Peel Here #32, Catch the Madbell fever!


By Shawn Robare



Thanks to an awesome eBay store, the Swoopermarket, which stocks a really awesome variety of 80s vintage stickers, I was finally able to procure a sheet of stickers that I’ve been trying to get my hands on for a while. Back around Christmas I stumbled upon an auction for a package of Madballs stickers from 1989 that I really wanted to win so that I could share the stickers on Peel Here. Well for the longest time the only person with these stickers on eBay was only selling them in bulk (10 or 50 packages of 4 sheets each) and for a pretty heft price. What in the hell was I going to do with 40 identical sheets of Madballs stickers? I’ll be honest, I don’t have the patience to re-sell stickers on eBay for profit, so I resigned myself to skipping Madballs on Peel Here. Then the Swoopermarket got some sheets in stock and presto, here are they are…


I pretty much missed out on the whole Madballs craze in the mid to late 80s as I really hadn’t developed my taste for monster themed products yet and I was more into Transformers and G.I. Joe. In fact I was more of a brand loyalist when it came to toys (or anything really) so I just didn’t venture outside of that comfort zone much. In retrospect, how can I not love a line of toys that are like Rob Zombie drawing come to life? I mean, who doesn’t love a toy with the name Aargh? Madballs are also just another link in the gory, deformed, slime covered, frankensteind, fetal monster art tradition that goes all the way back to folks who collected detailed medical drawings of cadavers or human oddities. From carny sideshow memorabilia, to the monster magazines and model kits of the 50s and 60s, to the Topps Ugly sticker cards of the 60s, to bubblegum machine finger puppets, to DC’s Plop comics, on through 80s skateboarding art & Garbage Pail Kids in the 80s, Madballs are just another extension of the weird interest we have in the morbid and macabre (an extension that you could bean a friend in the head with, which make it a very versatile morbid piece of art.)

There’s also something very 80s heavy metal about the design on these toys.  Between Eddie (the Iron Maiden mascot), Vic Rattlehead (the Megadeth mascot), and the various Pusshead drawings for Metallica, there’s a very similar feel to the line-up of the Madballs toys.  Anyway, last year American Greetings (who I believe own the rights to the toyline) were going to team up with Art Asylum to re-introduce the Madballs toys to the public, going so far as to set up a webpage, though I haven’t seen anything actually released.  There are a still a few fan pages floating around the internets though, and Matt over at X-Entertainment has written pretty extensively on the subject (as well as ripping and proving awesome Madballs commericials for download.)