Thursday, February 12, 2009

Delicious Garbage

The first time I saw a Garbage Pail Kid, I became anxious. This type of anxiety was familiar to me. It came from a sudden desire to immerse myself completely in something new (and breathtakingly magnificent) coupled with a rising fear that it may be too late already. Unlike most, that fear was well founded -- Topps had already stopped producing Garbage Pail Kids by '88, so finding them all was going to be an ordeal.

After the success of Art Spiegelman's Wacky Packages, Topps Chewing Gum pulled the lever on his next creation in early '85 -- Garbage Pail Kids, a grotesque, brilliant parody of Cabbage Patch Kids.

Artist John Pound was brought in for the first couple of series...

James Warhola, Tom Bunk, and Jay Lynch were then added to the stable, allowing the pop culture phenomenon to top out at fifteen series.

Happily, each subsequent series became grosser and more disturbing.

When my brother and I discovered the kids, I was doing some dubious work back in Australia. Although there was an Aussie version of the cards, The Garbage Gang, it was limited to a small sampling of the US offering.

There was only one way we were going to gather all the cards and knock them into their respective sets -- we had to go back to the US and set forth on a nation-wide Garbage Pail Kids voyage of discovery.

We pulled the trigger and flew out for six weeks of fun and games.

Or so we thought.

Why the originals of these aren't hanging in The Louvre is a question
the French must answer

Mostly it was a grueling, nasty, hot, miserable experience.

In one city, all the hotels were booked, so we were compelled to spend several nights in a disgusting, cockroach-ridden corner of hell while we drove from card hut to card hut during the days, mostly to find that Garbage Pail Kids, though only one year dead, were virtually impossible to find.

On top of that, we were introduced one night to a naked, four hundred pound neighbor, who enjoyed standing at his second story window (across the way) with his erection at full mast.
This overgrown, real life garbage pail kid, who looked like Joe Spinnell combined with Mr. Alfonso from Communion (aka Alice Sweet Alice), would stand at his window for hours and stare at us in our drapeless (!) room.

On the last day of our trip, we hit paydirt. A card shop at the end of a small, Midwestern town had massive stocks of loose cards. Rather than spend hours sorting through the cards to find the hundreds we still needed, we made a generous offer to the owner and walked out with his entire stock of cards.

Then came the worst nightmare.

In this stinking hot, bug-infested hole, where we'd found half a dozen used condoms on top of a closet, we spent the entire night sorting cards while Pete Pervert stood in his window gazing at us, his bulbous, purple erection swinging like a rope bridge.

It was a night to remember!

When the sun came up, we were done, and totally fucked (!)

We'd categorized, rejected, confirmed and collated thousands of cards.

What we were left with were two pristine, mother-loving sets of Garbage Pail Kids.

It was Mission Accomplished.

We reported the Rolly Polly Pud Puller to the hotel's management, but that was like complaining about excess sugar in a candy store.

We got the hell out of there and spent our remaining week riding roller coasters and chasing leads for deformed dolls.

We found plenty of coasters, but the deformed dolls were lying low.

I don't know exactly why I love these kids so much, but it's got a lot to do with the obvious glee with which they have been imagined and realized by the talented artists.

Like great porno novel covers, they suggest so much, and create worlds of infinite wonder within their delightfully gaudy frames.

Sometimes, not even a real life Garbage Pail Kid like "Pete Pervert" can come between two brothers and their Kids.


In 2003, the Garbage Pail Kids were revived, and are still going strong.

Long may they live (and prosper), although it won't be with the help of a shitty '87 movie that shall remain nameless.




  1. I was pretty peeved when the brought back Madballs in 2006 and no one told me.

  2. It should have been heavily publicized.

    They were all sorts of good.

  3. I remember the Wacky Packages cards quite well. They were just as obnoxious as Garbage Pail Kids with about half the wit or less. Tottally puerile crap with birdshit stickers and "Toilet Inspector" IDs.

    Sadly overlooked for too long are Topps' [b]Dinosaurs Attack![/b] cards. This series was an absolutely tasteless cash-in on the popularity of the original Mars Attacks cards. Beautiful stuff, not merely tasteless but gory as hell and featuring children, pets, and adults alike being massacred in various ways by marauding dinosaurs brought to the present via time travel mix-up.

  4. Thanks for the links to these, d.

    I like them very much. Probably too much.