Author Topic: Critique of Old School Series  (Read 11549 times)

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Offline slayskool

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Critique of Old School Series
« on: March 14, 2010, 12:51:22 PM »
Well, I finally opened up my box of Old School Wackys and went through them.  And here comes the dreaded critique.  And again, my opinion should not really matter, but if it gets people thinking, then great.  But for those of you who want to discuss, we will.

First off, I want to say that out of a series of 33 titles, my goal is for 5 memorable ones.  Now, that may seem like an abysmal average, but here is the truth.  Even in the original series, barring series 1, 2, 3 and 4, if there are 5 REALLY memorable titles out of each series, that was great.  You see, many titles fell into the "Ahh.. cute" category.  Not really eliciting laughs.  More like, "Yeah, cute."  Take for instance titles lie "Mustard Charge", "Nose-X", "Shake and Skip Ink", "Heartburn Cereal",  compared to "Cap'n Crud", "Run Tony", "Skimpy"... you get the picture.  There are clearly titles more memorable than others.  Follow me so far?

I can't speak for all of us, but for myself, this is what the psych is when I see a sticker for the first time.  The title of the card, the gag and then the artwork.  For me, it's all about the gag.  The creme de la creme are the gags that actually get INSIDE the parody and is coupled with the artwork.  For example, "Band Ache" wins because the peeling off of the Band Aid is more painful than the wound!  Or "Heave" cigarettes as Eve cigarettes had such a sweet taste is was awful.  "Prez" with Bush heaving broccoli was great. But then there are ones that really reach just so that a play on the title could be made.  These fall short of memorable.  Or they may be memorable for the wrong reasons.  For instance, a big peeve for me in the Silly CDs issue is sometimes the song parody is not found on that original CD.  That takes away from the parody and overall strength of the artwork.  You have to stay true to the product and yet get inside it at the same time.  It's very tough to do.  For that reason, I feel that sometimes artists are not the best gag writers.  I don't assume in my editing that I am the best shooter, I would give that to a professional photographer.  It just seems that good writing is so overlooked and everyone thinks they can write.  Not everyone thinks they can draw, but everyone thinks they can write.  Why is that?  Because writing is not really considered an art to many people.  DRAWING is, writing, no.

So with that said, here are my thoughts.  

I compiled my set and set them aside.  I thought about which ones of the 33 really stuck out in my head.  They were "Strokes" beer, "Bark" cigarettes, "Gee Your Hair Smells Horrific" shampoo, "Project 19" cereal, "Brylscream" and "Qreep" cereal.

Four titles, I had absolutely no clue what the real products are: "Putz", "Booze On Tap", "Odor Pops" and "Kookle".  No clue at all.  They obviously miss for me.  And before anyone hits the "reply with quote" and tells me what the products really are, I don't care.  The point is, they missed.  The parodies should be SO ingrained into our psyche, they should be least common denominator things.  So we're down to 29 titles to really critique.

Since I remembered 5 titles, I think overall it can be considered a success.  I think 2 of the 5 I will remember the most, "Strokes" and "Gee Your Hair Smells Horrific".  They make the "Historic" category for me.

The series overall is extremely well painted and designed.  Most of the gags fall into the "Aaaa...cute" category.  Some gag lines that made me laugh out loud were:

Bacteria: "If you ain't got it, you're gonna get it."
Bark: "The Smooth Rich Taste of Cat"
Brylscream: "A Little Death'll Do Ya!"
Shovin' Spoonfuls: "Kidney Failure"

The art on titles like "Franken Brainy", "Hi-Sea", "Brylscream" and the glass embossed lettering on "Jim Mean" is VERY well done.  The woman on "Borateen" is well done, but what is that black scrawl at the top?  Stuff like that needs to be tightened up.  Don't make ambiguous elements of the art make it to the final production.  It should be representative of the very best art and writing.

