The dark appeal of Coronavirus-themed toys

Anne Thériault reports on the virality and success of coronavirus-themed toys and wonders at the never-too-soon appeal of cutesified horrors. Especially these squishie mini plague doctors [Amazon].

Something about the Mysterious Doctor Plague made me want to hug it, and based on my social media feeds, I know I wasn't the only one who had succumbed to its charms. After admitting to myself that I wanted one, my main misgiving was that the producers of the toy, a US-based company called Squishable, might be trying to profit off of the mounting COVID-19 death toll. I was reassured when I checked Squishable's website and read that they had originally designed it for Halloween 2020; at least it wasn't intended to be a pandemic-specific product. But, until I spoke to Squishable cofounder Zoe Fraade-Blanar, I had no clue how important this fluffy little plague doctor has been for the company.

Personally I'm fond of my amigurumi coronavirus stress ball.

The genre is nothing new, of course: the Giant Microbes line of plush pathogens was covered here at Boing Boing some 18 years ago.