GPK Series 1 image courtesy of Todd Fulkerson
Do you have any GPK original paintings for sale?
No, as Topps did not return artwork to the artists before 1990. However, I have some of the original color roughs, and sketches, I made for my GPK paintings. These may be as close as most people will come to seeing GPK originals. The only finished GPKs I've heard of being returned to artists, so far, were a few that had to be repainted. Topps did return original paintings to me for some of their later humor projects, such as Trashcan Trolls, 1991 Wacky Packages, Gruesome Greetings, and Bathroom Buddies.
Which GPKs did you paint?
All of Series One and Series Two, and over half of each later series. See my checklist page.
How big were the paintings?
They were 5 inches wide by 7 inches tall (twice the printed size), on larger paper.
Were they done in oils or watercolors?
Neither. I used acrylics, with some airbrush for the background areas, to give it a little atmosphere.
Did you think up the names?
Only a few of my suggestions were used. I wrote ideas for names in the margins outside my paintings, but the characters were named only after the art for each series was completed.
Who first thought of the idea for Garbage Pail Kids?
As far as I know, it was Mark Newgarden or art spiegelman. The very first GPK was a Wacky Packages painting I did for the 1985 series. It was never printed. Shortly after the Wacky Packages artwork was completed, Topps asked me, and 3 other artists, to do idea sketches and a color example for a possible sticker series, to be called "Garbage Pail Kids". I really got into it, and cranked out a lot of ideas and sketches, which ended up being the closest to what Topps wanted for the project. They asked me if I could do 44 paintings in 2 months. "Well, I'll do my best," I said.
Who else worked on Garbage Pail Kids?
Art Spiegelman and Mark Newgarden were the editors and art directors -- I worked with them the most. Len Brown was the manager over the GPK project. Tom Bunk did some of the GPK paintings starting with Series 3, and James Warhola also did some paintings. Jay Lynch helped Topps out with ideas for some of the fronts and backs. I think MAD writer Stan Hart helped with some of the names. And I think Howard Cruse did a few backs too. There may have been a few more artists who did some backs too.
Was there a GPK Saturday morning cartoon?
Yes, There was a GPK Saturday morning cartoon series made, but it was not released, due to complaints from parents who'd heard about it being made. I never saw any of the cartoons, and I don't know who worked on it.
Are there many unpublished GPKs?
Perhaps a dozen of my paintings, prior to Series 16, plus the twenty I did for Series 16, are unpublished ones I know about. (See my Series 16 roughs) And I was told that Series 16 was completed, so another twenty or so were done by the other artists. Since then, on another GPK website, I have seen a printer's proof sheet of Series 16. It shows all the images used. The "A" names and some of the numbers are on the proof sheet.
Why did Topps stop publishing GPKs?
I heard two different reasons. In 1988, after doing my paintings for Series 16, I was told it wouldn't be published because sales had declined. Ten years later, I was told by the same person he thought the settlement to the lawsuit had required Topps to stop doing GPKs after a few years.
I noticed that starting with series 10 some GPK's had cracks
drawn into them. I've always wondered why this was?
The changes came from the settlement to the lawsuit. Around GPK Series 3 to 5, the owners/makers of Cabbage Patch Kids sued Topps over the GPKs. Topps settled out of court. Part of the deal was to change the look of the characters in the paintings. Changes include: number of fingers, forehead higher, ears stick out more, and make them hard plastic dolls (thus the cracks), instead of soft cloth type. And the GPK logo shape changed to a flat banner. It took until the 10th series for Topps to work out the details of the changes. I wasn't involved in those decisions, but I had to paint my later GPKs in the new style.
Are there going to be any more GPK cards published?
Not that I know of. I think Topps agreed in an out-of-court settlement with Cabbage Patch Kids not to do any more GPKs after a certain time. However, they did recently license some GPK keychains with Sababa Toys.
I hear there are going to be more GPKs. Is this true?
Yes, in 2003, Topps began publishing new GPKs. They used some of the unpublished art from Series 16, and commissioned Jay Lynch, Tom Bunk and myself do some new ones. And Topps is doing a 2nd Series of new GPKs, due out in March 2004.
See the links page for other GPK sites with more information on GPKs!