Tag Archives: Topps

Wax Paper Pop Art #35: No-stal-stal-N-N-N-Nolstalgia

4563734703_e2e99528d2_oSince it’s sort of been a week or two of a bit more old school Branded-style pieces I figured I’d cap it off with a piece of Wax Paper Pop Art that I’ve been meaning to post for ages.  Of all the semi-definitive pop culture icons that could be used to encapsulate the80s (Pee Wee Herman, The Smurfs, the California Raisins), none feel as ahead of their time and yet so completely rooted in that decade as Max Headroom.  Genius advertising mascot, social commentator, star of a wickedly weird, under-appreciated TV series, and a CGI character created with almost wholly practical effects.  An truly ironic icon…

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I talked about this 1986 Topps sticker card set a few years ago.  I still need to track down a set of the foil stickers though…

A Month of the Monster Squad comes to an end…

10710926_10152738966882328_5146327273773526587_nFirst off, Happy Halloween folks!  This past month has been an absolute blast for me.  Not only did I get a chance to talk (a lot) about my favorite movie of all time, but it’s been super rewarding for me on a personal level.  Whether it’s been through doing research for the articles, sharing them or the reactions I had some amazing experiences over the past 45 days.  Getting to chat with some awesome die-hard fans, sharing some stuff from my collection that a lot of people hadn’t seen before, or connecting with a bunch of the people who worked on the film (including director/writer Fred Dekker, stars Andre Gower, Michael Faustino & Ashley Bank, and amazing artists Craig Nelson and Steve Wang.)  It makes my head spin!

tumblr_mt1mpxrnUh1shliigo1_500Seriously, this has been the October to top all others in my book.  I also had an absolute blast making the set of Topps-style trading cards and sharing those all month.  My initial idea when I set out was to make the set of cards and have that be my primary content for the month along with writing about a week’s worth of articles that I would pepper here and there.  As I started writing the articles though I found more and more things that I wanted to discuss until it got to a point where my to-write list was becoming longer than the days available in October to share them!  Then my good friend and co-host on the Cult Film Club podcast, Paxton Holley, sent me a rad piece of MS fan art that completely summed up what I really wanted to do…

Monster_Squad_movie_Magazine

Do you remember back in the 80s before DVD special features, back before there were bootlegs at conventions with special rare director’s cuts of film, when the only way to get the inside dirt on your favorite flicks was via Official Souvenir Magazines?!?  I used to love these things and had them for films like Batman, Back to the Future, Gremlins, Karate Kid I & II, and The Explorers.  These magazines were a treasure trove of trivia, behind the scenes photos, and promotional art (like these two articles I wrote about The Goonies magazine.)  Well, The Monster Squad never had one of these, and even though there has been a cult following of fans over the years that have been singing the praises of the film and writing short pieces online, there was no good place to collect all this awesome information.  So when Pax sent me that rad cover above it really hit me that I was really trying to create a digital version of just that.  Whether I was successful or not, eh, who knows, but I had a blast trying and knocked a bunch of stuff off the bucket list in the process of creating this content.

So thanks for reading, coming by to scope out the cards, or comment on any of these articles! If you like what you read here and want to do something that I think would be fun, do me a favor and go Like Fred Dekker’s facebook page (he was super freaking awesome and shared a bunch of my posts this month which kinda blew my mind – see the Beetlejuice gif above for my reaction), follow Andre Gower (a really swell guy who was also super gracious to retweet and respond my my silly posts), Ashley Bank, and Ryan Lambert on twitter and let them know Branded sent ya.

And last but by no means least, today I have the final two Monster Squad trading cards.  Here’s the second to last card #33, Van Helsing Stakes Dracula!

33 Van Helsing Stakes Dracula F-B

And finally, to complete your set of unofficial Topps-style Monster Squad trading card set here’s card #20, Sean Gets Some Help!

20 Sean Gets Some Help F-B

I also wanted to take a second and pull all the custom Topps-style trading cards I made for the film together in one post, in order, cause I’m pretty proud of these…

Monster Squad Wrapper

Alright, THAT’S A RAP!

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IT’S ALIVE! Branded gears back up for the 2014 Countdown to Halloween

It’s been pretty quiet around here during this past summer as I’ve been juggling a lot of projects, but things have calmed down a bit and I’m fully ready to tackle my 9th Halloween at Branded in the 80s.

