Documentary Review: 30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story (2017)

Release Date: September 20th, 2017
Directed by: Jeff Zapata, Joe Simko
Music by: Dr. Chud, Matthew Chojnacki
Cast: Art Spiegelman, John Pound, Tom Bunk, James Warhola, Adam F. Goldberg, Mackenzie Astin, various

Peel Here Productions, 114 Minutes

Review:

This has been in my queue for a long time but it was only available to buy. They recently set it for rent, so I was finally able to check it out. No offense, filmmakers and Amazon but I didn’t know if I wanted to spend like $12 on it. A few bucks for a rental, now that’s more like it. Make everything rentable.

Anyway, I was happy to see this, as I was one of those ’80s kids that spent a good few years obsessed with Garbage Pail Kids, even though they became hard to track down in my area after local parents groups caught on and got them pulled out of stores. You know, the same parents that didn’t care that their kids in the ’80s were watching slasher movies from the video store or flipping through dad’s Playboys.

I pretty much already knew the story about Garbage Pail Kids but it was neat seeing the story retold in an official documentary. Plus, this also gave some background on the creation of the Topps trading card company, as well as a lot of the other non-sports cards they produced before Garbage Pail Kids came along.

My favorite thing about this, though, was where it went into the art side of things. It went through how the Garbage Pail Kids came to be, every step of the way. It also explained the process and the reason why they made each set a certain size and the process in how cards were selected based off of dozens of concepts.

Additionally, this interviews a lot of the key people involved, including the primary artists who worked on these over the years.

After that, I really liked the section about the live-action Garbage Pail Kids movie and being enlightened as to why it was such a terrible film, pretty much destined to fail.

All in all, this was a beefy and informative piece about something I once loved and kind of still do.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: other documentaries about niche ’80s and ’90s stuff, as well as specific fandoms.

Vids I Dig 105: The Attic Dwellers: ‘Garbage Pail Kids’: Rare, Exclusive, New & More!

From The Attic Dwellers’ YouTube description: Brainy Brian stops by the attic to check out the New Exclusive GPK products from FYE – and brings along some of his most precious cards from his collection! Rare, Exclusive, Signed, and Hard to Get Garbage Pail Kids cards abound!

Book Review: ‘Garbage Pail Kids’ by The Topps Company

For ’80s kids that want to feel nostalgic, this is a damn cool book to thumb through.

However, if you wanted a real book about the history of Garbage Pail Kids and the larger story behind them, this doesn’t have much.

The book has a fantastic introduction written by legend Art Spiegelman, who was an instrumental part of this brand’s creation. He delves into the backstory but there is only so much you can fit within a five page introduction.

There is also a solid afterword by John Pound but it’s also rather short and kind of just lets you peek behind the scenes a little bit.

This is really just an art book and that’s actually totally fine. I just wish there was more story and history presented.

Ninety percent of the book is Garbage Pail Kids art, presented in order over the course of the first five series that were released. However, there are so many more cards that were great and came later. In fact, these cards went on to produce fifteen series in their original run, as well as some spinoffs, larger cards and a few attempts at being resurrected over the years.

Maybe Topps will release future editions and eventually showcase all the art in a larger, nicer format.

I wouldn’t quite call this a must own for fans but it is still a worthwhile book to pick up if you enjoy the art and want to take a trip down memory lane.

Plus, Spiegelman and Pound’s words made for a good read.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: other books Topps has put out regarding their products from the past.

Comic Review: The Complete Maus

Published: November 19th, 1996 (the complete version)
Written by: Art Spiegelman
Art by: Art Spiegelman

Pantheon, 295 Pages

Review:

Growing up a fan of primarily superhero and action comics, I missed out on a lot of the independent stuff that has more of a cartoonist’s style to it than what was the norm from publishers like Marvel and DC.

I’ve known about Maus for a really long time, though. It might not have been my cup of tea when it came out in a big, collected edition in the mid-’90s but I really wanted to give it a read, as I’ve only heard great things about it and its imagery has been in my subconscious for decades.

To start, I love Art Spiegelman’s style. I especially loved it in the ’80s when he co-created the Garbage Pail Kids, an awesome trading card set that made my mum go bonkers. But as great as that franchise was, it can’t compare to this, which is a much more serious and human body of work.

Maus is a masterpiece. I went into reading this with skepticism because I’ve heard that for decades and usually things that are over hyped tend to underwhelm. This was actually better than what I imagined it would be. And I guess that’s because this is a very dark, very real and very human story, even if it stars mice in the place of people.

The plot is about a Jewish family and it shows a big chunk of their family history, as the story starts at the beginning of the Nazi rise in Germany. It then goes through their imprisonment, the Holocaust and life after all that tragedy. By using anthropomorphic mice in the place of humans, it makes the heinousness of the Nazis crimes a bit more digestible. The terror is still very much real, however. This makes it a bit more accessible though, especially in regards to younger kids that might want to learn about who the Nazis were.

For being nearly 300 pages, this is a very quick read. But it’s also a pretty emotional one. This saga covers a lot of ground and there are a lot of details to absorb. But every single panel has a real purpose and frankly, this is a meticulously crafted story that doesn’t rely on filler to beef itself up.

I loved this and it is one of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read. It’s perfect in its execution, it touches you and it sticks with you.

Rating: 10/10
Pairs well with: other classic graphic novels and comics: American SplendorPersepolisWatchmen, the work of Robert Crumb, etc.