Category Archives: Wax Paper Pop Art

Punching in for 9 to 5 Warriors

One of the really cool aspects of the 80s/90s era nostalgia boom is getting a chance to see certain aspects and pop culture fads of the past re-embraced.  Sure, it’s cool when popular brands make a comeback, like all of the 80s cartoons and toy lines, but what I get a little more excited about is when more general (yet specific) aspects of these properties are revived.  Like when the 25th anniversary G.I. Joe figures were released by Hasbro and they brought back the painted package art for the figures or when some recent horror movies had special VHS edition releases or packaging.  Granted, there are usually good reasons why companies have moved on from some of these things (better technology, cheaper production, etc), but it’s always fun when they or the community gives a nod back to what came before.  One of the really cool things that’s been making a resurgence over the last five years or so has been wax wrapper packaging for trading cards.  Though the major card companies aren’t embracing this per-se, I’ve seen a lot of third-parties embracing it.  Whether it’s the super awesome dust covers on the Abrams Topps books (like the Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packages, or Mars Attacks volumes) or the interest in using vintage wax packs as either bonus swag shipped with orders (very common when you order from nostalgia-minded companies like 8-Bit Zombie.)  Heck, there are also folks selling these as the main product itself, like my good friend Tommy’s rad Boxsome (where you can build your own gift bag of vintage trading card packs.)

What’s been really exciting is watching as this has evolved from a nostalgic look backwards into an integration in all new art, which is what the talented Brandon Braswell is doing which is new project 9 to 5 Warriors!

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Taking his inspiration from 80s/90s era cartoons, trading cards and minifigures, Brandon has created his own story about the epic struggle between good and evil and he’s utilizing vintage merchandising and packaging to get that story across.  So what’s the story?  I’ll let Brandon spell it out…

“A warm cup of joe isn’t the only thing brewing inside the cubicles of McMillians Plastic Co, underneath the desks is a full scale war between the Water Cooler Commandos (W.C.C.) and the Break Room Bandits. During regular business hours, these 9 to 5 Warriors move in the shadows but when it’s quitting time, the real work begins. It all started when a can of Jinsei, a potent foreign energy drink, is accidentally spilled onto a surge protector that sparks life into a trash can full of discarded supplies and food. Soon after coming into existence, the group of 10 split into 2 factions of 5.

Led by the battle-hardened Major Eraser, a supply known to fix any mistake, The W.C.C. puts in the overtime to thwart the evil mastermind of the Bandits, Colonel Custard. This ‘Mad Dough’ is hell bent on total office domination after realizing the power of ‘Jinsei’. Now he and his rotten goons search the office for every last drop, creating new and loyal soldiers along the way. Will the Commandos sweep the office free of leftover trash, or will the Bandits reign supreme and retire the supplies for good? Only time will tell…

When you punch out, they come punching in.  They’re the 9 to 5 Warriors!”

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The first product to launch are the vintage-style trading cards complete with awesomely authentic wax wrappers…

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I love the attention to detail Brandon has put into these trading cards from the coffee cup numbering to the stylized character borders on the cardbacks.

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The coup de grâce are the way the trading cards were shipped out complete with pencil shavings, misc. office supplies, sugar packets and sticky notes!

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These trading card packs are seriously awesome and I love that there’s a who new story to experience collecting one card at a time.  Opening these up I was getting flashbacks of what it was like getting into Garbage Pail Kids and Zero Heroes as a kid.  I love the homages to toys like the Food Fighters, movies like Small Soldiers, and the off the wall action humor that reminds me so much of cartoons like The Tick and Freakazoid!  You can really see that in the animated cartoon intro that Brandon created as well…

That theme song is totally stuck in my head.  I’m really stoked to see where Brandon and company are going to take the 9 to 5 Warriors, in particular the mini figure line that’s planned.  I can also imagine this making for a great series of 5 minute cartoon shorts as well.  So head on over and like their facebook page, check out the site and more importantly pick up some of the trading cards and start collecting the 9 to 5 Warriors!

Did I mention that all of the wax packs are sorted and sealed by hand!

Wax Paper Pop Art #34, A Very Special Episode in which Klinger Doesn’t Cross-dress…

I had a fun conversation with a fellow on twitter this week about the line of M*A*S*H action figures that was released back I the early 80s.  I find it fascinating that series like M*A*S*H and Dallas were merchandised as much as they were considering they’re more or less aimed at an adult audience.  In particular, the idea of dedicating a line of trading cards to a dramedy like M*A*S*H just seems insane.  “Got it, got it, got it, ooohh, a Hot Lips Houlihan!  I’ll trade you two Klinger’s for your Father Francis…”

1982 Donruss M*A*S*H trading cards

I guess when Doc and Lifeline weren’t enough medics to collectively care for your battle-damaged G.I. Joes, you could always call in the M*A*S*H unit.  And it lightens my heart to know that kids had a Father Francis figure to see those poor souls, the ones with the broken O-rings, got the last rites they deserved…

