Written/Created by: Matt
Posted on 12.10.01.

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Jabba the Hutt has, for as long as I can remember, been something of a father figure to me - a hero, an inspiration, a sort of living magnum opus of which I aspire to someday become. And while my constant grazing of those special four-cheese Doritos will help me accomplish that goal in the visual sense, I'm really moreover talking about Jabba's attitude. That's what really reels me in. Jabba has no visible sex organs, but it's pretty clear that he's got one major set of balls going on underneath all those rolls a fat. Here's a guy who waddles about like a malcontent slug covered in an alien cumbath of green slime, eats frogs drenched in brandy while they're still alive, belches with the force of a monsoon -- and still, he manages to land the hottest chicks in the Star Wars universe, and even gets to act out all those S&M chain fantasies the rest of us only can with action figures and allegedly accidental stumbles into the world of online hentai sites. If you can honestly tell me that you wouldn't want Carrie Fisher Circa '83 chained to your bed wearing a metal bra and loincloth, you're probably one of those people who watch Seventh Heaven strictly for the Simon/Lucy subplots. I'm not exactly sure what I meant by that, but it sounded funny.

Today is a Jabba Tribute Day, my style. Today we're going to look at all the merchandising aspects of the universe's greatest gangster not counting DMX or Charles Grodin, which is my sneaky, covert way of not saying this article is gonna be about toys again. Hey, it's Christmas. Toys are always on topic this season. In the spring, they'll still be in-season because a lot of toys have springs. In the summer, they'll still be in-season because lead guy from The X-Men and action figure eight times over, Cyclops, was born with the name Scott Summers. Reason enough. I've got nothing for autumn, but it's unimportant since I probably won't update for those three months anyway.

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Jabba's no stranger to the world of toys, and today we're gonna look at and review every single one of 'em I've ever come across. I can't promise that there aren't more out there I'm not covering, but I can promise that nobody should really care because the number of different Jabba toys made will positively never be your Daily Double question should you ever be a contestant on Jeopardy! Still, the number is impressive and we've got a lot to cover. First, I'd like to share something with you. After collecting and researching the various Jabba toys from throughout the years, there's a number of traits that I've deemed universal, and these shared traits appear in every Jabba toy that's ever existed:

1) All Jabba toys have weird, muscular hands that would indicate the Hutt's obsessive hobbies in the fields of origami and playing with office desk stress reliever toys. Either that, or all the Hutts spend their childhood years training and adapting for a presumed adult career boxing heavy iron robots. You can't believe how strong these hands look until you feel their grip for yourself.

2) All Jabba toys display some trace of slime: yellow, green, or otherwise. You know there's a cut scene from Return of the Jedi where Jabba makes Leia drink from his slime-encrusted glass aboard the sail barge? No joke, it's in the novel, which details how Leia just emptied her mind while drinking the sewage for the sake of saving Han and getting her friends off Tatooinie unscathed. How she 'emptied her mind' while drinking something that Jabba sweats while having sex dreams is beyond me, but then again, Leia was revealed to have Jedi powers, and I, sadly, do not. I guess if Jabba didn't exude slime, he'd shrivel up and reveal the body lines of all the cats and babies he ate the week prior, causing awkward moments a'plenty in his throne room and at least three Gammorreans to vomit.

3) All Jabba toys have tails that are slightly curled. They make Jabba appear permanently relaxed and always at ease with his surroundings. You'd swear he was a Yoga enthusiast, or at least a huge advocator of owning and using your own Juiceman II three times daily. Either wax, this perpetually restful state caused big problems in my toy world over the years. I'd often stage these adventures where some ruler of the galaxy would call everyone to a meeting to inform them of some impending doom, and the powerful deliveries of these catastrophic messages would get totally hampered when I looked over and saw the Jabba figure in the audience, seeming completely disinterested with the fact that the planet was about to explode or be invaded by sentient Wheat Thins crackers.

