Horrible Ugly Monsters!
By Kurt Kuersteiner ©2020 Monsterwax Monster Trading Cards for The Wrapper Magazine

(Please note: This article is a blend of two articles, the first one being from The Wrapper #321, July 2019, the other being Wrapper #327, May 2020.)


Horrible Ugly Monster Samples

I’ve always enjoyed good monster cards… And even not-so-good ones! The top of the “so bad they’re good” list would have to be the Terror Monster series. The 1960s black and white photos looked sloppy and the contrast sucked. Some of them looked like the printer went in and added dark outlines with a magic marker so you make out the actual monster. But the first series (green) had 20 illustrations that really made the series unique. They were rather crude drawings, but that only added to the charm. Judging from the high prices, I’m not the only one who loves these cards. (Trying to piece together a set today is a major challenge.)

Bob "X" in studio

(Above: Bob "X" in his studio.)

So when I discovered the unpublished 45 card series of Horrible Ugly Monsters, I was pretty excited. These were crude drawings of malicious monsters that were both sloppy and precise at the same time. It was clear the artist was having fun with them—and the audience—while also channeling a retro feel of the 1960s. Moreover, the artist (Bob “X”) also wrote the backs in a semi-serious yet sarcastic style that was extra icing on the cake!

Xex Cover Samples

(Above: Some of the Krazy Covers from Xex Graphix magazine.)

I did some digging and found out that Bob “X” was no stranger to weird art. He and Xno (Chet Darmstaedter) co-founded Xex Graphics, which was the early 1980s epicenter of the “Bad Art” movement. Their fanzine celebrated the lowbrow culture crazes of the 1960s & 70s, especially monster movies, MAD magazine, Underground comix, and punk music. Bob and Chet have been cranking out “bad art” for decades. In fact, Xno painted 80% of the classic card series, Dinosaurs Attack! So why had Horrible Ugly Monsters languished for nearly 25 years? Who knows? Who cares? The point is, NOW is the time to release these monsters onto an unsuspecting world! (A special thanks goes to the artistic help of another manic for monsters, Richard Parks of RRParks Cards fame, who added rich color was to these already cool cards.)

So if you enjoyed Terror Monster cards from the 1960s, you’ll want to check these Horrible Ugly Monsters out! Yes, they are ugly, and sure, some are gross, but they all are addictive in an Odd Rods kind of way. The crude weirdness only adds to the charm! In fact, these monster cards are filled with nostalgia and nausea… a perfect, putrid blend of respect and irreverence for everything sacred in non-sports.

They were lovingly created by the mad Dr. Bob X in his Xex Laboratory— the birthplace of the “bad art” movement in the 1980s. (Xex was the underground rag that published art that was so bad, it was actually good!) Bob’s main contributor and buddy for that zany zine was the infamous Xno (also known as Chet Darmstaedter), who not only painted many of the magazine’s memorable monster covers, but also drew some of non-sports most garish monster knock-offs (including 80% of the Dinosaur Attacks cards (43 of the 54 dinos), and other gruesome goodies like Bathroom Buddies for Topps)!

Only 500 numbered boxes will be made, each containing 24 wax packs. Each pack has five cards, a sticker, and a gruesome stick of ghoul gum. (The gum comes inside a plastic penny sleeve to prevent damage from long-term storage.) Special inserts include dozens of “Krazy Cover” cards, which reproduce the best Xex covers from their gory, glory days of monster mayhem. There are also random inserts of actual printing plates, metal cards, and original artist sketch cards by Bob “X”!

So don’t wait at home alone during the pandemic, counting the days for a return to normalcy. Get ugly and celebrate abnormalcy with horrible, ugly monsters from Monsterwax! Visit Kickstarter.com and search “ugly monsters” and it should come right up. If you have any questions, email us!

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