December 23, 2011
2011’s Hot Toy Craze by Mark Heike
Have you seen this year’s big holiday toy craze, Mattel’s “Monster High” dolls? These things actually crept onto the market more than a year ago, but it took awhile for them to really take off. The concept is this: a group of orginal (mostly female) teen characters who are supposed to be the second-generation offspring of famous monster characters-or at least archtypes. The 12-inch dolls are cute and creepy at the same time, and pretty nicely designed. When I first saw them last year, I wondered if the Mattel folks hadn’t miscalculated badly and come up with something that would miss the mainstream and appeal only to the collector’s market. A lot of other so-called “experts” among retail buyers and chain-store magnates originally had the same thought (“Little girls won’t want this SPOOKY stuff.”), but once the marketing machine (starting out with little on-minute animated freebies on YouTube last year to two animated TV specials this year, leading to a live-action theatrical movie next year, but no comic book in sight so far )) got cranked up, all were proved wrong.
Older (and male) collectors covet these things, but the 6-11 year old girls are snapping them up at an incredible rate. I’d tell any of you who are FEMFORCE fans to go check them out at your local Target, Wal-Mart or Toys ‘R Us, but right about now the shelves are BARE, and most retailers seem to be having a hard time keeping them in stock. We at AC always felt that there was a little more range to the youth female market than just pink and frilly stuff, and the Monster High franchise seems to be proving it. Now if only some foreward-thinking toy company would bankroll a line similar to this that focuses on SUPERHEROINE characters instead of monsters (maybe some franchise that ALREADY HAS a long-running comic book?), I know a small group of talented creators who could supply the graphics, comics, videos (live-action and animated) and toy sculpts as sweat-equity. Any takers out there?