Bear all that in mind throughout the article, which is going to turn out really long, so I'd strongly suggest grabbing a cup of coffee or mainlining crack. Choose your poison, just don't drop it at the first sign of an Imperial shuttle, or you'll end up in a big chunk of Carbonite after shooting a frog with tiny trumpets coming out of his head and spending a good 12-16 hours shoving your friend's face into a Taun-Taun's large intestine.




Jabba The Hutt Action Playset: The original, vintage Kenner toy that inspired a generation and made my 1983 Christmas all the merrier. (read about my mother's special Jabba surprise in this past article) The old Kenner line was, by far, the best collection of toys ever in my opinion. Of course, ever since that damned prequel, the general public stance on Star Wars in general has decreased, and even formerly devout fans and collectors would take issue with that train of thought. One part of me wants to argue, but the other part really just doesn't care all that much because proving the greatness of specific toylines won't make the current developments within the nerves of my wisdom teeth hurt any less. Of the entire line, which spans a hundred different figures and dozens upon dozens of playsets, creatures, vehicles and Play Doh molds, the Jabba the Hutt set may very well be my favorite of them all, at least until they reissue the Wampa with Special Carrion Accessory Pack.

You got the classic Jabba figure, around ten inches of beige fury and eyes that I convinced myself were made of stained glass as a kid, just to feel more impressed with the toy. Of course, they're not made of stained glass, rather Lidium-90, a rare element that's the most powerful source of energy yet found on this miserable Earth. The eyes seem to be looking into an entirely different direction, suggesting that Jabba was easily distracted and likely is the only Huttese entry into the myriad victims of ADD. When you twisted his big bulging head, his tail would swing from side to side. This was pretty cool, since you could use the tail to trip other figures and have Jabba act like he didn't do anything, pretending he was watching something else with his weird veering-off eyes. He came on his dais, a word I still don't understand but have read it so many times I generally use it to describe anything I'm standing on. You could lift two hatches on the dais to reveal a secret dungeon lined with skeleton molds that held six different Star Wars figures captive. Sometimes I'd throw Destro in there and congratulate myself on negotiating a crossover that'd make the entire combined staff of Wizard and Toyfare Magazine throw confetti around like someone just blew up the Death Star, or the set of The Tom Snyder Show.


Other accessories included Jaba's hookah pipe, because after a long day of eating frogs and feeding scantily clad slave dancers to Rancors, the poor guy really deserved a nice break with some illegal spice smokin'. What I really wonder is...how does Jabba differ when he's high? He already spends most of his day giggling and eating while sober. I guess he just smokes to mask his own stink. You also got a slave chain, because Jabba was a sick fuck who was only attracted to women that he could yank into his favorite positions. Lastly, you got Salacious Crumb, that little monkey bat who chilled on Jabba's pillows, watched Jabba's erotic tail movements, and cackled at everything Luke said, proving that he was 20 years before his time: it's only in recent years have we fans finally accepted that Luke was unacceptably annoying by the time the third movie rolled around. I think he would've been received better had he worn a mysterious eye-patch, but that's just me.


Oddly, the catalog picture for this playset shows some sort of Bizarro Star Wars Universe where nothing is quite right and even the trash compactor monsters scratch their heads in puzzlement, an amazing feat when one recalls that they don't actually have arms or hands. According to this, we've got to assume that Ughnaughts will not only travel from Bespin to Tatooine for no apparent reason, but they'll make the entire trip wearing one outfit while still keeping their work smocks on. Rebel soldiers from Hoth must have an interior air conditioner within their suits, as I don't see how they're dealing with this desert heat. Of course, finding out that super-pilot Nien Nunb was Jabba's latest slave dancer was surprising, but the whole thing is still disappointing because Jabba didn't strip the guy down, and I really wanted to see how toned his legs were, or if he had any tattoos. Eh, Nien isn't really worth all that thought - the guy's primary feature is that his face looks like a bruised vagina turned sideways. Ironically, whatever noises vaginas are five times more comprehensible than Nien's lines from the last movie. Lando understood him, but really - Lando understands everything.


