"Little Dracula," a children's book turned into a cartoon show turned into a collection of action figures, was never one of the most popular contenders on the mountain. At best, we've only got a passing memory of the character and his strange cohorts -- a nagging notion that we know who he is, but little more than that. He haunts us in our dreams, sometimes, but for the most part, Little Dracula is a whisper in the past. A grain in the sands of time. A piece of the "Miscellaneous Others" slice of the pie graph that indicates the most popular animated vampires in history. I've prepared this little poem in tribute to Little Dracula, and would be much obliged if you'd read it. Laaaa, la la la la laaaaa.
In the spirit of Halloween, tonight we focus in on ol' L.D.'s impressive series of toys. The books were fine, the shows were decent, but these toys definitely deserved a better ovation than they received. Arriving during a time where you had better have been in love with the Ninja Turtles because there were just no other action figures worth a shit, Little Dracula was a short-lived but worthy alternative that merged the delights of Hollywood's classic monsters in with some more modern upgrades. They came and went all too quickly, leaving nothing behind but a few traces of their existence in scattered clearance bins across lower suburbia. Like "Bucky O'Hare," the Little Dracula line was a 90s series that was way cooler than its sales rankings dictated, and considering that Frankenstein's big birthday bash is just a few days away, seemed like there was no better time to talk about the figures endlessly until you can't take it no more. So let's do it, yeah.
The commercial starts out with a kid frightened over the spooky bat silhouette shining over his face. He even busts out with the "CAN'T HURT ME THROUGH THIS BLANKET" shit in a fit of Stressed Stereotypical Pointless Defense Syndrome. Generally speaking, if what you're scared of is terrifying enough to make you hide under a blanket, the chances are good that it's fully capable of eating through it. Besides, he's not even hiding all the way. I'm reminded of Gary Larson's "monster snorkel," but before I can delve deep into a pool of clothed cow memoria, the spooky bat silhouette reveals its true identity...
"Little...Drac-u-la!" One thing they didn't mention in this commercial but I'm positive I remember was that the figure had light-up red eyes -- guess it was a second edition or something. The figures were fantastically molded, though the green fellow does remind me a bit too much of that terrible retard kid from "Little Bill" that always haunts me as I wake after forgetting to turn the television off when I'm done watching "Cheers" reruns. I hate that show, and I hate you if you disagree. Little Dracula, a friendly vampire, came equipped with all sorts of...well...equipment. He had a pet bat, a removable top hat (Dapper Dracula), and some kind of clubbing weapon that incorporated a "skull" motif.
Up above is Little Dracula's close friend and confidant, "Igor." He's the figure every kid hated until they noticed that his entire skull could be popped up to reveal his perfectly pink brain. Then we liked him more, but we didn't buy him, 'cause he was too damn human and ugly. When an exposed brain can't save an action figure, it's time to go back to the sketchbook. The secondary figures were pretty hit-or-miss, and sometimes it was hard to shake the idea that these were the kinda toys we should've been getting for free with a Happy Meal. As far as I was concerned, there were only two figures in the collection really worth investing in. I know this makes my previous championing sound hypocritical, which is why I've opted to voice that thought portraying a manner of speaking few will attempt to comprehend. See?
The first of the worthy figures was Little Dracula, of course. Say what you will, he's a great figure with a great figure. The second was even better, though. It's Lil' Drac's arch-nemesis and the series' starring villain, the evil "Garlic Man."
Wow. I don't know if there's been any other garlic-headed antithesiseseseisiss to Dracula, so while I can't say if this guy's derivative or not, he's too great to resist. Forget about the figure -- just consider the name. "Garlic Man." How could you not fall in love with something named "Garlic Man?" Little Drac's enemy comes fully accessorized with super stylin' sunglasses and what appears to be a leftover gift shop costume from Medieval Times, plus lots of fun fluorescent tubes. His main weapon of choice is a garlic gun that seems a tad redundant since his head is like this giant garlic cannonball and no little garlic bullets can compare, but I digress. If there was a figure that could save this line, Garlic Man was it. Look, he even lifted those cool gloves from that pirate fox from "Tale Spin." I swear they're his gloves.
Garlic Man was flanked by the trenchcoat-wearing "Maggot," a yellow grub who came with garlic gardening tools and a hat so off brown I want to call it mahogany. But I won't. Because it's brown. Little...Drac-u-la! There were other figures, too...
"Twin Beaks," the two-headed bird, came with assorted forks and knives to presumably eat things normal birds wouldn't eat. Off to the right is another popular character, "Werebunny." He's a mutant hybrid of you-know-what and figure-it-out. His accessories were baseball-themed: a bat, a ball and a glove. More notable was his penchant for Hawaiian shirts and pants so yellow I want to call them mahogany. But I won't. Because they're yellow. There were still others rounding out the collection, but hey, this is a Countdown entry, not an X-E article. You want 5,000 words? Read this thing three times.
In the end, the previously frightened and still stupid little kid gets over his fear and transforms into a vampire, even going as far as hiring someone to shine a green light on his face at all times so he could look more like Little Dracula. I think they call it devotion. The toys, like the cartoon series, debuted in 1991 and weren't around much by 1992. Despite their failure to capture the imagination of millions worldwide, I still think they're pretty decent. Follow the link down below to download and watch the commercial I just talked about. Go on, you know you want to.