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High Lowbrow Art: Topps' Wacky Packages

Contributed by Owen Schumacher

Preceding Topps' trading card series Garbage Pail Kids—an odd, adolescent phenomenon in its own right—there was the company's first foray into MAD-style parody: the throw-away humor of Wacky Packages. Partly conceived by a young Art Spiegelman—who went on to author the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel, Maus [1972]—the series was a big hit in the early '70s, with its sales even eclipsing Topps' own baseball cards at one point.

The gags were simple and even simple-minded: Blisterine, a fiery rip on Listerine; Jail-O, Jell-O's incarcerated cousin; and Land O Quakes, the only butter churned by—you guessed it—earthquakes. But the illustrations were always fun and beautiful, often painted by artist Norman Saunders, who illustrated many paperbacks and pulp magazines of the time. Conveniently, you won't have to scour the dark recesses of eBay to grab up all these cards, thanks to a fine hardbound volume called—what else?—Wacky Packages [2008]. Check out these whimsical highlights.

Topps' Wacky Packages

Topps' Wacky Packages

Topps' Wacky Packages

Topps' Wacky Packages

Topps' Wacky Packages

2 comments:

  1. fantastic imagination!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I remember all of these from when I was a kid. These were great - and the fact that there's a book - awesome!

    ReplyDelete

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