1970s Nostalgia in a Wax Wrapper!
Released by the Topps Company from 1973 to 1974, these stickers captured the imagination of kids and wound up stuck on just about everything. It’s a simple idea; design stickers for each letter of the alphabet, so kids can spell their name. But rather than just do alphabet stickers, design cool monster graphics in each letter so kids want them all. Capitalize on the monster craze, without the pesky licensing fees of Universal et al, and create a sensation. It sure worked for this Monster Kid!
Topps Monster Initials 1973-74, Topps
The artwork on each sticker is great stuff, as you’ll see in great detail below. Packs also contained one puzzle piece that could be put to gether to make a scene of monsters looking through the set of cards. The puzzle is awesome but for some reason the artwork is different than on the stickers and resembles legendary artist Jack Davis’ style.
Wrapper serial # 0-449-21-01-3 featured 3 different ads on the back:
Ad Version 1: Bazooka…Has it All!
Ad Version 2: Be Prepared….
Ad Version 3: Lotsa Friends…
Each sticker included 2 peel-off letters and were available in 132 letter combinations. Stickers had blank backs, unlike many other cards of the time that featured jokes or a puzzle on the back, and were either white or tan blanks. White-back stickers were 3 to a pack while tan-back stickers were 4 per pack and, interestingly, also included one cardboard puzzle piece.
Stickers came in 27 artwork variations:
AO (Frankinstien/Godzilla) (Werewolf/Godzilla)
AP (Werewolf/Phantom Opera) (Vampire/Phantom Opera)
AS (Frankenstein/Snake) (Frankinstien/Vampire)
AV (Vampire/Jekyll&Hyde) (Werewolf/Jekyll&Hyde)
BA (Werewolf/Frankenstein) (Red Eyed Devil/Zombie)
CD (Vampress/Bat) (Vampire/Bat)
CJ (Vampress/Gravedigger) (Vampire/Gravedigger)
CL (Vampress/Frankenstein) (Vampire/Frankenstein)
EA (Zombie/Zombie) (Werewolf/Frankenstein)
EI (Zombie/Ghoul) (Kong/Ghoul) (Werewolf/Hand)
EO (Zombie/Frankenstein) (Werewolf/Godzilla)
EP (Werewolf/Phantom Opera) (Zombie/Phantom Opera)
ES (Zombie/Snake) (Kong/Snake)
All 132 Letter Combinations:
AA AD AE AI AK AN AO AO AP AP AS AS AT AV AV AX AY A!
BA BA BE BI BK BN BO BS BT BU BX BY
CD CD CE CJ CJ CK CL CL CO CU CX CY
EA EA ED EI EI EI EL EN EO EO EP EP ES ES ET EU EX EY
FE FI FK FV FY F!
GA GJ GL GO GS G!
HE HI HN HO HV H!
IA IE IK IN IY I! ME MI MK MN MT M!
QA QE QL QO QS QV RA RI RJ RS RT RU
TA TO TP TT TV T!
UA UE UI UO UP UV WE WI WO WS WU WX
ZE ZK ZN ZP ZT ZY
?A ?D ?E ?I ?J ?S
One Puzzle Piece was included in each tan-back :
Notice the monster initials spell out ‘Augie’ in the puzzle; he was one of the artists.
These stickers are easy to find, but complete sets are rare and expensive. The great artwork combined with the huge nostalgia factor make these highly desirable, which in collecting parlance equals pricey. A quick scan of ebay right now comes up with empty wrappers, empty display boxes for around $30:
Card combinations for $15 are plentiful, though it would add up fast to put together a complete set at this price. An interesting offer for the true completist, the proofs for these stickers are currently on eBay in the $320 per set range! Click the link to see all current eBay listings
Visit these sites for great information on collecting vintage bubblegum cards:
And check out related articles here on CCM:
Monster Kid Memories
I remember these stickers with tremendous affection. Each week, after I received my allowance, I would hop on my yellow banana seat Schwinn and peddle to the local Get-n-Go convenience store. That allowance was boring a hole in my pocket and I’d spend it on comic books, monster magazines, slurpees and bubble gum stickers. Once I discovered these stickers, they became a regular in my allowance spending frenzies. I still come across them on items in my parents’ home from time to time to as they eventually adorned all of my school notebooks and a good assortment of everything else I owned in 1974.
While researching these stickers, I came across a fun website called i-Mockery.com. For Halloween a few years back, they released a piece of interactive software that allows you to ‘Monsterize” your name, or your website name as I did. Click on the link to check it out: Monsterizer
Do you remember these stickers? As always, share your memories and your collections with us!