Let's talk about missed gags for a second.  The gag on "Strokes" that was missed comes down to this.  When it comes to parody (or any written commercial or script), if you can avoid using the same word twice, it will be tighter, like the word "Beer".  I was wishing it said "The code blue brew".  Or "Grab a cold code blue brew" or something along those lines except for the very flat "America's Only Fatal Beer".  Was that the BEST line the gag writer came up with?  I mean REALLY?  Out of all the words and all the jokes about beer, that was the best?  It sounds like that was the first and only choice they played with.  However, the rest of it is strong enough to make up for the missed joke.  Or say for "Shovin Spoonfuls" , "Huge Chunks for Chunky Cats" I see more like, "Makes your tabby tubby."  Or "Makes your tabby flabby."  I find that gags like "Quake-Kill" and the crudely done guy in the circle to replace the Quaker logo is a reach.  I would have loved to seen something like the REAL Quaker guy as a skeleton and it say something like "Qiller" under it.  "Quake-Kill" is just too much of a reach for me.  And that guy in the circle is just not very well drawn.  Like he was done in about 5 minutes.

I put "Qreep" in the top because I get it and think it is funny.  I just wish the art was REALLY well done and not so, well, rough.  I do like the details of the hash marks for his victim count on his antennae.  That did not go overlooked.

The really bad ones to me are "Crappy Covers" (by the way, if the word "Crap" is allowed, I better see "Count Crapula" cereal in the next issue--bowls of fresh crap), "Odor Pops", and "Putz".  Now, I am sure the artists are on here but I am telling you, three bad ones to me are not bad at all.  Remember, it is an absolute success if there are 5 historical ones in a set of 33.  As it was, this series had 2, and 5 overall memorable ones.  I say that's good.

So, there you have it.  My impressions of Old School Series 1.  I have no idea who drew what.  Who wrote which gag.  Who thought of which concept.

So I look forward to the next series.  I wish there were some chase items in this which a set could be compiled so trading could happen amongst us.  As it is, there is no trading to be had other than with sketches, but most of us don't want to part with our sketch and would rather have another one in our collection.  Part of trading is getting dupes.  Again, a 1 in 4 pack ratio I think is good for a chase set of 10 titles, randomly put in so dupes may be able to be had and traded.

So Overall, a solid B- for the set.  And remember, I am a harsh critique so that will probably be an A- in most other people's books.  Overall, good job on the set!



« Last Edit: March 14, 2010, 12:55:36 PM by slayskool »
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Offline slayskool

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2010, 07:10:13 PM »
Oh...one other drag.  I could not make a complete set of 9 checklist pieces in the whole box.
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Online slamjim

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2010, 07:17:36 PM »
Oh...one other drag.  I could not make a complete set of 9 checklist pieces in the whole box.

Right, that is part of the trading you said you wanted in the 1st post.

Offline slayskool

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2010, 07:23:15 PM »
Okay.. I guess so, but checklists??  That's like wanting to trade a punched out Duzn't for a borderless Mustard Charge.  Okay, maybe not that useless.  I'll play along.  Got a Top middle anyone?
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Online slamjim

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2010, 07:26:17 PM »
Thanks for the crit. I appreciate all the comments.

Just some notes to fill in the questions you asked:
Concerning Qreep the guy in the corner box is another Quaker Oats character names Quake. He was also the arch rival to Quisp. That is why he was there and why he looked liked he did.

You mentioned you wished there were some chase items. There were some. The logo stickers come in three different colors and the 5x7 stickers have 9 different and you get 3 to a box. Plus the checklists are (in some boxes) hard to put together a set though I never heard of that being intentional.

I used the bottom line on Stroke's because it echoed the line on the real can. I added my own gags in other places on the can where there are no real Stroh's lines.

I did the art and gags.

Thanks for the comments! BTW, I've taken some of your sketch card comments to Topps and have some positive changes planned.


Offline HeadAndBoulders

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2010, 07:55:19 PM »
I recognized that character as the Quake guy.  I remember when they had the contest to see which one of the cereals that they were going to discontinue.

Offline slayskool

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2010, 08:09:47 PM »


You mentioned you wished there were some chase items. There were some. The logo stickers come in three different colors and the 5x7 stickers have 9 different and you get 3 to a box. Plus the checklists are (in some boxes) hard to put together a set though I never heard of that being intentional.

