The 2020 GPKNews.com Best of GPK Award Winners

When the history of Garbage Pail Kids is written, 2020 could go down as one of the most important years for the brand. Everything Topps has done with the brand over the last couple of years has help lead to 2020, and the 35th anniversary of GPKs. When you throw in a worldwide pandemic that saw many collectibles markets explode, it created a perfect storm for GPKs. Topps decided to hit the gas pedal this year and throw everything at the brand and it looks to have paid off. 2020 retail sets saw the return of card back art and checklists, and the end of subset numbering. All things that had held back the brand for years in collectors minds. That could have been enough for the core group of collectors, but Topps wanted more. 2020 saw Topps finally relent, and being back Chrome technology to GPKs. Online sets also saw an explosion after declining in previous years. Topps has a full lineup already planned for retail releases, online releases, and foreign releases that will keep collectors busy in 2021.

While the card sets remain popular, Topps focus on licensed merchandise also helps explain the growth in GPKs. 2020 saw many different types of licensing deals made by Topps, many that will be felt for years to come. Companies like FYE, Just Funky, Beeline Creative, and Greenlight Collectibles all continued their deals in 2020 and offered collectors a wide range of quality merchandise throughout the year, many of it available in retail stores across the country. GPK Nation debuted in 2020 and took the hobby by storm with their online only launches of limited coins, pins, and other merchandise. Perhaps the most important licensed item was the debut of the RL Stine novel, Welcome to Smellville, published by Abrams books. Topps has a lot more licensed merchandise set to launch throughout 2021 for collectors to enjoy.

2020 saw so much in the Garbage Pail Kids world. Let’s take a look back at what stood out in 2020 for Garbage Pail Kids. It’s time for the 4th annual 2020 GPKNews.com Best of GPK Awards! Winners have been selected by the editor of GPKNews.com in eight categories, (Sketch Card Rookie of the Year returns in 2020, along with the debut of WAX Blockchain Digital Set of the year). Additionally, a Reader’s Choice winner was also named in each category. Readers of GPKNews were able to vote in a poll on GPKNews’ Facebook page in mid-December. On some awards there is agreement, while others vary in opinion. Let the debate begin! Its time to celebrate the best in GPKs for 2020!

And the winners are…

2020 Retail GPK Set of the Year
Winner: 2020 Garbage Pail Kids Chrome OS 3
Reader’s Choice: 2020 Garbage Pail Kids Chrome OS 3

As in years past, this category wasn’t close in voting. Chrome won easily in a landslide. I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise. Since 2014, collectors have been begging Topps to continue the Chrome brand in GPKs. However, Topps kept refusing after poor sales of Chrome OS 2 made them hesitant to do the set again. After six years, Topps finally relented, and collectors rejoiced. Chrome OS 3 saw demand unlike any other GPK set over the last 10 years. The gamble appears to have paid off for Topps, as more chrome is planned in 2021. That doesn’t mean the other retail sets were bad this year. In fact the original art and gags in retail sets in 2020 was better overall than it has been in years. However, some missteps by Topps in set structure, kept those sets from winning set of the year. Popular reprints, fantastic new original pieces, all on shiny card stock is what lead Chrome OS 3 to winning set of the year. Honorable mention: 2020S2 35th Anniversary.

2020 Online GPK Set of the Year
Winner: Gone Exotic Sets 1-3
Reader’s Choice: GPK Sapphire

This category is so hard to pick a winner. Mainly because there was so many different types of online sets offered by Topps in 2020. There were weekly series sets like Bizarre Holidays, Gone Exotic, and 2020 Was the Worst. There also were new and innovative On Demand sets like Halloween Stories and Untold Stories. Topps tried untraditional sets such as Skateboard Stickers, Gross Greetings, and GPK Kitchen. Finally, a packed out Chrome sister set, Sapphire, took the collecting world by storm at the end of the year. So how to pick a winner in this category? I went with a set that set the stage for the GPK explosion of 2020. When the pandemic took hold, nothing was bigger in pop culture as the Netflix docuseries Tiger King. It made perfect sense that Topps would work with Netflix and offer multiple GPK sets based on the show. Artist David Gross perfectly captured the characters with his gags and artwork. The first set remains the highest selling online GPK set to date. Readers may have voted for Sapphire because of its chrome goodness, but Gone Exotic gets the win for helping to jumpstart GPK in 2020. Honorable mention: GPK Sapphire, Skateboard Stickers, 35 Years of Untold Stories.

2020 WAX Blockchain Digital Set of the Year
Winner: OS 1
Reader’s Choice: OS 1

2020 saw the debut of a completely new type of collectible, digital only cards on the WAX Blockchain. These NFTs saw plenty of controversy as many physical collectors have shunned the idea of collecting digital cards. Topps Digital has big plans in the coming years for not only GPKs, but many different brands to launch on WAX. They started with GPKs, and the growing pains were felt by collectors trying to figure out how to use this new technology to collect GPKs. Four sets were released throughout the year, with OS 1 being the overwhelming choice as the set of the year. Topps and WAX weren’t sure what kind of demand would be there for these digital collectibles, so they went with a smaller print run to start with OS 1. WAX NFT followers and GPK collector early adopters snapped up all the packs within 24 hours. Prices on the secondary market quickly rose as collectors tried to complete sets. With a proven demand, Topps experimented with print runs on the remaining sets in 2020. While packs sold out in just mins., secondary market prices crashed due to over production and lack of demand. On boarding technology and website ease of use will have to improve in 2021 if Topps wants to lure more physical collectors to the digital world. Honorable mention: OS 2

