Monday, April 11, 2011

Retro Toy Packaging - A Forgotten Art: Part I

Back when toy art was more than meets the eye
There was a time when going to the toy store was about more than just getting a toy -- it was also about getting to see all the great toy packaging and box artwork which flooded each aisle. Sadly, today most toys come in atrocious looking packaging - unlike decades ago when companies like Kenner, Playmates, and Hasbro decorated their toys' boxes with impressive, artistic sights to behold.

Back in the '80s, Hasbro had released their money-making phenomena known as Transformers. Along with their marketing scheme of comics, cartoons, coloring books, and anything else under the sun, they produced what has become known as one of the greatest toy lines of the '80s. Yet, it wasn't just the toys themselves that were impressive, but the toy packaging itself - which featured original artwork of both Autobots and Decepticons.

Jazzed up artwork - circa 1984
Each Transformer's toy packaging offered a Transformer in an epic pose. Take for instance, the Holy Grail of Transformers toys - Fortress Maximus:

The largest TFormers toy ever made
With artwork nothing short of staggering, it proved to be one more incentive why every kid on the block wanted the next Transformers figure. Let's compare the '80s packaging to todays brand of Transformers:

Superion's box art isn't so superior...

Change isn't always good

 Hasbro's other cash-cow,  G.I. Joe shared similarly striking artwork on each toy package.

Cobra's Terror Drome w/ Firebat

Every enemy weapons supplier should look this good
In comparison with the latest Destro artwork:

Not so much... 
Kenner's The Real Ghostbusters didn't shy away from original artwork either. 

The not-so-often-used Ecto-2
Who you gonna call?
Take in the above artwork and then have a look at the mid/late '90s Extreme Ghostbusters Ecto 1 box art: 

Apparently, it's cheaper to photoshop
And let's not forget the boys in green - the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

That's one action packed box!
The Turtle Blimp & The Knucklehead

VS.

The updated '00s Party Van


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