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Potato Punk

The Grossery Gang
by yo go re

Who knew they were still making these!

Meet Potato Punk - a punk who looks like junk! He dug himself out of the compost bin to help his gang of Grosseries fight the Rotbots. He's ready to take a mashing for his buddies and will always chip in where he can. Potato Punk is a spud who knows how to shoot crud with his Toxic Waist Flicker!

Target and TRU were the only places that carried the Grossey Gang figures - Target never even got the second series, and Toys Я Us has really dried up as a source of new things in recent months. It seemed like the fad's time was over, with no one to carry the figures. And yet now, out of nowhere, new ones have shown up at Five Below! The theme for this series is "Time Wars," and the back of the card tells about how they opened up a time portal through a toilet, giving Moose Toys an excuse to put existing characters in new costumes, as well as to release new Gangsters as well.

The versions sold at Five Below are stripped-down, simplified releases as compared to the previous ones: the packaging is smaller, and is genericized to represent the entire series rather than one specific figure; additionally, all you get is the figure itself, no squishy PVC Grossery and no accesories. Since those were never really the big draw of this line, it's not really a terrible loss, especially since it brings the price down a couple bucks.

Surprise of surprises, Potato Punk is a potato. There was a potato Grossery - Smashed Potato - in the first series of PVCs, back in 2016. Is Potato Punk supposed to be a powered-up version of that little guy, displaced through time? It's possible. Smashed Potato had eyes that pointed in different directions and a single buck tooth poking out of his mouth; Potato Punk has eyes that point in different directions and a single buck tooth poking out of his mouth. Yes, Smashed Potato's tooth pointed down, while Potato Punk's points up, but this certainly wouldn't be the first time a Grossery has undergone distinct physical changes when getting empowered.

Potato Punk's time period is 1973, which is pretty early for recognizable punk rock - I mean, back then people were still describing the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen as "punk." Today, very few people would consider the Bay City Rollers "punk," but they got the label back then. It was just a popular buzzword for anyone writing about music. This guy is dressed the way we think of old punks today, with big black boots, blue jeans, a studded metal belt, studded bracelets, and a leather vest with more studs on the lapels. He's wearing a padlocked chain and a necklace, and has a red mohawk.

The paint is good - other than the studs on the bracelets, all the little details get painted, and there's a big pink Grossery Gang logo on the back of his vest. The sculpt of the body has small bumps that suggest he's meant to be an unpeeled potato, but he's mostly yellow, not brown. There is a very subtle fade to green on his hands and the back of his head, though.

Since Potato Punk's head and body are one big unit, he doesn't have any kind of neck joint. Instead, his articulation is limited to swivel/hinge joints at the shoulders and hips. It's not a lot, but there's really no way around that, is there? At least he has legs - Mr. Potato Head just gets a pair of feet sticking out of his base, so this is already an improvement over that standard.

Like we said, these Five Below exclusives don't have any accessories. But if you do get the full version of him somewhere, he'll include a "Flick 'n' Launch Grot Blaster," the Toxic Waist Flicker mentioned in the bio. It's a blue barrel of radioactive waste he can carry like a gun, which fires a pink missile.

Finding this figure at Five Below was a real surprise. A cheaper toy with fewer unwanted pieces? How can you not like that! It's good that the Grossery Gang action figures are finding new homes.

-- 09/27/18

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