I guess what I mentioned by chase items is that to chase the items, I would have to buy more BOXES and not PACKS.  I can;t speak for anyone else here, but after I was done opening packs, I could not actually trade for the BOX chase inserts because I have no dupes to trade with.  I got done with the packs and I was like, "Okay, now what?"  Had there been a chase set of 10 and I received 8 of 10 which 3 were dupes, I could have started to trade for the remainder.  Anyway, you get the point.  Sorry to be so hard on the gag writing on "Strokes".  Just sometimes it is better to abandon the ACTUAL parody of the real product for a better line, especially if the line is not that well known.  For instance, we all know, "It's Miller Time" and "This Bud's For You", or "Grab a Heiney" but do we know the tag line for say, Big Mouth Mickeys or O'Douls?  Probably not.  Stroh's is not as ingrained into our psyches as Coors, Budweiser, Miller, and Heinekin. 
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Online slamjim

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2010, 09:08:57 PM »
ISorry to be so hard on the gag writing on "Strokes".  Just sometimes it is better to abandon the ACTUAL parody of the real product for a better line, especially if the line is not that well known.  For instance, we all know, "It's Miller Time" and "This Bud's For You", or "Grab a Heiney" but do we know the tag line for say, Big Mouth Mickeys or O'Douls?  Probably not.  Stroh's is not as ingrained into our psyches as Coors, Budweiser, Miller, and Heinekin. 

I did not feel you were hard on it at all. Not all the gags are going to resonate with everyone and one man's favorite Wacky is another man's least. The varied opinions are great.

Offline Sunstroke

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2010, 09:14:31 PM »
For sure. For Me Odor Pops & Kookle were stronger cards because I remember the products well. In fact, here is the Otter Pops poster in my office today...



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Offline slayskool

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2010, 11:11:17 PM »
For sure. For Me Odor Pops & Kookle were stronger cards because I remember the products well. In fact, here is the Otter Pops poster in my office today...

(Image removed from quote.)


Were they regional?  I had never heard about these growing up.  The Good Humor man didn't have them either.
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Offline Plan 9

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2010, 11:18:10 PM »
Hey Matthew. It's Mark. I was Plan9 in the other forum.
I've got that same Famous Monsters poster. I like the list of subjects at the bottom of it. It's like a list of my favorite Wacky gag topics.

Offline JasonLiebig

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2010, 11:31:51 PM »
Wow.. that Otter Pops poster is great. 

I know The Gum had mentioned it on the old forum (as Plan9), and Paul has mentioned it here, "knowing the original products".   I've no doubt that there's going to be a wide range on this.  I'm shocked that Paul didn't remember Body On Tap shampoo...that was a huge product that was out for years, but it goes to show what people remember.  It's certainly an interesting given for this series.   I loved Kookle, but I also vividly remember Koogle, so there's that. 

It's going to be tough.  Koogle was a nationwide brand, though it only lasted a few years.  Paul (and others) didn't know it, but I did.  I think one of the issues we'll see is that grocery shopping in 1975 was a far different experience that today.  Even name-brand products were not distributed everywhere, and so depending on where you grew up, or what grocery store you went to, you may or may not know it. 

Dave addressed this early on, I believe, stating that he wanted to balance each set.  I took that to mean that he would balance it with products that "are still around" as well as products that used to be big, but are now discontinued, and peppering it with a few cool, but off the beaten path products. 
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Offline jaylynch

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2010, 04:14:41 AM »
All of 'em came out great!  There's only one I would have done differently.  GEE YOUR CHAIR SMELLS TERRIFIC.  (scented furniture oil for snarfs) But I guess topps woulda killed that one anyway.

Offline Crakola Crayons

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2010, 04:29:39 AM »
Were they regional?  I had never heard about these growing up.  The Good Humor man didn't have them either.

I grew up in western NY state (off of Lake Erie).  I recall Otter Pops being in the grocery store for a period of time.
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Offline Sue Mee

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2010, 07:40:00 AM »
I grew up in western NY state (off of Lake Erie).  I recall Otter Pops being in the grocery store for a period of time.

