Tag Archives: Topps

Garbage Pail Kids Creepy Countdown: Day 6

So, continuing with the sub-theme of creatures with this Garbage Pail Kids Halloween countdown, I have another 1st series set of sticker cards to share today, 38a&b, Slimy Sam and Lizard Liz!

6 - Slimy Sam

First off, and this is something that you really only see in the first few sets of GPK, I love the subtle airbrushed color fade in the background of the card.  Again, this painting was done by the rad John Pound and his color choices are really fun.  I love how the green pops off of the soft pink and for once it seems like the name plate and logo colors also compliment the overall image with the blue tying into the highlights on the fly dinner and the yellow echoing the bib.  Are nerdery aside, what we’re here for is monsters, and this lizard creature fits that bill to a “T”.  Though not as ugly as the lizard Starchild dream sequences from V, Liz/Sam here does remind me of that must-see TV moment from the early 80s.

Also, on a side note, I had a very interesting GPK question posed to me by the wildly talented Carsten Bradley on my instagram account.  Carsten asked, “Why did they give cards two names?”  This is one of those aspects to the series that I am so used to seeing that I never really questioned it.  So, I don’t know the official answer (anyone want to enlighten me and Carsten?), but if I had to guess I’d probably say it was to increase the sheer amount of possible stickers so that kids would have to buy more packs.  That means more gum sold for Topps (you have to remember they were in the business of selling gum) so kids could complete a set, or at least find all the a&b cards they wanted.  I’d also like to believe that it was to bolster the gender neutrality of these sticker cards so that they appealed to both boys and girls (again larger audience, larger sales.)  Sticker collecting was mainly aimed at girls in the 80s, and though the gross out and parody humor of the GPK was mainly aimed at boys, it’s sort of the perfect product to aim at both.  So, where do the “twins” come into this?  Well, in a lot of the cards, the artwork was general enough that the characters could be boys or girls.  Like Liz and Sam up there.  This way girls and boys could find stickers with their names on them without the art having to be specifically male or female every time out.  That’s probably reaching a little though…

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

Garbage Pail Kids Ghoulish Halloween Countdown: Day 5

Welcome to day five of the countdown.  Today features a Garbage Pail Kid sticker from series one printed way back in 1985.  Unfortunately, this is one of teh handful of series one cards that I don’t have both variations of, so I only have 25b, Scary Carrie to share…

5 - Scary Carrie

Again, like all of the series one stickers, this one was painted by the great John Pound and features a female riff on Frankenstein’s monster that doesn’t go to directly to referencing the Bride (which I think is pretty damn cool.)  I also love the secondary color scheme Pound chose to work with and wish someone in the layout and design department had thought to use a green name plate instead of pink.

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 the Cody, the Crooked Ninja Turtle Sensi. Be sure to check them out as well.

2013 Yummy Mummy 200

GPK Monster Madness: Day 4

It’s day four of the 2013 Countdown to Halloween and I’m back with my next set of monster GPK stickers. I decided to sort of group the stickers by themes, and today starts a series of creature/mutant/freaks.  For the first in this bit I decided to share my copies of these series 2 stickers printed back in 1985, stickers 71a&b, Odd Todd and Bent Ben!

4 - Bent Ben

This painting was done by my all-time favorite GPK artist, John Pound. One of the things that I love about these earlier GPK stickers is that the concepts were simple.  Later in the series, and on into the modern era so many of the stickers are a cluster of annoying and repetitive imagery (cracked heads, poop, vomit, etc.), which is fine and all, but there’s something to be said for a simple concept execute well.  The purpose of these stickers was to be a parody of Cabbage Patch Kids, and the idea of a hunchback adorable doll is hilarious in and of it’s own right.  He doesn’t need to be crapping his pants while simultaneously vomiting up five week’s worth of fish lunches.

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 Fruit Brute 200

GPK Monster Madness: Day 3

It’s day three of the 2013 Countdown to Halloween and I’m back with my next set of creepy GPK stickers. I decided to sort of group the stickers by themes, so the first few of the count are all spooky non-human cards. Earlier in the week I shared some gloomy headstones and a ghoulishly gooey tree.  Today we switch gears a tad with a GPK ancient evil temple from series 6 printed at the tail end of 1986, stickers 224a&b, Monte Zuma and Pagan Megan!

