Tag Archives: Trading Cards

These Should Exist: the Jem & the Holograms edition!

With the release of the first two trailers for the new big screen, live action adaptation of Jem & the Holograms only a couple of months away it’s had me thinking a lot about the original cartoon and toy line and what made those so special to me growing up in the 80s.  I pretty much have zero interest in the new movie because I feel like the production has completely shrugged off the original concept and vision of the property that it’s all but unrecognizable.  In fact it feels like a more earnest adaptation of the Hannah Montana television series, which was itself a lesser derivative of the original Jem cartoon.  On a brighter note, I finally managed to pick up the first five issues of the IDW comic book adaptation of Jem written by Kelly Thompson and lavishly illustrated by Sofie (formerly Ross) Campbell, a favorite artist of mine for the past 15 years or so.

Jem comic

The comic series is great and manages to hit all the notes of the original while still updating the plot and characters into a more modern take.  We hear a lot about comic book adaptations and mining comics for film these days, but this is the type of material and a philosophy for how to write fan favorite material that Hollywood just isn’t grasping.  That said, I’m not trying to know the wind out of the film industry, though if there are ever any executives out there reading this, you’re getting it wrong.  Anyway, since I’ve been diving back into the story of Jem a lot lately I thought it would be the perfect time to try my hand at designing another set of trading cards that SHOULD have existed back in the 80s but for whatever reason never happened…

Jem_Wrapper_v1    Jem_Wrapper_v2

Like the previous sets I created (or co-created) for The Monster Squad, Adventures in Babysitting, Rad, Young Guns and Young Guns II, I had a blast working on these.  I love trying to slip into the creative mindset of a Topps employee circa 1985 when laying out and utilizing artwork to create these wax wrapper and card designs.  Finding colors that work well with the content or trying to make the cards dynamic yet still true to the aesthetic of the 80s…

Jem_Cards_2_Combo

Jem_Cards_1_combo     Jem_Cards_3_Combo

First and foremost, since there is a lot of gorgeous Jem & the Holograms toy box art for each of the characters I wanted to highlight that before utilizing any of the animation imagery.  Though there were some cartoon series that had trading card sets in the 80s (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Masters of the Universe immediately spring to mind), the majority of trading card sets seemed to focus mainly on film and live action TV.  Also, the cartoon sets tended to add speech bubbles with puns and dialogue to the cards and I really didn’t want to do that.  It’s not like I feel I’d have to per-se, but it would be more accurate which is half of what I’m striving for when making these sets…

Jem_Cards_4_Combo     Jem_Cards_5_Combo

Jem_Cards_8_combo

Jem_Cards_7_combo     Jem_Cards_6_combo

The crazy 80s-inspired design of these cards is also a bit personal for me because I was able to tap into my childhood experience growing up in central Florida.  The color scheme I went with is heavily evocative of what I remember seeing all over the place from the design on the scratch-off lottery tickets that became legal around 1988.  It’s a mix of a beachy feel with a splash of flamingo, aqua and neon.  I had so many pairs of surf & skate shirts and shorts that sported these colors…

Jem_Cards_9_Combo

Jem_Cards_11_combo     Jem_Cards_12_combo

Jem_Cards_10_combo

Making these cards was also an excuse to seek out a ton of Jem-related research materials including interviews with series mastermind Christy Marx, making-of featurettes from the Shout! Factory DVD release, as well as diving back into watching the cartoon itself.  I always love re-watching cartoons when I’m doing research for a project like this because it makes me stop and take a closer look at what’s going on both in the episode and behind the scenes…

Jem_Cards_13_combo     Jem_Cards_17_combo

Jem_Cards_18_combo

Jem_Cards_14_combo

Jem_Cards_16_combo     Jem_Cards_15_combo

All in all, I think this is my favorite of the digital trading cards sets I’ve worked on solo thus far.  And at the risk of sounding like a broken record I really wish that I had a set of these in hard copy cards to stick in my collecting binders sandwiched in between my Robocop and Harry and the Hendersons cards.  Maybe someday.