They're still available here in So Cal. 
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Offline Sunstroke

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2010, 08:22:13 AM »
Hey Paul - Otter Pops were like flavor Ice, just frozen "Juice" in a plastic tube. The cool thing was, each tube had a character printed on it , like "Sir Issac Lime" or "Little Orphan Orange" I really liked the characters so it was big to me as a kid. I grew up in South Jersey outside Philly & we had them there. I have recently seen them in Montana & Here in New Orleans, but I do remember a spell of about 10 years when I didn't see them anywhere in the late 80's - late 90's.
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Offline Sunstroke

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2010, 08:24:04 AM »
Hey Matthew. It's Mark. I was Plan9 in the other forum.
I've got that same Famous Monsters poster. I like the list of subjects at the bottom of it. It's like a list of my favorite Wacky gag topics.


hahahaha! I never noticed that, but you are right, a couple more words & it would be the ideal list!
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Offline Mashbox

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2010, 06:17:38 PM »
There were other brands of those "freeze and eat" ice pops sold back then, and still are today. I think the one my mother always bought for me and my sister was Flavor-Ice.

Offline HeadAndBoulders

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2010, 06:34:08 PM »
I grew up in western NY state (off of Lake Erie).  I recall Otter Pops being in the grocery store for a period of time.
I had no recollection of Otter pops as a kid so I wasnt sure what was being parodied.  Also, I like the air freshener parody because it is really different but what is the real product for that one.

Offline Jean Nutty

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2010, 06:23:25 AM »
Well, I finally opened up my box of Old School Wackys and went through them.  And here comes the dreaded critique.
. . . . .
So, there you have it.  My impressions of Old School Series 1.  

Sorry to jack your thread for a moment, but I want to chime in with a comment.

To ALL you great posters out there, ďThank you.Ē This opener is an example of a quality post. Well thought out and well written with a nice sprinkle of humor. Although some good posts get a lot of replies and generate much discussion, (good writing and well made points, no matter your opinion of them, can stand by themselves, and often do) some excellent posts sometimes donĎt, and I just want to interject that I sure enjoy the many fine posts here that have some good meat to them, as this thread starter does.
 
The tofu posts are a lot of fun also, but I tend to be a meat lover.
(I prefer pork.)

Offline Monsterettes

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2010, 02:10:14 PM »
Iíll discuss the individual stickers in the Old School series in another post, but I appreciated Paulís thoughtful critique and wanted to add an observation Iíve been thinking about a lot.  Many forum members have talked about how ďbusyĒ and jam-packed the images are on the ANS titles.  There has been general agreement that this arises from the nature of packaging, logos, and product design of today in comparison to that of the 1970s.  And I do think that is the case. (I also freely admit my eyes arenít nearly as good now as they were when I was 11, so that contributes as well!)

But I noticed that some of the Old School stickers seemed crowded to me as well, even though the products parodied are some 40 years old.  In thinking about my favorite Old Schools, I definitely gravitate to the images that have what is (for me) simple, intense impact.  Fruit Stripped over Hickory Fools, Hi Sea over Odor Pops.  So I went back and compared some of the Old Schools to Original Series stickers.  I made some scans, below, to show what I was looking at.

Take Kookle and Skimpy.  There is more white space surrounding the Kookle jar than Skimpy, which almost completely fills out the space.  And the Skimpy guy is just bigger than the Kookle gals so I can catch the visual gag (literally) at a glance.  And for me thatís important.  I realize itís hardly fair to select one of Normís greatest wackys as a point of comparison...so I looked at Jim Mean and Canadian Clod.  I love Jim Mean, itís in my top ten of the Old Schools.  But in this case too, Clod fills out more of the sticker and even the delicate writing is larger and more legible on Clod.  And the character is a wee bit bigger and more clear. Sorry, I'll have to put my other two comparisons in another message since the attachments are too big!


Offline Monsterettes

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2010, 02:12:27 PM »
Ok, my final two comparisons...

I took another of my Old School favorites, Funny Taste, and put it side by side with Kook-Aid.  (Again, very tough competition given Kook-Aidís iconic status.)  Funny Taste holds itís own mighty well, and the key image the Ė anthropomorphized grape -- is pretty much on par in terms of size with the smiling pitcher.  Funny Taste is a well-remembered and beloved product, but itís the simplicity of the gag and strong central character that make it work for me.