Jabba The Hutt, Power of the Force Line: The Power of the Force (well, the second POTF line) refers to any and all of the action figures made by Kenner post-'95, and for me, that includes figures crafted for Episode I, classic figures, mailaway figures, and you gotta figures. To be honest, I never got much into collecting the new line, as from the getgo I didn't like the figures quite so much as the old ones, and couldn't see foraging into trying to pick up ten trillion versions of Leia that all look like monkeys when all I'm really interested in are the older figures. Either I'm loyal, nostalgic, or just more apt to collect figures that can remain standing without the help of my hand or some form of metalware backing.

Still, I couldn't help picking up the Jabba figure for curiosity's sake, in part because I heard this version of Jabba had become possessed by Satan much like Linda Blair did. Sure enough, I open the box and find that Jabba's head is turned in a completely negating direction from the old toy and his presence in ROTJ. Seems as though the Hutts have some of the most flexible neck muscles in the galaxy. By the time Episode I rolled around, Jabba's body chemistry was totally different. But it's not like the whole entire scheme of things changed - he was still biting the heads off of live frogs.


One of the versions came with a post-Carbonite Han Solo, who if you'll recall was a blind, slimy mess. So he's certainly no prize to own. Another version had him packaged with that decisively irritating two-headed announcer from EP I, and there's even more than those. I've gotta ask - how many Jabbas do we really need? There's probably been four or five different Jabbas released in the past half a decade alone, which would be complete overkill if not for the following three scenarios:

1) Create an adventure where Bib Fortuna steals Palpatine's clone vats from Byss and uses them to make several duplicates of Jabba for the sole purpose of hearing his catch phrase, 'Bo Shuda,' in stereo.

2) Create a scene for Jabba's family reunion, putting each figure ahead of each other to form a Hutteese Congo Line. Later, have them exchange stories about good ol' weird Uncle Jimmy, the only Hutt who didn't eat his own shit.

3) Give one of the Jabba figures a top hat and white rabbit and have him say 'It's magic, partnah!' to anyone who asks about the fifty-six other Jabbas behind him. If the other figures continue to interrogate, have the magician Jabba eat them.


Jabba the Hutt Burger King Glass: Some of the nicest Star Wars collectibles out there in my view are the old promotional Burger King glasses - of which four were made for each movie in the trilogy. A few years ago some sucker sold me a complete set of them for 20 bucks, and while a good deal is always a reason to love, my true affair with these glasses stems back much further. See, my old best friend lived right across the street from us when I was a kid, and often I'd be there early enough to share in the breakfast extravaganzas. Sadly, even at that young age, I realized that the house was pretty pitiful in the cleanliness department, and frankly wanted nothing to do with their crusty silverware. My friend's mom, who knew I was a Star Wars freak, told me that these glasses they had collected were specifically for me, and even kept them high up on the shelves for when I came over. At least this way, if they were dirty, I could take solace in the fact that it was my dirt.

You've got to understand, these were the type of people who'd make sloppy steak and eggs for breakfast and put ketchup and mayo all over everything, and that includes the family dog and the combined lot of their sneakers. Well I wanted no part of it, and this, the Jabba glass, helped me avoid drinking their famously accidental iced tea w/ relish. Thank the maker for small favors, and thank Burger King for the colorful glassware.

Finally, today's last entry...this article was originally just going to be about this next item, which is disturbing beyond all comprehension, but I felt we needed to build to some kind of mounting crescendo to show you how toy producers rattled their minds to come up with the one Jabba toy that's never been done before. I found this at a KayBee about a week ago at the bargain clearance price of 1.99, but the joy it's brought me is absolutely priceless. Of course, personally, I'm easily thrilled by toys that vomit green slime and frogs. I proudly present to you...




EPISODE I SLIME-VOMITING JABBA THE HUTT!

