Today’s objective: To find the best and weirdest Madballs collectibles currently on eBay.
For an added layer of difficulty, I’m disqualifying any of AmToy’s original Madballs from this list. I want this to be a deeper dig. The goal isn’t just to show you a bunch of cool crud, but a bunch of cool crud that you might not already know about!
Madballs Lunch Box!
Asking Price: $12.99
Madballs scored several lunch boxes back in the ‘80s, but I’m most fond of this one, where a bunch of the monsters invade someone’s lunch and waste little time in turning it toxic. Imagine that as a TV Guide description, and tell me you wouldn’t watch that show.
Strange as it sounds, the grossness of Madballs was rarely presented in such on-the-nose fashion. Check out Swine Sucker in the back, drinking from the very glass of milk that he just finished souring!
Madballs Picture Soaps!
Asking Price: $10+
Sure it’s weird, but to be fair, almost every ‘80s toy line expanded into toiletries. Hell, I think even Captain Power had a shaving set, which would’ve been ridiculous even if it wasn’t aimed at seven-year-olds.
Note the boast at the bottom of the package: “Picture lasts the life of the soap!” I get what they’re saying, but there must be seventy trillion better ways to phrase that. “Picture lasts the life of the soap” sounds like some cryptic bullshit an old man says on his deathbed at the start of a three hour movie.
Asking Price: $99.95
The simplicity of Madballs made them easy pickings on the bootleg/knockoff market. I don’t know if I could name another toy line that was so frequently and so brazenly aped.
Ironically, the comparative scarcity of those bootlegs have made them extra desirable to collectors, and they now frequently sell for more than the real deals!
This crude Screamin’ Meemie knockoff wouldn’t be worth mentioning if not for his amazing packaging. Halley Man?! I am so down with rebranding Madballs as living, breathing comets.
Glow in the Dark Weird Balls!
Asking Price: $100+
In addition to straight-up bootlegs, a number of upstart lines sought only to draw inspiration from Madballs. Weird Ball was probably the chicest of those lines, with designs and executions that were often even better than anything from AmToy.
The Weird Ball collection included everything from action figures to trading cards, and of course, actual balls. This set is currently enjoying a bidding war on eBay, due chiefly to its rarity, but also to the fact that an egg-shaped monster with worms crawling out of its eyes is all kinds of irresistible.
(Oh, and pay close attention to those price stickers. The red one is an old TRU clearance tag. These babies were marked down to just 38 cents! I so miss the days when toy stores never gave up, no matter how few pennies they earned.)
Bagged Madballs Comic Set!
Asking Price: $24.99
Yes indeed, Madballs had a comic book series, under Marvel’s Star Comics imprint. The three issues are easy to find, but getting them all in an old school discount bag makes this particular auction pop in a big way.
Considering that I’ve seen this bagged set exactly once in all of my many years spent eBaying, I find no fault with the $25 asking price.
Monster Baseball Bat!
Asking Price: $389.99
Oooh, these bats are legendary. I’ve sometimes seen it alleged that they were legitimately licensed Madballs products, but from what I can tell, they certainly weren’t. The series of full-sized monster bats were fittingly sold under the Monster Baseball umbrella, and without a big toy company to back them, they were more typically found in pharmacies and bric-a-brac stores — not Toys “R” Us.
The line included several bats in several colors, and I suppose their existence was sensible enough. After all, if you collected Madballs, what better bats to smash them with?
(The price seems high, but I’ve been tracking these for years and have never seen one slide by for under $175. In fact, most sellers want even more than this guy does!)
Madballs Cartoon Videocassette!
Asking Price: $39.95
Because miracles do happen, Madballs had its own animated series. Nobody seems terribly sure about how many episodes were conceived or produced, but only two made it into the public’s hands — Escape from Orb and Gross Jokes.
Both episodes are readily found on YouTube, making the original videocassettes worthless to everyone except hardcore fans. Here’s the full Escape from Orb episode, which does have a certain “this was really meant for Saturday mornings” vibe. Was more intended for this series than a couple of Hi-Tops videos? Perhaps!
Bonkers Ugly Ball!
Asking Price: $225
I’m cheating a bit on this one, since the auction is no longer active. (Looks like the seller pulled it early, presumably upon realizing that nobody who owns a legit Ugly Ball should ever part with it.)
Here’s the situation: Bonkers, those chewy fruit candies that were super popular during Madballs’ heyday, offered their own monster ball in a special mail-away promotion. Though few actually owned the Ugly Ball, many remember it, all thanks to this ridiculous television commercial. (…which was somehow the best Madballs promo ever, despite having nothing to do with Madballs.)
While technically just another knockoff, the Ugly Ball is revered to the point of unofficial officialness. It’s now one of the rarest and most expensive Madballs (real or fake) out there, so even a watchful collector may have to wait several months for one to pop up.