Finally, I got out Hi Sea (which I love) and Hawaiian Punks.  Unlike all the comparisons above, the Hi Sea can is actually a little bigger than the Punks can.  And, speaking for myself again, that little size differential makes a big difference.  Hi Sea can stand proudly toe to toe with Punks in my eyes.  And that is some praise indeed.  

I understand that artists need to replicate the scale and shape of a productís outline or the parody will seem ďoff.Ē  But maybe titles like Kookle or Jim Mean could have been just a bit bigger?  Everyone has their own taste and I donít mean to put my observations out as absolutes.  Knowing the diversity of opinion among wacky devotees, Iím very interested to hear other forum membersí thoughts.  Bueller?  

I realized I wanted to add a post script to make it clear how much I'm loving the Old School series and to give Dave kudos for bringing this wonderful new element of the wacky cosmos to us.  I can't think of anything more challenging than picking up where Norm left off, a task that would seem impossible on the face of it.  But it worked.  I felt that childhood thrill again.  And that is truly a rare accomplishment.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2010, 07:38:08 PM by Monsterettes »

Offline Sue Mee

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2010, 03:32:48 PM »
Ok, my final two comparisons...

I took another of my Old School favorites, Funny Taste, and put it side by side with Kook-Aid.  (Again, very tough competition given Kook-Aidís iconic status.)  Funny Taste holds itís own mighty well, and the key image the Ė anthropomorphized grape -- is pretty much on par in terms of size with the smiling pitcher.  Funny Taste is a well-remembered and beloved product, but itís the simplicity of the gag and strong central character that make it work for me.

Finally, I got out Hi Sea (which I love) and Hawaiian Punks.  Unlike all the comparisons above, the Hi Sea can is actually a little bigger than the Punks can.  And, speaking for myself again, that little size differential makes a big difference.  Hi Sea can stand proudly toe to toe with Punks in my eyes.  And that is some praise indeed.  

I understand that artists need to replicate the scale and shape of a productís outline or the parody will seem ďoff.Ē  But maybe titles like Kookle or Jim Mean could have been just a bit bigger?  Everyone has their own taste and I donít mean to put my observations out as absolutes.  Knowing the diversity of opinion among wacky devotees, Iím very interested to hear other forum membersí thoughts.  Bueller?  

I realized I wanted to add a post script to make it clear how much I'm loving the Old School series and to give Dave kudos for bringing this wonderful new element of the wacky cosmos to us.  I can't think of anything more challenging than picking up where Norm left off, a task that would seem impossible on the face it.  But it worked.  I felt that childhood thrill again.  And that is truly a rare accomplishment.


Excellent Analysis!   It makes me think again how nice it would be to have well printed complete sets of any series in the 5X7 size.  With my aging eyeballs,  I now regularly scan and examine the enlarged images to fully appreciate the artwork.
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Offline Monsterettes

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2010, 04:06:18 PM »
Excellent Analysis!   It makes me think again how nice it would be to have well printed complete sets of any series in the 5X7 size.  With my aging eyeballs,  I now regularly scan and examine the enlarged images to fully appreciate the artwork.
True -- I love the 5x7 stickers!  And I guess I should also add that it isn't just "size matters."  Yes, having a bigger canvas allows for a certain freedom.  And a character that dominates the space (like the Caveman on BC) grabs you by the lapels.  But it isn't just the tool, it's the fool.  And I mean that in a good way  :-* 




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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2010, 04:27:45 PM »
The Koogle parody was one of the hardest ones to do because the real jar is fat and nearly square. I stretched it as far as I could before it started to lose it's distinctive shape. I'm wondering if they never did Koogle for this very reason. Blam-O was also very square and I actually altered it so it would be more rectangular but there was also a point where I had to stop because the shape was looking to off.

Actually, I think the biggest problem is the printing. Take any of the stickers and put it next to the same image on the poster. Amazing difference I think. The lettering is crisp and easy to read. We will have a new printer next time. I want all the lettering to look like that on the stickers themselves.

