Peel Here #97: Finally, Robotech.

By Shawn Robare

Robotech is one of the main cartoons and toy-lines that I mostly missed out on in the 80s. I say main because of the plethora of shows that hit the airwaves and toys clogging up the aisles at the local Playworld Robotech is one of the more memorable franchises. Cartoon-wise I’d put it right below G.I. Joe, Transformers, He-Man and Thundercats, fleshing out the top six shows, more or less equal with Voltron. Toy-wise it was probably a little farther down once you consider Star Wars and Go-Bots, but it was probably still a bit wider known than say StarCom, Bravestar, or the Dungeons and Dragons toys.

The weird thing about the show, and the main reason that I never got into as a pre-teen is that for all intents and purposes the cartoon is a soap opera. Set in space and featuring awesome transforming semi-robotic aircraft and giant aliens, but a soap opera none-the-less. The few times when I’d tune into an episode all I ever caught were a bunch of guys talking and a whole lot of annoying Minmei. It just looked so boring and I never caught hide nor hair of the awesome looking mecha from the show bumpers. Fast forward to my freshman year of high school. I ended up hanging out alone at a friend’s house afterschool everyday since I attended a school outside of or zone (no bussing to where we lived) and because my friend worked part time in a local grocery store. I’d crash at his house for a few hours waiting for my mom to pick me up after she got off work and there were only a couple of channels that came in decently on my friends TV. One of these channels, our local UHF affiliate channel 69, ended up showing a couple episodes of Robotech each weekday around the time when I was stuck in his house. I lucked out and caught the series from the first episode of the first (of three) series and managed to catch almost every episode at least twice over the course of a couple years. I was now at the perfect age to be totally swept up in the corny melodrama while also still enough of a kid at heart to completely fall head-over-heels for the design of the Veritech fighter jets. I never realized that Takara/Hasbro swiped the toy design from the original Macross show for one of the characters in the Transformers toyline (Jetfire.)

After becoming a huge fan of the show I was now suffering from a severe lack of Robotech merchandise to spend my hard earned allowance on, and it was completely by chance that I first stumbled upon these lenticular puffy stickers originally released by the Imperial toy Company in 1985…

My local comic shop apparently found a huge assortment of the stickers at a Big Lots consignment store and they ended up buying them out and stocking them at the shop. When I came in on a new-comic Wednesday I was struck silent by a bin full of these stickers. I couldn’t believe my luck and ended up picking up like fifteen packages. Over the ensuing years, as my fever for the show died down, I managed to misplace the stickers over a bunch of moves and have regretted it ever since. For some reason these stickers completely eluded me when I was first putting the Peel Here column together. I could never find them on eBay, and even when they did pop up they were horrendously expensive or came in a sealed box of like 500 packs, which was just crazy.

A little while ago my friend Jerzy (of the Art & Story podcast) sent me an almost complete set of the stickers out of the blue. They were a little tattered and worn, but I was super excited to finally have my hands on them again. For some reason they got stuck in a pile of papers and I forgot about them again for awhile. In my effort to start digging up all of my old Branded projects I found them again recently, and then purely by chance I also found some more mint in package at a local flea market, so I finally got off my butt and scanned these in. One of the things I was hoping to achieve with the collection of stickers I’ve amassed in the past four years is to have a representation of all the toylines and cartoons I have nostalgic feeling for, and these stickers have gone a lone way to plugging the Robotech-shaped hole in the collection. I’m still missing some Thundercats and Bravestarr stickers, but there’s always time…

It’s funny, even though I’ve owned these stickers on and off for the past fifteen years I never took the time to read the back of the packaging. I love how random the suggestions of where to stick these stickers becomes, going from notebooks to toes, ears, mittens, and flower pots.

I also think the designers did a good job representing the various mecha from the initial Robotech series. They feature four different Veritech fighters including a few variations on Rick Hunters initial jet (in its various forms as well as in and out of armor), Max Sterling’s fighter, and a couple of generic and training jets. I was also happy to see a sheet with mostly Zentraedi fighters including Miriya’s female battle armor, Khyron’s deluxe battle pod and a basic battle pod. The only thing I’m really missing are some stickers devoted to the actual characters, but these are pretty darn cool, and like the Transformers and Go Bots lenticular stickers, these make good use of the image changing aspects…

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