*UPDATE* this is pretty darn cool

These are excellent. Hasbro should totally do these.

Posted by Christy Marx Clubhouse on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

These 1984 Donruss BMX trading cards are Rad!

There are a lot of great 80s era pop culture collectibles on display at Branded HQ; toys, books, lunchboxes, stickers, vinyl albums, animation cels, and heaps of magazines and comics. Though I love all of that stuff, when I’m feeling really nostalgic the one collectible that I find myself going back to time and again are my vintage trading cards.  If you think about it, flipping through sets of cards is a lot like getting lost while surfing the internet.  They’re like a hard-copy version of tumblr, only instead of snarky memes and gifs there are pun-laden captions and lenticular or hologram chase cards (well, at least later on the 80s and into the 90s.)  And though I spend a lot of time flipping through my stack of card binders, it’s rare that I actually share these here on the site.

Sure, I’ve been making my own digital sets of cards to share here (for movies like The Monster Squad, Adventures in Babysitting, Young Guns, Young Guns II and Rad), but I typically tend to skip scanning and sharing vintage trading card sets in lieu of concentrating on any sticker-card subsets that may have been included.  Unless a set is completely comprised of sticker cards (like all the Little Shop of Horrors, Three’s Company, Supergirl, CHiPs, and all of the Garbage Pail Kids sets), I usually held off on sharing them for some odd reason.  Well, today I thought I’d finally share a set of straight up trading cards that are pretty darn cool.  Hailing from 1984 and printed & distributed by Donruss, here is the complete set of BMX cards…

1 A

This set consists of 59 different cards (yeah, that is a weird number) that are broken up into 10 different BMX bike brands including Redline, Torker, Hutch, Murray, Schwinn, Kuwahara, Hyper, Diamond Back, Huffy, and Raleigh.

19 A

Right: Kuwahara Laser Lite from E.T.

This consists of a pretty wide swath of 80s era BMX bike brands, though noticeably absent are GT, Haro, Skyway and Mongoose. I’m actually wondering if this set involved a partnership between Donruss and the included bike companies where these cards basically were issued as collectible advertisements.  I mean, I know that yes, literally that’s how these cards function, but I’m wondering if the companies paid a set price per card to be featured? It would explain the odd number of cards and the lack of some major BMX companies being represented…

2

Though the cards are broken down by company within the set, each company section is divided into two categories, riders and bikes.  The cards that only feature the bikes have a list of specs and a description on the back, while the rider cards feature either company blurbs, short biographies and/or vital statistics…

6    15

Also of note, this set is almost strictly geared towards BMX racing as opposed to the freestyle movement, so there aren’t any cards featuring “tricks”, mainly just riders getting air off of track jumps (or potentially while riding in and around skate and bike parks…

13

I really loved that the set also included female riders…

7

Card #15, Christy Anderson riding for Hutch

…well, one female rider.  Still though, I’m glad they included Christy Anderson.

3

Clockwise from top left: R. L. Osborn, The Redline Factory Team, D. D. Leone, the Redline Pro-Styler, and the Redline Carrera II.

Going back to the idea that each one of these cards was a paid advertisement from the bike companies, again, it would explain why there were 7 cards for a larger company like the Redline team, yet only 1 for Hyper (above) and 2 for Torker (below).  I’d never even heard of those brands until I got my hands on this set of cards a few years ago…

4

Torker Magnum 200 & the Torker 280

5

Clockwise from top left: Michael Joseph Buff, Monte Gray, Tim Judge, The Hutch Pro Star Complete, & Brian Deam

It seems like most of the teams topped out at 7 cards, like Hutch,  Redline (both above), and Schwinn (below), but Team Murray potentially had a much larger budget as they feature on 11 of the cards in this set…

9

Clockwise from top left: Jeff Botema, Murray Factory Team, Keith Gaynor, the Team Murray 330, Jeff Ruminer

10

Clockwise from top left: Rusty Cable, Anthony Sewell, Mike Horton, the Team Murray X20FS III, and Scott Clark

