Entertainment :: Books

Garbage Pail Kids

by Lukas Akerley
Contributor
Wednesday Apr 4, 2012
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Shoulder pads, wild hair, The Golden Girls, Madonna, and Pac Man are just a few of the ingredients that made the 1980s a fabulous time. While Russia was an ever-looming threat, something much more sinister, disturbing, humorous, and yet adorable swept the country mid-decade and forever became cemented in 80s culture. No, it wasn’t The Commodore 64.

In 1985, The Topps Company released the Garbage Pail Kids. The series of trading cards (they also doubled as stickers) were a spoof on the wildly popular Cabbage Patch Kids. The cards depicted graphic images of what looked like Cabbage Patch Kids in compromising situations. For example card 19a shows "Corroded Carl", a Cabbage Patch kid covered in bumps and craters popping an oozing zit.

Many parents and teachers found these images too disturbing for young feeble minds. This led to bans throughout schools nationwide. Thus, The Garbage Pail Kids took the world by storm, it even spawned a live action movie and a cult following that still exists to this day.

For the first time in over 25 years, The Topps Company compiled the entire 1985-1986 collection (Series 1 -5) into one coffee table book. The book is jam-packed with all 206 brightly colored images printed on high quality glossy paper.

The book features an introduction by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist and co-creator Art Spiegelman and an afterword by series artist John Pound. They offer readers a brief yet informative history and development process behind the Garbage Pail Kids.

They reflect on what made the Garbage Pail Kids so popular. Spiegelman has a very candid yet simple explanation. The cards were personal. The trading cards were branded with names like "Ghastly Ashley." Every girl named Ashley must somehow acquire her card. I must confess I’m on the hunt for "Luke Puke".

The only disappointing thing about this book is that it did not come with bubble gum as the original trading cards did.

To a newcomer to Garbage Pail Kids, the images may seem a bit disturbing...my first thought was "These are Cabbage Patch Kids on crack!" However, after reading the introduction and afterword, you find the humor in an image of a Cabbage Patch doll named "Nervous Rex" smoking seven cigarettes and picking his nose.

With the publication of this book, Topps could be preparing for a re-boot of the series. According to ever-reliable Hollywood gossip blogs, rumors are circulating about a new Garbage Pail Kids movie in the immediate future. This book is great for fans of the series looking to relive their Garbage Pail Kids days or looking to corrupt a new generation.

Garbage Pail Kids
Topps Company
Abrams
$19.95

by The Topps Company

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