Offline Monsterettes

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2010, 04:45:47 PM »
The Koogle parody was one of the hardest ones to do because the real jar is fat and nearly square. I stretched it as far as I could before it started to lose it's distinctive shape. I'm wondering if they never did Koogle for this very reason. Blam-O was also very square and I actually altered it so it would be more rectangular but there was also a point where I had to stop because the shape was looking to off.

Actually, I think the biggest problem is the printing. Take any of the stickers and put it next to the same image on the poster. Amazing difference I think. The lettering is crisp and easy to read. We will have a new printer next time. I want all the lettering to look like that on the stickers themselves.
I never thought of comparing the sticker to the poster, intriguing...I'll have to go do that.  Funny, I almost mentioned printing issues in my post, but it was getting so long I decided not to.  And I understand about the Kookle jar.  There are several original series images that look ridiculously stretched for just that reason.  Bloodweiser for instance. Great wacky, but really...it's lost all touch with a bottle of Bud.  The rendering of the glass, the vampire, and the nostalgia save it.  But as much as I like, having it be so far from the original nags at me.   

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2010, 05:49:58 PM »
I have a particular product I want to do for OLDS2 but there is no way I can do it in it's original shape. It's going to have to be warped somewhat. Sometimes the rectangular nature of the stickers is tough to overcome. Angling long skinny things like candy bars helps keep their shapes but squares are pretty much impossible.

Offline Plan 9

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2010, 02:56:57 AM »
Simplicity is severely under rated. It's difficult to achieve, usually because designers think "simple" means "not enough". Even if a modern product has busy packaging it would be a good idea to simplify it a little and avoid cluttering it up with text and micro-characters. By the way, anyone notice the remarkable similarity between the tops on Hi Sea and Hawaiian Punks? If you're gonna steal, steal from the best!

Offline Plan 9

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2010, 10:13:12 PM »
I have a particular product I want to do for OLDS2 but there is no way I can do it in it's original shape. It's going to have to be warped somewhat. Sometimes the rectangular nature of the stickers is tough to overcome. Angling long skinny things like candy bars helps keep their shapes but squares are pretty much impossible.

Maybe you can show a full box of the product instead of just the single item.

Online slamjim

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2010, 11:39:06 PM »
Simplicity is severely under rated. It's difficult to achieve, usually because designers think "simple" means "not enough". Even if a modern product has busy packaging it would be a good idea to simplify it a little and avoid cluttering it up with text and micro-characters. By the way, anyone notice the remarkable similarity between the tops on Hi Sea and Hawaiian Punks? If you're gonna steal, steal from the best!

For the 200 or so ANS I did I had the product in front of me to paint from. Unfortunately, for a few of the OLDS I only had a label or partial image. For the Hi-C gag I only had an intact can label and did not know what the top of the can looks like so I surmised that it was probably the same as Hawaiian Punch (or very similar) so I used the same layout for the can lid. I did the same for BC (from Mountain Goo) as I only had a flat unpressed RC Cola can for my reference (a Phillies can with Bob Boone). I changed the coloring on the metal to better reflect and go with the colors on the products I was working on but kept the basic shape and where the shadows would go (and in BC's case added the raised lettering gag).  If it's a problem for you I can hold off on a certain product until I can locate a real model or a full image. Hopefully it won't keep a strong product out of the lineup for awhile. Finding the sides or tops of some of these old products is extremely tough.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2010, 11:42:15 PM by slamjim »

Online slamjim

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #30 on: March 23, 2010, 11:39:23 PM »
Maybe you can show a full box of the product instead of just the single item.

Not for this item.

Offline Plan 9

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2010, 04:23:35 AM »
I wouldn't hold off on finishing a painting if you can't find the original packaging unless it's a particularly unique form. The lid is similar to Punks but that's not what makes Hi Sea a stellar gag.

Offline Kook

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2010, 06:59:39 AM »
Iíll discuss the individual stickers in the Old School series in another post, but I appreciated Paulís thoughtful critique and wanted to add an observation Iíve been thinking about a lot.  Many forum members have talked about how ďbusyĒ and jam-packed the images are on the ANS titles.  There has been general agreement that this arises from the nature of packaging, logos, and product design of today in comparison to that of the 1970s.  And I do think that is the case. (I also freely admit my eyes arenít nearly as good now as they were when I was 11, so that contributes as well!)

