Until recently, toys were the sole domain of children, but Generation X has refused to completely grow up, resulting in a whole new market for toys[sigma] young adults. Although there is a big market for nostalgia and the purchase of old toys like Mego figures, Six Million Dollar Man toys, and vintage Star Trek and Star Wars toys, the real revolution is in new toy lines aimed primarily at an adult market. These adult toys generally depict pop culture icons, both vintage and modern. Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s Monster, The Simpsons, and even pin-up queen Bettie Page have all gotten the action figure treatment.
Sideshow Toys’ Monsters
There are few things in this world that held me as spellbound as Universal Studios’ monster films. My head would swim with the images from Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, and every Saturday, I would scan the weekly TV listings in hopes of seeing The Mummy’s Ghost, Werewolf Of London, or Son Of Frankenstein scheduled for the late show. There were some poor attempts to capture these characters in toy form, but these were lame even by a seven-year-old’s standards. In addition to the videotapes and DVDs of my beloved monster movies, Sideshow Toys now have a series of highly detailed action figures of Universal Monsters, with dead-on likenesses. They even managed to make the Bride of Frankenstein figure still show Elsa Lanchester’s beauty through the gruesome make-up. Even lesser monsters like one of the mole men from The Mole People and the Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth. The company has recently acquired the rights to the likeness of Bela Lugosi, so figures of Igor and Count Dracula are on their way.
Toys based on The Simpsons aimed at kids have generally been about as popular as Jerry Falwell at Fire Island. I guess someone at Playmates Toys suddenly realized that The Simpsons, although a cartoon, is not a kiddie show, and geared their new line of figures at the 18-35 year old demo that live and breathe the show. The line includes small playsets that allow the figures to “talk.” The characters represented feature both leading characters such as Homer, Bart, and Lisa, and peripheral fan favorites like Ned Flanders, Waylon Smithers, and Apu. There is even a Halloween gift set with Flanders as the Devil, Bart as the Fly, Mr. Burns as Dracula, and King Homer. With a seemingly endless string of beloved characters, The Simpsons action figure line could go on for a very long time. Did someone just ask for a Troy McClure figure?
If you had any doubt that these toys are for the adult market, the Bettie Page figure should erase all doubt. It’s a six-inch figure of Bettie based on her “Jungle Girl” photos shot by Bunny Yeager. Her fur bikini is removable, and Bettie features sculpted and painted nipples. One can only wonder if they’ll put out a Bettie in Bondage figure?