Tag Archives: wax paper pop art

These Should Exist: The Robo Force Edition!

Well, I’m finally back from my winter hiatus and I have a lot of stuff I want to write about here at Branded in the coming year.  2016 marks my 10 year running this site and I’m kind of floored that I’m still loving it after all these years.  Hell, I’ve officially been writing about the 80s as long as that decade lasted and I still have a ton of articles in mind that I’d love to tackle.  Bottom line, I want to take a second to thank each and every person who has ever stopped by to read an article, leave a comment, or strike up a conversation on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.  I’ve gotten a chance to meet a bunch of you at various conventions and live events, and there are still a lot of folks I’d love to say “Hi” to in person someday.  It’s been a crazy ride and it’s not even close to being over yet.

I wanted to ease my way back into writing articles so I thought this would be the perfect time to share another set of digital trading cards that I’ve been slowly working on over the last year.  Looking back to the beginning of this site, there was one 80s brand that came up a lot when I was fondly remembering obscure nostalgia from my childhood.  It’s a toy line that is a real underdog when it comes to under-loved properties, and one that has had a great resurgence over the past couple of years.  I’m talking about those loveable, hugable robots, Maxx Steele’s Robo Force!

Robo_Force_Wrapper

When I started designing these digital 80s trading cards I knew that I wanted to not only fill in the pop culture cards for sets based on TV shows and movies, I also wanted to create sets for other fun stuff like bands, book series and toy lines.  Robo Force was always right up there at the top of the list of sets I wanted to work on, not only because I have a lot of fondness for the line, but also because there is a lot of great artwork that really hasn’t been showcased.

RoboForce_Combo_1

RoboForce_Combo_3     RoboForce_Combo_8

RoboForce_Combo_2

I took this opportunity to scan the back of one of the packages that had some great art featuring all the characters from wave one of the toy line.  I also scanned in some of the book covers and took some fun screenshots from the one cartoon episode that was finally released on DVD this past year…

RoboForce_Combo_4     RoboForce_Combo_5

RoboForce_Combo_6     RoboForce_Combo_7

RoboForce_Combo_9

All in all, I had a blast working on this cards.  To beat a dead horse, I really wish that I could get these professionally printed up, but until I can make that happen I guess I’ll just have to be content in creating them.

RoboForce_Combo_10     RoboForce_Combo_11

RoboForce_Combo_12

RoboForce_Combo_13     RoboForce_Combo_14

RoboForce_Combo_15

RoboForce_Combo_16     RoboForce_Combo_17

This is also one of those sets where I had a hard time holding back when it came to the amount of cards I wanted to design.  Between trying to feature all of the characters, the great artwork from the books and screenshots from the DVD, if I had the time this set would have easily had 100 cards or more.  As it stands I tried to cap myself at 26 to keep it down to a manageable project.

RoboForce_Combo_18

RoboForce_Combo_19     RoboForce_Combo_20

RoboForce_Combo_21

I was really happy with how these turned out.  In fact, I’m toying around with the idea of making a second series that exclusively focuses on the animated special so that I can try my hand at putting together a set that is more in line with the Masters of the Universe cards that Topps did (complete with scene by scene breakdowns and speech bubbles added to all the screenshots.)  But we’ll see…

RoboForce_Combo_22     RoboForce_Combo_23

RoboForce_Combo_24-26

These Should Exist: The Lost Boys Edition!

Over the past year I’ve been having a lot of fun with my latest Branded in the 80s project where I try and fill in some of the pop culture gaps when it comes to properties that weren’t merchandised nearly as well as they could have been back in the day.  The basic gist of the idea for me is creating mini sets of Topps trading cards for movies, TV shows and cartoons that never had sets of cards, but totally should have.  This idea started last year when I was working on my Countdown to Halloween theme of 31 days worth of articles and appreciate for one of my all time favorite flicks, The Monster Squad.  While putting that month’s worth of content together I thought it would be fun to create a digital set of trading cards that looked as accurate as possible to actual vintage Topps releases, up to and including recreating wax wrappers.  I had such a blast creating these and sharing them that I’ve worked on 5 additional sets in the last 12 months (including sets for Adventures in Babysitting, Rad, Jem & the Holograms and a couple sets that I co-created with my Cult Film Club co-host Paxton Holley for Young Guns & Young Guns II.)  Around June of this past year I started jotting down a list of all the flicks and shows that I felt needed card sets, and when the one-year anniversary of the Monster Squad cards was about to hit I went back to the list to find a flick that would be an appropriate Halloween-y follow up.

Lost Boys Wrapper A

The movie that immediately jumped out at me was The Lost Boys, which along with The Monster Squad were my first two big forays into watching horror flicks back when I was 10 years-old in 1987.  My parents had been very strict with my sister when it came to letting her watch R-rated movies, or anything even remotely resembling the horror genre, but they were a little bit looser with me.  For all intents and purposes 1987 was the year they gave up trying to keep me from watching more adult flicks, but before they completely let me loose in the horror section of the local video rental store with their rental card there were a handful of flicks that were sort of baby steps into horror for me.  The Monster Squad and The Lost Boys were these movies, and the latter in particular as it was aimed at a slightly older audience with the level of gore and intensity.

Lost Boys Wrapper C

Unlike most of the sets I’ve worked on so far, with the Lost Boys set I felt the urge to start with creating the wax wrapper and then work out from there.  When I sat down to tackle the wrappers I kind of wanted to go in two different directions with the style.  The mid-eighties was a time of transition for Topps in terms of style. They had begun to phase out the bold, italicized logo (the one on the wrappers above) in lieu of a more spindly, art deco logo.  There was also some shake up in terms of the pictures on the wrappers.  For a few sets they moved away from the high contrast, thick line art illustrations and instead went with photo realistic images that used black and white halftone shading and minimal color fills.  You can see this on the Supergirl and Cyndi Lauper wrappers.  So I got it in my head that I’d try my hand at doing both styles for the wrappers.

Lost Boys 1 - combo

As for the cards themselves, I knew I wanted to go with something stark and dark for the border colors and I hadn’t really done any black-bordered cards yet.  So I dug up some Jaws 2 cards and took a lot of inspiration from the fin design in the border to create a bat for the Lost Boys cards.  I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Lost Boys 2 - combo    Lost Boys 4 - combo

Lost Boys 3 - combo

Lost Boys 5 - combo    Lost Boys 6 - combo

This is also one of those movies (like the Monster Squad) where I could easily have created 80+ cards, but I decided to keep it tight with 15 cards.  Otherwise I’d probably still be working on this set next Halloween…

Lost Boys 10 - comboLost Boys 7 - combo    Lost Boys 8 - combo

Lost Boys 9 - combo

I did want to make sure that I hit on all the major characters though.  On my short list for cards that didn’t make the cut were Big Ed (the boardwalk cop), the punks, Nanook & Thorn, Michael eating Chinese takeout, and the Vampires Everywhere comic book…

Lost Boys 14 - combo

Lost Boys 11 - combo    Lost Boys 12 - combo

Lost Boys 13 - combo

Even though I skipped over some cards that I wanted to make, but didn’t.  There was one card that absolutely had to be made no matter what, Tim “Sax Man” Capello.  He “still believes” his card is the best in the set, and therefore I still believe that it’ll probably be the first one folks right-click on and save for their digital Lost Boys cards collection…

Lost Boys 15 - combo

 

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…