2020 Topps GPK Licensee of the Year
Winner: GPK Nation
Reader’s Choice: GPK Nation

This is another category which is impossible pick a winner. There are many different types of licensed merchandise. Perhaps the most influential licensed merchandise of the year was the RL Stine novel, Welcome to Smellville. That is the first book in a planned series by the Goosebumps author. These books may do more for the future of the GPK brand than anything else. However, this award is voted on by the core collector base, and nothing caused quite a stir in the GPK licensed space this year than GPK Nation. Also known as Collectibles Nation, the company was started this year by Louis Gregory and The Goldberg’s TV show creator, Adam F. Goldberg. The company has offered a steady stream of high quality merchandise, all of it licensed by Topps and all limited in production. It’s the limited nature of the collectibles and the erratic nature of the launches that saw much controversy with collectors. However, the company has learned to expand some print runs and now offers a semi-regular launch schedule. Collectors have seemed to enjoy the wide variety of merchandise being produced by the company with coins, pins, and ornaments proving to be the most popular. Not everything has been a hit, (wine topper?), but collectors still voted GPK Nation the top licensee of 2020. Honorable mention: FYE, Abrams Books, Greenlight Collectibles, USAopoly.

2020 GPK Rookie Sketch Artist of the Year
Winner: “GPK” Nik Castaneda
Reader’s Choice: Bekki Sharp

This award took a hiatus in 2019, because Topps just didn’t use many new artists. That all changed in 2020, as some veteran artists decided to take a break, Topps had to begin adding new ones. Topps chose a really good group of artists to make their GPK debuts in 2020. This category never disappoints in reader voting as there were numerous Facebook campaigns to increase vote totals. Any of the artists nominated truly could have won this award this year. The reader’s favorite this year was Bekki Sharp, who does fantastic work all the way from the UK. However, GPKNews has chosen “GPK” Nik Castaneda as this year’s GPK Rookie Sketch Artist of the Year.  Nik, a longtime GPK collector, started with 2020S1 Late to School, and continued to work on numerous sets throughout the year. His initial pack inserted and return sketches followed the standard GPK art style and quickly became collector favorites. Nik then begin to also draw GPK characters in his unique style. This led to Topps using his artwork in the WAX Blockchain OS 2 set, and his own online release, Gross Greetings. The future is bright for Nik and all these artists as they continue sketch work into 2021. Honorable mention: Bekki Sharp, Jeff Cox, Karl Jones, Greg “13” Trieze, Brandhen Snyder, Jeff Dionise.


2020 Sketch Artist of the Year

Winner: Pat Chaimuang
Reader’s Choice: Pat Chaimuang

This is a category that gets collectors highly emotional. Everyone has their favorite sketch artists. 20% of the votes in this category were write in votes for 17 different artists not listed! There are so many great artists doing sketch cards, how can you pick just one? While there were 59 choices in 2020, for the second year in a row the top two spots in voting came down to Pat Chaimuang and Jasmine Contois. These two artists have separated themselves as fan favorites. While Jasmine had another fantastic year, this year’s Sketch Artist of the Year is Pat Chaimuang. Pat’s artwork stands out in a crowded field, and sees the most demand. Collectors who can obtain a return sketch from Pat get a masterpiece. It’s unbelievable Topps hasn’t chosen Pat to do an online set in his style. This will be the second year in a row Pat has won the Reader’s Choice portion of this award, and it appears he won’t be giving up that title anytime soon. Honorable mention: Jasmine Contois, David Acevedo, Rory McQueen, Lowell Isaac.

2020 GPK Artist of the Year
Winner: David Gross
Reader’s Choice: Joe Simko

This was another category where collector voting was focused on two artists at the top. Since Topps has streamlined their final card artists, you can’t really go wrong with any of them as all their art is fantastic. Joe Simko had the reader’s vote this year. Simko’s artwork is the face of GPK licensing. His characters are so smooth, he’s a perennial fan favorite. However, this year’s GPK Artist of the Year is David Gross. David’s strongest quality has always been the gags for the cards. He had a banner year in 2020. David had top cards in every retail set, from Hot Flora Teacher in 2020S1 Late to School, to New Wave Dave in 2020S2 35th Anniversary, to Adam Burn in Chrome OS 3. He also continually has some of the top gags in online sets that not only brings the collector a chuckle, but also makes them think. He also knows how to get collectors riled up, (what, both “a” and “b” cards are named Ashley?!?). It also should be noted that David did extensive work throughout 2019 with the new GPK Brand Manager to help improve retail set content and structure. Many of the things collectors saw return to GPKs in 2020S1 can directly be attributed to his passion for the GPK brand with Topps managementHonorable mention: Joe Simko, Brent Engstrom, Smokin Joe McWilliams, Rory McQueen.

2020 GPK Card of the Year
Winner: Hopeful Harper (2020S2 35th Anniversary #32b Artist/Concept Smokin’ Joe McWilliams)
Reader’s Choice: T2 Tootie (Chrome OS 3 #AN8a Artist/Concept: Joe Simko)

Once again 2020 saw hundreds of choices for collectors in this category. Once again many different cards received votes. Could there really be any other choice for Card of the Year? Collector anticipation was off the charts for the return of Chrome to GPKs in 2020. Collectors waited six long years for this. The gag for the card is perfect, a collector waiting a very long time for his Chrome 3 box. It’s almost as it Smokin Joe knew Topps would delay the set an additional week when he drew the card, also adding to the gag itself. It’s the perfect card to represent 2020 for GPK collectors. Honorable mention: T2 Tootie, Adam Burn, Adam Bomb, Joe Chaotic, Hot Flora Teacher.

The 2020 GPKNews.com Best of GPK Awards, Vote Now!!!

