Category Archives: Peel Here! Stickers of the 80s

Garbage Pail Kids Monster Madness: Day 1

Okay, I’m gonna come right out and say it. I totally blew it during last year’s countdown to Halloween. I blew it worse than that time when Van Helsing failed to fling Dracula into Limbo. I totally intended to post animation cels every day and somewhere in the middle of the month life got the better of me and I put the countdown aside. This year I’m a bit more prepared and I fully intend to make it to the end. So what’s in store for my favorite month of the year in 2013? Well, for starters, I want to stick to a set of themed posts, so every day this month I’m going to share some of my favorite monster-centric Garbage Pail Kids sticker cards from the 80s era vintage sets. I culled 31 of the most ghoulish, gross, and, well, monstery stickers from my collection. In addition, I’m going to try and pepper the month with other Halloween articles, some reviews, and other fun ephemera from the archives of Branded in the 80s.

Once again, I’m also helping to organize the annual Countdown to Halloween alongside the tireless and super cool monster kid John Rozum.  So if you like what I’m doing over here, you might want to head on over to the Countdown site and check out the huge list of other sites participating in this year’s spooky festivities.  There’s also a like-minded sister collective called Blog-O-Ween being put together by my pal Cody, the Crooked Ninja Turtle Sensi.  Be sure to check them out as well.

Alright, so for Day one of the GPK Monster Madness I present sticker cards 334a&b, Ashley to Ashes and Dustin to Dust!

1 - Dustin to Dust

This pair of sibling headstones hail from series 8 and were printed back in 1987.  Painted by James Warhola, my second favorite GPK artist next to John Pound, the dreary and yet morbidly cheerful stones seem like a good way to kick off this Halloween countdown.  Though I have no intention of ever being buried, if I had chosen to go into the ground, you can be sure that this would be my first choice for a headstone design!

2013 Franken Berry 200

 

Cult Film club Stickers Now Available for Purchase!

So, the stickers I’ve been so excited about making for the Cult Film Club?  Well they’re now available for purchase!  Included in the CFC “No Tipping” Sticker Pack are 4 die-cut stickers, measuring between 2.4″x2.4″ and 3.4″x2.4″, featuring the CFC Logo, Official Membership Badge, our mascot the Phantom Ticket Taker, and the one, the only Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi)!

Stickers 1

The Cult Film Club is totally siding with Mr. Pink when it comes to the idea of “No Tipping”, at least receiving them that is. We’d love your support in helping to cover our costs, but instead of holding out our grubby hands for a tip or donation we’ve got these rad stickers to sell instead.  All profit goes directly into paying our podcast hosting and equipment fees.  I’d really like to sell through the 40 packs we have by the end of the month, and I’ll be honest, I’m going to need your help to do it.  Right now we’re almost half way to that goal, which is awesome, but we still have a little ways to go.

Plaster these on your car, Trapper Keeper, or your favorite pet!  In addition, if you leave a comment below letting me know you put in an order, I’ll include a Branded in the 80s Logo sticker for free!

Stickers

Thanks in advance for supporting this project, and especially to those who have already picked up a pack or two.  And thanks always for stopping by Branded and reading my silly thoughts!

Click to be whisked away to the Cult Film Club sticker store!

I made some F-ing stickers!

*Update* Like, Go Buy some and Junk!

So there’s been some behind the scenes stuff going on with Branded, moving hosts, fixing broken junk, you know a bunch of technical wizardry that is way beyond me (I’m super lucky to know a rad lady named Jaime who is like single-handedly saving the site), but posting has been kind of quiet lately.  Hopefully I’ll be changing that soon.  During this time though I haven’t been just sitting on my butt and starring at the toys and crap on the walls of Branded HQ.  I’ve also been working on a small project for the Cult Film Club that any longtime reader of Branded will probably know is sort of like a dream come true.

