Madballs, Weird Balls, Super Bouncing Weird Balls, Monster Balls, Blurp Balls, Krazy Balls, Freakballs, Squirt Devils and other nameless imitations.

Monday, March 21, 2011


"They Retch It! You Catch It!"

Hey dudes! I know it's been a really, long time but I've been super busy with art. That doesn't mean that I've been slacking on the Madballs/ripoffs collecting front. On the contrary, I've scored some awesome bootlegs in the past few months that will make their way on to this blog soon enough. In the meantime, I wanted to do a special deluxe post for my 1 year anniversary of blogging. So.....I present you with the closest thing to an "official" Madballs ripoff...BLURP BALLS!!!What makes them "official" is that they were designed (soley) by James Groman, one of the designers of the original Madballs series and the 2007 reboot (not to mention Food Fighters and Barnyard Commandos). Ertl (famous for toy trucks) brought Blurp Balls to the table in the mid 90's way after the gross out trend had died but they tried to expand on the idea by adding projectiles into the mix. Essentially, making the toys barf or blurp.

These things are slightly larger than Madballs and the material is similar to the soft rubber of Sadballs but a little more durable, which allows better paint jobs.
I managed to get my hands on two of these dudes MOC but as you can see the packaging leaves a lot to be desired. There's huge amounts of open space, the text is blocky and irregular. It just all seems dated. And that drawing...ugh. It reminds me of some 4th tier Image comic that would have a preview in the back of Shadowhawk.
The back is simple in a good way but still...that orange..oof! The back provides pics of the rest of the dudes, and that's where the real joy is. While the packaging may suck, the toys themselves are amazing. They even have funny names like Count Heave-a-heart!
As with any toy that fires a projectile there are some hilarious warnings. I mean, they're soft rubber nubs that shoots out of a ball when you squeeze it, how bad could that hurt you?

Before we get to our actual fiendish friends, I have another version of the packaging for you. This one is an Italian card that I scored from an online toystore. Everything about the toys is exactly the same and the Ertl name is still present but there's another company (perhaps just Italian distributor?) named Giochi Preziosi stamped all over the thing. They've replace the garish orange with a technicolor swirl that I somehow like better?

I know this is gonna sound like I'm making a joke, but I swear to you that the Italian one smelled like cheese when I opened it up.
Babel Fish is basically useless, so I have no name translations for you, although, I'm pretty sure Vampir is just Vampire. Teeth Something, Shark Something, Something Cat...that's all I got. Let's get to it then, shall we?
Biff Barfball is the first one up (get it?). He's probably my least favorite because he's kinda just a guy that got beat up and then caught a cold but went to baseball practice anyway. He's not a zombie or a monster or a messed up animal. Just a dude. I guess it's cool that he swallowed that ball, and he is sculpted very well. All of these have an astonishing (that's right, astonishing) amount of detail.