Before I talk about this year’s theme, I wanted take a second and point again to the Countdown to Halloween site, a hub for sites who are participating in the month-long celebration of all things Halloweeny.  I recently re-skinned the website for this new year and added a brand new batch of participant badges, all with a monstrously aquatic theme in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the release of Universal’s Creature From the Black Lagoon!

Julie Adams and the Gill Man in CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, 1954.

I had a lot of fun fudging the 3-D effect for the new site banner as well as picking some creature-rific imagery for the 2014 badges.  This year there’s also a special project I’m working on specifically for the countdown site that I hope to announce in the next few days.  So head on over to the Countdown site. check out the list of participating websites, and join up if you’re planning on celebrating on your own site!

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As for Branded, this year I’m finally going to spend some quality time talking about one of my favorite films, probably my most favorite, Fred Dekker’s 1987 kid-adventure, horror masterpiece The Monster Squad!  I’ve written and talked a little bit about the flick over the years, though mostly it was either reviewing the bootleg DVD, lamenting the lack of an official DVD release, and then when the film was finally released on disc, it was to lament the horrible cover art that adorned it.  I fully intended to spend a week talking about the movie when the 25th anniversary came up a couple years ago, but I got sidetracked and just wrote one short piece about seeing the film for the first time.  I also did a breakdown of Eugene’s room when I first started my exploration of 80s era kid’s rooms on film.  I still feel though, that I haven’t sufficiently tackled a discussion of the flick, so for the next 31 days I’m going to do my best to dig into all aspects of my favorite movie of all time!

10655011_1449641078658365_981214608_nI have a pretty ambitious line up of articles and features planned to celebrate this cult classic, so I hope you’ll join me each day as I examine all aspects of the movie from the script, the marketing, the home video release, trivia, behind the scenes footage and so much more.  As an added bonus, each day this month I plan on posting a treat for your virtual McDonalds Halloween Boo-Pail.  I’ve always been bummed that the movie didn’t have a big merchandising push like other kid’s flicks from the decade, so there were never any read along adventure books, Burger King Collectors glasses (a crime since they were so prominently featured in the movie), or toys.  We didn’t even get a set of Topps trading cards!  We all know how much I love Topps, wax wrappers and junk, so I’ve taken it upon myself to create a mini set of collectible digital Monster Squad trading cards, and I’ll be “handing” them out in place of candy for all you trick or treators who stop by Branded this month.  To get you started I’ll post the first one below.

27 Scraps F-B

Thanks again for reading Branded and I look forward to kicking some Wolfman nards over the next month…

countdown button 200 2014 Robare

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…

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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…

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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.

Awesome 80s Bedrooms: Flight of the Navigator Edition

I wish I could finagle a way to like, make a living writing articles obsessing over all the small details in the backgrounds of flicks ’cause I think I’ve found a calling.  I mean, there has to be a college degree program based around this, a Bachelors in the Fine Art of Identifying Pop Culture Junk in 80s Kid’s Movies.  The prestigious BFA:IPCJ80sKM.  Right?  No?  Whatever.  Anyway, for today’s Awesome Bedroom article on Flight of the Navigator I prepared by falling into a murky gulley after which I awoke in Miami circa 1978 (and later after another nap in the magic gulley, 1986.)  I ran straight to David Freeman’s house, barged past his questioning parents and proceeded to document his room (and then later, like 8 years later, I stowed away in the R.A.L.F. unit and made my way into NASA to check out David’s secondary bedroom too!)

flight navigator 2

Initially I’d skipped over this flick when considering bedrooms to document because I had a brain fart and completely forgot about some of the rad stuff in the 80s era NASA bedroom.  I figured his main bedroom from the late seventies wouldn’t have enough stuff worth looking at, but I was seriously mistaken.  Both bedrooms are pretty epic and deserve a second look.  So let’s start with David’s 1978 room…

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1). Tasco Deluxe Microscope Set

Turquoise Tasco Deluxe high-quality microscope set

2). Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm

vintage-ant-farm

3). ERTL/AMT 1959 Corvette model

ertl amt 59 Corvette

4). Wooden Brontosaurus Puzzle

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5). Coleco Table Top Pac-Man Arcade Game

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Checking around David’s room it’s pretty evident that he was way into both science and every sport known to man (with a slight emphasis on Football).  Science wise he has that sweet turquoise Tasco microscope set as well as a pretty nifty telescope.  Maybe it’s just me but I never knew any kids that had their own telescope let alone a microscope!  Granted you do tend to see telescopes in kid’s rooms in flicks.  As for the sporty side of his personality, David’s room is littered with all sorts of equipment.  Boxing gloves, tennis rackets, roller skates, footballs, and in a later screenshot some baseball gear too.  He also has a boomerang, but I’m not sure if that falls into the rudimentary weapons category.  Lastly, there’s a slinky on the sill right near the open window.

