Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

WTF Toys?! – Food Fighters: Combat At Its Kookiest

My first article, woo!  Alright, so, not sure if you are all aware, but I work at a retro toy and collectibles store in Los Angeles (Tarzana to be specific) called Big Kid Collectables! We see a lot of cool and weird stuff. Some items are so strange, so grotesque, so mind-bendingly heinous and stupid that I can’t let them go by without sharing them with you all.

If it were up to me, these toys would be thrown in the garbage, loaded into a cannon, and then fired into the sun just out of their sheer uselessness. They are the items that when I take photos and post them online I just go, “Who the actual Hell would buy this stupid thing?” More often than not, they sell within a few days or sometimes even a few hours! I am forced to analyze what exactly it is that would compel someone to buy such a stupid item.

Food Fighters: Combat at its Kookiest – Private Pizza (and his terrible friends / enemies)

WTF?! Wow. Also eww. A pizza soldier. This is so stupid. I hate it. I’m not crazy, right? This thing is super stupid. This is a toy you’d find in the back of a run-down CVS while your mom bought her osteoporosis medication or whatever. Nobody wants this. What kid would choose this over a Transformer or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or a Star Wars action figure? Heck, if you want a soldier, why not get a god damned GI Joe!? But no, you got a Food Fighter. You got an anthropomorphic pizza with a crappy little gun and backpack who can pal around with all his disappointing food-themed friends.

So, instead of just ignoring this affront to human decency, I, of course, had to dive in and dissect every detail of this horrid figure. First off, these food items have real person arms and legs. This leads to asking more questions such as: “Are they life-sized?” If so, that’s terrifying. “Are they the size of their food items?” That’s not quite as bad but the realization that these foods sprouted mini arms and legs is still unsettling. They also have helmets, implying that they have brains worth saving. I get that it’s part of a costume but still, these are the fevered thoughts I have at night as I am haunted by images of this toy.

Let’s now dive in to the “description” of this abomination. First off, he is described as an “action figure.” The only action I want to be made with him is a swift dropkick into a trashcan. Regardless, this “action figure” has a full Food Freshness File full of terrible puns and pizza-related “jokes.” They hurt my soul so I will just let you read them for yourself.

Food Fighters 1

Food Fighters 2

The real terror here is that this is not the worst of the Food Fighters. Take a look at the back and you will see all his horrid pals. My personal favorites are Major Munch the doughnut, Lieutenant Legg the chicken leg, and Mean Weener the hot dog. You can collect them all and have them ride in the BBQ Bomber! Oh what fun! Kill me.

What is also surprising to me is that this is not some one-off company that makes knockoff toys. This is Mattel. This is THE toy company. Somebody was in a pitch room and pitched this idea to some executive. It probably went like this:

Guy: So you know how kids like to play with their food?

Business Executive: Yes.

Guy: Well why don’t we give the kids food to play with? Y’know, like food toys! Food toy soldiers!

Business Executive: Go on.

Guy: I give you Food Fighters. They’re like G.I. Joe’s except food soldiers. Oh the fun and frolicking the children will have. They can collect them all!

Business Executive:Yeah, uh, sure go for it. People like food and people like food fights. How about some celebratory lines of coke?!

Guy: No thanks! I already had plenty before I came in here.

And then they both high-fived. Or at least that’s what I imagine the late 80’s to look like. I wasn’t alive.

What’s extra upsetting is that then some Malaysian factory workers had to crank out this crap for a month, load it onto a ship, and send it over the sea to America. And we wonder why foreigners don’t like America sometimes. I give you Food Fighters. +1 Hate point. Well done.

