Punk Mickey Vinyls Punk Mickey Vinyls

Punk Mickey Vinyls


We’ve highlighted this new trend before. The high-end, urban fashion vinyl dolls not aimed at the kids or the Disneyland family crowd. From the same Japanese figure maker (Medi Com Toy Corp) who produced the vintage Mickey and Oswald vinyls (mentioned here), here’s an interesting looking pirate Mickey Mouse figurine (above right), a follow up to the companys previous figure, from last summer, where Mickey was molded in homage to the punk band, The Clash.

We’ve come along way since the days of Charlotte Clark.

(Thanks, Mika Tolvanen)

  • I have no space or great love for vinyl toys, but Mickey as a pirate is really cute.

  • They have been really trying to make Mickey to recreate his 30’s brashiness with some success…these are interesting however.

  • I don’t particularly care for vinyl toys. But a Mickey Mouse homage to the Clash is priceless.

    I probably just feel that way because I listen to the Clash, and understand the reference.

  • Are this Disney approved I wonder? Either way they look fantastic. I would love to see a Pirate Mickey short (or feature for that matter). Disney needs to take note: give Mickey his bite back.

  • Travis:

    They should be approved! If it wasn’t, Disney’s Japanese lawyers would’ve gone after them.

    Remember that Medicom is a legit company in Japan. They are perhaps best known for making “Real Action Hero Series’ collector dolls of popular characters, both Japanese and American (and otherwise). From superheroes (Ultraman, Masked Rider, Kikaider, etc.) to monsters (Godzilla, Gamera, etc.), to American characters (The movie version of Judge Dredd, BTW, was their first RAH figure, interestingly!). Their work is nothing short of impressive! I have the Masked Rider RAH doll (the old version of Rider 1) from back when the RAH line was relatively new. (They’ve done newer, more impressive and detailed versions of the same character.)

    Their other toys are quite impressive! They have vinyl toys, and they have put out some *very* impressive Disney stuff. They also did some toys of breakfast cereal mascots like Tony the Tiger! I recommend Medicom’s items to the average Disney/cartoon collector.

  • tom

    Ooo! That Clash Mickey is something I’ve got to get. Damn! More money flying out of my wallet.

  • Mickey smashing a guitar like some idiot punk rocker is just repugnant. The 1930’s Mickey is an interesting enough character in his own right when portrayed properly. There is no excuse for Disney whoring him out like this.

  • Both of these can be found on eBay now. With shipping they seem to range from $75-$125. Out of my price range. Still would love to have a Pirate Mickey (even though they don’t want to seem to show his face…)

  • tom

    Pete, how is that whoring Mickey out? I’m more annoyed to see him represented as a hunk of ugly plastic in a happy meal that no one wants than to see him in a high end vinyl that accomplishes the difficult trick of making the little cipher actually look interesting for a change.

    While we’ll never see the old gun toting adventurer of yore, it’s nice to get a little less sugar in the mouse from time to time.

  • Paul

    Repugnant? Really? Isn’t that kind of strong, considering that Disney already “whored him out” in the 70’s with Disco Mickey? Or the 80’s new wave/Miami Vice Mickey. Which is really more offensive?

    Guess it depends on your taste in music… :0)

  • amid

    Pete, Nobody is saying that the 1930s Mickey isn’t an interesting character, but in 2007, that character is largely irrelevant to today’s audiences. We can either continue embracing Mickey (and other cartoon characters) as historical relics or find new ways to make them relevant to today’s audiences. BTW, I don’t have any particular affection for these toys. I’d rather see Mickey updated by filmmakers for artistic reasons than by merchandise licensees looking to make a quick buck, but I see little problem in exploring the potential of the character and creating something new that contemporary audiences can relate to.

  • So I guess you’re also okay with “The Loonatics” making Warners characters more relevant to today’s audiences? Just asking…

  • Danielle

    Travis: Ouch! That’s why I try to avoid eBay for figures these days. A good import shop is HobbyLink Japan, which charges the Japanese retail price for their items and has a couple different shipping options. They’re getting Pirate Mickey in April: http://www.hlj.com/product/MEDVCD-088

    (And having gotten one of Medicom’s vinyl Mickeys in the past, I agree that their models are very impressive indeed!)

  • tom

    I wouldn’t compare the Loonatics with a vinyl art toy produced in limited quantities. Loonatics reimagines, recasts and redesigns those characters to be something completely different than what they were intended to be in their creation, whereas this is an attractive looking version of Mickey with a guitar. Period.

