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Collecting Boglins A Journey Through the World of Collectible Creepy-Cute Puppetry

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Collecting Boglins A Journey Through the World of Collectible Creepy-Cute Puppetry – In the realm of 1980s toys, few creatures captured the imagination of children quite like the Boglins. These unique, grotesque, and undeniably endearing puppet toys took the world by storm, becoming a beloved part of many childhood memories. The brainchild of Tim Clarke, Maureen Trotto, and Larry Mass, the Boglins were distributed by Mattel and stood out amongst their contemporaries, inspiring a cult following that has persisted well into the 21st century. In this Collecting Boglins we look at the history of these captivating critters and also look how they have become very collectable.

Boglins Dwork with box
Boglins Dwork with box. Sold for 150 Euros on ebay, March 2023.

The Birth of Boglins

The origins of Boglins can be traced back to the creative minds of Tim Clarke, Maureen Trotto, and Larry Mass. Clarke, a talented puppeteer and special effects artist, had previously worked on iconic projects such as The Dark Crystal and Fraggle Rock. He teamed up with Trotto and Mass to create a new line of toys that would bridge the gap between puppets and action figures. Thus, the Boglins were born.

Boglins made their debut in 1987, captivating children and collectors alike with their unique blend of horror and humor. The initial lineup consisted of three main characters: Dwork, Vlobb, and Drool (Vlobb and Drool were called Plunk and Flurp in the UK). Each Boglin boasted a distinctive, monstrous appearance, complete with bulging eyes, droopy skin, and sharp teeth. Yet, their comical expressions and bright colors infused a sense of charm and whimsy.

Crafted from flexible rubber and equipped with movable eyes and mouths, Boglins allowed kids to bring the creatures to life through imaginative play. Each Boglin came in its own cage-like package, adding to their appeal as strange and otherworldly pets.

Boglins Sponk in box
Boglins Sponk in box. Sold for $550 Canadian on ebay, February 2023.

Expanding the Universe

As the popularity of Boglins grew, so did the variety of characters and designs. Mattel introduced a series of smaller Boglins, called Mini Boglins, which were made of solid rubber and featured static poses. The company also released the Soggy Boglins Aquatic collection, special edition Boglins, such as Halloween-themed “Glow-in-the-Dark” models and color-changing “Mud Boglins.”

The Boglins universe continued to expand with the introduction of new characters, storylines, and even a comic book series. As the line developed, Tim Clarke remained heavily involved, creating many of the new characters and designs himself.

Rare and Hairy

As the Boglins universe continued to grow, another innovative variation: Hairy Boglins were introduced by Action GT for the UK and European markets. These critters added a furry twist to the iconic Boglins design, featuring the long, rooted hair on their heads. There were hairy versions of  Dwork, Plunk, Flurp and the very rare Wort.

Hairy Boglins Plunk
Hairy Boglins Plunk

This unique element not only enhanced their monstrous appearance but also provided a tactile experience for children who enjoyed the feel of the soft fur. Despite their hairier exteriors, Hairy Boglins retained the signature movable eyes and mouths, allowing for expressive puppetry and creative play. These are among the most collectable, sought after and most expensive of all the Boglins.

The Decline and Resurgence

By the early 1990s, the popularity of Boglins began to wane, and production slowed. However, the passion for these quirky creatures never entirely vanished. A dedicated fanbase of collectors and enthusiasts kept the Boglins spirit alive, sharing their love for the toys through online forums, fan art, and social media.

In recent years, the Boglins have experienced a resurgence in popularity, fueled by nostalgia and the growing interest in 1980s collectibles. In 2020, Tim Clarke and his partners successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign to reissue the original Boglins, with updated designs and materials and a new line of Boglins were released in March 2021 and among the new batch were a King Dwork, King Vlobb and King Drool.

Boglins King Drool King Vlobb and King Dwork
Boglins King Drool. King Vlobb and King Dwork.

From their initial release in 1987 to their recent revival, Boglins have captured the hearts and minds of fans across generations. As a testament to the creativity of their creators and the passion of their followers, the Boglins continue to thrive as a beloved symbol of 1980s toy culture. Whether they evoke memories of childhood or inspire new collectors, these creepy-cute puppets prove that sometimes, it’s the strangest creatures that leave the most lasting impression.

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