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Official Article

Trading Card Treasures Vol. 2


In the first edition of Trading Card Treasures we looked at several unopened packs of movie cards produced by Topps, but this time around we've got 6 packs of cards featuring muscle bound tough guys, pop stars and mutants of all shapes and sizes. So let's get on to the fun.

Garbage Pail Kids, Series 3 (1986)


Though technically a line of stickers, Garbage Pail Kids were a schoolyard phenomenon that disgusted adults and as a result, delighted kids. That explosive package art and its declaration of "25 cents CHEAP" was also a great way to make kids choose GPK instead over that boring old gumball in the vending machine. The package back offer gave us a chance to proclaim our weirdness with a GPK t-shirt, which I'm sure would be confiscated by parents after the first wearing.


The 5 cards within are as gross as you would imagine. Babbling Barbara sloppily eating her PB and J during a phone call is sticky-icky, while Alice Island just embodies the Garbage Pail Kids brand with the perfect blend of satire and grime. My favorite is Bustin' Dustin, whose image has remained with me all these years because he is dressed as a boxer, but was obviously tied up by a wrestling opponent. Maybe it's a Rocky III type boxer vs wrestler scenario?


The GPK artists also did a lot of work on the card backs as well, creating clever bios and gags. In this case we're getting a profile on Messy Tessy/Leaky Lindsay whose favorite TV show is "Snot's Landing", a play on the popular 80s drama, Knot's Landing. I also get a chuckle out of the claim that she sneezed so hard at Disneyland that it launched Goofy all the way to Texas.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Series 2 (1989)


From one group of mutants to another, it's the TMNT! I never noticed it before but look at the white shape behind that slightly off-model drawing of Donatello, it's a pizza slice! Way to subliminally evoke the Turtles favorite food, Topps. The back of the packaging offers a full 132 card set of cards from the live action movie that was coming out around the same time for $19.95. No extra cards like the Dick Tracy set in the last article, just "super-glossy coating".


The cards themselves features scenes from the very popular cartoon show, giving us glimpses of Baxter Stockman, Usagi Yojimbo and the Turtles themselves in action. Of course the Kraang sticker is awesome, but I especially love that the image appears to be tearing through the blue card border. The card back art is a nice consolation if you didn't get a Turtle focused image on the front, you still have a nice drawing of Raph, Leo, Don and Mikey to enjoy.

New Kids On The Block (1989)


As much as I was into the TMNT, I was just as big a fan of the NKOTB at this time. They were my definition of cool and I even grew my hair out into a rat tail to be like them. The fashion designer marker sketch of the group is an interesting choice for the packaging and notice that there is no 25 cent price tag. I assume that is so retailers could charge a higher price because you were getting 8 "super gloss photo cards" instead of the standard 5 matte style.


Just look at the boys from Boston. So many hats, so many shirts buttoned to the collar. They really did not skimp on group shots here, so whether you were a fan of Donny, Jordan, Joe, Danny or Jonathan, you were going to see your favorite New Kid. The card back design with a faded picture of Joey McIntyre I'm sure was a thrill for the girls picking up these cards, "Oh, his eyes are so dreamy".

American Gladiators (1991)


I've shared my thoughts on the American Gladiators TV show here and these cards are a great extension of the action. Just look at the crazy eyes on Gemini as he gets ready to pummel the blue challenger. And what's that behind him? A very patriotic pizza slice! Wow, the Topps packaging department needed a lunch break, I'll tell you what.


The cards give us a good look at events like The Wall and Assault, but the shining star of this group is the gladiator known as Ice. We see her being interviewed inside the Atlasphere, using her jousting stick to cause some damage and posing with a smile that seems to say, "You're about to die". The backs of the cards are really fun in that they have comic book style sketches of Gladiators, in this case we have Nitro making a funny with the, "Surely You Joust!" pun.

Home Alone 2 (1992)


Was there any more anticipated film in 1992 than Home Alone 2? (well, maybe Batman Returns) The success of the original caught 20th Century Fox off guard and there was very little merchandising in 1990. Luckily they were ready this time around with some glossy trading cards. The cardback art design would make a great tattoo for hardcore Home Alone fans as we get Harry and Marv chasing Kevin in silhouette. 


Sadly I did not get a Talkboy card this time around, so seeing Joe Pesci get his head burnt to a crisp will have to do. If I'm being honest, Home Alone 2 is not the ideal franchise for trading cards. Honestly, who wants pictures of wealthy, negligent parents or high-end hotel staff collected in an album? As a result, I cannot leave you with this as the final Trading Card Treasure of this article.

Garbage Pail Kids Series 5 (1986)


All in all, Topps produced 15 GPK series over 3 years, which is crazy. So here's another great example of the demented fun they had to offer. Fluoride Floyd busting through his cheek with a toothbrush looks like a death from one of the later Nightmare on Elm Street Films, while Fred Thread is more Hellraiser. Personally, I think Richie Retch deserves all the attention. He's puking up skulls, scissors and eyeballs here, what the heck is his story? I do think it's a shame they didn't put him a tuxedo top and shorts to get the full parody effect of the Harvey comics character though.


OK, confession time, the other reason I tagged this onto the end is that on the latest episode of the SequelQuest podcast, we talk about our ideas for a sequel to the Garbage Pail Kids movie from 1987. Have you seen it? It's fittingly gross, but we just used it as an excuse to reminisce about the original run of GPK and come up with ideas to bring them to a new generation. Click here to listen now.

So which of these card series did you collect? Was there one card in particular that tickled your nostalgia bone?
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Superman Posted on Jan 15, 2018 at 05:00 PM

I didn't have any of these, but those TMNT cards would have been the set that interested me the most back in the day.

mickyarber Posted on Dec 30, 2017 at 12:38 PM

You know I’m a big fan of the old cards, and I love reading your take on them. I just ordered a whole case of those American Gladiator cards from eBay and am anxiously awaiting their arrival!

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