I am mainly a collector of Transformers. So here’s an analogy I hope fellow collectors will understand: when I did my original “Grading the Monster High characters”, it was the equivalent of looking at characters like Sinnertwin, Motormaster, and Trypticon. These were deep cut characters that would never be anything but Easter Egg references in the inevitable Monster High live action film. Like a sign displaying “Neighthan Rot’s Surf Shop” or something.
The main dolls — the Optimus Primes and Bumblebees, if you will — are the OG Monster High characters. And yes, they are officially “OG”… for “Original Ghouls”. These are the ones that get officially licensed Halloween costumes and Rock Candy Funkos. They lack the obscure monster origins and bizarre body appendages of later entries, but they are the first and most iconic.
Let’s arbitrarily grade the six superstars of the line up, shall we?
So I had thought of taking the images from the character pages like last time. As it turns out, though, these are second generation redesigns. Take Frankie Stein here, for example. I don’t know much about Monster High, but I do know she’s basically the most iconic of the original line up. And she doesn’t look like this. Even the icon on the character page refuses to acknowledge that tragic hairstyle! It would be like redoing Optimus Prime and saying that he’s a gorilla now. At some point you have to say that new Frankie Stein was a different, original character and move on. This is is probably why the doll line is currently on hiatus. (Though Pennywise and the Grady twins were released under the Monster High line this year. In Transformers parlance, MH is currently in its Alternators phase.)
Anyway, OG Frankie brings it. I love how the best is the one with gray hair and the fashionable cheek scar. The lightning bolt purse would make David Bowie jealous. Also I think she technically appears on more “Friends” lists in the character pages. You don’t mess with friendship. Grade: A.
The guiding principle of the OG dolls was “fierce” and if any of them embodies this spirit, it’s Clawdeen. I didn’t know it was possible for a doll to make you feel like scum, but she’s doing that to me with that disdainful stare. Oh my God…. she despises me! Clawdeen also provides an easy expansion for the MH line. She’s said to have a lot of siblings… and I think every one of the other werewolf dolls is related to her. As for the outfit, I like that it doesn’t go overboard. There’s no overt signifiers, but it looks like an ensemble a werewolf would wear. Grade: A.
You know what? I’m not buying that Lagoona is a monster. All the other MH characters have varying degrees of goth apparel. Lagoona is instead wearing some peppy H&M summer wear. I guess that’s great for variety, but she feels like she wandered in from another mermaid-themed toy line. Or a 60’s housewife-themed toy line. She’s also the one I almost always forgot to include when putting together this list. Even moreso than Ghoulia. I like the fishbone earrings, though. Grade: C.
Let’s get real, here: teen vampire girl? That’s got to be the easiest concept in the world to work. Draculaura here is styling a pink and black combo with fishnets and tall boots and the whole Goth Lolita ensemble. I’d almost subtract points for being too easy…. but damn, that umbrella! With a skull tip, a heart-shaped strap, AND a bat handle! Crap, I want that umbrella! Sure, it’s easy… but she nailed the look with that accessory. Draculaura is totally a teen vampire. Well, except for the fact that she’s 1599 years old. Grade: B+.
But if you think Draculaura is slumming it, our mummy doll is a whopping 3357 years old! Looks like someone’s in denial about their age, amirite? If you thought that was a stretch, her profile mentions that she’s the captain of the “fearleading” squad. In Monster High, it’s the puns that are truly scary. Cleo gets to accessorize with things based on antiquity, and even her boyfriend is a 16-year-old male Gorgon. Cleo, you could be his great-great-great^32 grandmother! Downside: I kinda don’t dig the 80’s aerobics instructor look, or the stylized bandage pattern. And, well, compared to the personalities on display with the other dolls, Cleo’s face is a little personality free. Grade: B-.
So despite getting the “OG” tag, Ghoulia seems to have become the forgotten Ghoul. She gets omitted in a lot of group shots and was even removed from the roster during the 2016 reboot. Was she murdered by the other Monster High characters? It’s a shame because the blue hair and gray skin is a lovely combo, and it goes great with the stripes. Something about gray goes really well with primary colors. Ghoulia ultimately was a victim in a story that repeats itself far too often: she’s a hard worker —- a lackey of Cleo De Nile —- who always seems to keep her head down, but is the first to get laid off when the company hands down its termination notices. But we all know what’s going on. It’s 2016! Zombies are old news! What’s in are terrifying two-headed snake women! Grade: B+.