2020 marks the 4th year of the Best of GPK awards. This year saw the Garbage Pail Kids brand reach heights its hasn’t seen in over a decade. So what were your favorite things GPK in 2020? It’s your turn to help choose the Reader’s Choice awards!

https://poll.app.do/2020-gpknews-com-best-of-gpks

Read on for an explanation about how the categories and nominees were chosen, along with the fine print of voting.

Here are the categories to be voted on this year:

  • 2020 Retail Set of the Year – Can Chrome beat out either of the regular retail sets from this year?
  • 2020 Online Set of the Year – On Demand sets, weekly sets, one time sets, packed out sets. So many to choose from. Only sets released in 2020 are eligible.
  • 2020 Digital WAX Blockchain Set of the Year – A new category in 2020 for the digital GPK collectors.
  • 2020 Licensee of the Year – More merchandise in 2020 than ever before. Which company did it best this year?
  • 2020 GPK Rookie Sketch Artist of the Year – The ROY award is back in 2020. Seven great artists who made their GPK debuts to choose from.
  • 2020 GPK Sketch Artist of the Year – To be eligible an artist must have had official Topps GPK sketch cards appear in a set in 2020. There were two retail sets, and 4 On Demand sets that contained sketches in 2020. This year there were 59 sketch artists that did sketches! Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!
  • 2020 GPK Artist of the Year – To be eligible an artist must have painted an official Topps GPK final published card in 2020. Retail and Online sets are eligible. Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!
  • 2020 GPK Card of the Year – All GPKs published in 2020 are eligible. Retail and Online cards are eligible. For nomination purposes if a/b versions are available, only the “a” card is listed. There are hundreds to pick from! Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!

Categories and nominees were chosen by the Editor of GPKNews.com. Categories such as best artist, sketch artist, and best card also contain a write-in option. Write-in votes will only be counted for a valid artist/card. Voting will be live from Friday 12/18 through Friday 12/25 @ 8:00 PM(EST). Voting will only be done through Facebook. Participants can only vote once. Vote totals or individual votes cast will not be made public. Winners will be revealed in a future article that will appear on GPKNews.com right around the 1st of January.

The 2019 GPKNews.com Best of GPK Award Winners

In a lot of ways 2019 was a lot like 2018, and in a lot of ways it wasn’t. Looking at the surface, the 2019 retail sets looked a lot like the 2018 retail sets. Both sets were sequels, so to speak, of 2018 sets. Once again, both sets were well received by collectors. But the similarities stop there. 2019 saw the last set from former Brand Manager Colin Walton, (We Hate the 90’s), and the first set from new Brand Manager Jessica Kanzer, (Revenge of Oh the Horror-ible). The changes didn’t stop there. While many changes won’t be seen until the first set of 2020, plans were put into motion early in 2019 to help bring the GPK brand back to a place collectors enjoy. The final card artists were paired down to just four main ones on the retail set, with a couple of others added in for online/licensing sets. Card numbers on the fronts, card back artwork,  and checklists on the back were all things that started to brought back to the GPK world in 2019, especially with online sets. 2020 will see these return to retail sets along with the phasing out of subsets. While the changes can’t happen fast enough for some collectors, the work put in by artists to help cut through the red tape at Topps is happening, and should continue into 2020.

However, 2019 may be remembered for the changes to both online GPK offerings and GPK licensed merchandise. On Demand GPK sets were offered throughout the year. With the addition of sketch cards and parallels, they helped set sales records for GPK online sales. Topps then went back to daily GPK cards to end the year, and collectors enjoyed those, with all cards doing solid sales. Meanwhile, GPK licensed merchandise really took off in 2019. New companies were added to previous licensees to produce everything from food, to tiki mugs, to clothing items. A mobile game and animated shorts were also offered in 2019, showing the GPK license can be used almost anywhere. Collectors should expect much more of GPK merchandise and online sets in 2020.

Let’s take a look back at what stood out in 2019 for Garbage Pail Kids. It’s time for the 3rd annual 2019 GPKNews.com Best of GPK Awards! Winners have been selected by the editor of GPKNews.com in six categories, (Sketch Card Rookie of the Year was not held this year). Additionally, a Reader’s Choice winner was also named in each category. Readers of GPKNews were able to vote in a poll on GPKNews’ Facebook page in mid-December. On some awards there is agreement, while others vary in opinion. Let the debate begin! Its time to celebrate the best in GPKs for 2019!

And the winners are…

2019 Retail GPK Set of the Year
Winner: 2019 Series 2 Revenge of Oh the Horror-ible
Reader’s Choice: 2019 Series 2 Revenge of Oh the Horror-ible

This should come as no surprise to anyone. Once again this year, this category wasn’t close in reader’s voting. It was a landslide for horror! There is a large crossover between horror fans and GPK collectors. Many of the artists are huge horror fans themselves, and it showed in the artwork. Artists were able to use many of the gags not used for the 2018 horror set. Only using four artists greatly helped the overall quality of the artwork on the set. There were a number of memorable cards from the series, and many fewer duds compared to previous series. Collectors and distributors really flocked to this product, as the print run was the highest of any GPK set in years. Blacklight parallel cards and Tombstone figures in collectors boxes helped make this set a home run for Topps in 2019. Honorable mention: 2019S1 We Hate the 90’s

2019 Online GPK Set of the Year
Winner: We Hate the Holidays
Reader’s Choice: We Hate the Holidays

2019 saw a comeback of sorts of GPK cards offered on topps.com. There was a little bit of everything for collectors. Four different On Demand sets with sketches, licensed sets, and even the return of daily GPKs saw lots of choices for collectors. Collectors didn’t hesitate buying GPKs online in 2019. Sales records were set with each set’s release throughout the year. Perhaps that’s why the best selling online set of the year is also our choice for 2019 Online Set of the Year. We Hate the Holidays had all the ingredients to be a successful set. The holiday theme is always a hit with collectors, and this set saw many holidays included in one set. Classic characters were used for the set in various different holiday gags. Finally, the on demand formula that includes parallels, and a 1:2 chance of a sketch made this set a winner for collectors. The set sold out in just a few days on topps.com, and was also easily the reader’s choice for Online set of the year. Scratch & Stink, Valentine’s Day is Gross, 2019 Was the Worst.