8

Clockwise from top left: Sam Arellano, Stu Thomsen, the Team Murray X20r, and the Schwinn Predator P2600

Yet, there are also inconsistencies where some of the riders go unnamed on the cards as is the case for Schwinn.  All three pictures below appear to be of the same rider, but he isn’t named on the cards and his number plate on the bike is always hidden.  If these were all paid advertisements, Schwinn seemed to have wasted some real estate on these three cards…

11

Bikes, from left to right: Schwinn Predator P2000, Predator Team edition, and the Schwinn Sting Frameset

One of the brands that I was really happy to see in this set is Kuwahara, the company responsible for all the bikes in the film E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial.  In fact the first card in this article is the Kuwahara Laser Lite, Elliots bike in the film and the card features a very familiar backdrop…

14

Clockwise from top left: Deric Garcia, Dick Miller, Gary Ellis (top right & bottom)

16

Clockwise from top left: Brent Romero, Brent Romero (again), Doug Davis, Doug Davis (again), the Diamond Back Turbo, and the Diamond Back Formula One

17

From left to right: Andrew Soule, Mike King, Rodney Cooper, and John Paint

18

Clockwise from top left: Don Johle. Raleigh Logo, George Antill, Ron House, and Sam Arellano

If you enjoyed taking a look at this set and you love 80s era BMX, then take a moment and check out the set of cards I made for the 1986 Bill Allen movie Rad as there’s a good chance you’ll dig those too!

These Should Exist: the Young Guns II Edition

A couple months ago my buddy Paxton and I shared a set of digital vintage-style trading cards we created for the woefully under-merchandised film Young Guns (here’s the half I shared, and here’s the half that Pax shared.).  We’re both huge fans of the flicks, which if you give our Cult Film Club podcast double feature episodes a listen – part 1 & part 2,you can plainly hear. Of course, like most fans of the Young Guns movies (as well as Billy the Kid on film fans that dig these 80s interpretations), it’s hard to consider the one flick without the other. Though it’s considered a sequel, the continuing story of Billy the Kid and the Regulators of Lincoln County New Mexico in Young Guns II really is just the second half of a larger single story. So when we set out to make these cards for the 1988 film it was a given that we’d also have to create a Series 2 set.

Like before we’ve split up the set between our respective sites, so collect them all by heading over to the very aptly named Cavalcade of Awesome and check out the rest of the cards (and some really awesome variants!)

Wrapper YG2 B

Wrapper YG2 A Wrapper YG2 C

Again, we wanted to set the tone with some awesome wax wrappers, this time featuring three different variations. Billy’s hero wrapper, Pat Garrett’s “villain”, and newcomer Arkansas Dave Rudabaugh (played exquisitely by Christian Slater.) A keen eye will notice that we chose to go backwards in terms of the Topps logo (this was the logo they used in the late 70s/early 80s and by 1990 when this flick came out Topps had moved onto a more spindly art deco font. I’ve never been a fan of that late 80s early 90s logo personally (you can see it on this Who Framed Roger Rabbit wax wrapper.)  So we thought it would be fun to throw back to the 70s, early 80s version of the logo…

YG2_21_Billy

YG2_23_Chavez YG2_25_Dave

Working on this project with Pax was the first time I’ve done a series two of a digital card set so we had to think about some minor aesthetic design elements that we wanted to work with. One of them was the idea of carrying over the numbering from the first set, picking up where that one left off. So instead of starting the number over at “1″, we chose “21″. This was common for Topps in the 80s with sets ranging from Garbage Pail Kids (which had consecutive numbering from sets 1-15) to the various Star Wars sets (that first movie had five separate series, each picking up the numbering where the last left off.)

