The Top 5: Gross-Out Trading Card Sets… that Aren’t Garbage Pail Kids
I mentioned last week that with the recent announcement of a (possible) new Garbage Pail Kids film in the works I’ve found myself in a bit of a gross-out humor zone lately. In an effort to curb (or fuel) my GPK craving I decided to count down a few other trading card sets that share a certain… “stomach-churning chuckle” quality. We’re talking gratuitous amounts of ooze, puss, exploding craniums and other unspeakable horrors that each portray a sick and twisted sense of humor. The following are the Top 5 sets I came across, but I’m sure there’s plenty I’ve leaving out so if you have a favorite card series leave a comment below and share it!
5) Bathroom Buddies (Topps, 1996)
Far less creative than it’s garbage-dwelling brethern, Bathroom Buddies was another GPK clone whose concept hinged on each character either sitting on a toilet or being in the bathroom. Apparently the series received two limited test runs (22 cards in Series 1, 33 cards in Series 2), but never went into a nationwide release. Although they never reached the level of gross as GPK, I have the admit that a name like Fartin’ Martin is reason enough to earn these buds a spot on our list.
4) Meanie Babies (Comic Images, 1998)
Released in the midst of the Beanie Babies phenomenon of the early to mid 90s, Meanie Babies are exactly what they sound like; a cruder version of the cute and cuddly munchkins that filled store shelves. Not surprisingly the series only lasted one set, but it earns bonus points for teaming up GPK artists John Pound and writer/artist Jay Lynch. The concept was even rumored to have been resurrected (albeit shortly) as a proposed Garbage Pail Pets set.
3) Grossville High (Fleer, 1986)
School is a ripe environment for adolescent humor like acne attacks and fart jokes. That’s why it’s no surprise that Fleer cashed in early on the concept in by lampooning the school system in shameless GPK fashion. Unfortunately, as Shawn Robare mentions, the set misses the mark ever so slightly by recycling many of the same gross-out cliches. The art was much simpler than GPK as well, though the production quality of the cards offered a brighter color scheme that made each card seem more surreal.
2) Toxic High School (Topps, 1991)
Speaking of lampooning, if National Lampoon ever decided to make a film about high school I’m sure that it would have been almost exactly like Toxic High School.* Declaring an all-out prank war on “the establishment” of education, each card was conceptually from the warped perspective of the fictional Warren Lugnut Cropsey (a sort of Alfred E. Neuman type of mascot). Among the many different types of cards, Toxic High School included ridiculous student obituaries, snapshots of the school, How tos, and plenty of bodily fluids.
*Fun Fact: Some of the artist from National Lampoon magazine actually worked on the series.
1) Trash Can Trolls (Topps, 1992)
Take two highly popular franchises, blend them together, sprinkle in bits of mucus and phlegm. That’s the magic formula that made GPK successful in the first place, so it’s only natural to think it could work again (and again and again). However, in my opinion, of all the cards on this list only Trash Can Trolls really managed to capture that same formula and bring together some of the best Topps artists of the time. Unlike Meanie Babies, though, Trash Can Trolls missed the hype of its troll doll parody and less than stellar sales resulted in an unfortunately short run.