Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Emily the Strange by Ashton Drake

Nicki asked to see my Emily the Strange doll, and I happen to have a few pictures of her, so here we go.  I think Emily provides an interesting contrast to my Little Apple Doll, Erro.  Both are white vinyl dolls with black features and black hair, and both have a gothic edge to them.  The difference is that while Erro's character is caught in between the living and the dead (and is therefore a bit creepy), Emily is fully alive and just...strange.

I have liked Emily the Strange since her emergence in 1990.  I remember that when she first appeared, it wasn't clear who she was.  She was just this girl who wore black and liked cats and lurked on tee shirts.  I used to buy Emily the Strange tee shirts because, you know, she and I share a name (and the tee shirts are pretty awesome).  Nowadays, you can buy a ton of Emily the Strange merchandise, including books, stickers, comics, clothing and dolls.  I think there's even going to be a movie.  But this isn't a full review, I just want to show you the doll really quick, if I can manage that.

Ashton Drake made their 12" vinyl Emily the Strange doll in 2010.  She retails for $60, which is too high, but I decided to buy her anyway.  She is still readily available.

Ashton Drake's Emily the Strange
She wears a black dress, black stockings and white shoes.  She comes with a grey satchel that opens and closes:

She has pure white, almost translucent vinyl and dark grey and black painted features.

Her hair is wonderfully silky and smooth and she has a cute cat ear headband.  If you mail in a form and wait a few weeks, Ashton Drake will also send you a tiny plush black cat.

Her articulation is limited--neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees:

Here's Emily meeting Erro:

Yeeks!  What the heck are you supposed to be??
Well, ok.  I guess we can pose together.  Just don't...don't stare at me.
Imagine a spectrum of dolls.  On one end of this spectrum is a smiling, lovely (too lovely?) Barbie doll.  On the other end is the scariest, grossest doll you can imagine. Now, picture all of the other kinds of doll somewhere in between.  In my mind, Emily and Erro sit very close together on this spectrum, marking a turning point.  Emily is safely on the Barbie side with dolls like the Brides of Dracula and Monster High.  In other words, she might be slightly different, but she's still widely marketable and appealing.  Erro is on the side with the Living Dead Dolls and the Krypt Kiddies.  Erro crosses a line.  She is edging into territory that many doll people don't want to be in.

Everyone marks out their comfort zone on this spectrum differently.  For some, the Brides of Dracula or Emily the Strange might be too outside the norm, but for others, Erro doesn't even come close to being creepy enough.  I am still not sure where my comfort zone ends.  I thought Erro might be too disturbing for me, but in the end I like her quite a bit.  She and Emily can comfortably share a shelf in my long as Erro doesn't try to poke pins into Emily's cat and Emily doesn't eat Little Apple Red.


Here are some pictures of Emily with Tonner's Alice for citronyella:

They can't really share clothes.  Emily hates Alice's dress, and Emily's dress is waaay too short for Alice!

The scale of Emily's head and features is much larger.


  1. How would Emily look with the 12" Tonner dolls like Agnes and Marley? I have wanted to get her but have never seen her up close. Thanks for this great post! Are you familiar with Milou? She is different too, she is 16", pure white with very stylized features. I think of her as my fashion robot. Emily might be nice for her to have as a companion!

    1. Eeee! YOU ARE AWESOME!!! I can't tell you how many hours I spent online while I was writing the Little Apple Doll review trying to think of Milou's name! I dug through all of my old doll magazines, too, and could only remember that her name started with an "m." I was going nuts and you just saved me. :)
      Milou is an amazing doll and perfect to add to this comparison.

      I will take some pictures of Em with Marley and post them for you up above. I don't have Agnes anymore--sold her, but she's cool.

      Thank you again!

    2. Thanks so much for the comparison pics!!! I will be on the look out for an Emily to be Milou's friend. Although Alice and Emily are a bit different in scale and style, I think there's a possibility for friendship there! Thanks again!!!!

  2. Hello from Spain: Emily Strange is a very original doll. It has a beautiful long hair.The bag is ideal image of the cat. Keep in touch.

  3. She is so pretty! Maybe not worth $60, but pretty nonetheless. My personal spectrum runs all over the place, starting from the gore/horror side (I collect LDDs), including some collectors' fashion dolls, some kids' dolls, BJDs, and ending abruptly before Barbie (kids' dolls, at least; some of the collector dolls are gorgeous) and baby dolls (except for Krypt Kiddies, of course ^_^). I like beautiful dolls, but barbie is TOO PINK, and I don't like babies. Reborn dolls are kind of cool, though.

  4. She reminds me of kids I knew in high school that dressed very emo, there was even a girl who liked to wear cat ear headbands all the time! I love how her skin looks almost translucent, I assume her hair is better quality than Erro's?

  5. I love the translucent skin on dolls :)

  6. Such a cute article :P thanks for sharing!

  7. There's some fairly compelling evidence that Emily the Strange was at least inspired by a character from the children's book Nate the Great. The page to page comparisons online are almost damning, and for that reason I've always been kind of turned off by Emily the Strange. The doll looks interesting though.

  8. when I first saw her, I thought I would never get her. Now I am kind of deciding to get her used or not. I will not get Erro though! She scares me!

  9. She reminds me of the girl with the fire ants in Meet the Robinsons.