If you were a child growing up in the mid 1980s, you will definitely be familiar with Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. These cards (which peeled off to become stickers) parodied the Cabbage Patch Dolls, which were also very popular in the 80s. Each card featured a cartoon version of the doll with some comical abnormality, and an equally funny name which related to their ‘condition’, written at the bottom of the card.
Although they were supposed to be light-hearted, some of the pictures were actually quite disturbing, but as a kid, the more disgusting something looked, the better, and these cards were one of the best things about the 80s, if you were a kid!
The cards came in a pack of five with a stick of very hard pink bubblegum, and originally cost around 25p per pack. Produced by bubble gum manufacturers Topps Company, there have had a whopping 23 series since their 1985 debut (although most of the latter series were only released in the US).
In 1988, three years after they first came out, their popularity started to wane. This might have had something to do with the fact that Topps were sued by the makers of Cabbage Patch Kids for trademark infringement.
As part of the out-of-court settlement, they agreed to change the appearance of the Garbage Pail Kids to remove any similarities between the cards and the dolls. A lot of original fans stopped buying them around that time, including me, as they just didn’t look as good. But there was still a market for them and the Topps Company continued to produce them (on-and-off) over the years.
The company recently announced a new flashback set which will be out in February 2010. This series will reportedly include all the old favourites and some new never-before-seen characters.
DID YA KNOW?
- The cards were originally the brainchild of Topps consultant and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman.
- The cards were so popular that in 1997 a film titled Garbage Pail Kids was released, unfortunately it bombed at the box office.