THE UGLY STICKERS
Written by By Jonathan Wojcik
All scans courtesy David Paul of Bubble Gum Cards!
A year after the original Uglies hit the scene, a second wave introduced a slew of new Norman Saunders creations, this time only hideously ghastly heads. These were mixed with reprints of some popular Uglies from the first batch, now with only two possible names each and no longer identified by number. The first of these new horrors to review is this hideously abnormal sasquatch. Like many Uglies, each set of eyes makes a very different face to look at. The hairstyle is rather cute for such a scuzzy, mutated oaf.
This fanged, big brained cyclops would make an excellent alien invader, and would be quite menacing if he didn't look so relaxed. Relaxed, and maybe a little turned on. Alright, maybe he's still pretty menacing.
I get a tapir, pig and mole-like feel from this walleyed weirdo, who probably slobbers all over everything with his nasty, fat green tongue. I'm sure the rest of him is flabby, greasy and thoroughly unpleasant.
This one is quite frightening with its huge teeth and beady eyes. It's also...well...step back and look at the nose from a distance, if you don't see it already. I don't think we want this guy anywhere near us. Ever.
Except for the oozing cranial wound, this guy suffers some unsettlingly realistic birth defects, and appears to be crying. I have to say this might be the "darkest" and least whimsical of the Uglies.
This guy, on the other hand, is classic Ugly material, and while designed by Norman Saunders, it seems to pay homage to the caricatures of Basil Wolverton, who did not return for this sticker set. I love how the facial features are on either tentacles or parasitic worms (I'm sure you know what I prefer) and could conceivably be in any unnatural arrangement. The sphincter-like mouth is fairly creepy, and this guy must look weird as hell if his tenta-worms were to flail around or retract.
This drooling toad-hippo lady apparently thinks she only needs to curl her hair. She's wrong, of course; I'm sure she's just as beautiful the natural way.
I like how many of these have little bows in their hair. This one has a truly terrifying mouth, with gums and teeth far outrgrowing the confines of its head. The little holes in the lower jaw are also a tad disturbing.
This guy's most obvious feature is the size of his eyeballs, but check out the extra tongue poking out of those rotten teeth! I also wonder if that's dangling snot or just strips of excess flesh.
I really wonder what this guy's story is. He's just a gross, distorted humanoid on the outside, but there's a bright blue octopus apparently living in his mouth. Maybe that's the shameful secret behind his singing career.
Another bow! There's a whole lot going on with this lovely lady; her hair seems to be hiding an exposed brain or vaguely brain-like alien tissue mass, worms or tentacles perforate her jaw and tongue while her nose is just a cluster of rotten holes. There's pretty much nothing here that isn't sexy. Her eyes are just dreamy.
This boil-covered ape-man looks like a total sleaze. I'm pretty sure this is what most of you look like when you're trying to pick up women. That's the kind of face that says "don't ingest anything you're offered within a mile of this guy." He might also make an excellent mascot for an anti-drinking campaign.
There's something extremely funny about this series of nested heads all making the same stupid expression, and the ridiculous tongue just clinches it.
Terrifying. Holy hell. Those eye sockets are nightmarish enough, packed with globules that may or may not be visual organs at all. I'm going to say they're probably eggs of some sort, maybe spiders. Maybe tiny eels. Maybe something that defies description but will swarm over your face and dig into your scalp like little ticks. I'm sure the whole skull is probably filled with them instead of a brain. Even once you get past the "eyes," you've got the hair and mustache of a total creeper.
A lot of weirdness in this misshapen cyclops, most notably the brain tissue that appears to be dribbling out of a hose-like cranial stalk. Is that deliberate? Does this lady have to molt brain matter or something? More disturbing is the black worm or tentacle slithering from cheek to gums, or possibly gums to cheek. Maybe it's the same one coming out of the "nose?"
This big-nosed ghoul has a mouth stuffed full of either huge, silver maggots or many segmented, metallic tongues, both implicating some strange eating habits. It's easy to miss that it also has tiny, nasty little teeth.
This is one of my favorites of the heads; simple, but very pleasantly scary and alien, with an all-around cool color scheme. I like the complete lack of flesh below the upper lips.
This menacing red demon isn't especially imaginative, but the dual pupils are a bit spooky. They seem like they might have been an afterthought, to give this guy more punch.
