Garbage Pail Kids is a series of trading card stickers first released by Topps in 1985. Made as a parody of the then popular Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, the art depicted various gross out kid characters with punny names. Art Spiegelman and Mark Newgarden worked as the initial art directors, with Len Brown as manager and John Pound drawing the first run.
The cards proved to be a hit, and more writers/artists were brought on on the series progressed. At the height of its success, cards were banned from many a school yard as a distraction, and a movie was produced.
The resemblance to Cabbage Patch kids was strong enough that Coleco, makers of the dolls, sued Topps and an out-of-court settlement resulted in changes to the appearance of the characters and the logo to decrease the similarities.
The line ended in the late 80’s, but following a revival in 2003, there’s been new releases and reprints ever since. Since it’s a US franchise with quite the fan following, it’s been covered to a great extent already. Here’s just a few of good places to look:
Official Website – Geepeekay.com – Barren Aaron’s Garbage Pail Kid World – Wayne’s Garbage Pail Kid References – Garbage Pail Kids Underground – PoundArt.com – Slate Article by Art Spiegelman – Wikipedia Entry
Although obviously not in any way directly related, there are some parallels between Garbage Pail Kids in the US and Bikkuriman stickers in Japan – which it seems was not lost on the Japanese, as GPK saw a release there in 1989 under the parodical title of Bukimi-kun (ぶきみくん). With Bukimi meaning creepy/eerie/disturbing, etc, and “-kun” being a honorific for addressing those of junior status, especially children, or friends, it can be interpreted as something like “Creepy Kid” or “Disturbing Pal”.
The packaging and album seem to play up the American origins, with some playful English, and the retail box declares them to be “AMAZING STARRRZ FROM UNITED STATES”. Also, some stickers have a censored variant with black bars running through the artwork, although it doesn’t seem to be known if this is actual censorship on later runs or just a cute way of creating variants.
It seems Bukimi-kun’s run was very short lived, though, with only one set of 168 stickers released. They’re incredibly rare and highly sought after by collectors.
The movie also saw a release under the title of “Dirty Kids Bukimi-kun” (ダーティ・キッズ ぶきみくん).
In 2014, Topps, clearly seeking to make something of Bukimi-kun’s famed rarity, released an unannounced, limited web exclusive Bukimi-kun box. Using Garbage Pail Kids 2014 Series 1 as a base, the cards have Japanese text for the names and back. Unlike the usual releases, they are just cards, not stickers.
As noted above, there’s already plenty of other well populated places to talk about Garbage Pail Kids/Bukimi-kun, but if you have any questions, comments, contributions, or anything else, here’s a thread on our own forums!