garbagepailkids garbagepailkids

“Garbage Pail Kids” The Hardcover Book

As a longtime non-sports card collector, I was delighted when the original series of Garbage Pail Kids stickers came out in 1985. I recall that the characters, a parody of those god-awful Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, were a hilarious spoof in the vein of Mad Magazine. The gags even got funnier in the 2nd and 3rd series before I moved on. I haven’t looked at those stickers in years and my memory of the property has been tainted by the horrible 1987 CBS animated series – so awful it didn’t air for years (it was pulled at the last moment from the CBS Saturday morning line-up, allowing Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse to move into the coveted post Pee-Wee Herman time slot). I’ve embed a sample episode below for your viewing displeasure.

On April 1st, Abrams ComicArts will release a hardcover book featuring full page images of every card in the first 5 series (1985-86) of the popular Topps bubble gum stickers. At first, I didn’t think much about the idea of such a book, but after reading Art Spiegelman’s introduction, and John Pound’s afterword, then leafing through the pages I came to realize these hilarious pieces haven’t lost any of their subversive edge. Alternative (or Underground) cartoonists Spiegelman, Pound, Jay Lynch, Tom Bunk and Mark Newgarden were the brains behind these beauties. The art is way better than I remembered and I had a ball checking these out anew – they actually work great in the book format. It’s lavishly produced, with the book jacket looking like the original wrapper, and an actual set of Garbage Pail Kids stickers included inside. This tome goes on the shelf next to my Mad paperbacks, Kurtzman’s Hey Look and Crumb’s Fritz The Cat. Maybe the new animated movie in development by Michael Eisner and Pes doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all. Check out what all the fuss is about (Amazon is selling it for $11.27 – a steal!). Highly recommended!

  • wowowowowow. The garbage pail kids series had the essence sucked right out of it.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Don’t forget that live-action movie Jerry, also from ’87!

    GPK was something I came to know through my older brother and his friends, namely since they had pocket money and often traded those cards and LOL’d all the time. I recall also being the same way too when I saw ’em.

    Aside from hearing of and not seeing this Saturday morning dribble make it to air, some countries weren’t too lucky as the show saw some international distribution in places like Sweden.

    • Rod Tejada

      Or Guatemala for that matter.

      The show was so bad, that without having the option of cable… I just walked and played outside instead of enduring the show. I remember watching once and never again!

      Scarred for life… and watching that intro made me remember why I had blocked it from my memory!

  • Grindcore band Cattle Decapitation have a pretty absurdly lavish box set out with Garbage Pail Kids-pastiche illustration by Tom Bunk:

    Wish they sold the wheelie bin on it’s own :(

  • Ted

    That show paraded everything that was wrong with 1980s corporate network animation. It was an in-house production made by CBS itself and it was deemed not good enough to air.

    • …except that when CBS shelved GPK at the eleventh hour, its only option was to hurl another half-hour of Muppet Babies at the wall, and hope that would stick.

      In retrospect, that was the right decision – Muppet Babies was in a war of attrition with The Smurfs, a war MB eventually won. GPK wasn’t even the first show Muppet Babies supplanted – that “honour” goes to Little Muppet Monsters, which came and went in September 1985.

      I think CBS would have aired Garbage Pail Kids, had it not attracted so much controversy and advertiser revolt. Fox Kids could feasibly have aired the show in the early 1990s, like it did with Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures and Muppet Babies.

  • Wasn’t each card issued at least twice with the same art but different names? Does the book deal with this confusing issue?

    • Brandon Lyon

      I’m not sure if every card did that, but I do remember quite a few had a ‘twin’ with an equally appropriate name.

    • Frank: Yes – and yes! That was done, and the book deals with that.

    • Funkybat

      As far as I know, every card had an “A” version and a “B” variant. The art was identical, but the character’s name at the bottom was a different pun or play on words than the first name. If card #8A was “Adam Bomb”, card #8B was “Blasted Billy,” and so on. The most collectible cards are the “banned” ones that were pulled and replaced by a “new” variant. Those are the only characters of which there are three (and in one case many four) different names. The most prominent one of this was a two-headed girl named “Schizo Fran.” For some reason, this name was seen as insensitive to the mentally ill and replaced with “Fran Fran.”

      Unless you are a big fan of gross-out parody humor, that’s about as “interesting” as the history of GPK gets. I loved and continue to love the cards, almost as much as “Wacky Packages,” and will probably pick up this new book. The first 6 series’ were probably the best. Still, I don’t know if building a feature film around this concept is a good idea, even for us fanboys. I loved GPK, and even I knew enough to stay away from the 80’s feature film and TV cartoon.

  • Ivan

    I used to watch the cartoon on Saturday mornings. It wasn’t that bad. As an 80s kid, it was always good fun to watch shows with gross characters and slime.

  • skid

    This is the best news I’ve heard all day!! Yes!!!

  • I can’t think of a friend of mine that WOULDN’T want a copy of this book.

  • Just bought mine from Amazon, thanks for the heads up!

  • Raph Branca

    Thank you for the find Jerry!
    I ordered this along with the Nine Old Men flipbooks through Amazon.
    As always your site makes me spend money!
    I love it though.

  • Actually, I saw this book already on the shelves at an NYC Barnes & Noble the other day–so you might not have to wait to score. It looks great, and has a great intro by Art Spiegelman.

  • Rick Kowal

    I love how Roy Bot’s body is an Armored Valkyre from Macross.