3 - Monte Zuma

This painting was done by my all-time favorite GPK artist, John Pound. I wonder how many Cabbage Patch Kids were sacrificed to appease this evil deity?  Obviously I love the headdress and necklace of skulls, but there are other fun details like the eyeball belly button (creepy!) and the scale of this character (as there are normal-sized worshiper/guards at the foot of the temple…

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 Yummy Mummy 200

Garbage Pail Kids Monster Madness: Day 2

It’s day two of the 2013 Countdown to Halloween and I’m back with my second creepy GPK sticker.  I decided to sort of group the stickers by themes, so the first few of the count are all spooky non-human cards.  Yesterday I shared some gloomy headstones, and today is another of my favorite cards from the later sets (series 7 from 1987 to be precise), stickers 273a&b, Haunted Forrest and Sappy Sarah!

2 - Haunted Forrest

This painting was also done by the super rad James Warhola.  If there in one thing that I would change about this card it’s the color scheme of the name plate and GPK logo.  The red, white and blue really detract from the overall creepiness of the card and it makes me wonder if those choices were thought out or were they assigned randomly?  This is also one of the times where the name plate obscures a gag in the art as you can see the dead bird (crow, owl?) at the right at the base of the tree…

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 Boo Berry 200

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

 

So, I don’t go to yard sales but…

this week’s League topic is all about that one great yard sale or flea market find.  Though I do enjoy perusing the aisles of antique stores and the occasional flea market, it’s super rare that I ever find anything I really want to plunk some hard earned money down on the counter to own, let alone something I’ve been actively searching for.  Maybe my focus is too narrow (I want some pretty damn specific stuff) or my cheapness keeps the purchasing in check (I’m super unwilling to buy that specific stuff if it means spending more than $10-20 bucks!)  Either way, I don’t really have a great “wow, lookit that, how much, screw it I’ll pay it…” kind of story.  Yes, I loved finding a bootleg double-logo Spiderman.  Sure, it was rad finding an in-box Robo Force Enemy toy and a carded Starriors Hot Shot.  And yes, it was pretty damn cool to spot this bottle of G.I. Joe Bazooka shampoo/bubble bath while hanging out with the amazing Jaime Hood the first time we met in person (though I didn’t pull the trigger on buying the little guy.)

bazooka clean

No, the only item that I have in my collection that gives me that “holy crap I can’t believe I found this” feeling has to be my almost complete set of 1st series Garbage Pail Kids.  I didn’t buy them; they were given to me by a super awesome co-worker out of the blue who didn’t know or really care what they had (not that they’re even worth much in their condition), but all the same it evokes that feeling.  That one big score, that awesome relic I’d been looking for for almost 30 years, the Holy “Crap I Found This” Grail.  I wrote about this incident shortly after it happened back in June of 2010, and honestly, I’m still pretty proud of what I wrote.  So I’m going to lay it our for you again because it’s still my favorite “I found that” moment (collecting junk-wise that is…)

“I’ve talked a lot about collecting here at Branded, and on a few occasions I’ve discussed how the hobby leads to certain unobtainable “holy grail” items. The hobby is, by nature, goal driven; when you find one thing, one object that you desired and enjoyed, as a collector you’ll inevitably seek out another item linked to the first and so on. It’s these goals that keep you going, looking for the next piece to acquire, and the beauty of most collections is that there is usually one item that is really hard to obtain. Personally, though it’s frustrating during the hunt, this unobtainability is what keeps the fire stoked; it’s what keeps it interesting.

dirty gpk

Though I’d consider myself a collector, I’ve always been hampered by my own frugality. As much as I’ve wanted certain expensive things over the years I’ve found that I have a hard time paying much more than bargain prices. If I can’t find it cheap, then it can wait. So even though some of my “holy grail” items are available, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever add ‘em to the collection based on crazy high collector’s prices. I’d resigned myself to the fact that no matter how much I wanted a set of 1st series Garbage Pail Kids stickers, it just wasn’t going to happen. The set runs upwards of $300 on eBay, which is roughly $280 more than I’d ever be willing to pay for 82 sticker cards. But the hunt kept me searching. About seven months ago I stumbled across a single 1st series card, 36a Wrapin’ Ruth, in a comic shop. I was so stoked because I’d never seen one up close, and it was only a buck. I snatched it up and put it proudly at the beginning of my collection, just waiting for the other 81 stickers to eventually join it. I wasn’t holding my breath.

