June 3 – October 7

Eisentrager-Howard Gallery

120 Richards Hall
Lincoln, NE

Jayne Drain and Eda Mouthful, 1988, Garbage Pail Kids Card #534 by John Pound, acrylic on paper


The Garbage Pail Kids (GPK), a series of trading cards that parodied the famous Cabbage Patch Kids, were developed in the late 1980s from a collaboration between underground humorists, cartoonists, and comic artists including Art Spiegelman and John Pound.

Inside 25-cent bubble gum packages, the cards featured paradoxically adorable and grotesque characters against bright backgrounds. Graphically compelling imagery of bodily fluids, violence, and horror embodying the spirit of rebellion formed the essence of the trading cards.

Similar to MAD Magazine, GPK taunted popular culture, delighting children while provoking parents and school administrators. Perceived threats to traditional authority and values overlooked the significance of the cards in providing a safe space for children to be dierent and experiment outside of mainstream media and consumer culture.

Once seen as a fad, the gross and unhinged qualities that characterized GPK live on in similar animations such as the absurdist humor of Ren and Stimpy and the surreal comedy of Spongebob Squarepants.