Garbage Pail Kids are back! The most disgusting trading cards since, well, ever were a sensation in the ’80s… And then the movie version kind of killed the appeal. Several decades later, they’re back with a brand new series from Topps, and a contest to become a Garbage Pail Kid! We got a chance to chat with Stephen Dumas, Brand Manager for the GPKs, and found out why they’re back now, what to expect, as well as looks at a few of the cards:
MTV Geek: Garbage Pail Kids are back! What’s different, and why now?
Stephen Dumas: Yes, the rumors are true! It’s been 5 years since the last set of all-new characters, but now is the time for Brand New Series. Our fans are asking for a new set and the brand has been getting a lot of love recently. For example, our Facebook fan base is active and keeps growing, recently surpassing 160,000 people. We released a book with Abrams ComicArts back in April which has been received well and has reminded a lot of people about GPK. We’ve also had some recent success by releasing a series of 3 different “Flashback” card sets in 2010 and 2011, which were compilations of greatest hits from the past.
Brand New Series is different because we went all the way back to the original sets of the 80’s for inspiration. After looking back at the magic of the original series, we decided that GPK is at its best when it strikes a balance between gross and cute. They may have snot coming down to the floor and exploding heads, but they’re also loveable and endearing. These are kids you want to hang out with and adopt as your own, even as they’re puking on you.
Another key is the wide variety of humor. In addition to clever puns, potty humor, and witty parodies, there are also characters suffering from everyday situations gone awry, and others with insanely exaggerated versions of childhood fears come to life. The best art adds even more jokes with details in the background and on the characters themselves.
And of course, there are a lot of cool cards in the new set. This is designed to be a really fun set to open! Not only are there a lot of new characters, but the card backs feature puzzle cards and parodies of today’s reality shows. There is an entire sub-set of cards devoted to Adam Bomb’s previously-unknown contributions to the world such as ending the Ice Age, ‘motion cards’ that animate classic characters, and rare one-of-a-kind cards including printing plates and sketch cards that are individually hand-drawn and signed by GPK artists.
Geek: What do you think the lasting appeal of Garbage Pail Kids is… Why do kids keep coming back to them?
Dumas: GPK has lasting appeal because it touches on a nerve that’s common to every kid no matter what year they were born. By striking that balance of cute meets gross, GPK appeals to the inner beast in all of us, and makes it ok. Kids are figuring out who they are and how the world works. And GPK tackles that head on by asking the tough questions like, “What would happen if I can’t stop my sled before I slam into that big tree at the bottom of the hill?” and “What if my head was a turntable?”
Geek: How has the trading card market changed since these first debuted, and how does that affect your approach to the current line?
Dumas: There’s still a lot of appeal to physical paper products. It’s fun to flip through packs, be surprised by what you find, and hold these cards in your hands. We also take inspiration from what’s happening in today’s pop culture, such as reality TV shows, current events and popular films. Of course, GPK will continue to evolve over time to stay relevant to kids.
Geek: This is my naive perspective, but it seems trading card games are even more popular than simple cards… Was there any thought to make this into, say, “Garbage Pail Kids: The Gathering?”
Dumas: We actually released some game cards as part of All-New Series 4. We’re always looking for new ways to get kids excited about GPK, and more gaming is certainly one of the options on the table.
Geek: Given their genesis, with alt-icon Art Spiegelman, has there been any thought of getting the current alt-comic scene to take on the GPKs?
Dumas: Yes! We did this last year with Gallery1988 in L.A. and the art that came out of it was inspiringly awesome. We included original sketch cards from these artists in Flashback Series 2. We’re exploring ways to do something similar again.
Geek: Do you guys have a big bible filled with nothing but synonyms for “Yucky?”
Dumas: How did you hear about the top secret Yucky Bible?? I mean, that definitely does not exist.
Geek: The Garbage Pail Kids expansion into other media back in the day was… Mixed. Is that something you think could work better today, and if so, how?