So I really like stickers, like a lot, and in the back of my head I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have some of my own designs and drawings turned into decals.  Well, Tommy of Top Hat Sasquatch and Boxsome recently tipped me off to a company called Stickerapp.com that specializes in short-run glossy die-cut stickers for pretty affordable prices.  So I went a little nuts and had a bunch of stickers printed…

Stickers

To say I’m excited about these is a bit of an understatement.  It’s a struggle to not apply these to every single bit of free wall space that I can find actually.  I’m not even usually all that crazy about my own drawings, but right now I’m sort of in love/lust with these stickers.  I can admit that.  But I have to control myself, because I have a plan for these.  Details to come soon for anyone who might be interested in picking some of these up and helping to support the Cult Film Club.  In the meantime, I’m going to try my best to NOT spread these out on the floor so that I can lay in them and make sticker angels…

more stickers

 

Cereal Killers sticker cards series 2!

This is a great week for those in the mood to buy some cool stuff! Not only did the second series OMFG! minifigure Kickstarter begin, but on Tuesday Wax Eye officially started selling the second series of their awesome Cereal Killers sticker cards!  I absolutely adore the first series and I was super curious to see what Joe Simko and crew had in store for their second helping of sugary, gory insanity…

These are available in two formats, either in a hobby box of 24 packs (as pictured above), or in the super cool mini cereal box edition (pictured below.)  Either way you’re guaranteed to secure a base set of the sticker cards this time out, though I do have to admit that I had a lot of fun trading my extras last time…

Here are a few examples of what’s in store this time out…

     

To sweeten the bowl, so to speak, this time Simko is also offering even more special chase cards too!  There are three new blacklight/glow in the dark stickers…

…as well as silver spoon foil cards, sketch cards, and the ones I’m super keen on getting my hands on, Sugar Gitter cards!

You can find Wax Eye on Facebook!  Tell ‘em Branded in the 80s sent ya!

Peel Here #112, Of course Robo Force stickers are puffy, makes them more hugable!

I was rifling though my personal cabinet at work looking for my sketchbook when I came across this sheet of Robo Force puffy stickers that I meant to scan and write about awhile ago.  Though I’m sure there was a name brand version of these stickers, I’ve only ever seen them issued as generic unbranded knock-offs on eBay and elsewhere.  I’m pretty sure these were released in 1984 along with the rest of the toy-line and Robo Force merchandise before the franchise took a nose dive into obscurity.  I’ve written about these toys on the site before, and actually I just recently managed to find a mint in box S.O.T.A. figure (pictured in the stickers below to the left) to add to my 80s robot collection…

The other sticker featured is Wrecker which has a bit of resonance with me since he was the only Robo Force figure I had as a kid.  The missing sticker on this sheet featured one of the cooler Robo Force characters, Sentinel, which is probably why he’s absent.  There was also a second set of three sticker availalbe that featured the main hero and some of the villains from the line (Hun-Dred, Cruel, and Max Steele himself).  I’d also like to point out that these stickers were gifted to my by the gracious Jerzy Drozd of the Art & Story and Comics Are Great podcasts.

In other Peel Here news, yours truly was referenced on the Retroist website recently in a wonderfully odd Alternate History of the Sticker by none other than the Claymation Werewolf himself, J.C. Beirau.  I can only hope to be half as reclusive in my old age as he made me out to be…

Cereal Killers Trading Cards and a Contest!

**Update** Alright, I picked three names at random from a hat (well, empty coffee mug) and the lucky winners are: Laura I., Jeremy T H., Khris L.  Congrats guys and gals (I’ve notified you through the FB messaging system for your snail mail address) and thanks to everyone else for entering!

So I came home yesterday and found a package waiting for me at the door, and upon cracking it open I was excited to see this…

These came courtesy of a contest in the premiere issue of the Strange Kids Club Comix Anthology, and I couldn’t wait to dig into the individual boxes to get a glimpse at the loot.  These Cereal Killer trading cards are pretty darn cool and they follow in the tradition of Topps Wacky Packs and Garbage Pail Kids.  The brainchild of artist Joe Simko, this set of spoofs perfectly blends a childhood love of sugary cereal with a score of monsters and horror movie icons.  These sets come with three mini cereal boxes, each containing 20 cards, a special prize and a gross piece of eyeball gum.  As for the special prizes you can expect to find black-light stickers, magnets, gold foil cards, and if you’re lucky an original sketch card from Joe himself.

