This page provides a high-level look at the ORIGIN AND HISTORY of Garbage Pail Kids. Think of it as a one-stop-shop to get yourself educated on all-things-GPK!


THE BEGINNING

  • In November 1984, Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. filed for the registration of the trademark "Garbage Pail Kids"
  • In June 1985, Original Series 1 was released...brought to life by:
    • Mark Newgarden (Art Director)
    • Art Spiegelman (Art Director)
    • John Pound (Artist - card fronts)
    • Tom Bunk (Artist - card backs)

THE CRAZE

  • The response the stickers received in the public was epic. Stores could not keep them on the shelves. Schools were banning them from classrooms. Movies and morning cartoons were developed.
  • In addition to nine different series being released in the first 24 months, the market also saw an influx of Garbage Pail Kids merchandise. From trash cans to Halloween costumes to keychains to sunglasses…Garbage Pail Kids were everywhere.

  • Of course when something is as high as Garbage Pail Kids were, there’s only one way to go…and that’s down…

THE LAWSUIT

  • In May, 1986 (following the release of Original Series 3) Topps was sued by Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc. (OAA) for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and unfair competition. The plaintiff OAA manufactured and marketed soft-sculptured dolls created by Xavier Roberts called "Cabbage Patch Kids"
    • THE COMPLETE FILING CAN BE READ IN ITS ENTIRETY BY CLICKING HERE
  • The lawsuit highlighted a number of issues OAA had with the Garbage Pail Kids product, mainly the similarity of logo designs, product naming, and doll-likeness. In fact, the lawsuit goes as far as to state

  • John Pound, the artist who designed a majority of the Garbage Pail Kid stickers, purposefully copied substantial amounts of Cabbage Patch Kid features for the defendant’s stickers
  • Topps attempted to argue that Garbage Pail Kids were a parody or satire of Cabbage Patch Kids, and therefore protected by the “fair use” defense to copyright infringement. However, after assessing all the factors, the court found that Topps was not protected under the fair use doctrine.
  • In August, 1986, Judge G. Ernest Tidwell ordered Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. to “stop producing Garbage Pail Kids stickers”. His ruling stated there is “a fine line between parody and piracy”, and that the stickers were simply “an attempt to make money”

  • Eventually Topps was able to negotiate an agreement with OAA that allowed them to continue producing Garbage Pail Kids stickers, albeit with significant design changes. The biggest changes were a re-designed banner/logo and body modifications (different eyes, cracks on body, joints, four fingers, hair). Tom Bunk created GPK Model Sheets to be used as an example of how to draw the “new” Kids:


THE END

  • The changes to the style following the lawsuit were not received well, and sales began to decline. Kids were outgrowing the fad and Topps made the decision to put an end to the Garbage Pail Kids line of stickers. Original Series 15, released in December of 1988, was the last of the Original Series releases.
  • Interestingly enough, Topps made the decision to quit the line during the middle of production on Original Series 16. Rough images for the stickers, card backs, box, and wrappers had all been developed, but in the end were never produced.
  • In 1989 an uncut sheet of OS16 ‘a’ cards was found in a dumpster behind the Topps building, providing collectors with a glimpse of what almost was. And in 2002, the Topps Vault auctioned off some correction sheets and box proofs.


THE RE-BIRTH

  • The turn of the century brought with it a fascination with all-things-80s…and what is more 80s than the Garbage Pail Kids!? Topps decided to capitalize on this craving for nostalgia and released All New Series 1 in August, 2003. The experiment proved successful so Topps made the decision to move forward with the All New Series line.
  • In 2005, John Pound created an all new Model Sheet that future artists could use to help keep the look consistent.

  • The Garbage Pail Kids have continued to resonate with both children and adults alike, and to date have seen over 30 series releases (and still going strong!!), as well as toys, clothing, comics, and even a rumored new movie.
  • I have no idea how long the Garbage Pail Kids ride is going to last…all I do know is that I’m going to enjoy every second of it!

THE TIMELINE

1985 1986 1987 1988
OS1
OS2




OS3
OS4
OS5
OS6

OS7
OS8
OS9
OS10
OS11
OS12
OS13
OS14
OS15

1989 1990 1991 1992




1993 1994 1995 1996




1997 1998 1999 2000




2001 2002 2003 2004






ANS1

ANS2
ANS3
2005 2006 2007 2008
ANS4

ANS5

ANS6
ANS7



2009 2010 2011 2012



FB1

FB2
FB3
BNS1

2013 2014 2015 2016
BNS2
BNS3
CS1
2013 Mini
2014S1
2014 BK
CS2
2014S2
2015
30th
APPLE PIE
PRIME SLIME