YG2_27_Tom YG2_29_Chisum

We also felt it would connect the sets by keeping the card backs relatively the same, just shifting the coloring scheme to fit the sequel a bit better. In keeping with the natural realistic border motif, we made sure to work in the purple and black tribal blanket pattern that was used in the Young Guns II marketing. I like that both sets have a textural boarder (the first with the wood grain, and now the blanket.)  I was really happy with how both sets came out and how they compliment and contrast each other…

YG2_31_Ollinger YG2_33_Poe

YG2_35_HelloGoodbye

All in all making these cards with Paxton was a hell of a lot of fun, and to beat this dead horse a bit more, I really am surprised that there was never any sort of marketing push for these films. Sure, westerns in the 80s weren’t as popular as they were in the 50s and 60s, but with the cast and the amped up action, these movies were ripe for cool products like this. Hell, Robocop and Robocop 2 had a combined card set, why not Young Guns?

YG2_37_OldBilly

Once again, if you dig these digital trading cards, please head on over to the Cavalcade of Awesome and complete your set! For those taking a close look at the numbering, you might see that there are some chase cards for these sets that we’ve be shared elsewhere as well!

As a special bonus to these sets Pax and I created a couple more fun “These Should Exist” style pieces for the two Young Guns films.  Not only are we huge trading card fans, but both Pax and I have a great love of movie novelizations and these two films were also snubbed when it came to that particular marketing push as well.  So we took it upon ourselves to create novelization covers that we thought looked accurate and vintage, as well as being something we’d love to see on our bookshelves…

Young Guns Novelization        YG2_novelization

Now at some point Pax and I have to create that exhaustive movie souvenir magazine for these flicks we’ve been talking about…

These Should Exist: The Rad Edition

I’ve been having a ton of fun creating digital trading cards recently.  I think this project sort of falls inside the dead center of my Venn diagram that is a mix of being creative, learning to hone my Photoshop skills, and geeking out about all the 80s stuff that I love.  With that in mind I’ve had a hard time focusing on much else for the past few weeks and decided I might as well dive into creating another set of cards while I’m enjoying the hell out of it.  So over the past week I tackled another of my all time favorite films which also just happens to be criminally under-merchandused, the 1986 BMX-ploitation flick Rad!

Rad Wrapper

For anyone that’s been reading this site for any length of time or listened to the podcast I co-host, The Cult Film Club, it should be pretty clear just how much I love this flick. I must have rented this flick from the local mom & pop video store 2.6 million times as a kid and I was always bummed that it never caught on with audiences in the theater the way that it did on VHS and on cable.  Though this isn’t the sort of film that made sense to spawn a toy line, I always felt that the movie would have been perfect for adapting into one of those youth novelizations or, well, a trading card set…

Rad_3_Hal_combo

Rad_1_Cru_combo     Rad_2_Cru_Cant_combo

Rad_4_Bart_Taylor_combo     Rad_5_hanging_out_Combo

It’s weird, when I tackled this set I thought it was going to be a cake walk in terms of picking what scenes and characters to include on the cards.  I mean I love the crap out of this film.  But that actually became a problem because after I started compiling a list it was quickly topping out at one hundred cards.  Creating that many cards would have taken forever and I knew that I had to draw a line at around 30 cards.

Rad_6_Helltrack_combo

Rad_7_SgtSmith_Combo     Rad_10_DukeBest_combo

Rad_8_Wesley_combo     Rad_9_Mopheadboy_combo

Narrowing the list down was tough.  Sure, there were a bunch of cards I wanted to make that highlighted some of my favorite lines (“The only thing I’m good at is riding THIS bike!”, “Let’s Walk this sucker”, or “Gnarly!”), but when I was limiting myself to 30 these were some of the first to go.  I also wanted to include at least one card for ever major pro BMX rider featured in the film, but that would have been half the set right there.  So I ended up making sure that I at least included cards for the two main stunt doubles, Martin Aparijo and Eddie Fiola.

