The bizarre Bruce Lee flipbook craze

These '70s relics re-create his action sequences -- and provide a hilarious example of hard-sell design packaging

Topics: Imprint, Design, ,

The bizarre Bruce Lee flipbook craze
This article originally appeared on Imprint.

ImprintThe Bruce Lee craze of the 1970s produced an endless array of merchandise in the hopes of cashing in on the world-renowned martial artist’s popularity — especially after his untimely death in 1973 at the age of 32. I’d been a fan of his since he’d played “Kato” in the old “Green Hornet” TV series, so I certainly had collected my share of Bruce Lee posters and magazines. One of the more interesting things that I came across and still makes me laugh is a three-volume set of flipbooks that re-create choice action scenes from his films.  I was initially attracted to them from the standpoint of having the opportunity of analyzing how his amazing body moved, but they’re also a hilarious example of foreign-based hard-sell copywriting and package design.

Based on the cover headlines of each volume, you’d think that the publishers had invented the phenomenon known as persistence of vision. “The Newest Thing! Using papers to produce a sense of movement!” says the enticing copy. The design and layout of the sleeves that contain the flip-books are also a nightmare hodgepodge of font combos that assault the eyes … For instance, I can’t honestly say that my instincts tell me to use a vintage font like Morris Fuller Benton’s “Broadway” to announce the “newest thing.”

Click here to see the flip book in action!



Volume 2 Bruce Lee flipbook set.

Volume 3 Bruce Lee flipbook set.

I’m sure I was “inspired” by graphic train-wrecks like the Bruce Lee flipbooks when I designed the title card for the Colbert Report, “Tek Jansen” cartoon series. In this case it was a matter of theorizing how the Stephen Colbert “character” and a guy with questionable taste might design his own superhero’s introduction graphic. In retrospect, I should’ve done even worse…

Thanks go to Corrie Lebens and Zero Lastimosa for their production skills and help in pulling this post together.

Copyright F+W Media Inc. 2011.


Salon is proud to feature content from Imprint, the fastest-growing design community on the web. Brought to you by Print magazine, America’s oldest and most trusted design voice, Imprint features some of the biggest names in the industry covering visual culture from every angle. Imprint advances and expands the design conversation, providing fresh daily content to the community (and now to salon.com!), sparking conversation, competition, criticism, and passion among its members.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>