I like this one, perhaps unintentionally resembling a one-eyed naked mole-rat. Those jagged shard-like teeth look unbelievably dangerous, especially with the little shines on them, universal cartoon indicators of sharp objects.
An especially nasty one, happily slurping the ooze off its own exposed, dripping brain! Even moreso than its mangled cranium, the toothless, spit-caked mouth is easily one of the least attractive things in the entire set.
Another one with an alien-looking brain, the most grotesque feature here is probably the cilia poking from its various holes, as well as those many large nostrils.
Another that reminds me a great deal of Basil Wolverton's Uglies, right down to how its neck cuts off. The toothed nose is interesting, but the best part is how it needs a whole tiny arm to open its eyes, which share the same lid. What a sad, unfortunate goofball.
This one is almost all menace, with neat reptilian eyes and very brutal-looking teeth; one bite would probably rip your face open like potato chip bag. A lot of these next-gen Uglies do lose something special by looking so malevolent, though despite how they look, I'm sure they probably still go roller skating.
I think this is another of the creepiest Ugly faces; it would just be cute and silly in a cleaner, more cartoonish art style, but in realistic detail it's simply horrific, which nicely sums up a lot of the nightmares that plagued me as a child. Just imagine this imploded geezer peering from the dark corners of your bedroom...not so ridiculous now, is it?
This fiend has all sorts of extraneous holes and sockets going on, with a set of strange fang-like head appendages (venomous, no doubt) and eyeballs in what ought to be its nose. The whole thing makes me think of...cheese.
I'm rather fond of this one, but there's not a lot to say about it. It's nicely convoluted without being too messy. The ear-like eye sockets are neat, as are its many semi-nostrils and the nice way its huge, yellowed teeth fit together. There's only one last little batch of true Uglies to go through!
This is possibly my least favorite Ugly, having no distinguishing gimmick other than stereotyping China. I guess the very bumpy tongue is unique. This is the first of the very final release of uglies, which now offered a blank space to write a name of your own.
This four-eyed ogre is especially menacing with its gore-stained teeth, one of the few Uglies with an explicitly violent streak. The way those eyes stare blankly from the perfectly round, oversized sockets is a fairly unnerving effect.
Another one with irregular, stalactite-like fangs and a very alien appearance, its head made up of tangled, fleshy knots. I can't quite tell if everything below the teeth is the inside of a gaping mouth or a very bizarre chin.
Another sad and pitiful-looking humanoid, this one with some nasty looking pappila growing out of its face.
I'm not sure why this one is almost colorless, but it's essentially a very toothy Frankenstein's monster and rather pales in comparison to other designs.
This bug-eyed, tusked skull guy, on the other hand, is another one I find rather cool in spite of its simplicity. It's also another one that appears to have feasted recently. If those are blood-sucking fangs they must be pretty painful.
This is another sucked-in face that would be humorous if it didn't look so lifelike and decrepit. The tiny little eyeballs are pretty funny, as is the mighty neckbeard. This is more or less what I always saw in my head when reading youtube comments. I'm positive this Ugly loves video games. Even before they were invented, he already knew.
Getting back into the weird and wacky, this flabby, saggy whatsit looks either frightened or angered by the sight of its own face through its single eye-tipped arm, whereas the adorable little monster living in its throat seems nothing but delighted by this whole situation. Look at that little guy! Don't you want one!?
Our very last Ugly to review is a nice mix of the menacing and preposterous qualities throughout the series, with an almost sponge-like surface, lovely lamprey-like sucker and several strange hose-like tendrils emerging from its eye socket. It looks like something that would be on Lost in Space if their production values were a little better.
If you've made it through this entire page, you likely picked up on a slight style shift between the first and second Ugly generations. On their own merits, the second wave is an exceptionally cool and interesting gallery of goblins, but many of them lack the humor and outrageosly alien anatomy of their predecessors. The first series, from beginning to end, is a masterpiece of the monstrous. I wouldn't change a single hair on a single one of their head-like-protruberances. It's downright criminal that the Uglies aren't more widely known in today's cultural environment, as I'm sure they would inspire many artists to cut loose and go crazy when conceiving their own original monsters. Even having drawn hundreds, perhaps thousands of monsters in my own lifetime, I feel like I still have a lot to learn from the sheer freedom demonstrated by Norman and Basil's Ugly Sticker concepts. Every time I see them, I feel more inspired than ever, and hopefully, they might inspire some of you as well.