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October 26, 2007

{     Lisa Petrucci's Kick-Ass Cuties Vinyl Figures     }    

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Dark Horse has released the second series of these amazing vinyl figures by artist Lisa Petrucci just in time for Halloween, so you can now add Penny the Pirate and Lil' Leona Leopard to your collection alongside Devilish Dolly and Lil' Miss Monster. Their charm certainly extends beyond the holiday, at 7-8" tall these little pretties pack a powerful visual punch and they've certainly spiced up my toyshelf tenfold. They are honestly the best non-articulated vinyl figures I've seen in a long long time.
It's all in their pedigree; Lisa Petrucci draws from a deep well of influence to create the unique yet strangely-familiar character designs these figures are based on. Equal parts kewpie and pure kitsch, there's a dash of Blythe in there and a bit of a wink to the classic head-nodders of yore. Petrucci mashes her old-school baby-doll love with a modern appreciation of pulp and pin-up themes, and the results are these stunningly adorable characters. I like to think of them as what might have happened if someone with decent taste and a bit of daring were asked to design a line of dolls in the vein of Strawberry Shortcake or Rainbow Brite, though instead of going all "sugar and spice and everything nice" she went with something a bit naughtier and infinitely more cool.

While they aren't crowded with detail, there are nice embellishments to each piece that tend to draw the eye back over and over again. My favorite touch is the stitched-together face of Lil' Miss Monster's kitty, it's innocent yet gruesome in a way that I feel embodies the heart of the whole line. There are other little surprises as well, like the cutlass hidden behind Penny's back or the little kitties peeking out from behind the legs of Dolly and Leona. It's simple additions like these and the overall uncomplicated design that make these pieces more than just another brightly colored bit of vinyl.
They actually remind me of the heyday of one of my favorite collector toy lines ever, FUNKO's Spastik Plastik. While that line has fallen off a bit in recent years, shrinking the average figure size and focusing on adding detail as well as meandering into licensed character territory, Kick-Ass Cuties have stepped in to carry the torch with unique designs in a similar non-articulated format. They actually complement the original FUNKO pieces quite well, filling in the void of female-themed characters that plagued the first few waves of Spastik Plastik. If you're a fan of that line or simply enjoy the look of these figures at all, you really owe it to yourself to see them in person, to hold them in your hands.
They have a very timeless quality that I think most of the "urban" vinyl scene misses completely these days, and long after the designer toy bubble has popped, I can safely say these pieces will continue to hold their charm and value to toy-lovers the world over. Something this universally adorable and classically influenced just never goes out of style.


     » Devilish Dolly
     » Penny the Pirate
     » Lil' Leona Leopard
     » Lil' Miss Monster

By Adam in Art, Reviews, Toys


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