I now possess what I’m calling The Ultimate ‘80s Sticker Album.
…but the truth is, it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong; as you’re about to see, it’s crazy awesome. But to say it’s the “ultimate” ‘80s sticker album is kind of fudging things. The real appeal of this book is how it’s more of the archetype ‘80s sticker album.
So many of us used to own albums just like this. I sure did, and I “ran it” in exactly the same way. You’d swipe a photo album from your parents, and instead of using it for its intended purpose, you now had a home for every goofy sticker you could find.
This album isn’t mine, but it very well could’ve been. If we’re the same age, you’re going to say the same.
The first few pages are the best ones. The first few pages always are. That’s where you blew your wad with all of the stickers that had previously been piling up in a desk drawer. The first pages of old sticker albums are always the most packed, with the most diverse assortments.
Lots of notable inclusions on this page, from Michael Jackson to a glittery green dolphin. The Q*Bert stickers are probably my favorites, but that Snork carrying a mountain-sized ice cream cone is also a contender.
We’d be here forever if I went into detail about every sticker, but you best believe I’m gonna make a fuss about those Halloween ones near the top.
It’s something I plan to cover in September (during the you-know-what), but Halloween stickers are a special breed for me, and not just because they’re Halloween-themed. Stickers like these were sold everywhere, from drug stores to supermarkets. All of the times I was forced to tag along on my mother’s autumnal shopping trips were made so much more livable when I could convince her to get me Halloween stickers. They were “my fee” for not complaining.
I couldn’t detect it, but it stands to reason that this assortment of strawberry stickers were of the scratch-and-sniff variety. Berries in general made the most of that gimmick, even if the odor was more akin to cheap perfume mixed with baby powder than actual fruit.
(I can’t feature every page in this album, but it has tons of other scratch-and-sniff stickers, too. One appeared to be patterned after linguini with clam sauce. I have nothing to add to that, but I think you’ll agree that it was worth mentioning.)
Oof, these seem strangely familiar, but I’m unable to place them. It’s a page full of robot stickers, each more charming than the last. (Well, until you get up to “Bionic Bug.” The ones after Bionic Bug couldn’t possibly be as charming.)
And here’s my favorite page in the entire album.
Let’s start with the Ghostbusters stickers. They originally came with one of those little storybooks that we used to get from elementary school book clubs. (You know the type. Twelve photos, fifty words and one glorious sticker sheet.)
There seemed to be thousands of those books, identical in size and scope, and no matter how interested or uninterested we were in the subjects, no kid could resist a dozen free stickers. (Triply so when that dozen included Slimer and Stay Puft!)
This page has even more greatness to offer. Look close at the bottom-left. Actually, let me make that easier for you:
I absolutely remember those lenticular Gobots stickers. Depending on the angle, they’d show a character in either his robot or vehicle mode. (Or, as the case is here, a little bit of both.) There were similar sticker sets for Transformers, too. Those stickers felt like real toys, to the point where I remember getting them as birthday presents and not feeling at all cheated.
(I love how this album’s creator put that Gobot right next to Gizmo. “These are my two best stickers! They must be paired!” I would’ve done the same. This whole page is So Me.)
These deliciously puffy Donkey Kong Junior stickers will help you a remember a time when Mario played second fiddle to damn dirty apes. For me personally, they’re more of a reminder of Donkey Kong Junior Cereal — the one time in history that I was okay with artificial banana flavoring.
My favorite sticker from this page is, of course, the one at center-bottom. A puffy sticker with googly eyes was practically gold back then.
I’m trying and failing to remember the genesis of these. I’m pretty sure they were sold by the pack like trading cards, but not positive.
What I am sure of is that this album’s previous owner was a huge video game fan. There are five pages of these stickers and these stickers alone. The ones with big name characters were the obvious chasers, but I’m just as drawn to the “generic” ones.
Everything in that spread is great, but the Peanuts Halloween stickers are the real stars. (What I was saying earlier about Halloween stickers applied to the Peanuts variety more than any other type.)
Though, for what it’s worth, an award-winning dinosaur saying “BOO” is arguably the best sticker of the ‘80s or any decade.
I’m ignoring the glut of sports stickers because I’m me, but I’ll tell you this: Sports stickers had their way of entering our lives whether we welcomed them or not, and they would’ve been in my album, too. Never waste a sticker! Hell, I remember stealing the “Dole” stickers out of my family’s fruit bowl just to pad my albums.
My favorite one from this page? Gotta be the large, prismatic, bandana-wearing monster skull. Well, duh.
This album reminds me of a time when even the simplest little activities could “drive our days.” You know how many times a kid encountered stickers? A LOT. Well, when you had one of these, each of those times had extra meaning.
I think back to how I labored over my own albums, not caring about what I was filling them with so much as the act of filling itself. Oh, that weird sense of accomplishment!
Little did I realize how I was actually building a book of memories. Even if I only truly loved a handful of my stickers, I damn sure remembered how I got each and every one of them.