    Different strokes though, Pete. You’ll always have Steamboat Willie and Plane Crazy.

  • Christina S.

    like some idiot punk rocker

    …but it’s the CLASH. That’s not idiot punk, it’s genius!

    Besides, look at ‘im. His character design hasn’t changed a bit, it’s just Mickey and a guitar.

    I really do wonder what some of you think about the Mickey in Kingdom Hearts sometimes…

  • “…it’s just Mickey and a guitar.”

    Mickey in the act of SMASHING a guitar. If he were playing it like a civilized musician (which lets out punk rockers in my opinion), I’d have no problem with it.

    Regarding Tom’s comment that Mickey has not been redesigned or reimagined, well, that may not be so in the physical sense here, I’ll grant you, but he is out of character. Besides, considering how many people lambasted Warners for coming up with “The Loonatics”, I’m surprised at the number of folks who praised the supposed Mickey that showed up on this site a week ago in that “Neo-Mickey” proposal. Seems that when it comes to reimagining cartoon characters, there’s long been a double standard, especially among those who are primarily Warners fans. They believe that the Looney Tunes are off-limits, yet they love to see all sorts of oddball or unsavory things done with Disney characters. I’m sick of that mindset and I’ll continue to shine a light on it to expose it as the double standard it most clearly is.

  • Travis: It’s funny that you don’t see Mickey’s face, because Medicom always has multiple angle pics of their figures on their official site (which is in Japanese). So I wouldn’t be surprised if this was just one angle.

  • I think the main difference is that Neo-Mickey looked nice. True, I think everyone agrees that they’d rather see Mickey as HIMSELF with little to no alterations, but Neo-Mickey was more of an experiment in redesign than anything.

    Loonatics is just complete molestation made solely for the purpose of attracting “kids.” Which we could use to apply to this Mickey Clash figure (which I myself dont like at all, loved the band) except most “kids” today have never heard of the Clash.

    Pirate Mickey however, I think fits in just fine. Anyone remember “Yo Yogi”? Man. My brain hurts just thinking about it.

  • I don’t know about some people, but I personally love the idea of Mickey Mouse acting and looking like a total bad ass, rather than the wimpy boring home owner they turned him into sometime in the 50s, to the point where they stopped making Mickey shorts completely because no one cared anymore.

    It may be out of character, but when compared to all the horrid crap they make of Mickey out there where he just has that same sappy smile and arms up in the air over and over again, it’s nice to see him being a little mean for once in a while, and breaking something. I think this was a reason I loved Runaway Brain so much. (This toy company made some fantastic vinyls based on that toon, btw, and a lot of the B&W cartoons as well, including he gun touting cowboy Mickey).

    There’s a appeal here of seeing a character who is always so wholesome being a little bastard, is all =P

    If they made Looney Tune toys like this, I’d love those also. The difference there being that the characters were close to perfect to start with, whereas Mickey was for a long time a very boring un-funny character.

    One other note: I think when a lot of people were praising Neo-Mickey, they were praising it on its design, but for the most part, people didn’t think Mickey fit into the idea much.

  • Nothing new about Mickey acting brash…just look at some of the licensed English Inter-Art postcards produced in the 1930s – Minnie surrounded by young mice as she pushes a baby buggy with Mickey in the foreground saying, “I’m not the marryng type.” In another three Mickey mice have been drinking with the caption, “Three blind mice.” In another Mickey is about to jab a cat with a knife. In another Minnie and a cow are in the picture and Mickey says “How happy I’d be with either.” Seems like everything gets recycled eventually.

  • Is Mickey just about to smash his guitar or is he trying to kill a cockroach with the headstock? The pose is sort of ambivalent… and so am I. I trust that Disney would never massively change the image of Mickey, lest they incite the curse of the avenging Walt.

    Forget about it. Mickey’s been less a character and more of a corporate logo for a very long time, So, either way, he’s already like an embalmed mouse enshrined à la Lenin’s Tomb. He’s everywhere and nowhere. It’s kinda’ deep and cosmic and makes my head hurt when I think about it.

    Pegleg Pete and Clarabell Cow, on the other hand, are totally ready for their own major motion picture! So much talent gone to waste.

  • Disney Japan is a very separate entity from the rest of the Disney empire and they do a hell of a lot of marketing and extending of the core characters that would never be allowed in the US. It’s a very different market, with different ideas about who the characters are/can be. Pete Emslie is outraged at HIS Mickey being interfered with. Japanese people feel just as strongly that the characters are theirs too – remember Tokyo Disneyland has been open over twenty years and it is probably the highest traffic Disney resort in the world.

