Monster High Wave 1 Retrospective

It’s been seven years since Monster High changed the doll collecting world. Before Monster High, doll collecting as a hobby wasn’t discussed very often, especially with the younger set. That changed when Monster High hit store shelves. From that gothic line based on the children of monsters and other creatures came a wave of collectors who had never bought a doll in their life, but now found themselves addicted to these ghoul-themed fashion dolls. Of course, I wasn’t part of that ‘awakening’ of sorts, but I do remember the hype that surrounded Monster High’s first few years, especially when the first wave was hitting stores. My mom and I would regularly go from store to store to see what Monster High dolls were on the shelves (if any), trying to get the complete set for our collections. Keep in mind, we were doing this because we liked the dolls, not because we thought they’d be ‘investments’ for the future. (As we’ve seen recently, those that collected for investment purposes are finding it hard to make any sort of profit. This doesn’t surprise me.)

First Wave Monster High

We bought our first two Monster High dolls at a Toys R Us. They had received a handful of dolls. Ever the budget collector, I couldn’t buy them all. In the end, I left with Lagoona. My mom left with Frankie. Those two dolls fueled the purchasing of nearly every doll in every line produced for at least two years, if not longer. I shudder to think how much I spent on Monster High dolls over the years. (Especially since most are sitting in wine boxes due to space issues.) The first few lines were released with rubber band legs, meaning that as they age, they’ll loosen. Eventually, the rubber bands will break and the dolls will fall apart. This happened to my mom’s Deuce. Thankfully, he was later released in a Create a Monster body in later years, so fixing the first wave Deuce shouldn’t be too hard.

First Wave Monster High

While Lagoona was my first Monster High purchase, my favorites of this line are Frankie, Ghoulia and Holt. Holt being my absolute favorite male doll ever produced for Monster High. Sadly, Holt only had two releases: his amazingly detailed, awesome looking first wave look and a super boring, basic bathing suit doll sold at Justice clothing stores. I often wonder why Mattel only released Holt twice. Was it the hair that was molded to look like fire? Was it the eye brow piercing? What made them shelve this doll pretty much immediately after the first wave? (Yes, he was released again in 2013, but that was probably to appease us collectors who kept asking Mattel where new Holt dolls were!) Alas, we’ll never know.

First Wave Monster High

Ghoulia is and always will be another favorite of mine. Her zombie look was perfectly done, especially when paired with character traits from the webisodes. Her outfit, too, was a true standout of the entire doll series. So many bright layers of clothing that gave her a punk sort of vibe that fit her face and styling perfectly. Her glasses complete the cool look. Ghoulia and Holt were hard dolls to get in the very beginning. They arrived later, along with the two set of Deuce and Cleo, than the rest of the ghouls. My mom and I had the majority of the first wave ghouls before we even spotted Ghoulia and Holt at Toys R Us.

First Wave Monster High

Frankie is a favorite because she was freakishly fabulous from the start. Her face was great and her outfit super fashionable. Plus, as the main character, you kind of had to love Frankie! Frankie is pictured above with the San Diego Comic Con exclusive Black and White Frankie, the first SDCC release for the line. While I picked this up on eBay, a limited number of black and white Frankie’s were sold at Justice. (Later, Mattel released another Black and White Frankie, this one in a bathing suit.) I was disappointed when Mattel didn’t continue to release black and white versions of our favorite ghouls for San Diego Comic Con. I think it would have been pretty cool to see every doll done up in this style.

First Wave Monster High

First Wave Monster High

Cleo and Deuce were the first ever two pack released in the Monster High line. Unlike Holt, Deuce got quite a few releases of the years. The original release of Cleo is still one of my favorites. I think her design really speaks to the character in the web series. This doll has a ‘regalness’ to her.

First Wave Monster High

First Wave Monster High

First Wave Monster High

I was sold on Lagoona, because of her face. While later releases of Lagoona would be disappointing, this release was spot on perfect. Her face was pretty, but still not ‘conventional’. I still love her big, round eyes and freckles.

First Wave Monster High

Clawdeen and Draculaura, to tell you the truth, aren’t my favorite of the dolls. They were both over produced and over hyped. And don’t get me started on Draculaura being the ‘new’ Frankie in the 2016 reboot. (I just— I just can’t.) These original first wave releases of Clawdeen and Draculaura are nice and speak to their characters well, though.

Check out the video above to hear Barbee0913 and I talk about Wave 1! What are your memories of the original wave 1 Monster High releases? Do you remember which Monster High doll was your first purchase? Did you go on ‘hunts’ for the dolls when they were first hitting stores? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

October 21, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized.


