Tag Archives: joe simko

Saving the world from genre fatigue one Stupid Hero at a time!

There are a lot of really cool small independent companies making some really awesome toys, stickers and clothes these days that cater to the pop culture nostalgia addict like myself.  At times I find it hard to keep up with all of the kickstarters, announcements and product releases, but there are a handful of folks who I make a point to follow closely and always eagerly await what they’re coming out with next.  One such company is Wax Eye, headed up by Joe Simko and June Gonzales, which has been creating and releasing some seriously awesome trading cards, stickers and mobile games based on their Cereal Killers brand.  When I heard that their next project was going to branch out from their horror cereal concept into the world of super hero trading cards I was ecstatic.

stupid heroes 4

For one, I really dig Joe’s paintings and really wanted to see him (and the other great artists he recruited to assist on this new project) tackle a genre that is ripe for satire and parody.  But I was also excited because the new Stupid Heroes cards reminded me of one of my favorite 80s sticker card sets, Zero Heroes by Donruss.  I’m not sure how many folks remember those as they were pretty obscure and only had one set back in 1983…

zero heroes

I loved those goofy, silly super hero parody stickers so I was really hoping that Wax Eye was going to do something similar.  Boy did they ever, and this new set of Stupid Heroes trading cards really knocked my socks off!

stupid heroes 1

The set consists of 55 character cards painted by Simko, Brent Engstrom, Neil Camera and Jeff Zapata, with bios and gags written by the four artists and June Gonzales, as well as a series of chase sketch and x-ray sketch cards.  Much like the Garbage Pails Kids (a brand all four artists have also worked on in recent years) each character has an A & B card which feature different card backs (each character gets a bio card back as well as puzzle backs) so there are 110 cards in the base set.

stupid heroes 2

I really dug the way the artists took the time to design logos for each character, and I like the addition of rough sketches, concept drawings, or alternate art on the bio backs as well.  Being based on the super hero genre there are a lot of great character parodies from DC and Marvel comics (X-Men, Superman, and Wonder Woman are some of my favorites), but the set isn’t limited to just that as there are a lot of original concepts and characters mixed in as well.  And the art is pretty damn superb across the board…

stupid heroes

With each pack I opened I felt like it was 1983 and I was six years old all over again.

You can order single packs or hobby boxes from the Wax Eye site.  I was able to put together a full base set with a single hobby box, but if you’re looking for something neat to put up on your wall they also have really cool uncut sheets of the complete set available as well!  If you dig Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packages, or Mad Magazine, I think you’ll really enjoy Wax Eye’s Stupid Heroes.  I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll see a second series that works in more comic book parodies and even more original characters!

stupid heroes 3

Also, speaking of Joe Simko, June Gonzales, and Jeff Zapata, all three are also producers on Sean Tiedeman’s new documentary centering on the phenomenon of the Garbage Pail Kids called 30 Years of Garbage!

1625526_1715203085371817_2744256085905815551_n

Though the project stalled out in its initial kickstarter campaign, the crew has been working hard behind the scenes and after launching a very successful Indiegogo campaign have finally received enough backing to make this film a reality!  You still have a few days to back it and get a copy of the film!

Brent Engstrom and Joe Simko on the set of 30 Years of Garbage

Brent Engstrom and Joe Simko

Now this is a film about Garbage Pail Kids!!!

For those of us who have sat through the beloved train wreck that is 1987′s Garbage Pail Kids: The Movie, all I have to say is, cheer up, because there is a much better GPK film in the works!  As much as I love that cheesy original flick (well, hate…yeah…no, love, well, love/hate) the idea of trying to bring a fictionalized version of these rad sticker cards to the screen was sort of doomed conceptually.  Maybe it could have worked as an animated feature, though as an owner of the unreleased cartoon series on DVD, yeah, maybe not.  Either way, the bottom line is that for those of us who love and collect Garbage Pail Kids it’s not about seeing these cards brought to life in another incarnation, it’s about, well, collecting the darn cards and loving the artwork and jokey concepts.  It’s as simple as that, which is what I want to see out of a film, a documentary that chronicles these gross out stickers from their origins in the 60s era Topps Nutty Awards, through the Ugly stickers, Wacky Packs and on through the phenomenon of the original 15 sets and beyond.  The Abrams book featuring the art of the first few sets was a great start, but a film would be really awesome.  Well guess what?  Some really dedicated artists are trying to do just that with the 30 Years of Garbage project!

