No one leaves the political ring without a black eye, right?
Toymaker and political rabblerouser Emil Vicale, founder of Herobuilders, just released a 2012 Presidential Election version of Rock’em Sock’em Robots — that classic 1960s mechanical boxing game that will make your thumbs more sore than any video game joystick.
Vicale is selling just the Mitt Romney and Barack Obama robot heads (with surgery instructions for decapitating the old heads and reattaching the new ones) for $39.95 — or the entire assembled set for $99.
BUT WAIT, doesn’t Mattel own the rights to Rock’em Sock’em Robots? Absolutely.
Vicale maintains that anyone has the right to buy an existing product, customize it and then sell it on the secondary market. For example, you could buy a brand new Camaro, trick out the suspension, add funky hubcaps and paint the whole thing hot pink and resell it as a Hot Pink Camaro.
Herobuilders had an ugly battle with the PEZ Company a few years back over the same issue when they put their original Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani heads on top of regular PEZ dispensers. PEZ lawyers (candy does NOT come out of their necks) aggressively went after Vicale and he created his own dispenser device called “Head Candy.”
The PEZ rivals, which actually are loaded with Sprees or Mentos, come with muscular male or buxom female body attachments (superhero and corporate themes).
But back to the boxing “Romneybots” and “Obamabots.”
In an exclusive interview with The Hill (modest confession: I was first to break the Obamabot story), Vicale reveals that he is NOT parodying the Washington pundits’ universal characterization of Romney as a robot. He had been planning a McCain-Obama Rock’em Sock’em set in 2008, but his idea came too late in the election season to market it.
The Hill story also shares some fascinating behind-the-scenes debates over toy design:
“Both the Romneybot and Obamabot heads are portrayed in their natural skin tones and not the corresponding Republican red and Democratic blue. Vicale said the prototype heads looked too creepy in primary colors, making Romney seem like the Devil and Obama an alien from the movie ‘Avatar.’”
If you’re a fan of political novelty toys and souvenirs, then Vicale is no stranger. He’s also the brainchild behind the Mitt Romney Etch a Sketch doll, the Newt Gingrich action figure (everyone wants one!) and a Barbie-like incarnation of U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).
Not too early to start your Christmas shopping!