Saturday, November 29, 2014

When First We Practice to Deceive

"Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my dress?"

In 2011 Mattel announced a doll election to determine which of three prototype Monster High characters to produce for sale.  Headless Headmistress Bloodgood was a well-established character in the webisodes series.  Scarah Screams had appeared as a backgrounder, but the "daughter of Arachne" was a completely new invention.  Mattel declared Scarah Screams the winner at the 2011 Comic Con convention and produced her as a convention exclusive doll the following year.  In 2012 Mattel released Headmistress Bloodgood as a Toys R Us exclusive doll but did not offer Wydowna Spider, who garnered more votes than Mistress Bloodgood for sale until 2013 when she was the San Diego Comic Con International exclusive doll. 

I had long been intrigued with Wydowna Spider's six arms and I felt that a black widow spider would potentially be another "black" Monster High character.  The Comic Con dolls show up on eBay from time to time but sellers were asking as much as $300 so I assumed she would remain out of my reach.  Then various sellers based in China started offering Wydowna Spider dolls on eBay for $24 (shipping included).

I figured these dolls were pirated but I was angry at Mattel for once again limiting the supply of   "black" dolls.  I found a seller with a 100% positive feedback rating and took the plunge.

Fake Monster High logo
Real Monster High logo

Before I could verify that the item had shipped, eBay removed the listing.  I was worried that I might lose my money but the doll arrived at my brother's house in due course and was waiting for me when I returned from Senegal.

Her body was made of cheaper plastic than regular Monster High dolls but appeared to have been cast from the official molds.

Her dress and hair fiber were of decidedly inferior quality.  I scrapped both.

Still, I was happy with the doll until September when Mattel released this play line Wydowna Spider as a Toys R Us exclusive.

Out of the box the official Wydowna Spider made the inferior quality of the pirated doll even more glaringly obvious.  (The fake is on the left).

There were slight differences between the bodies as well.

Still, since the official Wydowna Spider came with four outfits, the pirated doll challenged her to a "who wears it best?" duel.

I have renamed the official doll Anansina, after Anansi, the Ghanaian spider trickster hero who is like Brer Rabbit in West African folklore.

The official doll came with three pairs of footwear, a matching purse, plus two belts and many bracelets.

Anansina figured she was a shoe-in for the ultimate diva prize.

Unfortunately she didn't know who she was playing with.

Kali (the black one), is the Hindu goddess of Time, Change, and Destruction.  Slaying the demon Raktabija is perhaps Kali's most famous deed.  The goddess Devi Durga and her assistants tried to kill him but every drop of his blood that fell on the ground turned into a duplicate of Raktabija.  Durga called in Kali for back up.  Kali prevailed by sucking Raktabija's blood and stuffing all the duplicates in her mouth.  Then she did a victory dance on the battlefield, stepping on the corpses of the slain.     

Drunk with the blood of the enemy, Kali was about to destroy the whole universe when the other gods persuaded Shiva to lie down in her path amongst the other corpses.  When Kali inadvertently stepped on his chest and realized her husband was lying under her feet her anger was pacified.   

I think we all have days when we feel like our rage could destroy the universe. 

A bientôt!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Collector's United Doll Show 11/01/14

Last Saturday I attended the Collector's United Doll Show in Marietta, Georgia.  My first purchase was this early Janay.

I'm not sure if this is her original outfit.


She did not have shoes so we borrowed the boots from Raven Simone.

Next I plucked this Steffi faced doll from the same bargain bin.

She came nude but I purchased this outfit later from another vendor.

It is very well-made and closes with snaps.

The third doll from that bargain bin was a Kira.

I believe she must have been a Christmas decoration.

Someone did an outstanding job on the bustle dress.

The dress and the doll were only $2.

I found Yue Sai in another bargain bin.

Yue Sai Kan is a Chinese American television producer who created the long-running PBS series, "Looking East."  Ms. Kan is also a savvy entrepreneur.  In 1990 she launched Yue Sai cosmetics which vaulted to the number one brand in China by 1996.  Just as her cosmetics line sought to enhance the beauty of Asian women, in 2000 Kan saw a lack of Asian faces in the fashion doll market and created the Yue Sai wawa (doll) "to help Asian children develop confidence, knowledge and pride in their heritage as well as educate children of all heritages about Asian cultures."  I was pleased to get a new Asian face for $2.50.

For those who are wondering about her articulation, her arms can open outwards but her legs don't bend.

I have upgraded her to a Disney Princess body.  Now I just need to tackle that rat's nest of hair.

A bargain bin of action figures yielded this handsome specimen.

The vendor identified him as a generic Lanard figure.

He came with nice duds and plenty of gear.

He is nicely sculpted though he doesn't have as much articulation as a Power Team figure.

Not bad for $3!

At $15 this lady was my most expensive purchase.

She was armed to the teeth with a large knife strapped to her leg,

a dagger tucked into her boot,

a pistol in her waistband,

and a rifle on her back.

Her ensemble included this sharp leather jacket

and a bodysuit designed to fit a larger figure.

The seller thought she was a generic figure but this is a Lea-faced Mattel doll.

A Bientôt!