Creators of toylines have a curious job. They are faced with a constant predicament; how to make more figures and accessories without letting the products becoming an absurd pack of nonsense? This is, of course, a trick question and any toy creator that attempts to answer it is sacked instantly. Reason being the screams of devastated children who have just had Christmas ruined feeds the ancient cantarion demon that controls all toy companies, which is why you get products like:
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pizza Thrower
I remember the first time I saw TMNT, and so does my babysitter as it was the first time she had witnessed a screaming eight year old boy start to enter puberty. In England it was called ‘Hero’ turtles as ‘Ninja’ was seen as too violent. Also, all of Michelangelo’s nunchaku scenes were cut as British equality laws means that severely mentally incapacitated people are allowed to decide censorship. But none of this mattered, because at the end of the day it was a load of mutated amphibians beating the crap out of a brain in a robot suit under the watchful eye of a karate rat. It had the perfect mix of ingredients for an 80’s cartoon – a plot that seemed as though it had been screamed into your face by a schizophrenic on a bus, and weapons.
The toys were great too. All the characters you wanted, plus Irma.
Christmas 1987: "Fuck you Mum & Dad!"
So what the actual shit is this?
That’s a tank that fires pizzas at its enemies. There are lots of questions regarding this design, perhaps most pressing is "what the fuck?" Why? Why would the Turtles make a machine that fired their favourite thing all over the place? That's like me going into battle with a crossbow that shoots softcore Japanese pornography.
The Hulk Copter
The Hulk is famous for two things. One is unlimited strength and the other is being dumb as a rock. Another is not now, or ever, for being able to fly a helicopter. Someone, somewhere however, decided that the Hulk is a qualified pilot. And just to be subtle, painted his helicopter bright green, because the Hulk is known for having problems getting attention.
Why does the Hulk want a helicopter anyway? He can jump across entire countries in one leap, and based on the fact that his answer to every problem he faces in life is to hit something as hard as he can, he probably can't land that thing for shit!
One of the main issues that designers of these vehicles seemed to have is that they assumed it would be a good idea for the vehicle to do exactly what the superhero does without the vehicle. Here is a classic example of this. Spider-Man can fire webs from his wrists, has the proportional strength of a spider (which equals out to about one tonne per whateverheneedstointhatstory) and the agility of an acrobat. What better way to capitalise on these powers then to drive around in a massive car with a net on the back? This way, whenever he sees a thief he can hope that they fall into the exact area needed to bounce off his net and land on the back of his head.
Aquaman Aqua Sub
Aquaman has always been the worst superhero. His powers are useful underwater, sure, but since most of the heroes breathe oxygen, the majority of their adventures take place on the Earth’s surface. The only thing Aquaman can do that other members of the Justice League can't is translate screams whenever they walk past an aquarium. Why does he want a submarine? That's like The Flash having an oxygen tank to go to the shops. I assume that he uses the sub as a holding pen for octopi he's trying to seduce.
Superman Motorbike With Wonderwoman Sidecar
There just isn’t any logic to this on any level.
WONDERWOMAN: Clark, I’m going to just fly.
SUPERMAN: SHUT UP! I CAN MAKE THIS WORK! THIS CAN BE A THING!
One of the reasons these products are so odd is that they're all officially licensed - someone with control of a brand signed off on them. But let's imagine there's a magical world where copyright laws don't apply, where one in one products is a bootleg and 'Top Quality' equals 'stuffed with only semi-live snakes'. For arguments sake, let's call this wondrous place 'China'. What then, would 'China' make of a toyline, free from all the padlocks of basic rules of trademark?
THAT is Darth Vader riding a police bike. Good night.