Redartz: Today we introduce another category in our ever- increasing array of topics: "Pulled From the Pack", in which we will look at another fondly remembered element of Bronze Age (and earlier, and later) childhood: trading cards! For the inaugural edition, we will yank the wrapper off of Wacky Packages- a very popular series of stickers (and cards) which featured parodies of well-known products.
Wacky Packages were made by Topps, best known as a Premier manufacturer of baseball cards. "Wacky Packs" first appeared in the late 60's, and were revived to great reception in 1973. They were common trading fodder among kids throughout the 70's, and they have reappeared periodically ever since. And they may have a familiar style to comic fans: they artwork for the stickers was produced by some big names in alternative and popular comics: Jay Lynch, Tom Sutton, George Evans and Bill Griffith (who gave us Zippy). Indeed, while researching this topic, I was amazed to learn that the 'father' of Wacky Packages was none other than Art Spiegelman- the amazingly talented creator of the acclaimed graphic novel "Maus" (which may well be the subject of discussion some other day).
I came to love "Wackys" in middle school. Among my frequent trips to the local drug store for Archie comics and baseball cards in the early 70's, I found these funny-looking packs of stickers for sale. Featuring some very familiar 'products' treated to a graphic version of the Dean Martin roast! They actually had a slightly subversive feel (parents probably didn't find them so amusing) that really appealed to my pre-teen sense of humor. Therefore, my school notebook (and the closet door of my room) was soon adorned with "Crust Toothpaste", "Hostage Cup-cakes" and many other Wackys. And often, lunchtime at school would find a group of us trading stickers and snickering over each one. Some of the parodies had great staying power in my memory: even today, at the supermarket, I can't see a bottle of Log Cabin pancake syrup without thinking of "Log Cave-In".
In 2008, Topps released a "Retro Set" of Wackys, representing some of the classic stickers from the 60's and 70's. In preparing for this post, I coughed up a few bucks on ebay, and got the whole set (all my original stickers being loooong gone). Best 7 dollars I've spent this week!
Obviously, we can't have a discussion about these stickers without looking at a few, so here we go:
As part of this retro set, several cards were included which depicted never-before used artwork. Here's a few of those:
So how many of you were captivated by these little 'provocateurs of Madison Avenue'? And would you trade a "Liptorn Soup" for a "Swiss Mess" Cocoa? I would...