02 03 Nerd Lunch: Another look at that Garbage Pail Kids book 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Another look at that Garbage Pail Kids book

Back in April, CT put up a very honest review of the recent Garbage Pail Kids retrospective book by Abrams Books.
I appreciate CT's thoughts. It's interesting to hear the views from someone who didn't collect the cards and doesn't have his views of the cards (and therefore this book) all wrappped up in nostalgia like many of us do. As a counterpoint, I wanted to write a separate review of the book from someone who did collect these cards originally.

I remember starting to collect these cards right around the time Series 2 hit the candy aisles.  I was in elementary school and you could still find Series 1 in some out of the way gas stations, but most everything was all about Series 2.  I would collect these cards all through junior high.  I recently found my original collection and discovered that I still have a complete set of Series 3 cards and a nearly complete series 4.  Plus some miscellaneous cards from Series 1, 2 and 5-9.  I've also seen the terrible, terrible movie and some of the episodes of the never aired in the US cartoon series.  So, needless to say, this book lives so much in my wheelhouse that it probably owes me rent.  I love these cards and I was excited to get my hands on this book.

Thinking about it, I guess this review really is about two things; how good the actual book is and how do the Garbage Pail Kids (GPK) cards hold up after 30 years.

Speaking strictly about the book, I'm of two minds about it.  First and foremost, it's amazing to see the John Pound paintings all blown up and awesome, "right up in my grill" as the kids say.  However, I am a little disappointed with the history of these cards as it's presented.  I know the paintings like the back of my hand, so I wanted a really good in depth discussion on how these cards came about and what it took to finally get them on the shelves. What is given to us is more of a "Cliff's Notes" version of the story.  And that's a bit disappointing.  So while I love everything else about this book, the "wax paper" dust cover, the giant GPK paintings and the reproduced card backs, I'm a little upset that the beginning history section is so sparse.

What about the cards themselves?  Now that I have my original collection back in my hands, how do the cards and their "gross effect" hold up?  Obviously, I still love them.  I'm surprised at how gross some of the early series cards were using things like barf, toilets and blood to evoke a response.  And yes, like CT said, being a parent now does change my perspective a little.  I wouldn't want my son looking at these for many years.  However, I think about that and smile because that means Garbage Pail Kids still work.  The whole purpose of these cards were to gross out your parents, your sister and any other girl or grown up you felt like thumbing your nose towards.  And I'm a parent now.  I'm simultaneously inside that rarified circle that loves these cards while also being the target of these cards.  I find these cards gross which means they still work and that is awesome.

The simple fact that I find some of these cards completely disgusting fills me with a surprising joy and puts a huge smile on my face.  It lets me know that something from my childhood still does what it's supposed to do thirty years later.

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