Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Favorites: Wacky Packages: Pop Cultural Goodness

I loved this entry when I wrote it, and I still do. And my love for Wacky Packages has never really abated. And since tomorrow is Valentine's Day, I thought I should go with something I loved.

Well, it makes sense to me at least.


Wacky Packages: YicksI was doing a bit of stumblin' around the internet this weekend, and I found a site which brought back a lot of memories for me.

You see, it has been over 20 years since I had a set of Wacky Packages, and in retrospect, I've really missed their irreverent sense of humor. Of course, with the availability of Adobe Photoshop and other graphical packages, well, finding satirical takes on product packaging and advertisements is easier than ever, but there is just something magical about the Wacky Packages series.

Maybe it is the fact that the originals were being produced in the open by a company that was willing to take the risk of litigation to entertain millions of children and adults annually, though granted, the 1970's was probably not as litigious a time as today is, or perhaps it was because at the time I started buying them, there were very few places a child could see material like that... and they are probably one of the reasons I am slightly warped as an adult, but that is ok. And when I read that as recently as 2003 the Morton Salt Company had forced Ebay to restrict auctions of the parody "Moron Salt" sticker, well, that made my love for Wacky Packages grow anew.

They are just pure pop cultural and consumerist goodness. Even if as a kid I didn't get all the references, the artists and conceptualists at Topps didn't dumb things down for us, and in retrospect, I appreciate that. Cleverness is its own virtue after all, and while some of the humor was very low-brow, it did make me ask questions to myself, even if I couldn't yet answer them.

Wacky Packages: Gulp OilThinking back, I got my first set of Wacky Packages back in 1985 was I was about 8 or 9 years old as part of the revival of the product line. (1985 seems to be a seminal year in my development, now doesn't it?), and I had the whole 1985 set and the reprint set of 77 cards in 1986. Of course, I wish I still had them(because I'd be feelthy rich then), but I still got a nice trip down memory lane and some odd product cravings too, mainly for some Hostess Cupcakes, but some other products came up too. And while I was also a fan of the Garbage Pail Kids, the Wacky Packages were always the king of my mid-80's sticker empire, and they were a lot better than anything Mad or Cracked Magazine was coming up with, that's for sure.

Now my question is: was anybody else a fan of these subversively sassy stickers?


Arjan said...

I can't remember if we had these kind of stickers in the 80s, but then again I was only born in 84.

I do think the 80s (and early 90s) were far more sticker orientated than nowadays. I had lots and lots of stickers.

MC said...

I remember stickers were huge when I was a kid in the early 1980's.

Dave said...

Greetings, my name is David Gross. Topps will be putting out a NEW Wacky Packages set this summer (most likely in August). I did all the writing and painting for this set as well as planning out the concept for the set. I painted about half of the All-New Wacky Packages that came out in recent years and did some new Garbage Pail Kids as well. The set is chock full of extras including Jay Lynch sketch cards (Lynch was one of the writers for the original Wackys). EVERYONE that buys a box will get a sketch card. The sets are designed to be like a 17th series of the original stickers which will parody 1970s products that Topps had not done at that time. All new artwork in EVERY series, no reprints. 33 stickers each set with 9 piece old school style checklists, boxes and wrappers. I have promos and fliers available on Ebay for anyone interested (see ebay seller salandrei). These are available at no profit for me, just covering costs. More info to be announced soon so you can keep visiting Long Live Wackys!