Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Gift Guide: Wacky Packages

I don’t know about you, but I spent far too many of my own tween afternoons pouring over Wacky Packs, those addictive trading cards that fractured ads and product packaging, turning the most inocuous of claims into a hysterical parody that often spoke more truth than the real products taglines did. (I think they played a large role, in fact, in my career choice as as advertising copywriter -- but it’s possible I’m being a tad too honest.)

Now dozens of the best Wacky Packages (Abrams) have been collected in a book of the same name. As it turns out, Art Spiegelman, later of Maus fame, was responsible for a lot of the memorable madness, and there’s an illuminating interview with him here about the world of journeyman artists and art directors of the period, as well as how this series was born.

Best of all, there’s original art for Jail-O dessert mix, Crust toothpaste, Kook-Aid drink mix, Cheapios cereal, Hipton tea, Big Muc burgers, and more than 200 others, from Series 1 through Series 7. This treasure trove is a must-have book for any culture-conscious adult who was a kid about 40 years ago.

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