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Franchise / Garbage Pail Kids

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(We care a lot!) About the Garbage Pail Kids, 'cause they never lie
Faith No More, "We Care a Lot"

Garbage Pail Kids is a trading card series by Topps. The characters in the franchise resembled the Cabbage Patch Kids with variable humor and gross levels. Art Spiegelman, Topps consultant and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, came up with the product idea after the success of his earlier creations, Garbage Candy and Wacky Packages. The concept originally began as an unreleased Wacky Packages title, but the management at Topps thought it would be a good idea for a separate spin-off series. Spiegelman and fellow cartoonist Mark Newgarden worked together as the editors and art directors of the project, Len Brown was the manager, and the first series of the cards were drawn exclusively by artist John Pound, released in 1985. Several additional artists and writers were brought in to contribute to the series, including Jay Lynch, Tom Bunk, and James Warhola, among others.


It received a movie adaptation in 1987 that was a colossal bomb. A 13-episode animated series produced the same year was never aired but did see a DVD release in 2006.

R. L. Stine worked with Abrams to publish a three-book miniseries based on the Garbage Pail Kids, with the last two being released in 2021. It was also a promo event to celebrate their 35th anniversary.

An animated revival was announced for HBO Max in 2021. Hopefully, it has better luck than the 1987 show.


Garbage Pail Kids has provided the name for:

Garbage Pail Kids features some gross examples of:

