Around the mid 1980’s, creator Christy Marx laid the groundwork for Jem and the Holograms to come alive on a Saturday morning cartoon block. It was (and still is) a fantastic fiction creation. I am still entertained by each episode 30 years later. The show featured two rival bands, the good “Jem and the Holograms”, and the bad “Misfits”. This cartoon is still a paradigm for great story-writing, character development, and entertainment–something of which is sorely lacking today. I shudder to think what the reinvented/reinterpreted 2015 Jem and the Holograms movie release will have in store three decades since the original classic. I am not holding my breath in anticipation… Instead I highly recommend the original 80’s cartoon if you like genuine characters, interesting plot complications, lots of action, and good ‘ol 80’s music.
Mary Phillips, more commonly known in the show by her stage name “Stormer”, is the character I will focus on for this review. She technically falls under the antagonist/villain category, as she is part of the rival band, The Misifts. However, she is affectionately known by all fans as the “Nice Misfit”. Stormer has a lot to prove, to herself and to others, and she often plays up the tough-girl act in front of the other Misfit band members, selfish Pizazz and ignorant Roxy. In actuality, Stormer is a nice girl who only wants to promote the lyrics she writes, so she sticks with The Misfits to continue doing what she loves. In one episode it is actually said by Pizazz and Roxy that they need her. The Misfits rely on Stormer’s writing skills to succeed. Little does Stormer realize, but she should branch out on her own and leave the obnoxious band members behind! Ah well, she sticks around because she’s just so nice.
Hair, face, & makeup:
This Hasbro doll line stands out uniquely from other dolls of its time. The body may not be wholly different, but the clothes and facial features are distinctively outrageous (let the 80’s puns begin!). And thankfully the designers try to stay true to the character designs of the cartoon.
As the thorough creator of Prancetron.com has already researched, it was found that Stormer’s doll has the same face mold to that of Synergy and Shana. This Stormer doll has fair peach skin and a casual facial expression. Her eyebrows are also set in a casual angle, and did I mention they are blue to match her blue perm? At least she doesn’t have terrible fluorescent green hair *cough Pizazz cough*… Her irises are a light blue, surrounded by two eyeliner colors, the innermost a dark blue, the outermost bright orange. Now that is a risky fashion choice. Perhaps the dark blue was only added to give contrast to the whites of her eyes. Moving on to the next fashion risk, you’ll see Stormer has fluorescent yellow eyeshadow (maybe she got a great deal on yellow?). Her lips continue on in this theme, similar in color to the bright orange of her eyeliner. The last distinguishing feature (and one of the best) is the mole on the left side of her face. She really sells it I believe, even with the crazy makeup color choices. As accuracy goes, I would say the makeup is pretty accurate. The characters all wear so much different makeup through the show that there really is not one correct style, but overall the colors were definitely done to compliment the Stormer character design.
I bought this doll used online, and when it first arrived it was unkempt and a little musty-smelling, as most old dolls tend to be. So I gave the doll (body, hair, and clothes) a good cleaning. I didn’t have much hope for the hair, seeing as it was a mess of factory curls, but wow did it bounce back after the washing! I would say the hair is as if it came right out of the box! And now the hair is my favorite part of this doll. Color-wise, I would label the hair a darker variant of sky blue, a superb contrast to the black and magenta color theme of her clothes. As in the cartoon, Stormer’s hair is very curly with a full head of ringlets. How about I just call it a perm? The doll’s hair is a wonderful replica of Stormer’s character design, right down to the short, curly bangs. How beautifully does all the hair frame her face.
In contrast to Stormer’s brighter blue hair, she wears a magenta or dark pink top, black skirt, and black tights. The magenta top is sleeveless and is held up on one shoulder. You can remove the top by pulling open the velcro on the left side of the shirt. At the bottom, the shirt tapers off into a slight V-shape where a diamond-shaped sticker once was present. Many of these shirts have lost the stickers over time, probably due to good old wear and tear that comes from playing with your doll when you’re young. Of course, what really sells Stormer’s top is the faux zebra fur running across her chest. Outlandish and definitely outrageous. The zebra print is cut into large fringes that hang over the pink top. Sewn into the zebra striping are four black plastic claws. My particular Stormer doll no longer had the black plastic claws on the shirt when I received it years ago. Many of these shirts have been found with most or all of the black claws broken or missing. So I tried my artistry at trimming out a few claw-shaped plastic bits and sewed them on with black thread. Voila! I think the outcome looks smashingly good (and hopefully fooled you from the beginning?).
Stormer’s tights and skirt are without much adornment. The pencil skirt is a black satin-like material coming down to about mid-thigh with a slit open on one side. Her tights (or stockings) are a fairly close-weave fishnet pattern using very thick string. My Stormer doll has tights that are fraying and flocking, so I am careful not to snag or move them around too much.
Her high heel pumps are an iconic 80’s style which you will see in just about every movie and tv show from that (awesome) era. Stormer’s shoes are made in the same mold as all other Jem and the Holograms dolls, the same pointy toe and triangle-shaped heel. In this case, Stormer has violet/dark magenta high heels, but other versions of this doll have been found with bright yellow heels. The art and design team really need to work on consistency.
Just as I added the claws back onto Stormer’s top, I also had to find a flower hair pick that could substitute for the Stomer’s iconic orange hair flower. The one you see in the picture below is the closest I could find, and with very minimal money spent in the end. Hopefully I stayed true enough to the original to fool you up to this point. But as with a lot of accessories, many of the Stormer dolls being sold online today do not have the hair picks.
The gold bracelets are a very punk-inspired design. Of course the spikes are not sharp, but they do look intimidating. Stormer needs all the “mean girl” help she can get. She’s really a big softie, heh. The doll bracelets on this doll have some faded gold paint, but overall they are holding up against time. Also, these bracelets are not accurate as far as I can tell to Stormer’s original outfit design, but honestly who is going to complain when you get additional accessories? (Not me!)
Thanks again to Prancetron.com on this next research find. The guitar Stormer uses is modeled after the real life Roland G-707 guitar-synthesizer hybrid which had some popularity through the mid 1980’s. Stormer’s model is a fluorescent yellow color with lots of flashy “glitter” covering the front and a gold cord to hold it in place. The funny thing is that the photographers marketing the doll in the 80’s never checked their facts on the Roland G-707, so Stormer is usually seen holding the guitar on the wrong side (thank you again Prancetron.com). See below:
Another item of note is the fluorescent yellow and slightly greenish doll stand. It does a fair job of holding this large doll in place while remaining unobtrusive while doll posing. The stand is a little wobbly, so I am careful to keep it on a flat surface at all times. I really do not want to break the fragile leg brace.
I do not own the original cassette tape nor the dark pink comb that came with the doll, mainly because I would have to search all over the internet and spend more money. *sigh* But I’m happy with what I have. The songs listed on the cassette are “Jem Theme,” “Winning Is Everything,” and “Music Is Magic”. The only song on this list done by The Misfits is “Winning Is Everything”. Each Jem episode there were two or three clip songs sung by either Jem and the Holograms or The Misfits. You can find these music videos all over the internet and I would recommend checking them out if you’re interested. Here’s one of my favorites, “Music Is Magic”:
Final points of note are that the dolls are approximately 12.5 inches tall and have 12 points of articulation that I count. The standard five are the neck, two shoulders, and two hips. In addition, her knees and elbows can click in and out a few degrees for enhanced posing. Her wrists can turn 360 degrees in their joint. And last, her waist can swivel from side to side. This doll is rather large overall, with large hands and large feet– not petite like a Barbie.