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Based on the popularity of the last few month's articles as well as my own addiction to finding the little buggers, I've decided to devote yet another article the finest little bootlegged toys that were ever assembled in South East Asian sweatshops. And depsite what you may believe, I haven't milked this cow dry yet. These actually get better as time goes on, and this month's stuff is so good that I'll not only let you see it, but you'll even get to hear some of it in action.
Over the last few months, I've made hauls all over town in search of these fun little items, scouring flea markets and dollar stores on all ends of the city, but several of the items showcased this month are actually imported from the faraway land of Melbourne, Florida. My girlfriend hails from there and went home over the holidays and again last weekend, returning with some real gems. Some of it covers familiar territory, but some of it is altogether a new experience.
First up, though, before I get in to the Floridian imports, I'll start off with something that appears to be somewhat of a variation on our old friend, the Spider-Man Telephone. Possible made in the exact same low-wage factory and still finding its way for happy time American consumption is the lovely Hello Kitty Phone.
As you can see, the Hello Kitty Phone has a nearly identical keypad to the Spidey phone, and also features the flashlight capability of its web-slinging cousin. In addition, though, the phone has a mock antenna that lights up with a warm pinkish glow when any of the keypads are pressed, as a (very loud) tone is heard as well.
This month, as I mentioned above, we bring you a special treat: the sounds of some of our bootleg toys as they spring in to action. Now, the Hello Kitty phone also makes the same sounds that the Spidey phone does, so now if you've ever wanted to know what it sounded like you're in luck as well. These sounds don't correspond to particular keys, but rather seem to come in random order whenever you press a key. The first of these sounds like a 56K modem talking to a network. The second of these sounds is a random pattern of beeps followed by an operator with a heavy accent saying "Can I help you? Information." The third sound is some high-pitched ringing with the same woman saying "Operator". And the fourth sound, well, why "Mary Had a Little Lamb" needed barking dogs randomly jumping in is a mystery, so just give it a listen.
Listen to Hello Kitty Phone #2
Listen to Hello Kitty Phone #3
Listen to Hello Kitty Phone #4
I've also given the Hello Kitty Phone a chance to pose with her kin, in this touching photograph:
This is actually not the only Hello Kitty Phone in existence, apparently. There is yet another variation on this theme, which we found at a flea market after purchasing the one you see and hear above. It's got a different color scheme, has its own special packaging, and comes with accessories as well. Here is the alternative Hello Kitty Phone, which we ultimately passed on because four dollars for a retread was just too much to pay.
Of course, no bootleg toy run is complete without the aid of Spider-Man in some incarnation, and lord knows we found a winner when the Super Deformed Spidey Gun of Doom presented itself to me.
When I found our web-slinging friend here, I was mesmerized not only by the fact that he has a giant glowing green hand, but also by the idea that in order to squeeze Spidey's trigger, you have to lovingly wrap your hand around his leg and bury your index finger into his crotch. Ewwww. Also, looks can be deceiving when you see something along these lines. Upon first glance, and up until I got the thing home, I assumed it was a water gun. But when I removed it from the package and saw the exposed wires in the barrel as well as the battery cover, I realized that this sucker was electronic.
Here's me firing off a couple of rounds with Spidey-gun, showing the bright green glow that emanates from the barrel. The gun also makes sounds, but they're nothing you've never heard before if you've ever have one of those stupid little keychains that make machine gun and bomb noises.
Next, I bring you the first of the Floridian goodies, and a variation on a toy we're all pretty familiar with: The Ben Affleck Rubik's Cube!
Now, for some reason, whenever I find a bootlegged toy with Daredevil's likeness on it, they always use the image of Ben Affleck as the blind superhero from that shitty movie from a year or so ago. Spider-Man, Batman, Hulk, Superman, and others generally are always artistic renditions, but Affleck gets to have his face plastered all over little Mexican and Chinese bootlegged toys. Sure, There's less Daredevil stuff than Spidey by a longshot, but there's still a fair amount out there. I've also included a top view of the Affleckube to show the fact that the white side of the cube actually has the big mosaic Ben rather than lots of little ones.
Nothing too exciting, but the fact that it was kind of a new angle on things was enough to justify me including the item in this month's update.
The following two items are a continuation on a phenomenon that quite frankly boggles my mind. If you'll go all the way back to the very first bootleg toys article, I found "Hero Household", a trio of rainbow-colored Spider-Men packed together as a unit. Now, the idea of owning a single Spider-Man toy is perfectly normal, and owning variations of the character seems like it makes some sense as well. But packaging them together? I'm not sure what the marketing wizards behind this idea were thinking, but they apparently went the extra mile when they gave us this:
The Spideys have again multiplied, this time arriving in a four-pack. There are only two variations this time around as well: two "normal" Spideys, and two in a hideous blue and gold motif. As you can see, these are part of the ever-growing Super Change line of bootlegs, which apparently consists entirely of different-sized Spider-Man figures. The art on the card is also puzzling, depicting some hero type men of unknown origin that have nothing at all to do with the characters found within the package.
But just when you thought it couldn't get any more Spidey-ful, we find the following:
This item was not purchased, since there are only so many Spider Multi-packs I can handle, but I think that the toy is named "Super Hero Craze". Again, multitudes of Spideys are packed together, this time with three "normal" web-slingers as well as a Christmas Spidey and an all-Crimson Spidey. The packaging also indicates that there are non-Spideys in the line, but I can't seem to find any Batmen or Power Rangers anywhere. The multi-Spidey thing is apparently the biggest thing going in third world countries, and I'm not one to question it. Also, all of the Spideys packaged in these sets appear to have the ever-popular "LED on chest or crotch for no apparent reason" design as well.
This brings us to this month's big finale, which is so ungodly amazing that I decided to devote an entire page to its pure awesomeness. For one reason, it's because I have a lot of photos and sound files to cover; and for another, I didn't want you scrolling down this far and spoiling the surprise before it's time. So, if you dare, click on the link below, and prepare to be taken to Bootleg Toy Valhalla...