That magical Christmas season has come and gone, along with that time of year that makes you rip your hair out in despair. Everyone spent time nipping online to buy their nearest and dearest presents from far and wide. Maybe you went old school and actually took a look around the shops for gifts? It is normal at this time of year to find the notorious knock-offs appearing in bargain shops all over the globe. Now, we all know knock off toys are bad. They destroy lives, fund terrorists and generally make the world such a shocking place to live in that if one more toy like this is made, the Earth will explode from the weight of its own evil… Okay maybe not.
All I am trying to say is they are considered quite a naughty thing. But deep down I actually have quite a love for these monster toys. Some are plain hilarious, while others are just wrong. So I thought I would showcase my love of these bootleg toys with you and share the cheesy cheer. I do not know any details on where these toys originated (because they are bootlegs and bootleggers do not tend to advertise their address), but a lot of these come from abroad.
Killer Mickey Mouse
I am not sure what was going through the bootleggers mind when they made this toy or more importantly why this was considered a good idea. Kids all over love Disney characters (They seem to own everything, so I do not think we have a choice in the matter!) and Mickey Mouse is a corner-stone of the Disney experience. But killer Mickey, with what looks like light up eyes, is not something I can see winning over the young ones. Disney have made a werewolf Mickey figure before for part of their Halloween line, so I am guessing it is a copy of that. However, I would rather have one of these outside my house to scare off any unwanted visitors.
Outdoor Adventure Hero Spider-Man
Spider-Man is a true hero. With some great one-liners and a heroic attitude to life, he is a great role model for all. The movies have exposed him to an even wider base of fans so he is now a world-renowned name. This toy seems to be based on the popular 90’s animated show called Spider-Man: The Animated Series,with a new range of threads. Now Peter Parker has had to don some pretty stupid costumes in his time, but it is nice to know that even he gets to mix crime fighting with relaxing. Fisherman Spider-Man and Archer Spider-Man both get to have their brand of forest fun. While Archer Spider-Man certainly looks the part of the casual arrow thrower (maybe he has been taking lessons from Hawkeye?), it is Fisherman Spider-Man who has really piqued my interest. If you thought the color-coded waders were amazing, then watch out because his rod is color-coded as well! But the icing on the cake for me is the bait box which has the Spider-Man logo on it. Classic Spider-Man!
Laser swords are no lightsaber, but boy do they look like one. Normally George Lucas is pretty quick to spot these kind of things, but he must have missed this little beauty which mimics the iconic poster of Star Wars: A New Hope. The worse thing is it is actually a well crafted piece of art and looks pretty impressive. Not sure about that child’s perm though, it is not very becoming of a Jedi. Also Darth Vader looks a lot like a character from The Muppets Show: Pigs in Space, than an actual master of the dark side. Still, I would like to have one hanging on my wall. Time frame for this has got to be mid 70s and it still holds up today.
Assorted Kung Fu Fighters
Now these are incredible. I am pretty sure everyone can see these are based on the original Mortal Kombat combatants (notice no Sonya Blade though, bunch of sexists), but fact is they actually look like they put some effort into making them. They look like the old Mego toys from the 70’s, with their cloth clothes and molded plastic chests. Goro has the head of a fat sumo wrestler rather than his more demonic look, but basically everything else is the same. The character in the middle is puzzling me though. I can not tell if it is meant to be Shang Tsung or Lui Kang, either way it looks nothing like them. And why does he have to share pants with Jimmy Gage, or whatever lame knock off name he has? What a fighter this toy would make in the real Mortal Kombat game (probably going to be an issue with copyrights!).
Mr. Rock really needs no introduction, he is a star so famous he is known the whole world over. So obviously this is Mr. Spock’s never spoken of half brother, who became a failure at everything he did and decided he needed to copy his brother in every way. Or it is simply a rip off of Mr. Spock from the original Star Trek series (oh come on, he needed a back story and I have just provided one). There is some pretty fantastic ’70s art on this box and Mr. Rock (not The Rock from the WWE before you get confused) is pretty well decked out. His face does look a tad strange however, with what looks like red lipstick and his Vulcan ears are so huge they actually look like the fake ones you can buy in the shops.
Robocop is the protector of old Detroit, so he is a busy cyborg. His friend Robert Cop however, is always free if you fancy a chin wag, because he is not on active duty at the moment. This toy on the whole looks pretty much like its film counter part, but the packaging is great. Robocop 2 art is mixed with the title Robert Cop 3. What does that even mean? Is there more than one Robert Cop knocking about? I would love to get all three Robert Cops in a room one day. Okay, I am not going to lie; I really like saying Robert Cop. He seems like the kind of guy who you could have a drink with, safe in the knowledge he would protect you while his busier and more successful other half is getting the scum off the streets.
Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is a nickname for the webslinger (also a nickname), which I think sums up his personality perfectly. But times, they are a changing and Spider-Man must change with them. His country needs his skills, so he has been drafted to fight with the Army. But how best to use his powers? Webbing up potential terrorists or using his spider-sense to detect bombs seems to be a good use of his abilities. But no, the best use is to have him crawling on his belly very slowly with a gun in his hand. Better yet, get him two guns in case he gets into some real trouble. This is a modified version of the classic crawling army soldier to cater to the super hero fans. I love the fact that this toy takes away one of Spider-Man’s main powers (web slinging )and dumps him on the ground, something that would have put off its target audience.
Spader-Man, Spader-Man, does whatever a Spader can. I have become strangely addicted to saying Spader-Man since seeing this toy, must be the way the word feels coming off my tongue. Underneath the box it says “classics” and it certainly is that. If that is not enough, it comes with lights and sounds. Actually what light and sound comes from this toy and where the light emanates from is a mystery to us all.
Star Knight Darth Vader
Have you ever seen the Japanese adverts that starred Darth Vader?
Essentially it is some Japanese cops having a spot of bother with the Master of the Dark Side. They finally get their own back on him. This toy seems to be set straight after this event, where a defeated Darth decides if you can not beat them, join them. So he gets set up for work in the police force. I think his choice of vehicle is a bit suspect however. If he wants to take that into space he is going to have problems and I don’t think the bike will fare well on say, the ice planet of Hoth. This is probably why he jacked this in and decided to just be an evil bugger. I really can’t see how the fans of Star Wars, a film full of space battles, would ever settle for a basic police bike. Even if you do put Star in front of it, it doesn’t fool anyone into thinking this is an exciting product!
Bruce Wayne has a lot of amazing gadgets to help him in the fight against crime, but has he ever used a skateboard? That is where Super Bat comes in; with his headsets on both ears, he is ready to whiz to your rescue. I have no idea where to start with this one. Why does he need two sets of headsets? Why does the figure look completely different from the actual toy and what the heck does Batman need a skateboard for? All these answers are left to our imagination. All I do know is if that toy is as clunky as it looks, a lot of batteries were burnt out getting Super Bat to move anywhere.
Tim Burton Superman
Okay this is not actually a Tim Burton toy, but it does look very similar to the costume Nicholas Cage was meant to wear in Tim’s cancelled Superman movie.
It also lights up (in a sense) just like that costume did. This is probably an old Spider-Man body that was re-jigged into a Superman figure. The head I can only assume came from some kind of discarded reject toy box as it looks truly horrible. If they were trying to make it a Nicholas Cage doll they failed and it in no way resembles Superman. It resembles nothing human, the way it’s empty eyes stare into my soul is unnerving me to no end.
Special Man appears to be anything but special with his bland packaging and very shoddy looking sculpt of Superman’s face. Buy this for a child you really don’t like.
I think my fanboy mind has just imploded. Spider-Man is a Terminator! I never would have guessed it, I must have missed the comic where Peter Parker gets his eye badly damaged and he goes to a dirty bed sit to pop it out into the sink. This toy really freaks me out for some reason, almost like if I look at it a little bit too much it may actually come true somehow. He looks so angry, take it away please. Where is John Connor when you need him?
Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends have a pretty easy life. The conductor looks after them, they get to go out on their jollies or just chill at the station. But every so often they do get into some scraps. Maybe one of Thomas’s train friends has got himself stuck on a line and the commuters are getting very angry about not getting to work on time. Enter Super Robot who can sort out any emergency (even if it does take another 4 trains to actually make him). I am not sure if Thomas shares the same fan base as the Transformers, but you have got to admire the people who put this thing out for trying to grab as much money from the kids as they can.
Throughout history there have been some really tragic events which have never been forgotten. The sinking of the Titanic still holds a certain sway over us, the shocking nature of it has made us return to it again and again. How best do you honor the dead and remind the future generations of the tragedy? Make the Titanic a Transformer, that’s how! Maybe we have the story all wrong, maybe the Titanic sank after an epic battle with iceberg Megatron? I honestly cannot think why people thought this was a good idea in any way, shape, or form. The even stranger thing about this is it actually floats and swims if that propeller underneath is anything to go by. I am pretty sure that Transformers fans really don’t want to play with a ship that has so much grief associated with it. What an incredible combination.
So hopefully this has given you a list of stuff to either avoid like the plague or search the shops like a man or woman on a mission. If you are interested in more of these (and believe me there are many more) why not check out Cracked.Com , Flavorwire.Com, Sad and Useless.Com, Comics Alliance.Com and Topless Robot.Com which is where I found some of these beauties. Or better yet just type in Boot Leg or Knock Off Toys in Google and see for yourself what classics pop up.