A while back I began pondering on Twitter about why certain old cartoons hadn’t been made into viable toy lines. It seems these days that almost everything is being pined for some sort of toy and these old cartoons and characters need new life. With that in mind, here is a list of ten cartoons that need toys and here are the specific toys I’d like to see them breathed into life with. Although this list is numbered, it’s not in any particular order of importance.
#10. Chip N’ Dale Resuce Rangers
Reimagined as Revoltech
In recent years Revoltech has really gone out of their way to pick up a variety of oddball licenses. While there are a lot of other franchises I’d probably rather see as Revoltech, this one makes sense to me. Kaiyodo has built up a pretty good relationship with Disney and has made numerous Disney designed figures. While they haven’t done much on traditional Disney cartoons, I think Chip & Dale would be a great place to start. Of course I have one caveat. I want the whole team. Chip, Dale, Gadget and most importantly Monterrey Jack with Zipper! Tad Stones famous cartoon would be an incredible toy line if produced in any medium, but Revoltech would definitely make it more fun. I actually don’t even need any of the villains, just the heroes.
#9. Beetlejuice (The Cartoon)
Reimagined as Kid Robot
Beetlejuice was such a popular kids cartoon in it’s time that it’s almost amazing that it’s been forgotten. Sure, Kenner had a Beetlejuice line, but it never quite tied into the cartoon. There are a ton of fans out there for this old cartoon and it’s the perfect sort of license for designer vinyl. Let’s face it, most of these designs just don’t work as traditional action figures or toys. As fun vinyls? Those would be great. What designer actually does the deed? Who knows!? There are tons of great vinyl guys out there. I can just see Kid Robot selling the toys, much like they do with the Futurama and Simpsons mini vinyls.
#8. Aeon Flux
Reimagined as Figma
Aeon Flux’s run on Liquid Television was the stuff of legend. Later “Æon Flux” got it’s own show on MTV. Somehow that all led up to a horrible movie that we’d best all forget about. One thing is for certain though, the designs were absolutely amazing in their day and still stand the test of time as being quite unique. While Revoltech would also work well with this line, I think Max Factory’s Figmas series would serve it best. These guys specialize in doing female figures.
This is the perfect medium for this toy line. It would have crossover appeal to a Japanese audience as well, I’d imagine. Figma has shown they can do some incredible male figures as well and with the lines branching out into more sci-fi stuff like Robocop (possibly to continue to compete with Revoltech) it makes sense to try and get another popular American property under their wing. You could make army builder guards and have a ton of things people would buy. I’m actually amazed that so little Aeon Flux stuff has come out over the years in regards to toys.
#7. Space Ghost
Reimagined as DCUC
Toynami had a great Space Ghost: Coast to Coast line at the beginning of the millennium. Unfortunately they suffered two cruel fates. One, Toynami was still working out the kinks and the toys themselves harken a bit back to early 1990’s toy making. Two, the big toy boom of the early millennium pushed these things out of many people’s conscience and just as quickly as they came, they were gone. Leaving these figures to become highly sought after and expensive aftermarket collectibles.
As much as I love Coast to Coast, I think a traditional Space Ghost line would boost even more fans. Why? Because you get the best of both worlds. Mattel could pick up the license, reuse mostly DCUC bucks and only have to sculpt a handful of unique figures like Zorak. They could even reuse the Gleek mold, slightly modified for Blip. The original cartoon had a ton cool villains and all those Alex Toth designs deserve homage in a DCUC style line.
#6. Heavy Metal
Reimagined as Indie Spotlight
Some people might question that I’m going to suggest Shocker Toys make a toy line, but Heavy Metal is a perfect fit for them. Pretty much every main character in the film could be made into a toy as an anchor in what would be the best wave of Indie Spotlight yet. Imagine a badass Taarna, a larger scale Hanover Fiste, a big blue Den and of course the stoner robot dudes. There’s really a whole gold mine of characters to be done here and Shocker would probably be the only company willing to take on the license. Of course, they’d have to tweak their current Indie/Anime Spotlight format so that they could do a whole wave of characters from the property. Oh yeah, they’d have to actually MAKE them. Maybe NECA would be better suited for this.
#5. Duck Tales
Reimagined as ANYTHING
Seriously, why is there not a Duck Tales toy line of any type? Outside of Mego, I’d take any sort of Duck Tales figures. I do have the awesome Uncle Scrooge from Playing Mantis, but it’s not enough. It showed that the potential is there for any toy company that wants to try it… But somebody really needs to get on this. I honestly believe that if a toy company embraced this line and launched it big, it could rival any toy line on the shelf today. EVERYBODY loves Duck Tales and the cartoon had a plethora of interesting characters and designs. Imagine a toy line like the Palisades Muppets, with that sort of unique sculpting and diversity… But as Duck Tales. Man… That would be awesome. But really, I’ll take anything at this point.
#4. Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors
Reimagined as Glyos
Okay, it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that Mattel would likely never give this toy line up. Still, if they were willing to let the guys at Onell Designs get their hands on it… The possibilities are endless. It’s a perfect fit for the Glyos concept. This is the exact sort of toy line that Glyos really needs in terms of compatibility too, adding in a ton of vehicles. The cartoon itself is largely irrelevant, but since it was a cartoon and there were a few cool designs hidden in there, I’ll take those two. Mostly I want Glyos style remakes of characters like Saw Boss. This would be a billion times more appealing to fans than something like say, Outer Space Men. The could sell plenty of parts packs, just like Mattel did back in the day.
Reimagined as Max Factory/McFarlane
Guyver is on the best anime properties around. People love the Guyver, and it’s hugely popular here in the states. It had two feature films here and it’s just the kind of thing that could get people interested in McFarlane again. Of course, Max Factory already made the perfect Guyver figures before, but the line is so scarce and hard to get that you’re looking to pay over $200 for just the regular 6 inch Guyver. Most people don’t even know Max Factory did a Guyver line. If McFarlane could find a way to get those sculpts, or do their own line with lots of articulation like their Halo properties, it could be a real hit. Plus it’s McFarlane and they used to love doing off the wall, crazy, over the top monster designs. Which is exactly what Guyver’s enemies, Cronos’ monstrous humanoid soldiers, known as Zoanoids are. It’s a match made in hell!
Reimagined as Hasbro 3 3/4
Tyco’s Dino-Riders is probably the greatest property ever that really never caught on. The cartoon was actually really good and the struggle between the good Valorians and evil Rulons on prehistoric Earth was MADE for Hasbro. Except it wasn’t Hasbro’s property. Heck, Rasp was even played by Chris Latta. Hasbro is really the only company that could do Dino-Riders justice. The “human” characters (and monstrous villains) would look great in the 3 3/4 format and Hasbro has shown they can do almost anything in this scale. And then come the “vehicles”… DINOSAURS! Hasbro has a ton of Jurassic Park molds they could modify. Dinosaurs will always sell. This line could be huge! Tyco tried to do too much in too competitive of a market, but if Hasbro got a chance at bat with Dino-Riders, they could make the greatest line there never was.
#1. Michigan J. Frog
Reimagined as Revoltech
For the same reason I started this column, I’ll finish it here. Why Michigan J. Frog? Because it’s just so out there, that Kaiyodo would make it. Plus he’d be great with a bunch of revolver joints. Trust me, tons of people would pick this up. The old WB spokesman is just begging to be used as a highly poseable toy. Remember all the fun you had posing your Toy Story Woody in wacky, demented poses? Now imagine that as Michigan J! You know your want to! Hello my baby, hello my honey, Hello, my ragtime gal!