Tuesday, January 31 2017 15:59

Toy Review: The Return of Madballs! Series 1 (2017)

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When I was a kid, it was always interesting to hear how much the grownups of the day referenced the 1950s, and to a lesser extent, the 1960s. As a parent of this generation, I find myself constantly referencing the 1980s, and I don't know if it's all a part of the "Back in my day..." cycle, or if that decade just really was perfect when it came to pop culture and toys. Joining the multitude of icons that have returned, Madballs are back for another round this year, relaunched and ready to win the masses with their gross-out fun. 

Like many properties of the 80s, this is not the first relaunch for Madballs. The first attempt came about a decade ago, and I don't recall ever even seeing those at retail. Now, in the hands of Just Play under license from American Greetings, Madballs Series 1 brings kids a new spin on six of the original characters, straight outta 1985. 

Photo Gallery: Madballs Series 1 (2017, Just Play)

Screamin' Meemie is perhaps the most iconic of the bunch, the one that I always associate with Madballs. A baseball with a face, he's the one that all the kids on my Little League team wanted to have. Joining him in the mix are Skull Face (the name says it all), Slobulus (a sloppy chap), Oculus Orbus (eyeball), Horn Head (again, it's all in the name) and Dust Brain (Mummy).

I don't understand the full appeal of Madballs aside from "they look cool," but The Rock Daughters™ absolutely love them (don't think my wife is a fan). I will say that these feel a lot more Nerf-like than what I remember from my youth. They're safe to be tossed around, and they don't have the "weight" that I recall. 

Madballs are Rock Father-approved, and are available now at Target, Walmart, Meijer, Toys "R" Us and more. Also, be sure to look for Just Play's Madballs Series 1 Blind Bag minis! We'll be looking at those in a future post.

Bonus: Just Play isn't alone in rockin' the Madballs this year. While these are geared toward kids and meant to be played with, kidrobot is in on the Madballs action as well. Known for their collector-oriented vinyl, kidrobot x Madballs is a collection of blind box mini figures, 6" vinyl figures and mini foam keychains that are meant for display. See those and buy them here.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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