Art Spiegelman’s career has produced a wide-ranging body of work. There are punk favorites Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, his comics for Playboy, his New Yorker covers, and (of course) his Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus, a complex and stylized account of his father’s reflections on the Holocaust. Spiegelman has worked in the “highest” and “lowest” of artistic milieus, and while Garbage Pail Kids are probably considered the nadir of his vulgarity, his lesser-known Wacky Packages series are their obvious predecessor.
Drawn primarily by Spiegelman and then painted in full by pulp master Norman Saunders, these parodies of household brands were sold in packs of five with a stick of gum. Although packaged as trading cards, they were actually stickers you could pop out, presumably for easy defacement of public property. The work was juvenile and snide, but this stuff was the Clickhole of the late 1960’s, and although reboots and new series of Wacky Packages were launched in later years (with art by the likes of Kim Deitch, Drew Friedman and Bill Griffith) it’s the early ones from Spiegelman and Saunders that really skewered brands in a fresh, irreverent way.
While Wonder Bread actually ended up including the cards as giveaways to get kids to ask their moms to buy their product, other companies got pretty peeved and tried to sue. As a result, each series only ran for a little while, so the stickers quickly developed a cult following, and are now seriously collected by fans. In fact, in 2013, the Topps company tried to sell the original art for the “Band-Ache” sticker for $1 million!
Plenty more of these critters after the jump…