Sunday, September 23, 2007
The Packs Are Back
Wacky Packages, known by some as simply "Wacky Packs", are product parody stickers produced by the Topps company. These painted images would make fun of popluar products of the times, usually stuff you would see in grocery stores and such. Back in the 70's when they had their first peek period of success, these stickers were sold two per pack along with a checklist puzzle card and a piece of gum. The price back then was 5 cents per pack (though they did go up to 10 cents per pack in the later series). The original series ran for 16 series total (about 30 stickers per series) and included such popularly known parodies as Crust (Crest toothpaste), Ajerx (Ajax cleanser), Kentucky Fried Fingers (Kentucky Fried Chicken), Hawaiian Punks (Hawaiian Punch) and one of my personal favorites Crakola Crayons (Crayola crayons).
A couple years ago, Topps decided bring them back again for a whole new generation. The newer sets would include all-new parody stickers along with rarer chase insert items (clings, magnets, etc.) featuring some of the images from the classic stickers. At first, Topps did not include gum in the newer series. Then they tried out gum in them for a bit, but have again pulled the gum back out and just let the stickers stand alone.
This week Wacky Packages all-new series 6 was released. This time, they doubled the sticker count per package from 5 to 10 - but the price per pack also doubled from 99 cents to $2.00 (msrp). They also changed up the inserts a bit. First, you have ten classic sticker images with peel-and-restick parts (think like Colorforms from the 70's) so you can "Make Your Own Wackys". Then, you have another ten classic sticker images on rainbow foils. Lastly, you have another ten classic images that can be peeled off their card to reveal something humorous underneath - these called "What's In The Box?".
But, the best part of the draw is that the number of base stickers in the set have bumped up from 55 (which the five all-new series prior to this had) to 80. That's a lot of fun product parodies to collect and enjoy! Overall, the set is very solid. The artwork is top notch and the jokes are strong. Sure, we see a number of products "re-used" from both classic sets - like Ajinx (Ajax) and Hawaiian Lunch (Hawaiian Punch) - as well as some products already parodied in previous all-new series, but that's okay. The classic sets often had to dip back to the same products as well. For me, as long as it is a good solid joke then I'm okay with seeing something familiar. Besides, many products have stood the test of time since the 70's so why shouldn't they be fodder again for all new parodies? And, there are plenty of new products parodied in this go-round as well.
Oh, and speaking of product parodies, feel free to check out my website where I've posted homemade parodies for a number of years: http://members.aol.com/mcmaenza/wackya.htm - one visit to my site and you can tell how much I enjoy Wacky Packages and similar type products.