30 years of garbage

Spearheaded by director Sean Tiedeman and co-produced by Krystle-Dawn Willing, Jeff Zapata (artist and Topps GPK art director 2003-2011), and artist Joe Simko and partner June Gonzales, the film is looking to dig into the world of GPK with interviews with the original Topps artists, writers, and designers, as well as a bevy of current artists both inspired by the original stickers and working on the newer sets today.  They’ve already lined up folks like Art Spiegelman, Tom Bunk, Len Brown, Jay Lynch, Mark Newgarden and one of the most important for me, John Pound!  They’re also going to showcase rabid collectors and the next generation of artists like Brent Engstrom and Joe Simko…

Garbage Pail Kids Artists Brent Engstrom and Joe Simko(Brent Engstrom and Joe Simko posing on set)

The crew has created a kickstarter campaign to help fund this film, and I really want to see it reach it’s funding goal because I kind of NEED to see this film.  Seriously, just take a look at the great work being put into the set design…

941858_1481069485451846_1630540512_n

Simko has donated a lot of of personal work as varying rewards (including cereal box packs of Cereal Killers sticker cards series 2 and his amazing kid’s book The Sweet Rot), and there is even a series of GPK artist cards featuring parodies of themselves!  So if you’re as much of a fan and collector as me head on over and make a pledge today and let’s get this flick funded pronto.  Here’s a look at some of the rewards…

0a33232ac58d55c5fa91e7dec4c9ca63_large

There’s also a facebook page for the flick where you can keep up with news and talk to other fans.  So what are you waiting for?  Go like that page, pledge in the kickstarter and help make this thing a reality.

Cereal Boom is melting my brain!

So, if you’ve been following the Garbage Pail Kids countdown this month, or have read Branded for any length of time you’re sure to realize that I love collectable sticker card sets, especially gross, goofy, pop culture or horror themed.  I was super excited about Joe Simko’s Cereal Killers trading and sticker card sets, and was really happy to see Joe and Wax Eye taking this brand into the digital realm with their first mobile app game Cereal Boom!

cerealboom_logo_final_color

In the game you can pick one of three different Cereal Killer monster characters (Zomb’a Crunch is free, but to unlock Apple Drac, and the goblin from Eye Pops it costs $1.99 with an in-app purchase.)

Cereal Boom 2

The object is to feed these characters as many brains, apples, or chattering teeth by flicking them into the characters cereal-chomping gullet as quickly as possible. But there are also some gross poisoned edibles that get in the way like worms, eyeballs and bat-winged cereal O’s that you want to either crush with you fingers or flick away. Each character has a series of levels where your target number of edibles increases.

Cereal Boom 5

I found the game super addictive and it was a lot of fun seeing the various Cereal Killer characters brought to life. Every time you clear a level there’s a hilarious cut scene as you watch the monster explode into a milky fountain!  Though the game involves a lot of repetition, there are enough cut scene variations and levels difficulty that I found myself still engrossed in the game after a few hours playing it.

What really pushes this app over the top for me though is the ability to unlock digital versions of a bunch of the Cereal Killers trading cards!

Digital Cards 2

There are 18 cards you can unlock, and I hope there will be future updates that will enable you to unlock even more.  I really like the idea of digital trading card collecting, and I think there’s an untapped market for bringing this to the mobile platform.  Can you imagine texting friends trading cards?  Or trading rare cards with other players via the apple gamecenter leader boards?  I think this could be a really exciting way to broaden the audience of collectors for sure.

stuff

Also, the animation for unwrapping the cards was pretty awesome.  But that may just be the love I have for opening fresh packs of trading cards (an admitted addiction I suffer from.)

All in all, I loved the Wax Eye Cereal Killers cards and stickers, and I’m pretty stoked by the game.  It’s a lot of fun and anything that advances the art of card collecting get’s a plus in my book.  You can find the game in the iTunes app store under Cereal Boom, and it’s available for iPhone, iPad, and the iPod touch.  Perfect game for the Halloween season to boot!

 

 

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!