Thursday, October 20, 2011

VINTAGE VIEW: Monster Wrestler In My Pocket Mane Man

Monster In My Pocket was a very successful line of soft Keshi-style soft plastic figures, first released in 1990. A hugely popular line - thanks to their cool designs, relatively high production quality (for a toy of their scale) and allowance-friendly price-point - the early Monsters came from a variety of mythological sources. 

But by the mid-Nineties, the (then) WWF's rising popularity saw a savvy shift in focus from the Monster In My Pocket line with the introduction of the Monster Wrestler In My Pocket series.

Monster Wrestler In My Pocket - Mane Man
Mane Man is one of the first 9 Monster Wrestler In My Pocket figures, released in the UK as part of a Frosties (Frosted Flakes) give-away. I really miss the fact that breakfast cereal companies don't include toys in their packs any more...

Anyway, although I'd been a collector of the original Monster In My Pocket figures (which I subsequently - and foolishly - gave away to a neighbour's kid), I wasn't really a fan of breakfast cereals. Thankfully one of the cleaning staff at my old workplace - spotting the collection of assorted mini- figures around my monitor - had been keeping the figures from her cereal boxes and was kind enough to donate them to my collection.

Standing at around 2'' or so tall, Mane Man - as his name suggests - is based upon an anthropomorphic lion. The sculpt - as you can hopefully see from these photos - is surprisingly detailed for a figure of this scale and material, with Mane Man's chest, shoulders and limbs featuring some very nicely modeled fur and the head is crowned with a flowing mane. The facial sculpt is particularly cool, with some nice detail on his ears, snout and fangs.

Although there's no articulation, the figure's pose is pretty neat. Interestingly it appears that a few other figures from the line were also sculpted in this pose. I'm not really sure why, given each had additional body features (such as fur) but I'm sure there's a reason behind it.

I always felt that the figures could have been posed in a more ''grappling'' kind of stance, which would have made playing with them more fun due to being able to get them entangled with each other. But it's still a cool figure that stands very well unaided.

Although there's not a huge amount of paintwork on the figure, it's very cleanly applied and the combination of yellow/orange plastic with blue accessory detailing is nicely balanced. The facial detail is also very cleanly applied, with his eyes and teeth all picked-out well.

Sadly for most fans of the line, the Monster Wrestler In My Pocket figures were a little too much of a leap from the original line. With a less monster-ish focus and the figures now being released in single colourways, the new toys never really achieved the same level of popularity of the earlier figures and although a relaunch was attempted in the early 2000s, the newer designs repeated what many saw as these same mistakes. Here's hoping somebody revisits the line again soon and takes it back to its roots...

Image Gallery

Further Reading
German fansite has a superb gallery of the 40+ Monster Wrestlers, plus information (in English and German) on their releases both in Europe and the US.

Wikipedia's article on Monster In My Pocket proved useful for release chronology.


  1. Very cool Kev and to be honest i have never seen these before.

  2. White Castle were giving them away in the mid-90s I think. I don't know if they ever made it to retail in the US though.


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