Maarten Prinsen - Issue #7

Revue
 
Ugly. Scary. Misunderstood. I'm not talking about Sloth from 'The Goonies', although he fits the bi
Revue

Maarten Prinsen

July 4 · Issue #7 · View online
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Ugly. Scary. Misunderstood.
I’m not talking about Sloth from ‘The Goonies’, although he fits the bill perfectly..
No, boys and girls, I’m talking about monster toys.
Madballs, to be more specific…
If you know what they are, you’ve had a great childhood.
If not, it’s never too late to meet new friends…

Balls
There were so many short-lived toy lines during my childhood, that I wouldn’t even know where to start.
It seems as if toy manufacturers were more easily convinced, resulting in the most obscure, peg-warming figures that have ever seen the light of day.
Everyone was hoping for their product to become the next Masters of the Universe, Ghostbusters or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
While most figures ended up as cannon fodder for my A-listers, there were exceptions.
Madballs hit the scene as lifesize balls (no pun intended, or…) that you could actually throw and kick around.
They had all sorts of cool names and even cooler looks.
For instance, there was a horned cyclops, appropriately named “Horn Head”, a mummy called “Dust Brain” and a maggot-ridden skeleton/ corpse that listened to the name “Skull Face”.
Do I hear somebody say:“AWESOME!!”?
Yes. I heard somebody say that word.
My inner child said it. And he was goddamn right!
Madballs
Over here in the Netherlands, the original Madballs weren’t that big a thing unfortunately.
Maybe because parents didn’t like the idea of their kids throwing around something that looked like a severed and shrunken head.
Who knows. Seriously. If anybody out there has the answer, let me know.
Because Madballs did well in the US, they decided to take the toyline a step further. That’s when we got Madballs Head Popping Action Figures.
One day, I was walking past a toy shop with my dad and sister and there they were. I had to look twice, because they were some of the coolest, grossest things I’d ever seen.
These figures had an awesome feature as well, that their name probably gave away..
You could press down a lever on their back and the figure’s head would be launched at that pesky kid from across the street that always smelled like a wet dog.
Of course I had to have one of these bad boys!
I chose Skull Face and my sister got Dust Brain. We played with the figures for weeks and after that I proudly displayed them.
One day, I got the Mad Roller Cycle as well; the only vehicle ever produced for the line. It came with the ultra-mega-cool-exclusive Horn Head figure!
To this day, I still own those three creeps and their bizarre choice of transportation!
Collectables
A few years ago, I decided I wanted to collect the entire set of figures. It was a struggle. Not even kidding!
Most of these figures come with a broken popping mechanism due to age and/or frequent use.
The paint on their gruesome heads usually has some major imperfections as well, because they were shot at, you know, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!!
It took a few years and some cold hard cash, but finally I had the complete set.
I displayed my band of misfits proudly, with their heads clicked on their body.
Big mistake.
One night, I woke up from a single “THUD!” and knew something was wrong.
One of the spring mechanisms had lost its battle with father time and catapulted the owner’s rubbery head all across my bedroom.
The lever was broken, as was my spirit..
Complete. Once again.
Unfortunately, due to this spontaneous accident, I considered my collection incomplete.
I had to have the figure with an undamaged neck..
Turned out to be a difficult task, as the figures are increasing in value and have become very popular through the years.
One day, I decided to bite the bullet.
Did I mention the fact that the figures were sold in insanely sweet packaging in good old Japan as well?
No I didn’t. I’d know, because I wrote this.
The Japanese packaging has written “vintage kickass” all over it. At least I think so, because I can’t read Japanese..
Long story short: I bought the last figure, complete in Japanese packaging. Hit two birds with one stone. Super happy. Collection complete. Mission accomplished!
Little me would be proud!
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