Then, just a couple weeks ago, a co-worker came in with a big bag of miscellaneous Garbage Pail Kids cards. Her son had just gotten into the newer series and one of her friends had given her a bunch of their old stickers to pass on to him. Since they were older and because she knew that I collected them myself, she gave me first crack at them considering that her son would be more interested in using them as stickers than collecting them. This has happened before, people have given me a stack of cards to rifle through, either to help them find anything “worth some money” or to add to my collection. Typically there isn’t anything of value, and usually the cards are in pretty bad shape. This stack was no different as you can see in the 1st picture above…

Some of the cards looked like they’d been dipped in beef stew, while others suffered from the normal issues; checklists had been ticked off and there was a fair share of cards that were either written on or were missing borders. But as I started sorting the stickers into piles (beef stew, border-less, doubles of stuff I already had), I found a pocket of cards that were stuck together. As I carefully pried them apart I realized that they were 1st series cards, and they were in pretty good condition. Well, they were actually pretty bad in that they all had a thick line of residual tape glue on the backs where they’d been taped into a picture album, but none of them looked like they’d been dipped in stew.

I decided to take my lunch so that I could concentrate on the stickers, and a half an hour later I was staring at a sight that I honestly never expected to see, a near complete set of 1st series Garbage Pail Kids stickers! I kept muttering, “Holy crap…” under my breath as I was sorting and I found more and more of the set.

All told, the set was only 14 stickers short (including my Wrappin’ Ruth), and whoever had collected these as a kid had managed to at least get at least one of each of the A&B stickers except for one set. So even though the set isn’t complete, all but one of the John Pound paintings are accounted for, as well as most of the Tom Bunk illustrated certificate backings.

After spending a good four hours rubbing off the residual tape glue, and putting them into card pages that evening I was finally looking at something I never thought I’d have. Granted, the cards aren’t in the best condition, but who cares!

Not to look a gift-horse in the mouth, but I was a little bummed that there wasn’t a Potty Scotty sticker. Growing up, though I never managed to see any of these stickers firsthand, I was aware of a handful of the cards based on other GPK merchandising. In my eyes there were six main cards that sort of defined the series and Garbage Pail Kids as a whole, Adam Bomb, Dead Ted, Nasty Nick, Bony Joanie, Brainy Janie, and Potty Scotty. In fact, any GPK that featured a toilet was sort of like the equivalent to Boba Fett or Wedge Antilles in the Star Wars Universe. I’m glad I snagged a Jason Basin though…

This is kind of a silly thing to admit, but for years I used to have this reoccurring dream where I was in an orchard of trees that had GPKs instead of leaves. It was perpetually Fall and the stickers where falling to the ground in big heaps and I’d spend the whole dream raking up the cards and sorting them by series. I’d always get so depressed after waking up and realizing that the big pile of 1st series GPKs weren’t real. The past two weeks have felt like that dream. I guess in some way, as glad as I am to have finally scored these stickers, it’s sort of anticlimactic in a way. The hunt is mostly over. Sure, I can pick up the missing 14 stickers over time (if I can find the damn things cheap enough), but I almost don’t want to.

I did decide to go ahead and order one sticker, 35b Rockin’ Robert. Seemed like a shame to be missing the one John Pound painting. I think I’m going to have to consider Potty Scotty as the new holy grail for my GPK collection…”

As a post script to this story, over the past three years I’ve manged to plug a few of those missing card holes in the set.  Of the original 13 missing cards I actually found 9 of them during an antique market trip.  I’m still missing 4 cards (12b, 25a, 27b, and the all important 14a, Potty Scotty.)  I’m not trying too hard to get them, keeping the hunt alive and all, and as much as I would absolutely love to have him, I’ve seriously considered specifically not getting the Potty Scotty card.  I have one of the over-sized ones framed at Branded HQ, and I can always look at his twin, Jason Basin, and well, pretend.  That way I’ll always have my GPK holy “crap I don’t have that” grail.

So, if you enjoyed reading this tale of the ultimate rad vintage score, why not check out some of the other League members to see what they found on their hunts…

Jaime, Shezcrafti, doesn’t do yard sales either, but if she did she’s be on the hunt for some electronic radness

Eric, Toyriffic, shares his epic Masters of the Universe haul

Patrick, Nerd Out with Me, found an amazing Sith Lord that can hold up his pants

James, James Abels dot net, uncovered some rad top secret NES passwords

Grey, Achievements in Gaming, found an amazing deal on the rare Dark Tower game, he then in a very classy move, gave to a friend

 

With a handle like Smurfwreck you’d think blue would be my favorite color…

…but it’s not, it’s hot pink.  Now that, that random bit of trivia is out of the way, I wanted to take a second and tackle this week’s League assignment where we’re charged with taking photos highlighting the color blue.  Last time we had an assignment like this (with Red), I totally didn’t notice the photo assignment and wrote and essay about blood and how it worked into my first and only fight as a kid.  This time I paid better attention and collected some of my favorite blue stuff from around Branded HQ.

