It's the season for Christmas S.L.U.G. Zombies! The M.U.S.C.L.E.-inspired finished off their brief run with 4 Christmas sets, each of which had 2 new and 1 repackaged figure. I meant to look at more of these this year, but was hoping there might be news or new information on them. No dice. The line up and ended last year with series 4 and the unnumbered Xmas Series, so let's look at another pack.
The boring repack, Blazin' Basel, is pretty good. Most of the humans in this line are, to me, fairly obvious tributes to popular culture but I don't get who this axe-wielding firefighter is. (I admit, I've seen few horror movies.) The sculpt has a freaked out or screaming man in a fireman's jacket with boots and pants, and nothing seems obviously goofy or weird. It's neat, and it fits in nicely with your other rubbery collectible mini-figures, but in and of itself it isn't terrible exciting. It's a good figure to fight the zombies, or be consumed by them.
For fans of undead mascots, Ralph Reindead is your Rudolph stand-in. A thinly-veiled zombified take on the pop culture mainstay which was birthed by the grace of Montogmery Ward (ask your parents), this grotesque mammal is emaciated and twisted, with a bizarre face and a decaying furry body. He's so rotten that it looks like he's wearing pants, plus he also sports a display base. The sculpt is good, and the most exciting thing about this figure is that it exists. Hallmark ain't gonna make one of these, so it's pretty delightful to see what looks like the great-grandson of Madballs given a holiday twist. I have nothing else to say about this, other than we're well beyond the point where zombies as a thing have been played out, so I don't get why this line couldn't have been more successful.
Not based on anything in particular is Surprise Demise, a dad/grampa type in a sweater vest. Or what's left of a sweater. He's leaping out of a gift box and is really about as thematically perfect as you could hope for. The box alone is more interesting than a lot of small collectible figures, with tattered ribbons, crushed sides, and what seem to be some sort of claw scrapes. It's swell - and the figure bursts out from the top quite nicely. I don't know why he's jumping out of the box to reach over to the side - where he isn't looking - but whatever. It looks cool, and it seems like this should have been something I saw in 1987. With the recent zombie surge in popularity I would have loved to see more of these out there, but this figure is probably never going to be seen ever again except on the desk of the weird guy at your office (you know the guy).
A year later, I've only seen these at Target. The figures weren't dumped elsewhere yet, and as far as I can tell Jakks Pacific never solicited them to other stores. You can find them on eBay or Amazon, and I've seen some complete Christmas sets - all 4 3-packs - for under ten bucks. It's really cheap for something so uncommon, so maybe they're just lining basements and linen closets of speculators. I like this set for what it is, but there's nothing really exciting about jabbing at Christmas in the early 21st century. As subversive Christmas decorations go, though, they're top-notch. I got my money's worth.
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