Monday, February 15, 2010

Garbage Pail Kids (Topps)



Garbage Pail Kids
Topps
1985 - 1988

It may not have exactly been a toy, but the fact remains that Garbage Pail Kids were a huge part of every child of the 80's! We didn't know a kid who didn't have a locker, desk or notebook plastered with these great stickers.

The series was the brainchild of Topps consultant and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who came up with the product idea after the success of his earlier creations, Garbage Candy and Wacky Packages. The concept originally began as an unreleased Wacky Packages title, but the management at Topps thought that it would be a good idea for a separate spin-off series. Spiegelman and Mark Newgarden worked together as the editors and art directors of the project, Len Brown was the manager, and the first run of the cards was drawn exclusively by artist John Pound. Following the initial success of the cards, several additional artists and writers were brought in to contribute to the series, including Jay Lynch, Tom Bunk and James Warhola, among others.

Some of the most unique things with the entire series of Garbage Pail Kids were that the numbers continued in consecutive order with each series. None of them ever started back at number one. Because of this, the entire series of Garbage Pail Kids is easy to track. A total of 620 cards were produced - or rather, 1240 considering that each "character" had its own twin. Of course, with the checklist cards added in, a total of 1155 cards were technically produced. The other greatest thing about the series was that each pack remained at the low, low price of twenty-five cents for all fifteen sets.

During the height of the Garbage Pail Kids' popularity, Topps was sued by the makers of Cabbage Patch Kids, Coleco, for trademark infringement. As part of the out-of-court settlement, Topps agreed to modify the appearance of the Garbage Pail Kids to remove the resemblance between the characters. Production of the cards themselves continued; however, by 1988, sales had dwindled and a planned 16th series never saw production.

While the 16th series was never officially released, it was so close to production that wax wrappers and boxes can be found from time to time on secondary markets. There are even rumors that a few of the unreleased cards have been found.

But, without further delay, please join me in a look back at all fifteen series of Garbage Pail Kids...


























































































































































































































There were two basic designs of wrappers for each series. The original wrappers were printed with a twenty-five cents logo on them. These packs were distributed to retail stores nation wide.

The second wrappers didn't have a price logo printed on them. These packs were shipped off to hobby stores and allowed each store the ability to charge their own desired price per pack - However, most continued to sell them for the original twenty-five cents price.

However, depending on the series, there were several variations of these wrappers.

The commercial success of the trading cards led to the production of a live-action movie, The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, in 1987; however, the film was both a critical and commercial flop. An animated television series was also created, but never broadcast in the US due to parental complaints (although it was briefly aired in Europe). Oddly enough the complaints were not because of the content but because parents felt the series was merely a commercial for the cards. The movie was released on DVD by MGM Home Entertainment on July 12, 2005 (the VHS had been distributed by Paramount), and the cartoon series was later also released on DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment on April 4, 2006.

In 2003, Topps reintroduced Garbage Pail Kids with all-new cards, dubbed the All New Series. This new series of cards featured unique ID numbers on the back of first silver, and later gold-foil insert cards that can be redeemed online at the official Garbage Pail Kids website, where visitors can build and 'gross out' their own Garbage Pail Kids; as the number of unique ID numbers applied to the character increases, the more gross they can become.

The All New Series of cards differs from the original series in a number of ways, the most obvious being the upgraded quality of the cardstock used, and a more glossy surface to the stickers. The all new series also changed the format with which the cards are numbered. The original series of cards used a continuous numbering pattern, so that each new set would pick up where the last set ended (e.g. series 1 ended at 41a and 41b, and series 2 picked up at 42a and 42b); the all new set resets the numbering back to 1 with each subsequent series. It also featured special card inserts like foil cards featuring characters from the original series (modified due to the lawsuit), Scratch 'n Stink cards, collectable card game cards, temporary tattoos, Pop-up cards, Alphabet cards, activity cards, magnets, Loco motion cards and jigsaw puzzle cards along with featured special bonus cards available on at participating retailers in either 11-pack Bonus Boxes or multi-pack rack-packs; these bonus stickers were the first Garbage Pail Kids cards not to have twin cards.

Whether you collected them as a kid, or still are, one thing is for sure, we all loved our Garbage Pail Kids. It was a treat for mom and dad to flip us a couple quarters and let us run down to the local 7-11 or grocery store where we would buy them up by the handful. Garbage Pail Kids cards are truly a great series for young and old people alike.

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