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by yo go re

Why are we just now learning about these?!

They do exist! The subject of folklore and tabloid headlines for decades, Cryptkins have been discovered and the world will never be the same!

Cryptozoic Entertainment is a company founded in 2010 that makes a lot of pop culture games and collectibles - DC Comics, Rick and Morty, Outlander, stuff like that - but now they've got their own original property. Cryptkins are superdeformed little cryptids and mythical creatures, sold in blind boxes. The boxes are designed to look like live animal shipping crates, complete with caution labels and air holes drilled in the sides. How does a box with holes in it still manage to be "blind"? The figures are in an opaque green bag inside.

There are 13 figures in the first series, with two (Ogopogo and Phoenix) being rare and one (Cosmic Cthulhu) being ultra rare. There are only 12 in a case, though, so anyone wanting a full set will have some hunting to do. There are also no ratios listed on the packaging, so we can't tell you whether buying a full case will get you duplicates or not.

You don't need to look at some grainy photos to tell that this little monster is for real! She may be small, but she could keep growing and growing. It might be smart to locate all major bodies of freshwater close to you now...

It's fitting that we'd start with a toy of Nessie, since the real Loch Ness Monster was just a toy itself: in 1933, The Daily Mail (Britain's answer to the National Enquirer) hired Marmaduke Wetherell to track down the monster; early that year, a new road had been completed near the shore, giving clear views of the lake and leading to an increase in sightings. Wetherell found some large footprints he attributed to it, but they turned out to have been made by a hippo-foot umbrella stand. Embarrassed, Duke decided to eff with the Mail, building a fake dinosaur head and mounting it on a toy submarine, then having a friend-of-a-friend sell the pictures to the paper. Epic trolling level unlocked!

The Cryptkins are baby versions of the famous monsters, intended to look at once cuddly and threatening - as associate designer Kyle Wlodyga put, "if you reached out to pet one, you aren't exactly sure if they’d let you or bite you!" Baby Nessie tops out over 2⅜", thanks to her ear-flaps, and has a large head on a small body. Early concepts included pupils for the characters, but the final products just have large, blank, red eyes, to keep them looking inhuman and sweetly menacing.

Nessie has a typically plesiosauroid body, which by itself is only slightly larger than her head is. She rests on her stomach, as you'd expect, and has four flippers sticking out to the sides: a larger pair in the front, and tiny ones in the back. Her itsy bitsy tail curls upward, pointing toward the sky, and the are smooth wrinkles at the base of the tail and the neck.

Other than the red eyes, Nessie's colors are mostly blue: medium blue on her sides and back, a pale blue chin and belly, and darker blue stripes on her back, along the bumps on her head, and at the tips of her ears and flippers. The interior of the mouth is pink, and she has white teeth.

Bagged separately inside the box with each figure is a small card with art of the Cryptkin on one side and biographical facts (well, "facts") on the other: name, full-grown height/weight, descriptions, diet, and habitat and range, with a map of the world to help drive that last one home. Nessie's art shows her floating in her Scottish home, and both sides of the card are designed to look aged.

I hadn't heard of the Cryptkins until my local comicshop got some in, but they looked cute and I decided to take a chance on one. They are adorable little terrors, and now I'm looking forward to Series 2, which will up the number of purely mythological creatures - personally, I'm most anticipating the Chupacabra and the Cerberus puppy.

-- 10/30/18

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