During the late 1980’s one of the most popular themes for toys aimed primarily at young boys was to make something that looked repulsive or disgusting in some way. Â For example, the sugary sweet Cabbage Patch Kid was reinvented as a gruesome series of trading cards known as Garbage Pail Kids. Â The subject of this post, the Madballs series, was another toy created around this kind of an idea.
Madballs were basically rubber balls that had been made to look like different kinds of strange and ugly creatures. Â Egyptian Mummies, oversized eyeballs and skulls were actually the more normal end of the range of designs available, with the other end being odd slime drenched or vein covered abominations of nature.
Each ball was about the size of a baseball, but made from soft bouncy rubber. Â They could be used as normal balls of course, although the lumpy facial features often made predicting where they would roll or bounce a little tricky. Â Each ball had a name to match its looks, such as Slobulous, which had a massive drooling tongue and one eye popping out slightly, or Oculous Orbus, which was the aforementioned giant eyeball.
There were two series of eight designs released, but there was also a range of Super Madballs which were larger and resembled more regular balls such as American footballs or basketballs, crazy facial features aside of course.
The Madballs even proved popular enough to launch their own cartoon show and the usual associated tie-in merchandise such as duvet covers and lunchboxes.
If you were a fan of these as a child then you may be pleased to know that the Madballs are making a comeback, in the US at least (I’m not sure if there are plans to bring them to the UK yet). Â As well as two series each of six Madballs (comprising mostly revamped versions of the original Madballs but with a few new characters added for good measure) there is also a range entitled the Madballs SICK Series. Â This latter range take some of the most popular designs and make them even more repulsive by having bits of brain or eyeball squidge out of the ball when you squeeze it. Â Sounds delightful I’m sure you’l agree!
For more information on the new Madballs range take a look at theÂ Official Madballs website, which is packed full of everything you could possibly want to know about the new balls and also features some games where you can join one of the Madball leagues (by picking a bogie out of a nose and dropping it into a coloured container – urgh!) and compete so that your team takes control of the website!