characters but they even delved into football shape before TCFC (Those Characters From Cleveland) got around to it.
Hey boils and ghouls! It's been a very long time since I updated this disgusting blob of a blog. A lot's been goin' on since August. I had a show at Benna's Cafe (20 drawings of monsters inspired by D&D Monster Manuals), I went to Romania with Jeanne to hunt for Dracula, and had a bunch of last minute freelance work. Anyway, I'm back now with a second cool post about Weird Balls!
Aside from the toys themselves, the packaging for Weird Balls was also top notch. A drippy logo, putrid slime colors and similar blisther packaging helped this gross group seem legit. While Madballs went for clean drawings (clean line work but still gross stuff), the Weird Ball drawings are looser and grimey, reminiscent of Mad Magazine (and Tales From the Crypt) artist Jack Davis. TMAC also realized the value of the art itself, allowing kids to "own" the art in trading card form. This is a big plus for me, since i love the drawing and design part of these dudes so much.
There was no stone left unturned...Madballs packages said "Freaky Fun For Everyone"? Well, Weird Ball packaging has about 5 crude slogans and boorish phrases (not including the ones on the trading cards!). Their marketing technique is to highlight their production flaws, knowing kids love stuff that's cruddy and half assed! "That's right you won't be satisfied with our stupid unoriginal toy...what're you gonna do about it?" Any connoisseur of awfulness, such as Ren and Stimpy or Beavis and Butthead, will let you know, the worse the better.
Let's check out the first group of dudes here, the traditional round guys. First up is Shrink Head, a guy that I first thought was a half-ruined android, but it turns out he's a dessicated zombie-type thing. His skin is all wrinkley and shriveled and his skull is showing through in parts. His upper lip skin does kinda look like a Burt Renolds' mustache but his red bulging eyes make up for any lack of creepiness his faux facial hair may have caused. The second guy here is Sewer Face. He appears to be a Muppets-type purple monster with a slimey, pus-caked nose. He's maybe the least defined out of all the Weird Ball, because he looks like a ball of clay that someone rolled up in their hands and then painted yellow eyes on. He's cool but lacks details. Snot Nose is the third roundy and probably my favorite of all. He's a giant ball of boogers with a bulgy eye and buck teeth. Where his other eye should be is a gaping socket filled with maggots! Great!
Here's where Weird Balls get really innovative (as far as monster shaped balls go!). The football shaped dudes. Wart Hog is the hideous Frankenstein on the the left. His stitched shut mouth, plentiful warts and bulging blood shot eye are super gross. His friend Spit Ball Louie has the counterpart bulging eye with a really nasty heavy lid and some sort of mustard slime oozing out of his goofball mouth. This is also where things get weird. I have no idea where this guy came from. He's obviously a Weird Ball (he's stamped with the Mel Appel logo on his hinder) but the packaging has his name listed only as Spit Ball and he's round. I would've thought that there was just a packaging error but I've seen pics of the round Spit Ball. I also don't know about a second series, but perhaps he's from that. If you have any insights into this mystery let us know!
Lastly, is my favorite of the oblong nerds, Worm Skull. He's one of the better sculpted and executed of all the Weird Balls and a pretty cool stylization of a skull. When I reviewed the giant version of him a few posts back I mentioned how I thought he would look better scaled down and you can see in that comparison photo how he looks much better tiny.
Sooooo.....Weird Balls are probably my favorite of the Madballs rip off family. They took the Madball formula and ran with it. They were definitely copying but they were creative enough to make their own characters, sculpt them well and up the insolence. If you can get your hands on some of these guys, go for it! They're pretty hard to come by, but I think there's one up on eBay right now. Again, sorry for the delay, expect the next post soon!