2019 Topps GPK Licensee of the Year
Winner: FYE
Reader’s Choice: FYE

This year FYE breaks the strong hold Creepy Co. has on the award. This category was perhaps the most diverse and challenging to vote for in this year’s awards. There are so many choices now for collectors when it comes to GPK merchandise. FYE won this year perhaps because of the wide variety of items offered. Candy Bars, Energy Drinks, Cereal, Hot Sauce, were just a few of the popular items FYE launched in 2019. Other licensees might want to take note, all of FYE’s items were easily purchased both online and in their stores. No con exclusives, or limited items here. Just a lot of GPK consumables with some great artwork on the packaging. This might be the reason why they beat out companies like Super7, Beeline, and Creepy Co. in 2019. Honorable mention: Super7, Creepy Co., Beeline Creative, Jago Studios.

2019 Sketch Artist of the Year
Winner: Jasmine Contois
Reader’s Choice: Pat Chaimuang

Every year this category is really impossible to chose a winner. There were over 60 artists that completed sketches for GPK sets in 2019. Not only did both retail sets have sketches, but there were also four online On Demand sets to feature sketch work. Readers certainly have their strong favorites when it comes to sketch artists. There were many write in votes, even a couple of mini write-in campaigns. However, two names stood out this year for different reasons. The reader’s choice winner for this year was Pat Chaimuang. His style and work stands out among the sketch artists. Buying a return from Pat, gets collectors a true masterpiece for their collection. It just doesn’t stop there. Pat’s retail set work is also top notch, and his sketches constantly fetch some of the highest prices on the secondary market. However, this year’s GPKNews.com winner is Jasmine Contois. Jasmine set her self apart from the sketch artists in 2019, especially in the second half of the year. Not only has her work improved year over year, but her choices in mediums make her sketches stand out. This was most evident in the sketches she completed for the We Hate the Holidays On Demand set. The bright colors and addition of glitter, made the cards a hit with collectors. These return level cards were some of most sought after at the end of 2019, and why Jasmine Contois becomes the first female sketch award winner. Honorable mention: Pat Chaimuang, Mike McHugh, Rory McQueen, Chenduz, Nail Camera, Chris Meeks.

2019 GPK Artist of the Year
Winner: Joe Simko
Reader’s Choice: Tie Joe Simko & Brent Engstrom

Joe Simko marks the third different winner of this award in the three years of the awards. All five nominated artists had great years. With Simko, Engstrom, Gross, McWilliams doing most of the work on retail sets, and Camera helping out with online sets there was a lot of really good artwork this year. What perhaps stood out for collectors in 2019 was the licensing artwork Joe Simko did for the GPK brand in 2019. Almost every licensed item had some or all of the artwork completed by Simko. Some standouts included the cards for the Geekitikis, WWE cards, and artwork for packaging of FYE items. His retail work was also popular with collectors in 2019 with cards like Vampire Ella and Sparkling Spaulding becoming collector favorites. Honorable mention: Brent Engstrom, Smokin Joe McWilliams, David Gross, Neil Camera.

2019 GPK Card of the Year
Winner: Maddie Balls (We Hate the 90’s Toys #5a Artist/Concept: Joe McWilliams)
Reader’s Choice: Kill or Be Kilian (Revenge Oh the Horror-ible 1980’s Horror #15a Artist/Concept: Brent Engstrom)

Once again there were hundreds of GPKs painted by artists this year. Choosing just one is tough. This category always seems many different cards receive votes. This year from no exception. Its no surprise that the Reader’s Choice winner for this year comes from the most popular set of the year. Brent Engstrom’s Kill or be Kilian card was very popular with collectors. However, the GPKNews.com winner this year is Maddie Balls from the We Hate the 90’s set. This card has it all. A great mashup with a popular toy from the 90’s and using popular GPK characters. his artwork marches the outstanding gag, as Smokin Joe included many different characters on the card. These are the reason cards like this one will continue to be popular with collectors. Honorable mention: Kill or be Kilian, Dead Ted, Vampire Ella, Sparkling Spaulding.

The 2019 GPKNews.com Best of GPK Awards, Vote Now!!!

2019 marks the 3rd year of the Best of GPK awards. This year saw two well received US retail sets, expanding online offerings, and an explosion of GPK branded merchandise. So what were your favorite things GPK in 2019? It’s your turn to help choose the Reader’s Choice awards!

https://poll.app.do/2019-gpknews-com-best-of-gpks

Read on for an explanation about how the categories and nominees were chosen, along with the fine print of voting.

Here are the categories to be voted on this year:

  • 2019 Retail Set of the Year – Which of the two GPK Retail sets did you enjoy the most?
  • 2019 Online Set of the Year – More online offerings from On Demand to Daily GPKs in 2019. Only sets released in 2019 are eligible.
  • 2019 Licensee of the Year – Maybe the toughest category this year? So much merchandise to choose from. Which company did it best this year?
  • 2019 GPK Rookie Sketch Artist of the Year – No ROY this year. Only one new artist debuted, so we are leaving this one off the ballot this year. Maybe more will debut in 2020?
  • 2019 GPK Sketch Artist of the Year – To be eligible an artist must have had official Topps GPK sketch cards appear in a set in 2019. There were two retail sets, and 4 On Demand sets that contained sketches in 2019. This year there were just over 60 sketch artists that did sketches! Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!
  • 2019 GPK Artist of the Year – To be eligible an artist must have painted an official Topps GPK final published card in 2019. Retail and Online sets are eligible. Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!
  • 2019 GPK Card of the Year – All GPKs published in 2019 are eligible. Retail and Online cards are eligible. For nomination purposes if a/b versions are available, only the “a” card is listed. There are hundreds to pick from! Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!