But I noticed that some of the Old School stickers seemed crowded to me as well, even though the products parodied are some 40 years old.  In thinking about my favorite Old Schools, I definitely gravitate to the images that have what is (for me) simple, intense impact.  Fruit Stripped over Hickory Fools, Hi Sea over Odor Pops.  So I went back and compared some of the Old Schools to Original Series stickers.  I made some scans, below, to show what I was looking at.

Take Kookle and Skimpy.  There is more white space surrounding the Kookle jar than Skimpy, which almost completely fills out the space.  And the Skimpy guy is just bigger than the Kookle gals so I can catch the visual gag (literally) at a glance.  And for me thatís important.  I realize itís hardly fair to select one of Normís greatest wackys as a point of comparison...so I looked at Jim Mean and Canadian Clod.  I love Jim Mean, itís in my top ten of the Old Schools.  But in this case too, Clod fills out more of the sticker and even the delicate writing is larger and more legible on Clod.  And the character is a wee bit bigger and more clear. Sorry, I'll have to put my other two comparisons in another message since the attachments are too big!



Excellent post! I had been thinking along the exact same lines but wasn't able to explain it as well. Your side by sides were very helpful. I was not familiar with many of the products in the original series, but the larger than life characters and the short & precise gag (which typically hit at the core of the product's "benefit") made me think "cool" as an 8 year old kid. The Gum is also absolutely correct in his statement that simplicity is severely under rated. When the substance is there, the fill/fluff is totally unnecessary and actually detracts from the card. With that said, larger than life, truly wacky characters & large easy to read text that cuts to the heart of the product were essential parts of the chemistry that made wackys great to me. With that said, some of the old school titles that stood out to me "spiritwise - in tune with original series" were BC Cola, Barbasoil, Cheddarfield & Spackel, though the characters still could have been larger.

This whole simplicity theme reminds me of a quote by Ben Franklin in a letter where he apologizes for writing such a long letter, but explains that he didn't have time to write a short one. As far as I am concerned, with Wackys, less is truly more.

Offline BumChex

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2010, 10:19:11 AM »
Even if a modern product has busy packaging it would be a good idea to simplify it a little and avoid cluttering it up with text and micro-characters.

They should do what they did in the 1980's movie 'Repo Man' and just label a white can 'Food'  :D

Offline HeadAndBoulders

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Re: Critique of Old School Series
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2010, 11:59:41 AM »
Ok, my final two comparisons...

I took another of my Old School favorites, Funny Taste, and put it side by side with Kook-Aid.  (Again, very tough competition given Kook-Aidís iconic status.)  Funny Taste holds itís own mighty well, and the key image the Ė anthropomorphized grape -- is pretty much on par in terms of size with the smiling pitcher.  Funny Taste is a well-remembered and beloved product, but itís the simplicity of the gag and strong central character that make it work for me.

Finally, I got out Hi Sea (which I love) and Hawaiian Punks.  Unlike all the comparisons above, the Hi Sea can is actually a little bigger than the Punks can.  And, speaking for myself again, that little size differential makes a big difference.  Hi Sea can stand proudly toe to toe with Punks in my eyes.  And that is some praise indeed.  

I understand that artists need to replicate the scale and shape of a productís outline or the parody will seem ďoff.Ē  But maybe titles like Kookle or Jim Mean could have been just a bit bigger?  Everyone has their own taste and I donít mean to put my observations out as absolutes.  Knowing the diversity of opinion among wacky devotees, Iím very interested to hear other forum membersí thoughts.  Bueller?  

I realized I wanted to add a post script to make it clear how much I'm loving the Old School series and to give Dave kudos for bringing this wonderful new element of the wacky cosmos to us.  I can't think of anything more challenging than picking up where Norm left off, a task that would seem impossible on the face it.  But it worked.  I felt that childhood thrill again.  And that is truly a rare accomplishment.

I really enjoyed reading your analysis.I also understand that some products, like the Koogle Jar shapes are just different.  Did you see Neil Camera's Led Baron painting? Its very cool, but I think it wasnt used because of the shape.  Hi Sea is probably my favorite old school wacky.