Rad_31-32

Rad_12_rexrod_combo

Rad_11_pegride_combo     Rad_15_qualifier_combo

Rad_13_wannadance_combo Rad_14_bikedance_combo

I also wanted to include cards for all the awesome bands and musicians on the soundtrack, I mean what is this movie without the sweet dulcet tones of John Farnham or Sparks?  Again, these had to go…

Rad_17_groupies_Combo

Rad_16_asssliding_combo     Rad_27_Timmer_combo

Rad_28_radracing_combo     Rad_29_bestbuds_combo

Rad_26_Christian_combo

There was also an issue trying to source enough interesting radical facts for the card-backs.  Again, since this movie never got the DVD treatment there were never any making-of documentaries shot, no director commentaries, etc.  There were a handful of BMX magazine articles and the official/unofficial commentary track that Bill Allen, Bart Connors, Sam Bernard, Martin Aparijo, Eddie Fiola, and Jose Yanez recorded last year that were invaluable for compiling the facts that made it onto the card backs.

Rad_23_Helltrack_combo

Rad_18_Cru_Bart_combo     Rad_19_Cru_360_flip_combo

Rad_20_Hulk_Hogan_combo     Rad_21_Bart_takesout_Rod_combo

Rad_22_Bart_Fair_Race_combo

All in all, I’m really happy with how the set turned out and I can add it to the list of digital trading cards that I can only dream about being real, sitting in binders between my Goonies and Little Shop of Horrors cards…

Rad_25_mikemiranda_combo     Rad_30_bicycleboogie_combo

Rad_24_Bart_joins_RadRacing_combo

These Should Exist: The Young Guns Edition

I’m still toying around with the idea of making this a regular feature here at Branded, but after recently creating the sorely needed and non-existent Adventures in Babysitting cards a couple weeks ago I got to talking with my pal and Cult Film Club co-host Paxton about collaborating on a set of Young Guns and Young Guns II digital trading cards.  We both love those movies (as evidenced in our two-part double feature podcast from this past year), but I’d say that the love Pax has for the films is way, way up there, most definitely in the realm of my love of The Monster Squad.  So we hunkered down, traded notes on design and Photoshop secrets, and proceeded to create our own sets of Young Guns trading cards that we both believe should really have existed.

I’ll start off with series one, and as with any good set of 80s era trading cards we felt like we needed some rad wax wrappers.  For this set we created two, a hero…

Wrapper YG1 A

and a villain…

Wrapper YG1 B

As for the cards themselves, Pax and I are gonna split up the set we designed, each showcasing half.  If you want to “collect them all”, you’ll have to head on over to his bitchin’ site the Cavalcade of Awesome to get the rest.  Also, in terms of design, this Young Guns series one set provided the perfect opportunity to tap into a wonderful and wonderfully misused 80s era Topps card flourish, the mystifying real wood-bordered 1987 Baseball cards!

YG1_2_Doc

So, from my perspective, I both loved and loathed that ’87 wood border design back in the day.  That was the year I picked up the baseball card collecting bug and that Topps mega set (over 700 freaking cards) was my jam that summer and fall.  I mowed so many lawns to save up enough dough to collect that entire set one wax wrapped pack at a time, so I loved the entire experience collecting it and trading cards with my friends.

YG1_4_Chavez    YG1_6_Steve

Much like in the flick Big, there were plenty of “…need it, got it, got it, need it…” sessions with my buddies, but all of us were scratching our heads as to why Topps chose that weird ass border design.  Was it supposed to represent a close-up of a baseball bat?  Who knows.  What I thought at the time was that it made the set look like they were Bonanza cards, so when Pax brought up the idea of doing this Young Guns set I felt it was finally time to utilize this design in a way that it would truly shine…

YG1_8_Buckshot    YG1_10_Murphy

YG1_12_Spirit_World

Though these sets are pretty damn time consuming to make, I love the challenge they present to try and nail that 80s aesthetic in the look and “feel”.  With each passing set I work on I feel like I’m getting better and better at nailing that vintage look.  While Pax and I were making these and passing them back and forth we were both feeling that need to have these printed up for real so we could stick them in binders and stare at them all day long…

YG1_14_ReapIt

YG1_16_Iron     YG1_18_Pals

As I mentioned above, these are only half of the cards Pax and I designed.  If you want to collect the rest (of course you do!) then head on over to the Cavalcade and unwrap his Series 1 pack!