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6). Mr. Potato Head (the box is here on the shelf, but the master of potato disguise is actually out on the dresser located directly across the room.)

7). A pack of 1985 Topps Football cards

1986 Topps Football

Probably my favorite find in this room is this pack of Topps football cards laying up against some sort of Miami Dolphin’s plaque. I know the set designers were just looking to stick some fun stuff in the room and I’m sure they thought no one would ever pay attention to the wrapper close enough to discern the date and thus the anachronistic error, but they were totally wrong.  Granted, I was only 8 when they filmed this movie so they had no way of knowing my dumb ass would be scrutinizing this room almost 30 years later, but still.

So, I tried to identify both of the other Miami Dolphins items on this shelf, the 1973 book/binder and the plush toy, but couldn’t nail either of them down.  Anyone out there familiar with these?

**Update** Patrick over at Nerd Out With Me identified the book as the 1973 Miami Dolphins Yearbook!  What a weird concept, but also sorta neat…

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8). 1978 Dukes of Hazzard General Lee toy

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9). Jacques Cousteau poster.

I loved spotting this poster.  It’s a nice way that the set designers tied in the sense of adventure and discovery subtly into the background of the film.

Alright, so now we’re going to jump forward 8 years to 1986 and David’s “prison” room at the NASA complex.  Granted, he was more or less being held against his will, subjected to a bunch of annoying pokes, prods, tests and 24 hour surveillance, but at least they treated him like the winner of Bozo’s Grand Prize Game with a ton of free toys.  Fair tradeoff?  At twelve I might have said yes…

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10). Ertl die-cast Space Shuttle with Booster Rockets

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11). Felix the Cat plush

12). Cobra Water Moccasin from the G.I. Joe toy line

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13). Space Turbo game by Tomy

1940_1254454414914_Tomy_Space_Turbo

14). Radio Shack Constellation Finder

$(KGrHqZ,!ooFG4,dVYhYBR0PJ45e)Q~~60_3

15). Bachmann/Taiyo Porsche 935 Radio Control Car

$(KGrHqV,!i0FB1m47oRcBQwtTEDggw~~60_57

16). Panasonic RQ-44A Portable Cassette Player/Recorder

70s Panasonic Mod Red RQ-44A Portable Cassette Player  Recorder

17). Transformers Decepticon Shrapnel (leader of the Insecticons)

Shrapnel

18). Franklin Glo-Brite Orange Mike Schmidt Baseball

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Wow, the mother-load!  So much fun stuff here.  Also, as far as identifying that Glo-Brite baseball, it was all thanks to Mike Schmidt’s sweet mustache.  Starring at the packaging I knew it had to be officially branded by one of baseball’s great mustached pitchers, so it was either Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley or Mike Schmidt.  P.S. I totally had a Rollie Fingers glove as a kid…

There are a few things I wasn’t able to identify, in particular there is a carded yellow helicopter toy on the bed between the baseball mitt and the Porsche car.  But there’s also a book on space shuttles on the nightstand that I couldn’t figure out as well as a larger shuttle toy (model) on the opposite nightstand (shuttle toys are sort of generic and without any recognizable packaging it’s hard to tell who manufactured it without having it right in front of me.)  Also, maybe it’s just me, but in the film David seems shocked that the scientists are trying to keep him locked up for more than a couple of days.  You’d think all these toys would have been his first tip-off, considering the quantity and the fact that there are baseballs and gloves and junk.  I mean, when was he going to find the time to go out and play catch with Howard Hessman if he was just staying the night?

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19). LJN Rough Riders Tri-Ex K.I.T.T. from Knightrider

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20). LJN Rough Riders Tri-Ex Faceman’s Corvette from the A-Team

ljn ateam rough rider

Man, I love the card art on these Rough Riders batter powered cars.  They’re kind of fugly, but also endearingly cute at the same time.  Also note the second Shrapnel figure (or maybe the same toy just placed here as well.)

Anyway, as the camera very quickly panned across the room I noticed this gem out of the corner of my eye…

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21). G.I. Joe Sleeping Bag

Joe-Sleeping-Bag

Last, but not least…

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22). Radio Shack Electronic Space Voice (vocal changer.)

radio shack space voice

23). Blancmange “Lose Your Love” Music Video

Alright, the music video isn’t really a “thing” in the room per-se, but how could I not mention it?  That music video is sort of what my nightmares look like, complete with roasted turkeys and stretchy legs…

As far as the Space Voice goes, there were a ton of these electronic voice changers on the market branded for different toy lines in the 80s, but man, this Radio Shack model is rad.  I love the idea of walking around with a headset mic and a strap-on robot.  You’d never get the crap pummeled out of you for sporting this toy, never.