  1. robotica1261 replied:

    That’s a nice collection. I guess people didn’t learn anything from the beanie babies nonsense. I’ve seen plenty of beanie babies and MH dolls at thrift stores.

  2. kenaiqueen replied:

    My first was an Abby, but my computer doll (who stands on my computer desk with whatever other doll I choose to honor,) is a Lagoona. She does have a super cute face. I was late to the MH collecting craze so I don’t think I have any first wave dolls, but I’ve since stopped collecting and even sold a few that I never bonded with.

  3. Blackkitty replied:

    I was late to the party as well, but we get new dolls much later than you so I remember seeing Nefera and Ghoulia when I first became interested (around autumn 2012). I so regret passing up on Ghoulia because I was looking for something more “human” to ease me in! I hoped for Cleo but no such luck. My first one was Skull Shores Draculaura. Ironically, my second MH was a Ghoulia, but it was the Roller Maze version. I never found the original Ghoulia for a reasonable price.

  4. Beatrix replied:

    Like for many other people, my favorite was the original Ghoulia. I had to wait until they re-released her to finally get one. More than being a zombie she had what I thought was a 60s vibe to her. She reminds me a bit of Phoebe on Friends (not that I followed the show.) Cool and gawky at the same time, an unusual combination. (A doll I compare to her and also lost out on was Disney’s Honey Lemon. I so wish they would re-release that doll.) I had to get Ghoulia’s scooter when it came out, of course! One day I will paint and age that scooter in non monster high colors. I’ve also planned to put together outfits to represent my perception of her “60s” style, but other projects always get in the way. I liked Clawdeen and immediately ran out to buy her when that first set with her boyfriend came out. I have a couple of Draculauras too. The set Mattel put out with her in the bathtub seemed again very retro to me (50s glam this time) and I couldn’t resist. As for Lagoona (one of the prettiest MHs) I remember looking for Lagoona in the labcoat and wanting the first Scarah Screams. It was so very easy to want so many of the MH dolls, especially if you love old spooky movies, like I do. They were so colorful, and inventive. Am I wrong, but weren’t they one of the first mass-produced bjd type dolls? I have the impression they raised the bar for other doll companies to provide articulation.

  5. April replied:

    I’m not a big Monster High collector, but my first MH doll was the Scaris Rochelle Goyle. She was just so pretty. I wish I had gotten a first wave Ghoulia, and the Comiccon version of her, so awesome.

  6. Tina replied:

    I love Monster High and I keep buying them at thrift stores but getting expensive to replace limbs.

  7. Iphis of Scyros replied:

    I remember the furst time I saw Monster High dolls, I thought “Teenage girl versions of the classic Universal Monsters? That’ll never last!” So I was in a hurry to get them all before they vanished! :p My first was Draculaura, because I have a thing for vampires, and especially Dracula, but I think Lagoona was probably my favorite of the first wave. (I consider Ghoulia and Holt to be Wave 1.5) I do wish they had made more of Holt. He’s so wonderfully “Reboot”!

  8. Monster High Retrospective: Wave 2 | Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […] had and what I might be missing. Late last year, I started by posting a retrospective video on the Wave 1 Monster High dolls. This post is a look back at 2011’s Wave 2 dolls, which introduced us to two brand new […]

  9. Monster High Retrospective: Wave 2 ~ Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […] had and what I might be missing. Late last year, I started by posting a retrospective video on the Wave 1 Monster High dolls. This post is a look back at 2011’s Wave 2 dolls, which introduced us to two brand new […]

  10. Lehst replied:

    Something brought MH to mind so a quick Google led me here. I’m no stranger to dolls and plush and (anime) figures, but collecting MH was quite a thing. I was in my early 20’s when they were released and honestly I thought the face molds were sooooo ugly. I actually have no idea anymore how I changed my mind other than when Dawn of the Dance came out I liked Frankie’s doll. I liked the headmold on her a lot but eventually I warmed up to the wave 1 dolls too. I distinctly remember thinking that Clawdeen suddenly looked so much better out of box. I felt like the package had her in an unflattering angle.

    Lagoona was actually the last of the wave 1 I bought, since I was slow to buy them. I was lucky I saw her in store, and never did again. Her OG sandals are so cool.

    Ghoulia was so much like me it was ridiculous. I used to have a shirt a lot like hers that I also wore a camisole over it when I was in like 10th grade. How weird is that? was also forever the glasses wearing nerd too.

    I kept collecting MH after wave 1 and focused on getting new characters, and then just any extra dolls that looked too cute to pass up. I still love them, but most have been packed away for several years. I hope sometime soon I can revisit them.

    oh wow someone mentioned Reboot in the other comments. that was a great show.

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