Of course, like most fans of the Young Guns movies (as well as Billy the Kid on film fans that dig these 80s interpretations), it’s hard to consider the one flick without the other.  Though it’s considered a sequel, the continuing story of Billy the Kid and the Regulators of Lincoln County New Mexico in Young Guns II really is just the second half of a larger single story.  So when we set out to make these cards for the 1988 film it was a given that we’d also have a Series 2.  Here’s a tease of one of the wrappers for that series we did, and we’ll release the full set of cards soon!

Wrapper YG2 B

Once again, if you dig these digital trading cards, please head on over to the Cavalcade of Awesome and complete your set!  For those taking a close look at the numbering, you might see that there are some chase cards for these sets that we’ll be sharing elsewhere as well!

These Should Exist: Adventures in Babbysitting Edition

This past October I had a whole hell of a lot of fun spending the entire month talking about one of my favorite movies of all time, The Monster Squad.  Part of what made those 31 days exciting for me was working on a project where I I got a chance to utilize my meager design skills to fix a hole in the pop culture past by creating a small set of vintage-style Topps trading cards for the film that never existed, but should have.  Not only was it fun to design and create them, but through doing that and sharing them I was able to chat a bit with a bunch of the cast and crew from the flick, and eventually a friend of the site (Justin) even took the time to actual print out a set of the cards and ship them to me from Australia!  So now I have them in 9-up card pages in a binder right next to my Goonies cards and Garbage Pail Kids, a true dream come true.

1517281_739266392793616_478034961_n

That got me thinking about all the other films and TV shows that were never really merchandised back in the day, properties that I felt should definitely have left more collectibles in their wake.  So this past week I carved out some time to work on filling in another hole in the “These Should Exist” category by designing and creating a mini set of Topps-style trading cards for the flick Adventures in Babysitting!  So without further to do, here are some more digital trading cards to collect from Branded in the 80s…

Adventures in Babysitting Wax Wrapper

Part of what I love about working on stuff like this is getting a chance to visualize and design aspects of branding that could have existed 28 years ago.  I love wax wrappers from trading cards as it is, so screwing around in Photoshop designing them is a real blast.  They’re far from perfect, but I feel like they push that nostalgia button fairly well.

1 - combo

I also love the excuse to dig into a film I love to both take a closer look at it (sort of like I do with the Awesome 80s Bedrooms breakdowns, including the one I did featuring Sara’s room from Adventures in Babysitting) and find the little things that I never noticed before while passively watching, as well as curate a bunch of trivia for the flicks that not everybody may know.

2 - combo   3 - combo

4 - combo   5 - combo

That really applies to flicks like Adventures in Babysitting that have never had a real public outlet for discovering these kinds of behind-the-scenes facts and trivia.  Though the film has been released on every home video format from VHS & Laserdisc to DVD & Blu-Ray, there has never been an official making-of or any released commentary tracks.  All these home video releases have been bare bones affairs.

6 - combo   7 - combo

8 - combo   9 - combo

Similarly there was never an official souvenir magazine, and I haven’t been able to track down that make vintage articles about the making of the film because it wasn’t the sort flick that was covered by the geekier rags like Starlog or Fangoria.  In fact, the only piece of official non-video release merchandise that I know exists is the 1987 Scholastic/Point novelization of the flick.

10 - combo  11 - combo

12 - combo

13 - combo  14 - combo

So after combing through a bunch of more recent website interviews with the stars I was able to gleam some fun facts to share and ended up learning a lot more about the the film that I have previously known.  I guess that’s another great side effect of tasking myself with a project like this, it gives me an excuse to discover and read a bunch of interviews that I usually don’t feel like I have the time to dig into.

16 - combo

Bottom line, it’s a shame that a flick like Adventures in Babysitting never had fun junk to collect like souvenir magazines and especially a set of Topps (or Fleer or Donruss) non-sport trading cards back in the day.  So hopefully this scratches an itch for anyone who also wishes that these existed.

15 - combo

What other flicks and TV shows do you think should have had sets of trading cards?  I know I have a dream list that I’d like to work on.  Share your suggestions in the comments section below!