One of the cool aspects of the set is the social networking built into trying to complete a set.  Wax Eye has set up a thread for trading doubles over at the Wacky Packages forum.  Sure you can buy additional packages, but it’s kind of cool to get back to what it was like in elementary school trading with classmates trying to complete the latest series of Garbage Pail Kids.

In the spirit of this, I’ve decided to hold a mini contest to get my doubles out into the world.  I’m offering up three prizes, a stack of 20 cards, a stack of 10 cards, and one of the super cool black-light stickers.  To get your grubby hands on these all you have to do is head on over to the Branded Facebook Page and leave a comment in the Discussions tab on the left (you can also click on the cards below).  I’ll be picking three winners at random this Friday, May 20th at 3:00pm est.  Good luck, and go check out Joe Simko’s Cereal Killers trading cards!

Peel Here #111: A Grossville High School Reunion!

It’s not very often that I get a chance to revisit a set of stickers I’ve shared before with some interesting behind the scenes updates on the production and input from those involved in creating the set.  I was really happy to have a chance to do just that this past week when Gary Cangemi the co-creator, artist and writer behind Fleer’s 1986 sticker set called Grossville High paid a visit to Branded.  Not only did he share some of his experiences working on this set, but he also graciously provided a scan of the original artwork for one of the cards to share here as well as to clean up a bit of a buggy mystery.

About a year ago, a reader of the site named Joe pointed out one of the obscure facts about this set that I neglected to talk about when I first posted about the Grossville High cards.  Basically, the Grossville mascot (named Ronnie the Roach) is hidden in the artwork for each card in the set, so there was a additional bit of fun to be had in searching for the little bugger.  Joe had also pointed out that there was one card that didn’t feature a hidden Ronnie, sticker card #58, Miss Body English (pictured below at the center-left.)

As you can see in the original artwork below, Ronnie is indeed there, he was just cropped out of the final card art by Fleer…

What I really love about getting a chance to see this original artwork is the little details and differences between it and the final printed card.  First of all, one of the things that I’d appreciated about the artwork when I first took a look at this set was the care that was put into the aesthetics of the color when it came to the backgrounds.  This set is very loud with a lot of neon yellows, neon greens, reds, oranges and purples, and it can be an assault on the eyes at times.  One of the ways that I assumed Fleer tried to tone this down was by dimming the backgrounds, which both highlights the main characters and reduces the color “volume” so to speak.  Well, with the original piece, we get a chance to see the artwork as it was intended without the background obscured, and honestly it’s not nearly as eye-strain-inducing as I’d imagined.  Actually, the overall art seems less garish and less intense.  I think this has a lot to do with the fact that Fleer went with a very vivid and saturated look to the set instead of using the more subdued palette Cangemi originally chose.

Closer inspection of the piece also reveals some changes in the art that Cangemi noted Fleer had asked him to make.  In particular you can see a reduction in Miss Body’s bustiness…

Anyway, here’s what Gary had to say about working on Grossville High…

“My business partner Larry Newman came up with the concept of a gross high school and most of the names.  I did all the writing and artwork for the series.  There are some creative and design problems with the series caused mostly by the lack of time given me to complete 66 designs PLUS the humor on the backs.  I remember doing the whole thing in 5-6 weeks.  Some of the stuff got repetitive because there wasn’t enough time for creative development and feedback.  You will notice there are no African-American characters in the series.  Joe Stereo WAS black originally but fleer was so afraid of being accused of racism they made me turn him into a white guy.  I told them they were wrong, that to exclude African Americans was more racist.  Of course they had no objections to my stereotypes of Chinese, Italian, or Latino characters…go figure.  Some of these cards wouldn’t survive today’s hypersensitive market and others make me cringe a little, but the 70s-80s were a different time when people could kid around about race without all the political correctness.  Sitcoms were loaded with these stereotypes.

