I don’t know any kids that didn’t love monsters back in the ’90s, or at least appreciate them in some form. Monsters were everywhere, if I had to read at school naturally I would gravitate towards books like Goosebumps and Shivers and Creepers.Following the after-school cartoons there would be TV shows like Eerie Indiana, Are You Afraid of the Dark and Goosebumps. Companies didn’t seem to shy away from some things that they do now, and toys were definitely more horrific than they are today. Nowadays everything seems to be a lot more child ‘friendly’. One of my favourite toylines from back then was ‘Monster in My Pocket’.
I loved Monster in My Pocket as a kid, though I always thought it was called ‘Monsters in My Pocket’, which I think sounds far better and less likely to cause an embarrassing misunderstanding. So what are Monsters in my pocket? Obviously they are monsters that you can put in your pocket!
Released by Matchbox in 1990, they were a series of small neon coloured rubber figures, each taking the form of a different monster from myths and legends, science fiction, fantasy or pop culture. To this day I am unsure if there was a purpose to them, other than to collect and look cool, but every figure seemed to have a number of points located in a little circle somewhere on their body. I never ever played the game if there was one, but it would be interesting to find out. I could simply google this but I don’t want to know that much as I doubt I could experience greater joy playing some points based game than what I could by holding a teeny little werewolf in my hand and pretending I am a giant.
There were a shit ton of these produced but I don’t have anywhere near as many as I did as a kid. I first found them at a car boot sale, like pretty much every toy I enjoyed back then. Someone was selling them for 5p each and I could see straight away as to what a bargain I was getting. I chose twenty different monsters (which was a tough decision), then went begging to my parents for more money so I could get more. I remember making my newly acquired monsters duke it out on the way home.
Though fairly simple little toys, the sculpting was good enough to really convey what each monster was. In this picture is the Werewolf, Invisible Man, Witch, Hunchback, and Mad Scientist figures.
Though they are obviously not anywhere near as well sculpted or detailed as modern day toys, they were good enough. I know I sound like an old man who used to play with a stick attached to piece of string, or a spinning top or something back in the 1850s and am probably trying to big up something that is probably a load of crap, but to me, these were cool. They were brightly coloured, were collectable/tradable, and were small enough that you could own a ton of ’em and they wouldn’t take up much room.
I loved my MIMP so much that my parents would actually confiscate them off me if I was naughty. I remember the once I hadn’t had them for about two weeks as I hadn’t tidied my bedroom, but overheard my Mum speaking to my Dad on the phone and saying (and I kid you not) “I’m going to give him them back love as you never know what’s going to happen. He could be dead next week.” So I was pleased I got them back without having to tidy my bedroom but not so much at almost being given a complex about my own mortality. I didn’t die in the following days and it was just my mother being the strange woman that she is, (unless I have some illness that they still have not informed me of that has still yet to claim me).
One of my favourite monsters in pop culture as a kid was the Loch Ness Monster. I don’t know why quite. Perhaps it was because it was so chunky looking or because it was always mentioned in cartoons and stuff. But as a kid it made me interested in the possibility of aliens and unexplained phenomena and cryptozoology. Loch Ness Monster was obviously one of my favourite MIMP toys, and I find it funny that at this moment in time I am living only forty miles away from Loch Ness. Five year old me would never have believed that!
MIMP was popular enough for it to be made into a comic book series, though I think it was only a few issues long. I remember owning a MIMP annual and taking it everywhere with me. There was also a game made by Konami for the Nintendo Entertainment System where you played as a tiny monster having to battle your way through waves of other monsters (but to scale with the actual toys) taking place in various domestic settings like the kitchen. There were also trading cards, kites, board games and an animated special (which I have yet to see!) so MIMP was a pretty big deal for a short amount of time. There were many series of the toys and then spin-offs with Monster dinosaurs, aliens wrestlers, sports stars and ninja warriors in My Pocket. There was a brief attempt at bringing back the toys in the 2000s, but I don’t think it really did very well and they haven’t made a resurgence since.
They are pretty cheap on ebay so if you have a love of scary little creatures that come in colours that are almost offensive to the eyes, they are an easy acquisition. I bought a small lot just to talk about them on here and straight away the nostalgia hit me and I started remembering ones I owned as a kid and very much needed to own again!
There is only a certain amount of time that anyone can ramble on about little rubber monsters so I think that concludes the tenth day of the Halloween Countdown.