Peel Here #67, Beetlejuice, BEETLEjuice, BEETLEJUICE!!!

By Shawn Robare

Wow, times flies around here when I’m not posting on a more regular basis. I’m more or less out of the weeds in terms of being busy (crossing my fingers and toes), so hopefully I’ll get back on track with a weekly or twice weekly schedule sometime soon. But no one wants to hear about my time management issues…

In other Branded in the 80s news, if you’ve been following my Twitter feed at all (in the left-hand menu bar toward the bottom, you’ve probably guess that I’ve been working on a site related project for the last month or so. Actually, it’s more of an experiment. I’ve been working on a print edition of the website, a magazine of sorts that I’m going to debut this year at Wizard World Chicago. The first issue is going to be a 20 page pocket-sized magazine containing 4 articles and some other fun stuff. In addition, I’ll also have an 8 page Micro Magazine in a similar format to the pocket-sized book, which will contain one article, but will a have a cheaper price point. Basically, the magazine is an experiment to see if I can generate a little bit of money to go towards upkeep on the site (hosting, fees, etc.) as well as generating a little bit of petty cash to put towards vintage content materials (stuff to share on the site.) Both books are currently off to the printers, and if everything goes according to plan (I’ve drugged B.A. for the flight, registered my artist alley table for Wizard World, packed plenty of excess cats so ALF can having something to snack on during the trip up, etc.) I’ll have them in hand within the next few weeks. I’m going to take the initial batch with me to the con, but I’m sure I’ll have plenty of copies left over to sell on the site. Again, this is an experiment. If all goes smoothly then I’ve been thinking of putting out a larger book (both in page count and physical dimensions) quarterly or so. We shall see.

Getting back to Peel Here though, this week I thought I’d throw up something that just barely makes the cutoff in terms of 80s nostalgia. I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that a decade isn’t defined necessarily by the actual dates (e.g. 1980-1989) but by the pop culture fads and such. When you stop and think about it the first few years of most decades tend to feel more in place with the previous one. When I think about the 60s, I picture hippies, the later Beatles, the Munsters, peace signs and Vietnam, all of which is more or less ’65 and up. The initial explosion of the Beatles, the Mods, Kennedy, etc., that all feels more in line with the late 50s to me. Same with the 80s. The arcade explosion, Atari’s, knee-high socks, stripped ringer T-shirts with iron-ons, Star Wars, this all feels more like the 70s, while He-Man, G.I. Joe, Nintendo’s, the surf and skate craze, Punky Brewster, etc, all feels like the 80s to me.

Going along with this, the first couple of years during the 90s feel a lot like the 80s. The end of hair-metal and pop R&B, Batman Returns, and the Beetlejuice cartoon, this is all residual 80s pop culture in my opinion. I know this seems like I’m going overboard a little on proof-of-concept, but I’m a stickler for details and when I see the ‘1990’ date on the stickers below it puts me off a little. It’s like when I hear people mentioning Tiny Tunes, the Animaniacs, and Captain Planet as 80s cartoons, when they are both the 90s and feel like it as well. Beetlejuice on the other hand feels, at least to me, more like the 80s as it debuted in ’89 and is tied to the titular film of the same name (which is very 80s.)

Anyway, that’s enough of my anal decade squabbling; let’s get onto the stickers. These are part of a subset of trading cards that were issue by Dart FlipCards in 1990. Thought he card set was very similar to the standard Topps fare of the 80s, they were a little more in-tune with the 90s card sets in that they were printed on cleaner, nicer cardstock, and the stickers that were included were a little more like the Panini sticker book stickers (they’re printed on thin flimsy paper and are a tad smaller than the card set itself.) The big draw of this set is that all of the stickers featured glow-in-the-dark artwork…

Though I haven’t seen an episode of the cartoon since 1993 or so, I remember loving it to pieces because of its then new mixture of CGI and traditional animation (something I’m all that keen on anymore, at least not in general.) I also loved the way the series turned the movie’s concept on its head by making Lydia and Beetlejuice friends, again something that I probably wouldn’t care as much today. I think this stems from my love of the BJ character and the fact that even though he might seem like the main character in the movie, he’s only in like 17 minutes of footage while the rest is taken up primarily by Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Catherine O’Hara and Jeffrey Jones. It was really cool to get a chance to explore the neitherworld and watch Beetlejuice go nuts.

As far as this sticker set goes, I was a little under-whelmed in that it doesn’t really feature the cast of characters from the cartoon all that well. There is a lot of miscellaneous imagery on the stickers, which though cool, isn’t quite what I’d like. I guess I was hoping for another Lydia sticker or two, or one featuring the Monster Across the Street. Heck there are three skeleton themed stickers on this first bit above, any of those could have been Jacques LaLean

As far as the glow-in-the-dark gimmick, some work better than others. Sticker #9 above is pretty cool in that the blob of ‘gitd’ at the bottom of the picture is in the outline of two people (no doubt getting the wits scarred out of them by that monster.) On the other hand, in sticker #14 the blob of ‘gitd’, though obviously a monster, is sort of lost in all the black in the background, and even when glowing is still sort of non-descript.

At the end of the day, after reading about these stickers online I was hoping for more like #20, basic character poses. I did my best to try and scan one of these while it was all charged and glowing, but it didn’t quite turn out as I hoped…

…but I think you can sort of get the point.

Hopefully I’ll be back this week with something other than a late Peel Here to post, but we shall see…

  • Jay

    Shawn! Great post. The Beetlejuice cartoon was always a bit goofy but definitely something I watched consistently. The fact that Beetlejuice and Lydia transitioned to being friends seemed pretty organic in a way. Even though they hit a fork in the road in the movie I’m sure afterwards they buried the hatchet…or the zagnut if you will. Nice set.

  • Belle Dee

    I never saw these stickers, but I did have some puffy stickers. I don’t have them in my sticker albums but, I know I have at least one or two of the Lydia stickers around somewhere.

  • Devlin Thompson

    Try photographing them under a black light, with some additional white light (maybe a table lamp not pointed directly at it), and see if that gives you what you need.