The only resemblance I see to GPK (in response to my assertion that Fleer was riffing on Topps’ GPK stickers – Shawn) is the naming scheme and the grossness, but I tried to be as original as possible and more MAD-like.  The faded backgrounds were fleer’s decision.  The original art, which I still possess, is rich in color depth and detail, too much so.  Fleer said the characters didn’t stand out enough like the GPKs did so they cut masks around the characters and lightened the backgrounds.  There IS a roach on the Miss Body English card, you just need to look harder.  I had a great time designing these cards but wish they had given me more.  They would have been much better.  By the way, the GH originals were not painted, they were done in Prismacolor markers, ink and colored pencil on Arches watercolor paper.”

As for the future of Grossville High, Gary had this to say…

“I now own the exclusive rights to Grossville High and plan on resurrecting them in some form or another, either a class reunion or a next generation concept.  I also wrote a script for a GH graphic novel which I would like to produce someday.  I think Grossville High, with some updating, would make a great CGI film.”

Also, another bit of fun trivia for this set is that it was originally intended to be called Grossburger High, but Fleer nixed that idea for being too close to yet another of their rival Topps’ products, Gross Bears (their Garbage Pail Kid-like parody of the Care Bears released in 1985.)

I really want to give a huge thanks to Gary Cangemi for sharing his thoughts on the set and for giving the Branded readers a chance to look at some of his original untouched artwork!  I also hope he gets a chance to bring these characters back to life in a new project, and I’m really excited to see what might come in the future…

Peel Here #110: Presto Magix, or scrapbooking for nerdy children…

I was picking through a pile of ephemera that I plan on sharing on Branded in the future when I came across my meager collection of sticker transfer sets.  I bought most of these around the time I started this website and for some reason I never got around to really talking about them.  Though not stickers in the most accepted sense, these sets pretty much hit on all of the reasons why stickers were/are cool, and they’re an example of an interesting microcosm that exists within the hobby.

Basically these sets were a much cheaper variation of the Colorforms playsets (which debuted in the 50s), both of which are plays on the evolution of paper dolls.  While Colorforms were a bit sturdier, consisting of cardboard background scene and a bunch of re-useable vinyl cut-outs featuring pop culture characters and imagery, the various brands of transfer sets were much cheaper, featuring paper backdrops and single use transfer “stickers.”  Like coloring and activity books, these sets were designed as a way for children to use their own imagination to create a story with pop culture imagery.  I loved these sets when I was young because I always had more fun setting up a scene when I was playing (be it with actual toys or when I’d draw) then actually executing my ideas.  These sets play on that part of the creative brain that leads kids to drawing scenes of two opposing military forces where you see the cut-away of bases and underground drilling machines.  Best of all they were really cheap, around $0.50 to $1 in most cases, so it was much easier to convince parents that they were a worthwhile purchase.

Though I’m sure there are more, I’m really only aware of two brands for these transfer sets, Colorforms Rub N’ Play sets and Presto Magix.  The Colorforms sets tended to feature more transfers in their sets, but Presto Magix always had cooler backdrops…

Here you can see an example of a Presto Magix Thundarr the Barbarian set from 1981.  Each package had a small sheet of transfers and a fold out scene with which to place the action…

To transfer the stickers you simple had to place the sticker sheet in the desired position and then use a pen or pencil to rub over the area you wanted to transfer.  Some of the more deluxe sets came with a little red plastic tool with a rounded tip that you used to rub the transfers off the sheet.

When seeking out these sets after 20 odd years I was surprised at how many I managed to find.  Like stickers, these sets seemed destined to be used, and afterward I’m sure that most of them ended up in the garbage.  Since they’ve quadrupled in value over the years I limited my shopping spree to 8 sets.  In addition to the Thundarr set above I also picked up a handful of Star Wars Return of the Jedi Presto Magix sets…

      

…as well as three Colorforms Rub N’ Play sets featuring Michael Jackson, Masters of the Universe, and Gremlins.