Dumas: You’re being too kind! As fun as it must have been creating a movie so bad it became a cult classic of sorts, a lot clearly went wrong with the original movie. The good news is, we also believe those problems can be solved. GPK has a vast, rich world of characters and we believe there’s plenty of material to work with. Stay tuned on this front…
Geek: Are there any cards that just push the envelope too much? What makes something essentially a GPK card?
Dumas: Part of the beauty of GPK is that we’re able to push the envelope in different ways. It’s always fun seeing different reactions to the new characters. As an example from the new set, some people get squeamish looking at “Ear BUD” (a GPK who is an iPhone ear bud worn by a guy who could really use a Q-Tip) while other people find him pretty tame. We do our best to mix it up from card to card to make sure we’re hitting different notes.
Geek: Any last thoughts, or appeals to fans of gross stuff?
Dumas: Check out our Facebook page for all the latest and greatest in the world of Garbage Pail Kids – including a new sweepstakes where five winners will be immortalized as Garbage Pail Kids characters in a future series. And stay twisted!
Here’s the official press release, with info on the contest and more!
The Pop Culture Phenomenon Garbage Pail Kids is Back
Topps Releases “Brand New Series” Giving Fans 55 New Characters to Collect and Enjoy
NEW YORK, October 16, 2012 – Topps launches a brand new collection of Garbage Pail Kids, the beloved pop culture brand, available nationwide starting today. The brand new collection, known as Brand New Series, is reminiscent of the original 1980’s collection and is the first new series launched since 2007. To celebrate the launch, fans have a chance to truly get into the action with a national sweepstakes where 5 winners will be immortalized as Garbage Pail Kids characters in a future series.
Brand New Series includes 55 new hand-painted characters, printed on the well-known trading card stickers. Remaining true to the past series of Garbage Pail Kids, the new edgy and endearing characters include clever puns, witty parodies, and exaggerated interpretations of childhood fears come to life. By finding humor in everyday situations and showing that it’s ok to laugh at our own flaws and quirks, Garbage Pail Kids encourages people to be comfortable with themselves and stay optimistic even in the most extreme circumstances.
“Garbage Pail Kids is being rejuvenated in a way that we haven’t seen in decades,” said Stephen Dumas, Garbage Pail Kids Brand Manager. “Brand New Series marks the comeback of Garbage Pail Kids and we cannot wait for people of all ages to fall in love with the uniquely clever new characters.”
In each package of Brand New Series, fans will enjoy a selection of cards from the set which features 110 new character cards and a series of 30 exclusive cards including Motion, Mix n’ Match and Adam Mania. The set also features rare cards for collectors including color parallels, sketch cards, printing plates and bonus cards.
– Motion cards use a lenticular technology to animate multiple frames as the card is tilted
– Mix n’ Match cards offer static cling stickers that can be hand-applied to design your own characters
– Adam Bomb, the iconic Garbage Pail Kid mascot, is featured on a series of cards that show his previously-unknown contributions to world history such as the discovery of fire and the launch of NASA’s first space shuttle
– Sketch cards are rare one-of-a-kind pieces of art that are individually hand-drawn by artists
– Printing plates are the metal plates that were used in the actual printing of the sticker cards
Brand New Series cards will be sold as a single pack, a jumbo pack including a bonus “Puzzle Poster,” and a value box with an exclusive Bonus Card, for suggested retail prices of $1.99, $5.29 and $10.49 respectively at Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree and other stores nationwide. For more information and regular brand updates, visit the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GarbagePailKids
“Be A Garbage Pail Kid” Sweepstakes
50 rare Golden Code Cards have been randomly inserted in Brand New Series packs, which can be redeemed for a box of free product and a chance to be one of five grand prize winners in the “Be A Garbage Pail Kid” sweepstakes. The grand prize winners will have a character named after them and they will be painted by one of the Garbage Pail Kids artists and included in a future set. Winners will be announced at the beginning of 2013.