This year will see the return of toy icons Stretch Armstrong, View-Master and Teletubbies to shelves. This week, while we're feeling all nostalgic, the ToyNews team is making pleas to the industry to bring back some other classics. Next up, Robert Hutchins discusses his love of Boglins.
While Atmosfear may have had kids of the 90s trembling at the mere sight of a die and a VHS player, it was a whole four years earlier that the real seeds of horror were planted.
It was in 1987 when an altogether new breed of foulness invaded the nation, nay the globe, as toy stores packed their shelves with some of the most rubber-faced creatures to emerge from pop-culture since Mickey Rourke.
Boglins hit the big time in the year the world was still coming to terms with the Creatures craze of the mid 80s, a period during which packed out cinemas watched Ghoulies emerge from toilets, Critters delight on human flesh and Gremlins tear their poor Mogwai’s asunder.
Alarmingly, it was also the year of my birth, but I won’t be drawing parallels.
The Boglins range itself experienced a number of incarnations over its history, bursting on to the scene as a series of toy puppets distributed by Mattel and licensed by Seven Towns, each one themed around either goblins, aquatic creatures or Halloween ghouls.
I can tell you now, there is little to rival the feeling of reaching your hand inside the rear end of a cold, rubbery goblin just far enough to be able to manipulate its eyes and mouth in all manner of grotesque contortions.
Boglins were big business and until the turn of the 90s managed to breathe a whole new life into the boys’ puppet sector.
However, by 1991, evolution had taken hold and these creepy little blighters had been transformed into a range of blind-bagged collectables, called Mini Boglins.
More humorous than ever before, the new incarnation opened Boglins up to a whole new audience of playground collectors.
Originally divided into six different tribes (The Clumsies, The Freaks, The Greedies, The Jokers, The Rude Dudes and The Tough Guys), schoolyards were soon awash with characters such as Chief Trog, Gurg and Blurp, as kids scrambled to collect the whole lot.
Through these solid PVC creatures, friendships were forged and broken and youngsters were taught the cold, hard truths of playground etiquette. To this day, Miles George and I still have unresolved issues over an incident involving a rare Blarf and a Blurp. I wonder if he dwells on it as much as I do.
Mattel relaunched the Boglins puppet line in 2000 with two new series: large, electronic versions that talked, and several smaller characters that stuck out their tongues or spat water when squeezed.
By this time, however, I was under the mounting pressures of teenage years that all 13 year olds experience and I decided to cool off my love affair with Boglins for more favourable options.
The collectables market has by no means suffered from the absence of Boglins over recent years, having gone from strength to strength with the likes of Pogs, GoGos and Moshi Monsters.
However, the allure of the gruesome can never be staved for long and today we may just be seeing a revival of the sensibilities Boglins championed with Vivid’s 21st century take on all things disgusting, Fungus Amungus tipped to cause a stir.
For me, however, the image of Drak – a Boglin with a nasty habit of pulling his own brain out of his head – will be one that sticks with me forever.