   

Aside from the single use aspect, the biggest drawback of these sets was getting the transfer on the backdrop in one solid piece.  The heavier plastic material that these transfers are housed on tended to stretch and distort when you’d rub the stickers off of them and since they were so thin and fragile they’d often break in half or have a bunch of cracks in the image.  Sometimes it was also easy to mistakenly get a second transfer stuck to the backdrop while you were working on a separate one simple by the pressure of your hand on the transfer plastic.  For $0.50 though, it was worth the risk.

One of the other things that I loved about these sets was the opportunity to mix and match characters from my favorite TV shows and cartoons.  Why wouldn’t Scooby Doo go on an adventure with Ookla the Mok from Thundarr?  Breaking these sets out again seemed like a great opportunity to put together that dream super-band I’ve always wanted to see…

I always imaged Admiral Ackbar had a very William Shatner-like delivery when singing, and you have to dig those hairy back-up singers!

Peel Here #109: In monster baseball you use grave markers as the bases…

Well, a bit delayed, but finally here is the 1988 Donruss/Leaf set of Baseballs’ Greatest Grossouts sticker cards that I teased a couple weeks ago

This set is the second series and the sister set to the Awesome All*Stars stickers from 1988, and again features the artwork of B.K. Taylor.  Like its predecessor, this set is huge and featured 88 stickers as well as a ginormous 36-cardback poster.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to procure the poster as these puzzle-backs were all on doubles of the main cards in the set. It was hard enough tracking down all these cards.  Because of the size of this set and the fact that one needed a ton of doubles to get all the puzzle pieces it probably drove kids batty back in the day trying to collect them all.  It’s probably also a factor which lead to the downfall of sets like these as both this and the Awesome All*Stars came out in the same year…

   

One of these things that I really dig about this second series is that Taylor took the monster designs a bit further into a more creepy/scary territory.   There are a metric ton more sharp fangs and brutal-looking monsters which is pretty gnarly.   There are also more direct baseball parodies with obvious nods to team mascots which is an improvement over the last series…

    

    

Even though Topps has been the king of cool painted sticker cards over the last 50 years, Leaf/Donruss sure did give them a run for their money, if not in quantity, then in quality with these two monster baseball themed sets as well as their Zero Heroes stickers.  It sure beats the heck out of what Fleer had to offer with their Grossville High and Robot Wars sets…

    

   

I wonder why they never produced any monster themed footballs sticker card sets?  You think it’s be a no brainer…

Peel Here #108, These stickers are Maniacal

So, continuing with the slight Valentine’s Day theme and as a preview for the Maniac post I hope to have up this week I thought I would break out my meager collection of stickers that were available in issues of the magazine.  This first set of stickers are kind of Valentine’s day related, so it seemed like a good place to start.  These came inside issue Five of Maniac, which was the Jan-Feb 1985 issue available only through the various editions of the Scholastic Book clubs in middle and high school…

I’m 99% sure that David Coulson did the illustrations for both sets of stickers I’m going to feature today (based on seeing his work inside the magazine), and I’d be willing to bet that ‘ol Jovial Bob (R.L.) Stine came up with the gags.  Oh, and even though both I and the magazine called these “stickers”, they’re better defined as stamps since you had to lick the back to stick them.  I’m loosely including them in Peel Here since I’ve featured a few Sticker Fun books in the past that use the same sticker/stamp technology…

I ended up winning these in a lot on eBay and only two of the magazines still had their stickers intact, issue five and four.  Here’s a look at those covers…

   

This second set of stickers was in the Nov-Dec 1984 issue, and had a much more general theme.  I can say one thing for certain, in this day and age you’d never see a sticker with the slogan “Make My Day” next to a drawing of a handgun in a school-based magazine.  Oh and I love the “I’m a Hip Hop Maniac” sticker on the bottom right.  That dude tied himself into a human pretzel with break dancing!

Hopefully I’ll have the main Maniac article up sometime this week…