So, anything I missed?  Any ideas on the Miami Dolphin gear or that yellow helicopter I couldn’t identify?

Other Awesome Bedrooms I’ve covered…

Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting

Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad

Mikey’s room from the Goonies

Robbie’s room from Poltergeist

Ben’s room from The Explorers

Pee Wee’s room from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Elliot’s room from E.T.

Fred Savage’s room from The Princess Bride

Josh’s room from Big

Happy 2013 Halloween from Branded in the 80s!

Well, we made it though another Halloween season.  I want to personally thank everyone who follow my countdown this year via the site, facebook, instgram, and twitter, and I hope each and every one of you has a monster haul of candy this evening.  Do what you can to avoid Endless Mike and the pumpkin-smashing Hallo-Weenies, compliment Bill Haverchuck on his rad Bionic Woman costume if you see him, and remember to stop by the pumpkin patch and say “hi” to Linus (he needs the encouragement.)

So, to end this countdown of vintage ghoulish Garbage Pail Kids with a bang, here are some very seasonally appropriate sticker cards!  First up, from series four comes 153a&b, Jack O. Lantern and Duncan Pumpkin painted by David Burke!

31 - Jack O Lantern

You have to give props to a kid who can carve their own face so well!  Next up is a gross later entry in the GPK cannon, stickers 438 a&b, Hallie Ween and Trick or Tricia, which hail from series eleven and were painted by Tom Bunk!

31 - Part 2

Alright folks, everyone have a safe and awesome Halloween!

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.

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Day 30 is alive, ALIVE!

We’re up to the, uh, eve of All Hallows Eve, and have the final classic monster of the 2013 Garbage Pail Kids Halloween Countdown.  Not only is this the final last of the classic monsters, it’s also my personal favorite monster, Frankenstein’s monster to be precise…

30 - Frank N Stein

Stickers 112a&b, Frank N. Stein and Undead Jed hail from the 3rd series and feature artwork by Tom Bunk (seriously, those dimples always give it away.)  What is it about hulking monsters and pink and purple pants?  Maybe it’s why they’re always so pissed?

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.

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Day 29′s Halloween GPK will have you howling at the moon!

We’re moving right along with yet another classic GPK monster for day 29.  Creeping out of the third series we have stickers 116a&b, Eerie Eric and Berserk Kirk!

29 - Eerie Eric

I’ll be honest, I wanted to keep the classic monsters together for this countdown, but I also wanted some of my favorite pieces of art to fill the last week of the countdown and these Tom Bunk paintings just aren’t some of my favorites.  Though I respect him as an artist, this card in particular just feels off to me.  Bunk’s kids are a little more static and “hard” (it’s those dimples!), a little rougher around the edges and this werewolf just doesn’t get me howling.  It never really did.  Even though, I’m glad there was a werewolf in at least one of the sets and he’s not horrible, just not my cup of wolfs-bane tea…

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.

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A Nasty Way to Kick of the Last Week of the Countdown!

Kicking off the last partial week of the 2013 Countdown to Halloween with the head vampire, so to speak, sticker number numero uno, 1a&b, Nasty Nick and Evil Eddie!

28 - Nasty Nick

The concept in this painting is just so perfectly beautiful.  As a parody of the Cabbage Patch Kids, to have a Vampire kid seducing a Barbie Doll is just, so, darn, perfect.  My only complaint with the art in this one is that the bat, star and moon muddle up the image and aren’t needed in the slightest.  Series one, John Pound.  Sigh…

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.

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GPK Halloween Countdown Day 27 wants to suck…his own blood!

For the last weekend day of the countdown I decided it was nigh time to share a true vampire; the Bat creature from before was vampish, but this guy is pretty hardcore!  Sticker 411a&b, Van Pire and Bud Sucker…

27 - Van Pire

These suckers hail from the 10th series and were painted by the talented James Warhola.  I love this concept of sucking blood from an IV like a Capri Sun pouch!  Since this is such a specific concept I thought it would be fun to share another variation that was just release last year as a part of the newer GPK magnet card sets (as well as a bonus vampire!)

27 - Van Pire extras

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.

2013 Franken Berry 200