Saturday, July 12, 2003
New York Long before "South Park" or "Beavis and Butt-Head" entertained kids with lowbrow toilet humor, there were the Garbage Pail Kids. Now, the grandfather of gross-out is making a comeback.
After being off the market for 15 years, a new series of the hugely successful stickers that entertained children in the mid-1980s with depictions of bodily functions will be released in August by The Topps Co.
Garbage Pail Kids still maintain a cult following, with several dedicated fan Web sites and an active trade on Internet auction sites.
But will the stickers, originally conceived as a spoof of the wildly popular Cabbage Patch Kids, find an audience among a jaded generation raised on the hyper-potty-humored "Jackass" and the sophomoric "SpongeBob SquarePants"?
"I think gross-out has always been and will always be of interest to kids," said Arthur T. Shorin, chairman of Topps, whose Manhattan headquarters is crowded with mountains of candy and collectible cards. "Garbage Pail Kids was a phenomenal fad -- it really struck a funny bone -- and we expect kids will still enjoy them because it's a spoof on real life."
The new series finds plenty of new things to make fun of, like "Fartin' Martin," who gaseously propels himself on a Razor scooter, or the heavily pierced "Metallic Alec," who is pulled out of his shoes by a magnet.
They even take a shot at the bespectacled child wizard -- "Harry Potty" -- toilet plunger in tow, doing his business in the loo.
To help modernize the series, Topps also plans to launch a Web site in August that will let youngsters create their own Garbage Pail Kids and take a tour of a Garbage Pail Kid city.
Not all the ideas are new. About two-thirds of the series is made up of art drawn for stickers 15 years ago that were never released.
The maker of baseball trading cards and Bazooka bubble gum made millions of dollars on 15 different series of Garbage Pail Kids from 1985 through 1988, Shorin said. The unreleased art was drawn for the 16th series, which never saw print because the stickers' popularity had waned.