Categories and nominees were chosen by the Editor of GPKNews.com. Categories such as best artist, sketch artist, rookie sketch artist, and best card also contain a write-in option. Write-in votes will only be counted for a valid artist/card. Voting will be live from Friday 12/20 through Friday 12/27 @ 3:00 PM(EST). Voting will only be done through Facebook. Participants can only vote once. Vote totals or individual votes cast will not be made public. Winners will be revealed in a future article that will appear on GPKNews.com right around the 1st of January.

The 2018 GPKNews.com Best of GPK Awards

2018 on the surface doesn’t seem like a transition year for Garbage Pail Kids. However, when history looks back on 2018 the signs of transition have clearly begun. The biggest news of the year in the hobby was the resignation of Brand Manager/Art Director Colin Walton from Topps. With Colin moving on in late summer to a new job with another company, GPK was left with new internal leadership and art direction. The markings of transition are just now beginning to be seen. Colin had already completed the majority of work on 2018S2 Oh the Horrible before leaving. 2019S1 We Hate the 90’s was also well on its way to being finished, and will mark Colin’s last input into the GPK brand. While we might not see true change begin until 2019 Series 2, there are signs. The second half of 2018 saw a sharp decrease in online sets. Gone are the holiday/awards sets at least for now. Their replacement was a GPK On Demand set that saw great value but probably the worst distribution by a Topps online set to date. It’s clear there will be changes to the future of the brand. Colin might be the last Brand Manager at Topps to have been a fan of GPK, and an artist himself. I predict collectors will see some changes big and small in 2019 within the GPK brand. New leadership will be tasked with putting their own stamp on the brand moving forward. Collectors can hope that leadership at Topps listens to mainstay artists like David Gross, Brent Engstrom, and Joe Simko as they use their artistic influence on future sets.

Beyond just being the start of transition for the brand, 2018 saw many GPK highlights for collectors. Both retail sets released in the US were well received by collectors overall. 2018 saw the first European retail releases by Topps Europe in a decade. The licensing arm of Topps remains in full force as collectors saw the GPK license continued to used throughout the year with a variety of new merchandise to enjoy. Collectors once again had a lot to be excited about in 2018. But what stood out as the best in GPK for 2018?

Its time for the 2nd annual 2018 GPKNews.com Best of GPK Awards! Winners have been selected by the editor of GPKNews.com in seven categories. Additionally, a Reader’s Choice winner was also named in each category. Readers of GPKNews were able to vote in a poll on GPKNews’ Facebook page in mid-December. On some awards there is agreement, while others vary in opinion. Let the debate begin! Its time to celebrate the best in GPKs for 2018!

Before we get to the awards its time to announce the winner of GPKNews voting contest. Everyone who entered a complete ballot was entered into a drawing for an unopened box of 2018 UK Garbage Gang! Congrats to Nick Fajardo for winning the box! Without further ado…

And the winners are…

2018 Retail GPK Set of the Year
Winner: 2018 Series 2 Oh the Horror-ible
Reader’s Choice: 2018 Series 2 Oh the Horror-ible

There was a clear winner in this category in 2018. 2018 Series 2 Oh the Horror-ible in some ways was a love letter from GPK artists to their fans. The horror theme not only resonated with the artists, but also with most GPK collectors. While the artists always spend ample time creating new cards, the time and thinking put into the last set of 2018 was unprecedented. Hundreds of gags were submitted to Topps from the artists for this set. This resulted in a set filled with many memorable cards that both GPK collectors and horror fans enjoyed. The set also saw the introduction of the purple Jelly parallel inserted into retail fat packs. Collectors took a liking to those, and the purple parallel set was one of the more chased parallel sets in recent memory. 2018S2 Oh the Horror-ible will be tough to top in 2019.
Honorable mention: 2018S1 We Hate the 80’s, 2018 UK Garbage Gang, 2018 Italy Sgorbions

2018 Online GPK Set of the Year
Winner: GPK Stranger Kids
Reader’s Choice: GPK Stranger Kids

When it comes to online GPK sets there was a sharp decline in what Topps offered collectors in 2018, especially in the second half of 2018. Topps started off the year with the usual suspects, awards sets, followed by comic convention sets and holiday sets. However it become obvious in the later part of 2018 that Topps started changing direction and begun experimenting with their online offerings. Those second half of 2018 offers is what stood out in collectors minds. The clear winner in the category was a set based off of the hugely popular Netflix Show, Stranger Things. Painted entirely by artist Joe Simko, Stranger Kids was first offered at this years New York Comic Con. People attending the show could purchased the “A” set or the “B” set for $20 each. People buying both sets got to choose one of four Comic Con exclusive bonus cards. Because of the scarcity and hard to obtain nature of the bonus cards, demand skyrocketed in the weeks right after the show for the bonus cards. In true Topps form, a mistake led to distribution of a fifth bonus card early on the first day of the show. Very few copies of the card, Topps did not have permission to distribute, were handed out and are now very rare collectors items. After the show was over Topps begun selling both the “A” and “B” sets on their website for 90 days. At press time the sets still remain for sale, so total print run information has not been made available. The artwork and frenzy for the bonus cards made this the most popular online set in 2018.
Honorable mention: 2018 On Demand GPK Meme, 2018 GPK Summer Comic Convention, 2018 GPK Hall of Lame.

