Brand History: Topps Wacky Packages

Topps’ OG Pop Culture Parody Brand

Debut Year: 1967
Wacky Packages began life as a die-cut set, and later transitioned to sticker cards. And they’ve been releasing on-and-off ever since.
Licensors: Topps
This is one of the few, original Topps IP.
Value Level: Accessible
This brand trades in humor and parody featuring well-known artists from the last 50-plus years.

Who is Topps Wacky Packages For?

Wacky Packages hits that sweet spot between art and humor. The brand revels in parody and punching up at the pretensions of corporate consumerism, as depicted by some of the most accomplished contemporary artists and cartoonists.

Topps Wacky Packages History

Created by Art Spiegelman to parody and spoof well-known brands and brand packaging, the first Wacky Packages set was released in 1967. The first set included cards “Cracked Animals, “Ratz Crackers,” “Moron Salt,” and “Jolly Mean Giant” – all of which were subsequently pulled after the parent companies served Topps with cease-and-desist letters. Of the 44 cards released in 1967, 14 were removed from the series. Wacky Ads followed Wacky Packs in 1969. Designed to look like miniature billboards, Wacky Ads would be reprinted under the Wacky Packages banner in the mid-1970s. Two sets were released in 1985 and 1991, respectively, but it wouldn’t be until the turn of the century that Wacky Packs would hit a new creative stride. Beginning in 2004, Wacky Packs have released new sets almost annually, including modern hobby mainstays, like parallels, refractors, chrome tech, and more. As long as we continue to live in a world dominated by consumer capitalism, Wacky Packs is here to stay.

The Artists of Topps Wacky Packages

The roster of Wacky Packs artists features some of the best-loved cartoonists and comic artists from the past 65 years. Artists including Art Spiegelman, Kim Deitch, George Evans, Drew Friedman, Bill Griffith, and Bhob Stewart were instrumental to the brand’s distinctive look and feel in the 1960s and 1970s. Since 2004, contemporary artists, including Jay Lynch, Neil Camera, Dave Gross, Smokin’ Joe McWilliams, Joe Simko, M. Wartella, and Brent Engstrom, have added their talents to Wacky Packs.

Why do Topps Wacky Packages Matter?

Wacky Packages represent an essential link between trading cards and Topps’ impact on pop culture and the cultural and artistic sensibilities of mid-century artists like Art Spiegelman, Norman Saunders, and Kim Deitch, who worked for Topps. Without Wacky Packs’ parodic take on brands and their products – including the inevitable cease-and-desist letters – Garbage Pail Kids would not exist. Wacky Packs demonstrated that there was a demand for funny cards!

What am I Chasing in Topps Wacky Packages?

Like Garbage Pail Kids, the chase cards in Wacky Packs are the artist sketch cards, the coupons, and fun parallels.

Get your 2023 Topps Wacky Packages: All New Series! here.


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