    There is a steady demand for the kind of high quality reinterpretations that Medicom do of all kinds of pop culture characters. Disney Japan get a certain kind of cachet from the eagerness of pretty trendy outlets to use Mickey, Minnie et al in ways that integrate them into products that people actually care about, rather than walling them off in sterile museum cases that nobody is allowed to touch. The range of ‘official’ interpretations would astonish you if the sight of Mickey with a guitar is so incredible to you!

    Partly that is a consequence of the corporate nature of these kinds of characters; there is no one definitive version as long as so many people have to work together to create them, but that can be an advantage if you have the creative imagination to see the possibilities. It’s important to put it all in context. These are merchandise, not ‘rebranding’ – they aren’t changing what Mickey is, just extending/riffing off it. Just like here there are multiple versions of Batman all running around at the same time, but rather than weakening the concept of what Batman is, they make him stronger because everyone can choose the one that resonates with them most.

    Last year I wrote a book about this stuff y’know, Amid! It’s published by Kodansha Japan. I interviewed Sanrio’s art director as well as artists like Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara, Junko Mizuno and Michael Lau. You might find it instructive as to explaining just what people get out of Urban Vinyl and Art Toys.

    And Tom – Medicom did do a guntoting Mickey a couple of years ago!

  • tom

    Loonatics was a different situation because the Looney Tunes characters are not currently being produced in their original designs and characters. Loonatics is all that was available as far as new material. That was sad.

    However, Disney’s got a raft of attractive (and horrible) redesigns and fresh takes out there to see, from Disney Babies (you still see some of that around) to the Disney Cuties (which are frickin’ wonderful), through to the Pirate character merch that the Disney Stores offered a couple of months ago, down to this Clash flavored Mickey. In the mix are the Cube shaped toys- whatever those are called, the Kubricks, the clumsy looking Disney heroes line, the Kingdom Hearts takes, etc. etc. Pixar’s Finding Nemo simultaneously inspired a flat 2-D collection of images for licensing as well as the more familiar 3-D images from the movie. Pixar’s done this a couple of times, I think.

    Sometimes it’s a great thing and two or more radically different versions can thrive and compliment one another. The best example of this is obviously the Winnie the Pooh license. Pooh’s got Disney movie merchandise and alternate stuff that instead follows the E. H.Shepard illustrations, and both are beautiful. Batman similarly is represented by dozens of different approaches to the character, both visually and with regard to the building blocks of his story and environment.

    That’s a happy union- the opposite of the Loonatics, where there was no real vision or affection for the characters in any capacity other than as little cash cows. The thinking there was that somehow Bugs and Daffy were “broken” and had to be updated in order to be relevant, but that “updating” meant having that gang-tag redesign done and recasting them as dark, unfunny ninja turtles-like superheroes. There is nothing in that last sentence that I could defend.

    So, anyway, this reinvention is as old as the medium itself. Chasing trends, updating characters; as long as the results are offered as just ONE interpretation, and those handling the job are talented, and tasteful, it can be a good thing for fans and non-fans alike.

    Whew! Sorry I ran on so long.

  • Ted

    Another new figure for fans of the Runway Brain Mickey.

  • Addressing the argument about Mickey smashing the guitar, let’s not forget that Mickey in Steamboat Willie swung a cat by the tail, squeezed and choked a duck, and pulled suckling infant pigs from their mother so that he could play her nipples. Now that would make an awesome vinyl doll!

  • Andreas

    These are awesome. I must have! I also like this one…


    While vinyl dolls isn’t something I collect, I do like the out of the ordinary, don’t see every day of these vinyl dolls.

  • I never cease to envy the Japanese for getting all the interesting, fresh, more adult-oriented Disney merchandise.
    I remember a time when Disney Stores sold BOOKS and ORIGINAL CELS and FIGURINES and things that would have some appeal to people older than 10. Not any more – it’s all cheap tshirts, beanie plushies and plastic doodads for kids. They don’t even sell pins anymore, outside of the theme parks. I love the Japanese Disney figures, they have so much more dynamism and care put into them than most American stuff.

    I find it telling that the Disney characters in the Japanese-produced Kingdom Hearts manga are more drawn more accurately than 90% of official Disney publicity art.

  • Mickey? Holding a Sword? How did that get past the labyrinth of focus groups?

  • Shirley

    I wish I could afford these dolls. I would buy them all. Are they so expensive because they have to be imported from Japan? And I can’t make your link work, Mr Phoenix! What is your book called and where can I see it? Is it on Amazon?

  • Nice!