2018 Topps GPK Licensee of the Year
Winner: Creepy Co.
Reader’s Choice: Creepy Co.

For the second year in a row Creepy Co. wins the award for the licensee of the year. The company continued to release a steady stream of merchandise throughout the year. Mainly sticking with t-shirts, the company cooled on the idea of offering pins, but still offered up some innovating merchandise. They teamed up with Topps at SDCC to offer exclusive lanyard and pin. They finished the year offering an Adam Bomb desk light in a collectible OS 3 themed box. They had some strong competition from Funko, who begin offering GPKs in their standard POP line of figures. As well as from Fright Rags who offered a wax wrapper set with shirt, pin and card. Can Creepy Co. make it three in a row in 2019? With GPK the Game set to launch in 2019, as well as other merchandise sales, competition will be tight.
Honorable mention: Funko, Fright Rags.

2018 Rookie Sketch Artist of the Year
Winner: Shawn Cruz
Reader’s Choice: Quinton Baker

2018 saw Topps put the brakes on new sketch artists for the first time in years. The last three years saw the number of sketch artists increase substantially. In 2014 there were a dozen sketch artists. Retail sets now routinely feature almost 60 artists. However, Topps seems to have a steady bank of artists, and are now just replacing the few that drop out each set. 2018 saw only 8 new sketch artists make their debut on the GPK brand. All 8 did a fantastic job with their debut sets. There is no right or wrong answer for this category. The readers proved that with their voting. This year’s Rookie Sketch Artist of the Year is Shawn Cruz. Shawn integrated himself effortlessly into the GPK sets. His full color work on retail sketches were a welcome sight for collectors. His has done numerous personal sketches and GPK theme character work for clients. He’s also active in the comic con scene in the pacific northwest. Shawn will be a welcome addition to GPK sets for many years to come.
Honorable mention: Quinton Baker, Simon Jacobsohn, Emma Burges, Ande Moores.

2018 Sketch Artist of the Year
Winner: Smokin Joe McWilliams
Reader’s Choice: Smokin Joe McWilliams

This is another category where it’s nearly impossible to pick a winner. A seemingly impossible 72 artists completed sketches for GPK sets in 2018. this year both 2018S1, 2018S2, and the On Demand Meme set featured sketches. This is another category where readers have their favorites. In addition to the nominees there were 10 other artists who received votes. This year’s sketch artist of the year is Smokin Joe McWilliams. Smokin Joe has quickly become a favorite of collectors since starting with the GPK brand on the 2017S1 set. His attention to detail really shows on his pack inserted sketch work. Collectors constantly pay top dollar for his sketches, and Joe quickly sells out of sketch returns each set. Joe’s work was featured in all three sets that offered sketches this year. Despite clearly being busy with sketches and final artwork, his consistent quality is what stood out among collectors, and what makes Smokin Joe this year’s Sketch Artist of the Year.
Honorable mention: Michael Barnard, Pat Chaimuang, Jason Heil, Rory McQueen, Steve Potter, Neil Camera, Lowell Isaac.

2018 GPK Artist of the Year
Winner: David Gross
Reader’s Choice: Tie Joe Simko & Smokin Joe McWilliams

2018 saw 12 different artists paint final cards for GPK. However, one thing you notice right away, compared to 2017, there were a lot less cards made. This is because of the sharp decline in both daily and monthly online sets. Still, the artists were kept pretty busy. It’s always interesting to look at how many cards each artist did. Here are the top 5 artists based on number of completed GPK cards.

Simko – 77
Engstrom – 67
Im – 60
Gross – 47
McWilliams – 14

These numbers include both retail and online cards. They do not include any Wacky packages cards that were part of online sets. Once again you will see the same names completing the most cards. However, you’ll notice Smokin Joe creep in at number 5 for the year. I’m willing ti predict there will be more change to this list in 2019. This is another category that’s really hard to pick. GPKNews has chosen David Gross as the 2018 GPK Artist of the Year. David’s strong suit has always been gag writing, and this year was no exception. He is able to write/draw gags that are both simple to understand, while remaining entertaining. A number of his cards in both retail sets stood out in 2018. David has also been a big supporter of the collector behind the scenes with Topps. His work with both the old and new GPK leadership will hopefully lead to some changes in 2019 that collectors will certainly enjoy.
Honorable mention: Brent Engstrom, Joe Simko, Smokin Joe McWilliams, Neil Camera.

2018 GPK Card of the Year
Winner: Joyless Jason (Oh the Horror-ible 80’s Horror #7a Artist/Concept: David Gross)
Reader’s Choice: Pin Ed (Oh the Horror-ible 80’s Horror #1a Artist/Concept: Brent Engstrom)

There were almost 300 different GPKs released by Topps this year, so collectors had a lot to choose from in this category. Voting for this category was the most diverse of any of the categories. All the nominated cards received ample votes, while the top three were separated by only 3 votes. It’s fitting that the winner of this category come from the most popular set of the year, 2018S2 Oh the Horror-ible. All the artists really worked hard on this set, and the results showed. There are a number of cards that will end up being memorable from this set. There were a lot more that could have easily been nominated. This years card of the year goes to Joyless Jason #7a in the 80’s Horror subset. The card features perhaps the most popular horror character in history. Jason is looking at a calendar and is clearly disappointed that this month the 12th falls on a Friday. It’s a simple to understand gag, while putting a funny spin on the iconic character. These are the things that will make the card memorable to collectors for years to come.
Honorable mention: Pin Ed, Bob Gross, Stranger Kids Poster, Mad Paul, Hallow Dean.

