In 1990, Matchbox hit upon a great idea. Kids liked pretty colours, kids liked plastic, kids liked monsters and kids liked spending money.
So surely kids would like spending money on very small colourful plastic monsters?
And they did! I vividly remember seeing my first Monster in my Pocket when my friend Daniel brought home a four-pack of them after school. Soon I was buying the 12 packs, and then he was on the 24 packs. It was a race to collect all 48 of the little buggers, and now, 15 years later, well…
Yes, okay. I ended up collecting all of series 1-4. Here, I shall talk about series 1 and 2, as those are the ones people always remember, and the best.
Looking back, it is odd that we all fell in love with these little plastic critters, let alone spent all our pocket money on them. But there was the genius – each monster had a point rating, from 25-5 to show how powerful they were, and kids LOVED rating things. Could the mummy beat bigfoot? Could the kraken beat the hydra? No matter what, it was sure to spark fierce debate over an evening’s glass of milk and cookies
Here were the champions of the line, the rarest of the rare, all 25 points and thus the best. You only got one per 12 pack (and so it took six for me to complete the line). We had the griffen, the werewolf, the great beast, T-Rex, the behemoth and the hydra. Note an odd one out? No, not the dinosaur, for dinosaurs are cool. Its the griffin. He’s standing there like the dorky guy at the party full of cool people. He’s not really sure he should be there, because lets face it, he shouldn’t. He’s a bird, woo.
Anyway, thats enough talk. Lets take a closer look at some of these weird and wonderful guys, as we examine my favourites…
The Great Beast was, well… great. Gigantic, odd four-toed feet, huge chest, seven heads AND wings. It is like someone picked the best bits of all monsters and glued them into one gigantic wonderous whole. How could this guy lose a fight? He’s awesome and is my new god
Another utter favourite. I’m not sure what it was, perhaps the scaley skin, the very odd yet cool face, or that I remember when I got him… it was the same time this kids TV show called Dark Season was on, which featured this machine called Behemoth and I was utterly convinced that it would be the same beast!
Okay, it looks a bit like a cross between a chicken and a peacock, but the hydra was a creature of fear, especially for those who saw Jason And The Argonauts. If you cut off one head, two more would grow in its place (so obviously this guy here is doing okay in life with regards to dodgy guys in pants and a sword)
Herne the Hunter
Herne was a 20-pointer from series 2, which featured neon colours. I was never that impressed with series 2, probably because I got them in one go and so didn’t go through the stress of collecting them all. But Herne… he was always cool. I think it is less to do with the figure, more the fact that when I was 8, I was at the dinner table at my uncles house, and he told me a ridiculous tale of how he fought Herne the Hunter and stole an antler, which caused me to fall over and wet myself. Oh dear, yes, I know…
Warlock was another series 2 guy, and was worth a massive 30 points (and a witch was only 5. Go sexism!) As you can see, he is astonishingly hardcore with both a stick and a little flashy effect on his hand (which is the only plastic molded special effect in all of Monster In My Pockets – there’s a fact you won’t find in any book!)
Why is Roc cool? He’s a giant bird, he’s quite cute looking, but more importantly he was a very very hard bad guy in the Zelda: Link’s Awakening game for the gameboy, which took me 12 years to beat. And he’s also like a little bird-scale toy for all your larger action figures! But he was only worth 10 points :(
I think out of all the monsters in the original line, this guy scared me the most. Born when a rooster lays an egg, it is some snake-bat-rooster creature, whose gaze invites death! Which always made me wonder how anyone knew what it looked like, since if you looked at it, you died. Its almost as if it isn’t real…
Unfortunately being yellow, the flash has swallowed this creature, but you can still make out most of it, I would hope. It is a lion with a goat’s head on its back and a snake for a tail. Thats three heads people! And that is all I will say on the issue…
The lowest value of all the guys here (only 5 points!) but what it lacks in value it makes up for in coolness. Its a panther with wings! How can it be so low! It is like furry death from above. The sculpt is very very cool too…
Later, Matchbox ran out of monsters, and so we got other horrible creatures such as dinosaurs and spiders and aliens and wrestlers… but thats a tale for another day
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