It’s Madballs again! And it’s time to go obscure.
In 2009, there was a brief Madballs revival that almost, almost made it – old characters got hyper-detailed remakes, new characters emerged, and there was even a squishy goop-filled sub-line to add variety! But like all things, it died. It lingered a little longer in Europe, however, and spawned something amazing – a line of ten water squirters, each one a brand-new character! They originally came in vending machines and are kindasorta rare, but not hard to find (check Amazon or ebay), and still fairly cheap on the secondary market. Their size is comparable to the new Madball minis, but they are made of sturdy, squeezable rubber – and yes, they do squirt very well.
But water-squirting isn’t what we’re about, is it? No, it’s Madballs!!!! These monstrosities come in a few basic themes – you have some humans, animals, and wholesale abominations. I’ll start with my favorite abomination, and we can go from there.
This figure is one that I wish would cross over into the “main” Madballs line. It’s just so creepy, so horrifying, so wrong, so… so perfect! With mouths for eyes and an eye for a mouth, this stitched, leaking monstrosity has a pained, wracked expression, clearly living its odd artificial unlife in misery. And it squirts from the pupil of its eye – which unfortunately gives it a ragged appearance, but it’s forgiveable in exchange for the idea that it’s spraying high-pressure vitreous fluid everywhere.
From the back, Eye Sore has another mouth, and another (unpainted) eye! This thing is so good from so many angles that I sort of want to snag more and use them as stress balls.
Although at first glance Flea Bag looks like an animal, it’s just as much an abomination as Eye sore. You can probably see some of it already – it’s eating a fish, which is just terrifying! Okay, okay, it’s the exposed brains. You see, Flea Bag has had a little bit of surgery…
…To become a catdog! The dog side is chewing on the cat’s tail, and looks a little worse for wear. This guy has a lot of oozing detail, and you kind of wonder how the Catdog even lives long enough to look unhappy!
From the side, it’s a stitched-up mess – hard to photograph from one angle, but yeah. Flea Bag is a great, surprisingly-detailed figure, and the only “front” or “back” it has is because of the water squirting feature.
This is a dragon. Straight-up, Spews Ooze is a red dragon with weapons stuck in his hide – a sword, mace, and spear. They contour to his shape, of course, which does make them a little odd, but the effect works – Spews Ooze is one of the less outrageous designs, but he’s honestly kinda cool.
One of the “humans” in this set, Brain Rot is a mad scientist. And even if you ignore the slime in his mouth, he’s a rather terrifying individual – with red eyes, a manic grin, and electrodes attached to his head, you can tell that this guy has experimented on himself perhaps a little too much for comfort. Brain Rot is another one of my favorites, and has some of the most personality in this whole lineup.
The original Madballs line had a character named Crack Head. Parents complained, and so Crack Head became Bash Brain. It seems that the moral guardians never figured out the decidedly worse pun of Deck Head, though! Deck Head, who is learly a corpse – if the fly on his eyeball didn’t spoil it for you – has been murdered via a skateboard shoved into his mouth and out the back of his skull. The ball’s round nature does it a disservice by flattening the board until it looks lik a tongue, not helped by the fact that the wheels are unpainted. It’s a problem in the back, as well – Deck Head isn’t the best in this line, even if he has plenty of deceased personality.
This is another “A bad thing happened to some guy” Madball, with a very similar format to Deck Head – Racket Attack got brutalized to death on the tennis court, and you’re looking at the end result. This actually would have been a great opportunity to make a tennis ball-flavored monster to fit in with Screaming Meemie, but that’s not what we got. He’s got a great animated expression, although his unpainted hair is weird.
Racket Attack has also been impaled – you can see the (unpainted) handle of his racket shoved out his mouth. The racket itself is bent up to contour with his head, which makes the impalement part harder to pick up on at first. That part of the execution mars a few figures, including Spews Ooze’s embedded weapons. That said, Racket Attack does have some nice detail going on.
Don’t let the human face fool you, Fang Thang is a sabretooth tiger! He’s just eaten himself a caveman (and in fact has his unpainted club embedded in his back). The caveman’s mouth lines up strangely with Fang Thang’s lower lip, though, and neither character has a particularly interesting facial expression. The new Snake Bait (which should be showing up among the new minis) has a similar concept, albeit much better-implemented there.
Named for the children’s game, “Peep Hog,” Creep Frog is… wait, Leapfrog? D’oh! Anyway, Creep Frog is one of the more “vanilla” of the new Madballs – he’s a frog, and his gross factor comes with the bugs spewing from his mouth. However, he’s kind of elegant in his simplicity, or at least as elegant as a Madball can be. Creep Frog has a surprising amount of detail and personality in such a basic design, which absolutely saves the figure and makes it more than worthwhile.
A rare female Madball, Scum Chum is an anglerfish – and if you know your zoology, you’d know that it makes her female. Scum Chum is a lot like Creep Frog, with a fantastic use of an “ordinary” design – she’s got bits of undersea flotsam clinging to her body, but what really makes the figure is that facial expression. It’s got huge personality while notreally straying from an actual anglerfish’s face, which is worth a ton. I could see this figure popping up as a bad guy in a NES game, especially with that color palette.
Last but certainly not least, Spit Bull looks like an “ordinary” animal at first, but thenyou notice the tremendous amounts of sheer personality in that face, and everything falls in place. He’s absolutely covered in detail, especially fur texture, and he’s got a great expression! He’s also branded with a pretty large “MB” brand, which is a nice touch.
Well, these figures certainly vary a bit – but it’s a real shame that we’ll probably never see them again Some of them, like Eye Sore and Brain Rot, are up there with the original Madballs in quality, whereas the others, like SPit Bul, are just cool on their own merits. The set isn’t very expensive to complete, and I’d heartily recommend them if you like Madballs at all. They’re weird and different, but a welcome addition to the line.