Wax Paper Pop Art #33, The Arcade and Video Game edition…

It’s been a long time since I was super excited to catch an upcoming Disney animated film that wasn’t a Pixar creation.  That’s why I was so happy after catching the Wreck-It Ralph trailer that was released this week.  Though I’m not usually all that happy with non-voice actor casting, John C. Riley sounds great as the titular character, and the film has the potential to do for video game characters what Roger Rabbit and Toy Story did for cartoons and toys respectively.  In honor of the trailer, here’s my collection of arcade-centric Wax Wrappers from the 80s…

1st up is the 1980 Fleer Pac-Man wrapper…

Next, from1982, the Topps Donkey Kong stickers

Moving right along, we find ourselves in 1983 with the Topps Video City set

Finally, here are four wrappers from the 1989 Topps Nintendo Game Packs featuring Mario, Link, The Princess, and the spin-off set of Temporary Tattoos released later that year.  By the by, I talked about these Nintendo stickers in the Peel Here column before

 

 

Wax Paper Pop Art #32, Drawn to women who are drawn bad…

It seems odd that in just over six years of running Branded in the 80s I haven’t really talked about a film like Roger Rabbit.  Hmm, I’ll have to remedy that in the future.  In the meantime, here’s the wax wrapper for the 1987 Topps card and sticker set…

Wax Paper Pop Art #31:Duh Da Duh Duuunnnn, Dun Dun Dun!

Since I’ve been starring at my tiny Hot Wheels A-Team van all week, and since I have a contest going where you can win one of these toys, I decided that this would be a good time to share my 1983 Topps A-Team wax wrappers…

I talked about the stickers from this card set a while back too.

Wax Paper Pop Art #30, the Big Hairy Ape edition…

This week’s Wax Paper Pop Art is all about big hairy apemen.  Whether it’s the hilarious misadventures of an unruly adopted sasquatch with the 1987 Topps Harry and the Henderson’s card and sticker set (which I talked about here)…

…the weird romance and ennui of the master of the apes, from the 1976 Topps King Kong card and sticker set…

…or these next two wrappers from 1967 and 1969 (respectively) featuring the Topps Planet of the Apes card sets.

Which reminds me, I need to break out my Planet of the Apes cartoon DVD and watch it again…

Wax Paper Pop Art #29, Assembling some of the Avengers…

Well, it’s Friday and I’m really looking forward to the weekend and catching the Avengers sometime tomorrow morning.  Seems like a good opportunity to share my two main Marvel comics wax wrappers.  First up is the wrapper for the Topps Marvel Comic Book Heroes Stickers from 1974

I didn’t have any wrappers that were more in line with the Avengers, so I figured it’d be fun to pair the above with my favorite wax wrapper of all time from the 1979 Topps Incredible Hulk card set!

Here’s to hoping the Hulk gets to smash a bunch of stuff tomorrow…

Wax Paper Pop Art #28, The Ewoks Join the Fight!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I slapped together a Wax Paper Pop Art post.  I’ve got to get on the ball and finish scanning my collection so I can start these up again.  In the meantime, and in honor of my BFF Wicket W. Warrick stuffed toy, here are a couple of wrappers from Topps Return of the Jedi card series circa 1983…

I find it fascinating that the designers decided that out of all the Ewoks they could have featured on one of these wax packs they decided to include a baby.  Granted, they were cute as hell, but aesthetically speaking wouldn’t Logray or Chief Chirpa have been a better choice?

Wax Paper Pop Art #27, The most powerful wrappers in the universe!

Today is Friday the 13th which seems like the perfect opportunity to share some cool Jason Vorhees themed bits of Wax Paper Pop Art, but alas none exist.  This reminds me of one of my favorite blogs that is sadly defunct, the Bubblegum Fink.  BF was a huge influence on Branded, and one of the really cool things he did was to create sets of digital trading cards that aped the style of Topps sets back in the 70s and 80s.  One of my favorite would-be sets was for Friday the 13th, and it would have been awesome had it actually existed.  I never saved any of the images sadly, but here’s a post of someone else who took notice of these awesome pieces of should-be-nostalgia

Anyway, in lieu of simplistic Hockey Mask art I thought I’d share a set of some of my favorite Topps card wrappers from the Masters of the Universe series circa 1984…

These images, in particular of He-Man and Skeletor were very prevalent on MOTU merchandising back in the day.  Actually both of them also grace the two Lazer Blazer sticker sets as well.  It’s kind of cool to get a chance to see the same image in so many iterations over the years…

   

I talked about the sticker cards from this set, as well as a bunch of other MOTU stickers in an older Peel Here column.

Wax Paper Pop Art #26, Sucking at a video game was never so pretty…

For today’s WWPA I thought I’d share a wrapper for a set of cards and stickers that I haven’t been able to get my hands on just yet.  The 1983 Fleer Dragon’s Lair game cards and stickers…

The few times I’ve played the original arcade game it totally kicked my butt.  It was beautiful though, as Don Bluth’s animation tends to be.  To hear all about it check out episode 81 of the Retroist Podcast!