We interrupt TMNT Week on The Holidaze for this very big, very special, Halloween news! As a staple of the season, the General Mills' Monster Cereal characters of Frankenberry, Boo Berry, Count Chocula, Frute Brute and Yummy Mummy are thread into the fabric of The Holidaze. I love the cereals for what they represent, but I love the characters even more. As I've grown older, I've come to appreciate them as amazing artwork brought to us by the great people over at General Mills. Thankfully, I'm not the only one who views them as pop-culture icons more than simple cereal mascots. Over the years, their popularity has increased more and more, resulting in various toys, shirts, and collectibles to go along with the iconic cereals we've all grown up on. General Mills, being the marketers they are, capitalized on this boom in 2013 by bringing back Frute Brute and Yummy Mummy from their tombs and re-releasing the legendary retro box art for all of us to collect and enjoy. It was definitely the highlight of last year's Halloween season and, this year, General Mills is back at it again!
I first became aware of these new boxes on Instagram as the social media app is proving to be more powerful than given credit for. Somebody was lucky enough to already receive a brand new box of Frankenberry and posted the image for fans to salivate over. Today, General Mills confirmed that the comic illustrated boxes are in fact a reality and will be debuting this September! But not only are they designed to look like comic heroes (or villains) but they're designed by actual DC Comics illustrators! Now that's pretty awesome! Once working for the Brooklyn Nets, I was there when Marvel joined forces with the team to create Nets' mascot, The Brooklyknight. However, that was an utter disaster and complete failure. This? Oh no.. There's no way this will suffer the same fate. DC Comics and their artists have done an incredible job and fans are already clamoring for these boxes on their kitchen tables!
DC illustrator, Dave Johnson, designed the new Frankenberry box and I don't think I could love it any more than I do. I was getting tired of the most recent modern design being released over and over again. At first, the CGI-styled design was cool, but it got stale really quick. Besides Frute Brute and Yummy Mummy making their modern debut last year, I was over the style and, apparently, General Mills was too. This updated box, which is more than phenomenal, gives Frankenberry a new lease on life. He's back and better than ever in 2014. No, no design will ever top the originals. The retro art will always be my favorite, but this is just too cool to pass up and I love the fact that General Mills went, once again, that extra mile to make fans happy and, of course, bring in that extra profit.
Designed by Terry and Rachel Dodson, Count Chocula has been given a more realistic, human appearance. At first, I didn't know what to think about his new image. Part of him looks like a Halloween elf, another part looks like he came from a Harry Potter novel, and the rest of him looks like Maleficent on crack. But, given it further thought, I do appreciate the new direction. If Count Chocula truly existed in our world, I'd assume he'd be human. Unlike all previous incarnations, this box features him as a man, as a vampire, who happens to love chocolate more than anything else in this world. I think parts of him could have been altered to better fit that image, but they also couldn't stray too far away from the original design. He still needed to look like Count Chocula and I think the DC artists found the perfect medium. In a matter of hours, Count Chocula has really grown on me,
Boo Berry has maintained his classic appearance more than the other two characters and I'm happy to see that. I don't think there's much you can do to change his image without completely changing the character himself. He's always had those big eyes with the saggy lids, his top hat and bow tie, along with that sly smirk. You can't remove or alter any of that because by doing so with one of those characteristics, you're losing the nostalgia. His body is different by being just a tad bit less ghostly on top, but the bottom portion remains true to what he is. This isn't my favorite of the three, but it's far superior to what we've been getting over the last few years.
Regardless of which box you prefer or which is your favorite, none of us can deny just how awesome these new designs are. Personally, I'm looking for Franky first, but the other two will be coming home with me as soon as I see them. All three will be joining the collection of Monster Cereal boxes.
In even better news, General Mills will, once again, be re-releasing retro boxes exclusively to Target. Now, General Mills could have re-released 2103's art, but they're too smart for that. At my Target, those boxes sold out completely before the Halloween season came to an end. That means many of us bought the 2013 retro boxes and have no need for another set. Personally, I have 3 of each character and don't regret a thing. But knowing that, General Mills will be releasing a set of new retro boxes celebrating 1979 and 1980. In addition, each box will come with a cut-out mask of your favorite Monster Cereal characters. Take a minute and think about how cool that is!! These boxes have not been on store shelves since the early 80s and, in 2014, they'll be back for us to collect! From a marketing perspective, think about how smart this is. Use me, for example.. I'll be buying 3 DC Comics boxes, 3 retro boxes, and 3 more retro boxes to cut out those masks! In one trip, General Mills just sold me 9 boxes of cereal. Absolutely genius!
Here comes the bad news... Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute will not be included in this year's festivities! Major bummer!! I would have loved to see what DC artists could do with the Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute characters and the retro boxes would have been must-haves. My wallet is thanking General Mills for keeping me from buying 15 boxes of cereal, but I'm not. I truly believed they'd return this season, but I guess the 2013 campaign wasn't as successful as we thought. It's a shame because real fans wind up missing out on incredible Halloween goodies, but General Mills needs to do smart business and, in the end, they're surely doing their part to make up for the lack of two legendary characters.
Thankfully, I have enough retro boxes stocked up to keep me happy. They're expired and it sucks that we may never get that flavor again, but having the collectible boxes in my possession makes 2013 a success. If you never picked up a box of Yummy Mummy or Frute Brute, I suggest you do so soon. Once scalpers catch wind of their value, you'll end up paying 10x what those boxes were worth.