 

The 2018 GPKNews.com Best of GPK Awards, Vote Now and Win!!!

2018 marks the 2nd year of the Best of GPK awards. This year saw two well received US retail sets, the first two foreign GPK sets in years, a smattering of online sets, and a whole lot of new licensed merchandise. So what were your favorite things GPK in 2018? It’s your turn to help choose the Reader’s Choice awards!

Not only will you be helping to choose the winners, but you can win as well! Everyone who fully completes a ballot will be randomly entered into a drawing for a sealed box of 2018 UK Garbage Gang! Click on the link below to visit GPKNews.com’s Facebook Page, and cast your ballot now!

https://poll.app.do/2018-gpknews-com-best-of-gpks

Read on for an explanation about how the categories and nominees were chosen, along with the fine print of voting.

Here are the categories to be voted on this year:

  • 2018 Retail Set of the Year – Four nominations this year, did you prefer one of the regular retail US sets or one of the European reprint sets?
  • 2018 Online Set of the Year – Less sets than 2017, but still a number to pick from. Only sets released in 2018 are eligible.
  • 2018 Licensee of the Year – 2018 was another great year for GPK merchandise. Which company did it best this year?
  • 2018 GPK Rookie Sketch Artist of the Year – To be eligible an artists first official Topps GPK sketch cards have had to appear in a set in 2018. Three sets contained sketch cards, We Hate the 80’s, Oh the Horror-ible, and GPK Memes. A “rookie” might be someone new to Topps or a longtime Topps artist doing their first GPK cards. Less rookies in 2018 than in years past. All nine eligible appear on the ballot.
  • 2018 GPK Sketch Artist of the Year – To be eligible an artist must have had official Topps GPK sketch cards appear in a set in 2018. Three sets contained sketch cards, We Hate the 80’s, Oh the Horror-ible, and GPK Memes. Sketch rookies are eligible in this category. Once again there were nearly 70 sketch artists that did sketches in 2018! Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!
  • 2018 GPK Artist of the Year – To be eligible an artist must have painted an official Topps GPK final published card in 2018. Retail and Online sets are eligible. Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!
  • 2018 GPK Card of the Year – All GPKs published in 2018 are eligible. Retail and Online cards are eligible. For nomination purposes if a/b versions are available, only the “a” card is listed. There are hundreds to pick from! Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!

Categories and nominees were chosen by the Editor of GPKNews.com. Categories such as best artist, sketch artist, rookie sketch artist, and best card also contain a write-in option. Write-in votes will only be counted for a valid artist/card. Voting will be live from Friday 12/14 through Friday 12/21 @ 8:00 PM. Voting will only be done through Facebook. Participants can only vote once. Vote totals or individual votes cast will not be made public. Winners will be revealed in a future article that will appear on GPKNews.com right around the 1st of January.

Contest Rules: Only one vote per person allowed. Only a fully completed ballot will count as an entry. Contest is open at the same time period as voting for the awards. Winner will be randomly chosen from all eligible entries.

The 2017 GPKNews.com Best of GPK Awards

2017 was a year filled with Garbage Pail Kids from start to finish. Once again Topps released two retail sets. Online sets however, saw a wave of change mid way though the year. While the award show and holiday sets continued, the daily political cards were gone by summer. 2017 saw an increase in the use of the GPK license from Topps for many different types of merchandise. Topps also saw final card artists leave GPK, while also adding to the ranks. The number of sketch card artists saw a massive increase as each set was released. 2017 also saw the passing of former Topps artists Jay Lynch and Pat Glover. Looking back at 2017, collectors saw a very busy year. Collectors had a lot to choose from on cards and merchandise to spend their hobby budgets on this year. But what stood out as the best in Garbage Pail Kids for 2017?

Welcome to the first annual 2017 GPKNews.com Best of GPK awards! Winners have been selected by the editor of GPKNews.com in seven categories. Additionally, a Reader’s Choice winner was also named in each category. Readers of GPKNews were able to vote in a poll on GPKNews’ Facebook page in mid-December. On some awards there is agreement, while others vary in opinion. Let the debate begin! Its time to celebrate the best in GPKs for 2017!

And the winners are…

2017 Retail GPK Set of the Year
Winner: 2017 Series 1 Adam-Geddon
Reader’s Choice: 2017 Series 2 Battle of the Bands

2017 saw the release of two retail sets. Adam-Geddon was released in January, while Battle of the Bands came out in October. Both sets saw similar levels of popularity with collectors. Each set had a handful of popular cards with collectors who chased rainbows. Both sets were configured similarly by Topps. Production was almost the same for both sets, with Battle of the Bands seeing a slight decrease in production. While the number of sketch card artists increased in Battle of the Bands, odds of pulling the “hits” from boxes remained consistent. So how do you pick a winner here? The themes for both sets couldn’t have been more different. Adam-Geddon featured GPKs in various end of life scenarios. Battle of the Bands were parodies of popular music artists in different genres. Adam-Geddon got the nod here because in the end, GPKs are “kids”. What do collectors like better than seeing than their GPKs mutilated every which way possible?!

