Monday, July 14, 2014

Suckerman : a review 23 years in the making!


I will be the first to say that I have very few wants that go unanswered. It's the result of a lifetime having to budget myself and using my hobby to feed my hobby by selling lesser pieces for something more desirable. I often do hit walls where certain toys are just either not worth the price tag to me or just simply having eyes bigger than my wallet; sometimes you just have to let go of the desire to have a 4 foot tall Gamera in your living room. I've nearly had my hands on everything I ever wanted by having a really good working relationship with other sellers and collectors, mainly because I understand everyone needs to make money and not being afraid to put money on the table for something I really want. But there's been one piece that's eluded me for years, just because it's importance slipped further and further down my want list. I happily added him to the collection this month for $15.

Suckerman was released by Mattel in 1978 to combat the influx of space and alien themed toys brought on by the Star Wars craze. Granted Mattel was riding the wave of their imported Shogun Warriors, but was dabbling in some house brand characters to lead their sales. In this time they created unique boys toys like Grey-Gory the Vampire Bat and Krusher but they needed an alien to spearhead an outerspace line up. Aptly named Suckerman, his rubery, lanky body is covered in 26 suction cups, giving him the uncanny ability to stick to nearly any smooth surface with ease. Sadly though, Suckerman was the only character in the line. He was released in a rainbow of different colors, hardest to find in black and glow in the dark but easier to find in other colors.

(you can tell it's Mattel!)

With Mattel's history being a predominantly girl brand company they had some success in the late 60s with a little line known as Major Matt Mason, which would have been perfect for a reboot in the late 70s but Mattel opted for something fresh. It was a cool idea, the package encouraged you to throw him against the wall and watch him in action and the sculpting was really decent; you could tell they had a lot of faith in Suckerman not failing them at retail. The more I look at him, to me he screams 60s sci-fi with his scaly skin and fanged bat-like head. Suckerman's legacy at Mattel wasn't as illustrious as say He-Man but it's still a worthy footnote in toy history, he just had the rotten luck of being created in the wrong decade.

In person, Suckerman lives up to the hype I created in my head over this toy. I can imagine being much younger I would have had a ball with it. As an adult, I mostly use it to creep my wife out by sticking him to the wall in the shower or to the bedroom ceiling fan, which is equally fulfilling to my inner child. Suckerman looks great next to the toys of that era like Stretch Armstrong, Grey-Gory, Krusher, Micronauts, and assorted Mego and other 8 inch figure lines of the era. The only problem I've encounted so far is properly displaying Suckerman. He doesn't stand on his own and the suction cup gives out after a little while, so I'm stuck on how to display him.


  1. Hi, first of all, congratulations for your blog and especially for your collection, it’s pretty cool. It is my first time reading your blog; I came across it, while looking for some information about Suckerman.
    I am a "new" toy collector. I am trying to collect toys that I used to have when I was a child. I have a huge Mr Potato head's collection, some of action figures (just dc comics), some Mazingers Z, and some horror movies’ action figures. So, what you say, always happens to me: "my eyes are bigger than my wallet", and I buy most of the time at pretty expensive prices. Recently, I bought a glow in the dark Suckerman much more expensive than the 15$ that you paid… but it’s ok, it was a toy that I had when I was a child, and it still brings me good memories.
    When I was looking for some information about this toy, I realized that Mattel launched a new version of Suckerman in 2001, and now I don’t know if I got an original 1978 version, or just a second version of it. I paid for it, as if it was an original version LOL.
    By any chance, do you know how I could know if it’s a 1978 version?
    On the other hand, I can’t remember the size of my old Suckerman, I have no idea if it was bigger than the Suckerman I recently bought. This one looks smaller, or I don’t know if it’s just an optical illusion, because I my hand is bigger now. Do you know the original size of the 1978 toy?


    1. Thanks for reading. The newer ones are smaller for sure, the tell tale sign of the remake is the figure has 4 less suction cups than the original. That and there's a difference in the plastic, you'd be able to tell it's fresh and not a toy that's been around since the 70s.

      In comparison, Matt at XE did an article on the newer one. His is a great read.