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…

15809429512_382a8b67c7_o

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…

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!

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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

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…

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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!

clapper

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My name is Robare, Shawn Robare Advertising Detective…

10710926_10152738966882328_5146327273773526587_nThis past Friday a super cool Branded in the 80s reader from Spain (Emilio D.) sent me a bunch of pictures of cool Spanish VHS and DVD releases of The Monster Squad in response to my Dead Media Library article showcasing a bunch of the home video releases of the film.  Included in the batch of pictures was also an interesting Spanish newspaper advertisement from 1988 (that he found here) for the movie that was a little “mixed up”.  I wanted to take a second and examine it for a bit because there’s some really fun aspects going on in this 26 year old piece of amazing ephemera…

Spain-Monster-Squad-Ad

So first and foremost, the Spanish title of the film is Una Pandilla Alucinante (also the title used in Latin America), which roughly translates to An Amazing Gang (squad is Escuadrón, which we’ll see in some other posters later in the week by the way.)  Right off the bat (pun fully intended) Monster Squad super fans will notice the font in the title is the same for the North American release, but if you scroll down to the bottom you can also see the credits are clearly in English (well, mostly) and are for MS.

Now, the artwork.  So, that’s clearly a painting of Vincent Price on the left there, and as any fans of his later work will know this artwork comes from the poster for his 1981 anthology horror comedy The Monster Club (directed by Roy Ward Baker and also starring John Carridine and Donald Pleasence.)

TheMonsterClub_quad_UK_GrahamHumphreys-1

So, weighing this, The Monster Squad/The Monster Club, I can see how this goof up happened, especially when you consider it was in another country where they might not be as versed in our films, etc.  In fact, for years before Monster Squad was available to purchase to the public on VHS (or more importantly DVD) my mom would always try and hunt it down for me as a birthday gift.  Being on top of the scuttlebutt of the film’s release I would always tell her not to bother, that it wasn’t available, but she was adamant and would call every Suncoast, Best Buy and Media Play in town and try and order me a copy.  Of course she wasn’t quite sure what it was she wanted, so aside from being super caring and sweet she would always inadvertently order copies of The Monster Club (or Little Monsters on occasion)  as it was all these folks could order from their distributors!  So I kind of have a strange affinity for this foreign newspaper editorial mix up!

But wait, look more closely at the ad, because this is just where it starts getting interesting (I say realizing that I’m quite possibly the only one who actually finds this interesting…)

Spain-Monster-Squad-Ad

Is that Herman Munster off to the right?!?  Why yes, yes it is!  He is very obviously missing from the original Monster Club artwork.  Now aside from it being a cool little addition (I do so love that TV series), it kind of becomes clear that the reason he was added into the art is so that all five Monster Squad monsters are present and accounted for!  So this wasn’t actually a mix up per se, but intentional.  Weird.

HermanBut wait, there’s more changes.  The Mummy and the Creature?  Though they look really neat, they were also NOT in the original artwork!

Mummy Creature

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There was a weird four-eyed beast, and, well, I think that might actually be a Frankenstein-esque monster that they changed into a mummy.  My head is spinning.  At this point I’m wondering what actually happened that lead them down this convoluted path to get to the final advertisement?!?  Why didn’t they just use the Craig Nelson artwork like 90% of the other countries in the world?  So.  Weird.

Then there is the tagline/artwork text which reads…

El Conde Dracula
Frankenstein
El Hombre Lobo
La Momia…
Nos visitan juntos por primere vez.

Which roughly translates to: Count Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy… Visit us for the first time.  The Creature (or Gillman) totally gets the shaft.

Well, there you have it.  This is the kind of stuff that both excites me and makes me wonder if I chose the wrong career path in life.  How can I make a living out of staring at 30 year-old ephemera to figure out mysteries that absolutely no one on Earth cares about?  My name is Robare, Shawn Robare Ephemera Detective…

 Well, now for today’s trading card…

Monster Squad Wrapper

Today’s card is #3, My name…IS HORACE!

3 Horace F-B

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