For those born after 1989, Garbage Pail Kids cards just look like a collection of poorly-drawn visual fart jokes. For those born in the 1980s, they were poorly-drawn visual fart jokes with purpose:
1. To upset and gross out your parents, sometimes resulting in the cards’ banishment from the house,
2. To trade and collect with friends, sometimes competitively, in the few houses where they were allowed, and
3. To use as name-creators for those schoolkids you didn’t like and/or couldn’t collect GPKs because they were parentally banned.
This month, Abrams books celebrates Smelly KELLY, Acne AMY, and even Yicchy MICKEY in a book devoted to the cards and the culture that made them an icon of their time. On one hand, I appreciate Topps and Art Spiegelman joining forces again to edit together this print retrospective. Spiegelman’s original artwork on the cards was ahead of its time and really spoke to the ‘let’s gross out and upset our parents’ nature of my generation. On the other hand, however, let’s hope this publication doesn’t spark another round of movie execs thinking that this time, a movie adaptation would be a great idea.