Why any child would have or want more than one of these is beyond me. But what do I know? I am sure there are people who love these things, in fact, I know there are people who love these things, because we sold within 24 hrs of being on our web-store! I was simply flabbergasted. But, strangely, I sort of understand why someone would want something like this. It’s so bad that it’s actually sort of good. It’s like looking at an ugly painting. Bad art is easy to ignore but truly bad art – the kind of art that stops you in its tracks due to its sheer terribleness – is exceptional! I guess that’s why someone would buy Private Pizza. I sincerely hope that the buyer doesn’t have a collection of these… but we all know that’s a fools hope. This is the internet we are dealing with here and in that deep dark void, there is no hope.

Just for the record I plan on making “WTF?! Toys” an ongoing series, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more weird-toy articles on the horizon.


  1. When you were prepping this piece (behind the scenes stuff here, kids!), I saw the headline and thought that this must be the line with that chicken leg figure, and I was right! My sister or I had this figure, and quite possibly, one of us still has it. So shut up! 😉

    And quit rubbing your youth in our faces, kid! wasn’t around in the ’80s grumble grumble….

  2. Michael P

    It’s me. I was that kid. I had Burgerdier General and the Fry Chopper. They were ridiculous (and I’m pretty sure I lost most of the parts to the Fry Chopper within, like, a day), but I thought it was a clever gag. Then again, I was 8.

  3. Simon

    Sorry, trying to comment here I got a “Page not found” error repeatedly after clicking Post (but not at the Welcome page, where I’ve just posted alright). Trying this short comment now (to see if it’s the contents or just any comment). Baby steps…

  4. Simon

    So it worked above, but retrying to post my comment did the page-not-found error again, so it’s because of something in my comment, either a bug or a weird filter thing? Hm, I’m going to repost it in three parts to see which one is weird. Sorry…

  5. Simon

    (Part 1)

    Private Pizza? I dunno, I think Private Pepperoni had a better ring to it…

    – “some Malaysian factory workers had to crank out this crap”

    And before that, some artists had to grind their soul designing them. Like when Crumb was drawing funny cards in Cleveland, or Jeff Nicholson was going THROUGH THE HABITRAILS.

  6. Simon

    (Part 2 causes the bug, I now suspect it’s OKER-PAY the culprit?)

    But I hear some hipsters like to buy “Dogs Playing P0ker”-like stuff for post-modern ironic chic, maybe they’d want one of these, possibly mounted as a fridge magnet? You’d just have to charge much more to make it accessible to hipsters!

  7. Simon

    (Part 3 of 3, soz!)

    P.S.: None of my beeswax, but are you sure your boss wouldn’t freak out about your basically calling some of his patrons stupid? Not that I disagree, mind, but in this connected day and age…

    P.P.S.: You prolly know Mike Sterling’s THE END OF CIVILIZATION, but just in case you don’t… you might like it.

  8. Jeff Nettleton

    I would have to think that at least one possibility behind this is the success of the California Raisins. Those things were all over, beyond the commercials. They had animated specials and figures and toys out there. This looks a bit like an attempt to piggyback on that. Possibly coke induced; but typical copycat marketing.

  9. Edo Bosnar

    Interesting – never saw these myself, as it was a bit after my prime toy-buying age (like over a decade after…), but your very amusing conjecture about just how things like this get the greenlight and go into production seems to apply to quite a few toys across the board. When I was a little kid, I recall browsing through the toy sections in stores and even at that age thinking about certain things, “who would want to play with that?!”
    Here’s an example of something that made me scratch my head back in 1979 when I first saw it advertised in a comic book, and still does today: Banana Talkies and Banana Compasses – with which you can apparently stave off invasions by hostile aliens. Independence Day would have been a much shorter movie if they had just used the proper equipment…

    1. Jeff Nettleton

      It would have been pretty short if it had to stick to original plots, too. 😉

      The one that was a headscratcher, for me, was the Supermobile. Why does Superman need a flying ship? He can fly. Then, they did a story in the comic to justify its existence, which actually worked pretty well.

      People bought “sea monkeys,’ why not other weird toys. Some people just seem to like weird. Though, I still say cabbage patch kids was mass hypnosis

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.