Congrats to those who've made it this far, your reward is a step-by-step introduction into Kenner's seedy underbelly, where the crack marketing team polls two talking parrots with preferred demographics and churns out some unintentionally interesting toys. This time around, the hype for Episode I was large, and the seeming demand for lots of new toys even higher. From my experiences, I'd say that they went a bit overboard and they wouldn't have had to throw so much of their stuff into clearance racks had they just limited themselves a bit. Don't get me wrong, the toys were successful and as a fan I'm real excited with the idea that there's a whole new generation of young people who will grow up loving Star Wars and eventually spend their awkward teen years reading about what Jodo Kast kept in his ship's glove compartment rather than kissing girls or doing their homework. On the flipside, I've gone Christmas shopping at Toys R'Us about ten times this past month, and the number of 1.99 Darth Maul figures they've still gotta get rid of is staggering. You'd swear that their research analysts drew the conclusion that the demand for Darth Maul figures would equate out to roughly three per person who has ever lived, or who will ever live. But that's another story in itself - today we're talking about a toy so strange and wonderful, it could only be called the 'Jabba Glob.'

The deal was simple - you'd fill the figure's head with the included green ooze, press down firmly, and watch his mouth froth with disgusting slime delight. Certainly an interesting concept that could've only be bettered if they put traces of alcohol and small bits of potato chips in the slime, suggesting that Jabba didn't know his limits. Anyway, take a look at the figure...


Amazingly, this stupid toy has what I'd say is the best likeness of Jabba yet. Since he's made of hollow rubber, you're allowed to pose Jabba in all these wonderful positions that allow for great scenarios. Here's a few examples of the intense range of feelings and emotions you could express with this particular Jabba figure...


The 'Oh dear, I put both contact lenses in one eye!' pose.



The 'Fuck! I forgot to watch the season finale of Frasier!' pose.



The 'Please, please - no more chips, I'm absolutely stuffed!' pose.


And my fave, the 'Jabba's got his groove on' pose. I spent a good half hour posing Jabba in different ways, simply by closing my eyes and pushing my finger into his forehead and then deciding what he was trying to express. It's fun beyond imagination. Now, let's explore how you're supposed to use this toy.


The set comes with a little canister of slime, complete with tiny frog figures, because that's all Jabba eats and a little known factoid about Hutts is that they throw up pretty much everything they ingest. Don't act high and mighty though...if you ate those frogs, you'd throw 'em up too. Anyway, to make Jabba do his special trick, first you've gotta rip off his head, which reveals that his main body is a dual purpose item: it'd make a great bedside urinal for people who just really gotta go.


The astonishing end result is a Jabba the Hutt figure with no table manners and half-digested frog guts all over his stomach. It's too bad kids got sick of the EP I toys so quickly...I can't imagine anyone under the age of thirteen not going out and buying a safe to keep this plastic Babylon protected. Plus, it leaves the door open for an entirely new dynamic on the relationship between Leia and Jabba. With the older toys, you couldn't go much further than making Jabba do bad things to her with his really strong hands, but the whole effect was lost because no matter how awful you made him, the Leia figure still had that stupid grin on her face. Now, Pandora's Box is open...


Jabba: You will soon learn to appreciate me.
Leia: Sorry, I generally don't appreciate anyone who's covered in their own filth.
Jabba: Agh - weak-minded fool! You know there are people who would pay money to lick the slime from my regal belly? I demand respect...nay...command it!
Leia: Come on, Jabba. It's not that I don't believe people would pay to eat your vomit, but I'd bet my money on those people either being a Gammorrean Guard or Squid Head. Right?
Jabba: You forgot Malakili!
Leia: Who in God's name is that?
Jabba: The Rancor Keeper!
Leia: You mean they actually named that guy?!

See my point? Well that about does it for me. I've been working on this Jabba article at various intervals for the past three days, and just between you and me, Father Time has soured my memory on the whole idea. I knew I should've just reviewed Killer Condom instead. Oh well, the guy deserved his day in the sun, so today, in honor of Jabba, I'd like to ask all of you to imitate his laugh at a completely inappropriate time while at work or school. It's the least you could do for a slug who's given us all so much.


Yeah, he had his own brand of shampoo, too. Just thought I'd throw that in.

RETURN TO X-E!




 


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