Documentary Spotlight: '30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story'

If You're an 80's Kid, Get Ready to Relive Your Childhood All Over Again

by robotGEEK

Somehow, in some way, I never knew this documentary existed until just a few weeks ago, when someone posted having just gotten the DVD in a Facebook group. I immediately jumped over to Amazon and ordered myself a copy. Being an 80's kid, and all around collector, I can honestly say that it was one of the most satisfying impulse purchases I've made in a long while.

In the 1980s a bunch of underground cartoonists parodied a popular doll. The resulting commercial product tapped into the international kid zeitgeist. That young generation felt that this product spoke to the revulsion they had for the corporate pop culture that was being fed to them.
This fascinating and highly enlightening documentary explores the birth of The Garbage Pail Kids, initially as a parody of Cabbage Patch Kids, which, as we all know, would ultimately bring big trouble for them (Topps Trading Cards), but also become one of the hottest, most sought after collectibles on the planet. Even today, 3 decades later, they're still hot sellers in every corner of the world, who's fanbase continues to grow.

In this doc, we get firsthand insight from the creators and artists themselves about their appeal in the first place, and their long-lasting success. What I found fascinating is how all of the artists were essentially undergound artists, who sadly didn't get much recognition as being those responsible for much of the cards success, but who've since gained infamy and massive recognition through a plethora of online communities dedicated solely to Garbage Pail Kids, the artists and fans.

Undergrouund artist John Pound was the initial artist who created the GPK's iconic look and style, and who is responsible for most of the legendary paintings in the initial series that kickstarted the franchise. He was soon followed by other artists such as Tom Bunk, James Warhola, Jay Lynch and a whole bunch more, but all keeping within that very specific style. One of the more fascinating things (to me anyway), is how each artist used a different medium back in the 80's (mostly acrylic and airbrush), and how that medium had changed with new artists and the times, yet some still kept that old-school way of producing them, despite the changing times.

It really seems that GPK's have only grown in popularity over the course of 30 years, with no signs of slowing down. The fact that you can now get so many items associated with the GPK brand, but not necessarily the cards is a testament to it's long-lasting popularity.

30 Years of Garbage comes packed with insight and entertainment in a full 2 hour running time, with a healthy dose of extras. Co-directed by Jeff Zapata, who worked his way up the ranks and eventually took over marketing, product development, creating, drawing, and art directing duties to become the creative director over at Topps in the 90's is also in front of the camera, giving some great insight and clarity into the company's transition into the 90's and beyond.

I think for me, one of the best sections in here was when it came time to discuss the dreaded GPK live action movie from 1987, at the height of that brand's fame. Oh man, it's a hoot! You get to hear firsthand from the actors who donned the terrible costumes, and even the films main star, Mackenzie Astin about their experiences making that now legendary cult classic, and their thoughts on it. Talk about a flashback to my childhood!

30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story is available from the official website and webstore HERE, and any number of online retailers.

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