Here's his blurp (I don't know, what would you call it?!) up close. It's a baseball and it's got his teeth embedded in it as well as splashes of blood on the top and bottom.'s ok but kinda boring. I guess the teeth gross me out a little because I think of getting hit in the mouth with a baseball. My second favorite is the immaculate Count Heave-a-heart. A super wrinkley vampire with pointy ears a bad complexion, and beady little yellow eyes! Despite all the spiders, cobwebs and bats clinging to him, the Count still find time to dress nicely with a purple high collared jacket and dress shirt with skull cufflinks. I wish I looked that good. Oh check out those sideburns too!!
That's all well and good but what makes nasty nosferatu even better is that his blurp is an anatomical heart!! This is actually pretty accurate for its scale and material and even has muscle ridges and veins!Normally I wouldn't really care for monster balls that are modeled after animals but Croaky Bugchuck here is really disgusting. He's dripping with ooze from his mouth, he's covered in bugs and the texture of the rubber he's made out of almost make it feel like you're holding a real frog. Weird! I especially like the contrast of the dark green skin and light yellow eyes. Nice touch.
Croaky's blurp is by far my favorite. It's a gross little fly with huge red eyes and a puckered purple sucker. No shortcuts here, all six legs are present and he's clinging onto some awful black snotball or something. Ewww!
Skulls are always popular, especially when it comes to monster faced balls. Boney Tossteeth is the Blurp Ball version and it's a cool one! He's still got eyes deep in his sockets which is a plus and somehow his brains are coming out through the bottom of his skull?! Not only that but there's a rattle snake in there!! WHAT?! How and why does that happen?! While those are all confusing components, what really throws me for a loop is how a skull has lips, and why is he spitting his flesh covered teeth at me!?Maybe these are supposed to be dentures but I get the impression that they're a separate part of his anatomy that can launch at will! This cheesy smelling dude is my favorite. I love dinosaurs. I also love false history where dinosaurs and cavemen hung out. Tyrannosaurus Retch is an amazing example of all that. He's gorgeously molded and very highly detailed, with a lizard and dragonfly on his back, bumpy ridges and scaled all over him and a spear stuck in his hide! I'm really into how his arms, legs and tail all tuck underneath him to retain the ball shape.
His blurp is also really detailed on par with the fly. A little caveman holding his nose and wearing a Flintstones style one piece! YES! Look at his tongue flapping in the wind! I've already made up my own story about how these two wound up together but I won't share it and ruin it for you. Come up with your own!Retch-a-rat Tomcat is similar to Croaky Bugchuck but not as gnarly. He honestly just looks like some of the strays in my neighborhood, which is sad not cool. I do love the detail of his fur and paw pads but hes honestly a little boring. I think I do like the animal ones but this one isn't doing it for me.

However, his blurp is really amazing. He's a cute little rat with a bandaide on his butt! I'm sure he was so filthy that even that disgusting tomcat had to spit him out. The look on his face! Love!Last but not least is the best of the animal designs. Sharky Skullsquirt wins points just for being a shark but he's also really well designed. He's covered in wrinkles and jabbed with a hook and a harpoon (we won't talk about the really poorly rendered blob-of-a-lamprey on his butt) as well as drooling blood all over hmself!

His blurp is amazing too. A skull (with eyes again....I love that) of a diver, maybe the d-bag that tried to harpoon him and failed.

Before I wrap this up, I thought I'd show you some close ups of some of the more impressive monsters so you could see why I'm so impressed. In conclusion...DO IT! These toys are really amazing and surpass most nonbootleg monster ball toys. The level of intricacy and design are top notch. James Groman's signature gross-out style come delivers the goods. Not to mention they hold up really well due to the rubber they're made out of.

As much as I love these dudes, it's hard for me to recommend them to other collectors solely for the fact that they are super expensive. Most of the ones I've seen on ebay MOC are $75. Most of mine I hunted down in vintage toy stores, message board trades, and craigslist. That's actually a funny story.

I google-searched "Blurp Ball Craigslist" and actually found a listing for Retch-a-rat Tomcat and Croaky Bugchuck from some dude in Rochester, NY who was asking for $10 for both! Not only did the purchase go smoothly but I also discovered he's in a power metal band called Children Of The New Sun!!!


  1. Sweet man, truly historical stuff here. I freakin' love Barnyard Commandos and Food Fighters (and Madballs of course.) James Groman is apparently one of my heroes and I never knew it!

  2. Love that vampyr's sweet cobweb yarmulke!

  3. Yeah, you used that thing I sent you! Really nice article - I was desperate for a Blurp Ball... ANY Blurp Ball back in the day (mostly the dinosaur one), but when it came to getting toys, Mighty Max always won out in the end.

    Never heard of Barnyard Commandos, this warrants further investigation. Love Food Fighters though, just got my first three this week :D

  4. haha awesome! i had just about every one of these as a kid growing up in the 90's. But i find it hilarious when you say how hard can the little piece of rubber be??? These things were actually dangerous! To the point where my parents almost made me get rid of em! Me and my buddy didnt really follow directions and figured out a way to really make them projectiles. I remeber setting them on the floor and jumping as high as i could and stomping on them and the projectile would go flying out to the point where it would put big dents in our drywall! True story, i remember getting hit with one and it left a welt! Very awesome toys and i still have a few of mine, wish i had em all :-(

  5. haha I can't imagine the ones you have are in very good shape after that type of treatment!! I may try for some doubles so I can perform some drywall tests of my own!