  • Alien Autopsy: Alien Ian/Outerspace Chase's Where Are They Now? card shows him being strapped to a table and dissected.
  • Alliterative Name: Most of them, including obvious such as Lizard Liz.
  • All Just A Nightmare: A few characters fit this.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Some characters have abnormal skin colors. Wretchen Gretchen/Ill Jill's skin consists of colorful patchwork.
  • American Gothic Couple: Barnyard Barney/Dick Hick. The pitchfork has a dog impaled on it.
  • Amusing Injuries: A lot of characters are shown being subjected to slapstick injuries, such as Hurt Curt/Pat Splat wiping out on a skateboard.
  • Animate Inanimate Objects: Some characters are like that. Some examples include Smelly Kelly/Doug Plug (an anthropomorphic fire hydrant), Noel Bowl/Pete Seat (an anthropomorphic toilet), and Willie Wipe-Out/Spencer Dispenser (anthropomorphic toilet paper).
  • Animated Adaptation: The Garbage Pail Kids Cartoon, which never aired in the United States because of parental complaints.
  • Animated Tattoo: Drew Tattoo/Marked Mark is horrified that the snake tattoo on his chest is coming to life.
  • Animorphism: Sort of. Some characters like Ali Gator/Marshy Marshall are kids with animal heads, while others like Mark Bark/Kennel Kenny are just straight-up animals.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Quite a few cards depict kids being dismembered.
  • Artifact Title: Zig-zagged. The main gimmick of the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards was that they were unusual, grotesque, gross, and/or comedic characters that happened to look like Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, the name of the series itself is a take-off of Cabbage Patch Kids. A lawsuit from Xavier Roberts forced Topps to redesign the characters so that, starting with the 10th series, they wouldn't look like Cabbage Patch Kids anymore, and the Kids still looked nothing like Cabbage Patch dolls in the All-New Series revival run from the mid-2000s. However, the Brand New Series starting in 2012 has the Kids back to looking like Cabbage Patch Kids.
  • Art Shift: The lawsuit resulted in the Kids being rendered with narrower heads, bigger noses, and more prominent teeth to make them look less like the toys they were parodying. By the 2010s series, the old-style returned.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Boo Bradley/Pete Sheet can be shown with a white bedsheet with pee stains all over it over his head with eyeholes cut out.
  • Belly Mouth: Tongue In Chico/Nick Lick has a mouth on his stomach with a huge tongue.
  • Big Eater: Slobby Robbie/Fat Matt and Broad Maud/Large Marge.
  • Bizarre Human Biology: Assuming the Kids are humans (they aren't).
  • Black Comedy: Many of the cards depict children being killed, mutilated, or close to being killed or mutilated. The sheer absurdity of the situation is what makes it so funny.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The All-New Series is a lot gorier than the Original Series.
  • Body Horror: A lot of cards feature characters with disturbing anatomical abnormalities or having sickening mutilations done on their body parts.
  • Brown Note: Deaf Geoff/Audio Augie and Cracked Crystal/Shrill Jill.
  • Bubblegum Popping: Joe Blow/Rod Wad and Bazooka Joanne/Bubbly Babs.
  • Chalk Outline: Chalk Linus/Crime Scene Dean is the chalk outline of a boy that somehow also outlines his fart.
  • Child Prodigy: Brainy Janie/Jenny Genius is a little girl with an oversized cranium and is shown using a computer with a blackboard full of equations in the background.
  • Conjoined Twins: Several Garbage Pail Kids consist of conjoined twins.
    • Double Heather/Schizo Fran/Fran Fran is a girl with two heads that don't get along.
    • Upside Donna/Two-Fer Juan depicts two babies joined at the tops of each other's heads.
    • Duped David/Twice Bryce depicts a boy on clean-up duty watching as his conjoined brother vomits.
  • Covered in Kisses: Nicky Hickey/Hank. E. Panky is wiping kissing marks off his face in disgust.
  • Delivery Stork: Bratty Maddy/Dirty Birdie eats the leg off of the stork carrying them.
  • Dirty Kid: Herman Hormone/Turned-On Ron is reading a skin magazine.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Some characters smile at you while meeting some horrible demise. Guillo Tina/Cindy Lopper is a prime example as she's smiling at the viewer while at the guillotine.
  • Duality Motif: A favorite of the series. Notable cards include Split Kit/Mixed-Up Mitch (a normal kid on one half and a nasty punk on the other side) and Half-Nelson/Glandular Angela (male and female).
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: The OS Series 1 Kids have a slightly more cartoony, slightly less CPK look to them.
  • Eaten Alive: Sometimes the Kid gets eaten, other times it's the Kid itself who's doing the eating.
  • Eye Scream: It would take a whole page to list every card that depicts ocular mutilation or a character being injured in the eyes.
  • Facial Horror: Mugged Marcus/Kayo'd Cody is a good example of this, his face being battered to a gruesome degree.
  • Fartillery
  • Fat Slob: Slobby Robbie/Fat Matt, Broad Maud/Large Marge, Lost In Austin/Fat Chance...
  • Fingore
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: James Flames/Burnin' Vernon.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The number of fingers on the Kids' hands went down from five to four due to Topps losing the lawsuit with Original Appalachian Works. This was kept from OS 10 to some of the Flashback series' Where Are They Now? cards.
  • Gag Boobs: Puffy Buffy/Busty Dusty is a small baby with big breasts. Yes, this is a real card.
  • Gasshole
  • Ghostinthe Machine: Eyeball Ivan/Re Tina.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Some characters with ambiguous gender will have male and female names, especially baby Kids in the All-New Series.
  • Gorn: In a fantasized sense, so it looks less bloody.
    • Played much more straight in the All-New Series, and to a lesser degree in the series that follows.
  • Grave Humor: Ashley to Ashes/Dustin to Dust.
  • Greaser Delinquent: Greaser Greg/Chris Hiss is a greaser punk.
  • Grim Reaper: Grim Jim/Beth Death is a Garbage Pail Kid of the Grim Reaper.
  • Groin Attack: Door Knox/Knocked Nolan.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Starting with the 2nd OS series, cards like Ghastly Ashley/Acne Amy, which focus on the character's face and are typically much more detailed.
  • Gun Nut: Mean Gene/Joltin' Joel and Warrin' Warren/Brett Vet are psychos armed to the teeth.
  • Hairy Girl: Armpit Britt/Shaggy Aggie.
  • Hand Puppet: Chopped Susie/Shana Saw, using a chainsaw to cut herself free...Hand and all.
  • A Head at Each End: Poop Head Paul/Turd Face Trace... sort of.
  • Healing Factor: Seen in the animations of the website's interactive "street" during the ANS era.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Leather Heather/Chained Shane.