GEEPEEKAY-PALOOZA 2013: Five Trashy Questions with Colin Walton
Hey gang! The GEEPEEKAYPALOOZA grossness continues! In honor of the second brand new Garbage Pail Kids series (in stores now!) to hit the streets since last fall’s re-relaunch of the brand, we kidnapped current GPK mastermind Colin Walton and decided to pick his brain on a few pressing issues! We’re here to serve you kids, so without further delay, SKC is proud to present… Five Trashy Questions with Colin Walton!
How did you get involved with the re-reintroduction of the GPK brand?
I’ve been working at Topps on and off for over 6 years, mainly as a Product Developer (which means that I’m the editor and art director of my sets). I did some work on the Garbage Pail Kids reprint series called “Flashback.” The Flashback sales were good enough that it was decided to relaunch GPK, since it had been 5 years since the last “All-New Series.” I convinced the Brand team that going more back to basics with the style of humor of the Original Series was the way to go, since the more potty humor themed ANS sets really didn’t sell as well as the Flashback sets.
So, I transitioned from Flashback to being the editor and art director of Garbage Pail Kids Brand-New Series. Around that time I also took over the Wacky Packages products too, and was editor/art director of Mars Attacks Heritage.
Were you a fan of the original ’80s GPK releases?
I appreciated the original GPK series, but no, I was never a fan, in the sense that I was never a true GPK collector. I have a great love of all the Topps-created properties, such as Wacky Packages, Mars Attacks, Ugly Stickers, etc. and of the great talent, both staffers and freelancers, who have worked at Topps from the beginning all the way to the early ’90s (and I’m lucky enough that some of them still work with us, such as Len Brown).
Was there a deliberate goal to make the new BNS Garbage Pail Kids releases as “old school” as possible, as opposed to the ANS line, which reflected the post-lawsuit design and vibe a bit more overall?
I personally did not like the humor from All-New Series and made a deliberate effort to write and get jokes that were more back to basics, like the Original Series. As they say “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” I looked back at the later ANS, which were the least successful GPK series, and saw that a lot of the illustrations were done digitally. They had a different, colder look and just didn’t feel like real Garbage Pail Kids.
So, for the Brand-New Series I made all of the artists go back to painting by hand. Also, I had everyone simplify the imagery: if an illustration didn’t need a background or other extraneous elements to tell the joke, I eliminated them, so that only the essentials are shown, just like in the early Original Series. Some of the ANS paintings seemed to have backgrounds just for the sake of filling up the image or making it look more complex.
Do you have a favorite GPK, either from the new release or the ’80s originals
My favorite GPK from Brand-New Series is Will Street/Juan Percent, especially since the Topps NY office is in the Financial District. My favorite GPK from the Original Series changes all the time, but right now it’s Half-Nelson. I really like the characters who have two different halves, such as Split Kit and Beasty Boyd.
What can we expect for the future of GPK? New sticker releases, merch…other media?
I am currently working on GPK BNS3, and it’s looking great. We’re working on other non-sticker/trading card products, but they have yet to be announced. Topps is also exploring doing GPK in other media.
…well there you go, fellow trash can kiddies! The man has it together! Crawling his way up from a non-fan, to the handler of the new, improved generation of Garbage Pail Kids! I’d say he’s done a fine job so far…and it looks like there’s much more cherubic chunk-blowing to come. Amen to that! In the meantime, keep it here, because the Strange Kids Club x GPK ghastliness is oozing forward with no end in sight!!!