First up, one of my two favorite blue t-shirts, and the classiest one I own for sure…

Top Hat Sas

Next up, some chilly and wet stickers from my favorite vintage collection, Garbage Pail Kids…

GPK Blue

I was surprised at how many blue robots I had within reaching distance…

blue robots

Posing my Soundwave statue it occurred to me that there were a hell of a lot of blue villains in the 80s cartoons and toy lines I loved.  Like Fakor, Skeletor and Trap Jaw!

blue fakor

Not to mention the supreme blue badass that is Mumm-Ra!

blue mummy

And who can forget the rad blue fashion sense of Cobra!

blue terrorist fashion

But by far, my favorite blue thing is the totally amazing birthday gift I received this year, my very own furry blue My Pet Monster!

mpm 1 mpm2

Oh, and there’s my other favorite blue t-shirt, DeLorean represent.

If you like all the blue-i-ness you see here, why not check out some of the other League members to see what blue caught their camera eye…

Jaime, Shezcrafti, shares 21 (not) boring blue things about her

Dex, AEIOU and Sometimes Why, opens a vintage pack of Blue Star Wars Topps trading cards

Miss M, Diary of a Dorkette, gets blue with her Dorky Snaps

Derek, Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks, shows off his very impressive blue toy collection

Laura, Boo Bobby, shows off her Boglins, Gonzos, Rad T-shirts, and Turtles, oh my

Todd, Neato Coolvile, has quite an impressive collection of vintage blue wonderful

Tommy, Top Hat Sasquatch, is feeling blue, so Batman made cookies!

Chris, Garage Sale of Awesome, shares their super rad blue M.A.S.K. bedsheets!

There’s only one thing to say about the Topps Mars Attacks Book: Ack Ack Ack!

As an avid collector of trading cards, specifically those non-sports pop culture sets released by Topps over the last 50 years, I have to say that there has never been a better time to be steeped in the hobby.  Between re-releases of classic cards and stickers (ala the Garbage Pail Kids and Wacky Packages flashbacks series) and new sets there is plenty of pieces of cardboard crack to procure and spend hours organizing, trading and starring at.  By far though, my favorite aspect to the card collecting hobby of late has been the team-up between Topps and the fine folks at Abrams books to bring the community a series of well-crafted and beautiful volumes archiving some of my favorite sticker and card sets.  I’ve mentioned my love for some of the previous books including the two Wacky Packages and first Garbage Pail Kids entries, and I was equally excited to finally receive my copy of the Topps Mars Attacks 50th Anniversary Collection

  

As with all the volumes in this series the book features a clever wax paper-inspired dust cover that recreates the appearance of the original pack of Mars Attack cards, a set of 4 never before printed trading cards, and large-scale images of all 55 original cards in the set.  But for the first time the folks who designed and compiled the content for this volume went the extra mile and included all 55 card-backs, as well as photos of rare test-run packaging, pre-production sketches, running commentary throughout the book, as well as images of some of the Mars Attacks spin-off card sets and paintings from the last 50 years.

The introduction (by Len Brown) is also much more in depth than the previous Abrams Topps books, not only summing up the events that led to the production of the set, but also featuring photos of previous/similar card sets and influences.  There’s also a touching afterward by Zina Saunders, artist and daughter of Mars Attacks main artist Norm Saunders.

 

All in all, this Mars Attacks book not only lives up to the previous Abrams/Topps volumes, but it also raises the bar in terms of how exhaustive these retrospectives can be, and hopefully sets the standard for any future entries into the series.  I’d love to see volumes tackling the Civil War, Ugly Stickers, Weird Wheels, Monster Valentines, and of course a continuation of both the Wacky Packages and Garbage Pail Kids sets.  There’s a ton of great material left in the Topps vaults that would make for some amazing books and could serve as love letters to such great artists as Wally Wood, Jack Davis, and B.K. Taylor…

You can get your own copy from Amazon right here!

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…