If you are offended by Doll nudity, please click out of this blog! Another Article will be up later this week that will be LESS OFFENSIVE
My sister was cleaning out her closets and gave me some of her old toys. Before I posted them up on eBay, I decided to do a feature on the Contenders to Barbie's throne. For over 50 years Barbie was the best selling doll in the world. And it was the dream of many a toy executive to say they created the product to dethrone her.
Sure there have been many Barbie Challengers like Candie and Sandie, but, I didn't get those in the bag of toys my sister gave me. SO for this blog I'll be focusing on the dolls I did get, the 1980s forgotten Jems from Hasbro and 2000s Girl Force.
In 1985, Hasbro brought out its first serious contender to Barbie's throne. Her name was Jem, She was a truly outrageous punk rock star and she sang with a band called the Holograms and had a rivalry with a band called the Misfits. My sister had the entire band of dolls including Danse and Video, but for now we'll just focus on Jem.
Jem was about 12.5 inches tall (a whole inch taller than Barbie) and had some halfway realistic proportions. Her earrings light up (not anymore cause the batteries are DEAD). She also had MUCH better articulation above the waist than most of the STIFF Barbies at the time. The ball shoulders wrists, and clicky elbows allow her to get in some rockin poses for a 1980s toy! Plus she has some great proportions. Hasbro made a cartoon around the toys that was a tad soapy, but overall was fun for the time.
Each of these came with a tape with songs from the show, stand and accessories like drums, guitars, and Being the lead singer Jem here came with a microphone.
Jem sold fairly well and still has a pretty decent following to this day. Unfortunately, not well enough to keep her from getting her ass handed to her by Barbie. Jem sales fell off in 1987 and never came back
Towards the end of the Jem Line in 1987 came a spin-off featuring the Girls of the Starlight Orphanage which Jem's alter ego Jerrica Benton owned. Saw this Starlight Girl in 1988 at Grand Juvenille on Fordham Road here in The Bronx (It's Still there after 35 years!) for the low, low price of $8 and picked it up.
I'm guessing Hasbro was trying to ape a Skipper/Jem hybrid with this body. I find it odd she has ball jointed hips and bendy knees but no ball jointed arms. and no bendy arms. Oh well, the probably didn't cost out.
With the failure of Jem for Hasbro, Came a new contender for Barbie's fashion doll throne in 1988. Her name was Maxie. I think she came from Australia She was a hybrid of sorts between Skipper and Barbie She got her ass handed to her around 1990 and was never seen in the U.S. Again.
As you can see, this is another Skipper type"teen" body. Not much in the way of articulation, the focus was more on fashion and interchangable clothes with this doll. I'll have to say this, the proportions on Maxie are a bit more natural looking than Barbie.
Poor Maxie. She never stood a chance. She came in at the WRONG time here in America. Most of the girls of Generation X were growing up and out of toys. And the Gen Y girls were just gleams in their daddies' eyes.
After 1990, Hasbro conceded defeat and NEVER tried to challenge Mattel in the Fashion doll marketplace. Well, as far as I know. I was too busy trying to finish High school and collecting comics at the time.
Around 2000, Came a line from JAKKS Pacific called G.I.R.L Force. These were on a rubber skinned body with a skeleton frame. These bodies were used in a Josie and the PussyCats doll line Sis saw these in a bodega for $8. and she had to pick them up.
These have some fairly decent proportions and a more natural look to the body. Kinda tallish like Jem at 13.5 inches. And JAKKS was nice enough to give their girl a pair of molded on panties!
These were some nice looking dolls. Unfortunately, they came in at the wrong time. Around 2003 Bratz came along and FINALLY handed Barbie her ass. But Mattel like DC Comics didn't like the fact that they were being OUTSOLD for once and sued MGA Entertainment saying that the creator of Bratz made them while working at Mattel and that the designs were their property. Mattel Won the lawsuit, but after several years, Bratz are still being sold by MGA Entertainment.
Mattell's got Monster High now. And currently Monster High is outselling Barbie. So the Queen has finally been knocked off her throne. Only by another doll line from Mattel.
I'll have all of these on eBay soon, so if you're a collector and want a good deal on some used dolls, check them out.