Garbage Pail Kids


Garbage Pail Kids (also known as ‘Basuritas’ in Latin America, ‘Gang do Lixo’ in Brazil, ‘Sgorbions’ in Italy, ‘Les Crados’ in France and ‘Die total kaputten Kids’ in Germany) is a series of trading cards produced by the Topps Company, originally released in 1985 and designed to parody the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, which were immensely popular at the time.

Each sticker card features a character with a comical abnormality and/or suffering some terrible fate, and punning name, such as ‘Glandular Angela’ or ‘Half-Nelson.’ Fifteen series of regular trading cards were released in the United States, with various sets released in other countries.

The series was the brainchild of ‘Maus’ cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who came up with the product idea after the success of his earlier creations, ‘Garbage Candy’ and ‘Wacky Packages.’ Spiegelman and fellow cartoonist 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.

The commercial success of the trading cards led to the production of the live-action movie, ‘The Garbage Pail Kids Movie,’ in 1987. An animated television series was also created, but its initial scheduled broadcast in the U.S. was postponed due to parental complaints. The show did make a brief appearance on U.S. television years after it was originally intended to air, and was also briefly aired in Europe.

During the height of the card series’ popularity, Garbage Pail Kids were banned in many schools worldwide. 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, and to change the logo. Production of the cards themselves continued, but by 1988 sales had dwindled and a planned 16th series was never produced.


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