2017 Online GPK Set of the Year
Winner: GPK Classic
Reader’s Choice: 2017 Halloween

Unlike the retail category, there is a lot to choose from for online GPK set of the year. Hands down, online sets bring the most controversy in the GPK community. There were 20 total online sets released by Topps in 2017. Among those were 16 small sets, 3 daily release sets, and 1 On Demand set. This category came down to two standouts. Released in Sept., GPK Classic was the first GPK set to be featured in Topps “On Demand” category. The largest of the small online sets featured 40 cards, (20 with a/b versions), with all artwork completed by Brent Engstrom and Joe Simko. This year’s Halloween set, released in Oct., featured 20 cards (10 with a/b versions), with all artwork completed by David Gross and Brent Engstrom. Why did these sets stand out? The artwork and gags top to bottom are very good. This is some of Engstrom, Gross, and Simko’s best work of the year. You can tell there was a focus on both of these sets to appeal to the established GPK collector. These were also two of the few sets that didn’t include Wacky Packages! Collectors received only GPK love here. The Halloween set saw the highest online sales of any set this year. GPK Classic on the other hand could be a breakthrough product, that in the end might mean more to the future of GPK. Artwork done for collectors, random old school themes, the inclusion of sketch cards, are all reasons why GPK Classic wins this year’s online set of the year. When you have artists that are dedicated to the brand and are willing to push through the corporate red tape to get sets like these released, you have a winner!
Honorable mention: 2017 Halloween, 2017 Best of the Fest, 2017 Summer Comic Convention, 2017 Fall Comic Convention.

2017 Topps Licensee of the Year
Winner: Creepy Co.
Reader’s Choice: Creepy Co.

2017 saw a large increase in the use of the GPK license. It was great to see Topps’ willingness to license out the brand for both classic merchandise and outside the box ideas. While Funko did not release any GPK product in 2017, other companies stepped up. Collectors saw everything from cards, posters, t-shits, jackets, socks, pins, buttons, stickers, figures, stuffed toys, and even skateboards! Once again the choice here came down to two companies. NHS Inc., the owners of Santa Cruz Skateboards, took the license and created a hugely successful skateboard line. Offered in blind bag format, the boards sold out in a matter of days, and saw huge secondary market prices for some versions. Sales of the boards appealed not only to GPK collectors, but skateboard collectors as well. So why didn’t NHS win? Creepy Co. has come out guns blazing this year, excelling with large variety of authentic replicas and new merchandise. Creepy Co. has something that should interest any GPK collector. The artwork on the pins is spot on, with attention to detail standing out on everything right down to the packaging. Replicas on puffy stickers and zipper pulls from the 80’s bring collectors back to the time of buying Imperial GPK merchandise on Toys R Us shelves. Creepy Co. also has collectors covered, literally, from shirts, to jackets, to socks.  Its going to be tough for 2018 to be as good for GPK merchandise as 2017 was.
Honorable mention: NHS Inc., Wish Factory, Riot Fest

2017 Rookie Sketch Artist of the Year
Winner: Matthew White
Reader’s Choice: Joe Grotesque

2017 might go down as the year of the rookie sketch artist. After keeping the GPK sketch lineup small for a few years, Topps has been slowly increasing the number of artists that work on a set. 2017 saw an explosion of new artists added into the mix. New artists made their debuts throughout the year, as there were three opportunities for GPK sketch cards this year. Believe it or not, a staggering 35 sketch artists made their debuts in 2017. Topps chose a mixture of longtime Topps’ sketch artists as well as brand new artists, most of them GPK collectors themselves. The results have been amazing. Overall the artists are fitting right in, and in some cases have already risen to the top of most frequently requested commission lists. There is no wrong answer in this category. Many of the artists could have come out on top here, and readers showed by their voting that they had their favorites. For 2017 we are giving the Rookie Sketch Artist of the Year to Matthew White. He made his debut in 2017S2 Battle of the Bands. However, Matthew has been a longtime collector, doing private commissions for quite a while. After finally being picked up by Topps, he has made his mark and has become one of the top requested artists. His sketches are constantly stunning, truly pieces of art.
Honorable mention: Joe Grotesque, Rory McQueen, Mike McHugh, Smokin’ Joe McWilliams, Pat Chaimuang, Darrin Pepe

2017 Sketch Artist of the Year
Winner: Dan Burn Webster
Reader’s Choice: Mike McHugh

Its almost impossible to pick a winner in this category. What makes a great sketch artist? Consistent, beautiful work done throughout the year, going above and beyond for collectors on sketches, and timely and professional communication with collectors are just a few of the things to consider in this category. Artists had three opportunities this year to complete sketch cards, Adam-Geddon, GPK Classic, and Battle of the Bands. When adding rookies into the mix, there were 65 artists that worked on sketches for at least one set in 2017. It isn’t easy to narrow down that list to pick a winner. This one was tough, there was so much to consider. Multiple rookies rose to the occasion to be in this discussion, in addition to a number of longtime professional artists. Great Britain has a strong GPK collector base. When it comes to sketch cards the artists there certainly hold their own. This year’s Sketch Artist of the Year is Britain’s own Dan Burn Webster. After making his debut with the 30th anniversary set, DBW has been a favorite among collectors. DBW completed sketches for both retail sets this year. No matter the medium he uses, his pack inserted sketches are always a hot item with collectors. Its a labor of love for DBW as he spends time making sure each sketch is top notch. His artist returns always sell out quickly for top dollar to sketch collectors.   2018 is shaping up to be another banner year GPK collectors who enjoy their sketch cards!
Honorable mention: Lowell Isaac, Michael Barnard, Matthew White, Rory McQueen, Chenduz, JM Monserrat

2017 GPK Artist of the Year
Winner: Brent Engstrom
Reader’s Choice: David Gross

There were 17 artists who painted final front card art for GPK sets this year. With the large number of online sets, especially early in the year Topps debuted a number of new artists. However, the longtime artists continued to paint the bulk of the cards. Take a look at the top five artists by number of cards painted:

  • Engstrom – 145
  • Simko – 125
  • Im – 81
  • Gross – 54
  • Camera – 26

(Note: Numbers above might be slightly off as a handful of cards are unknown.) The numbers don’t include Wacky Packages or other brands. These artists had a very busy 2017. Not only do many of these artists paint the cards, but some of them also are an internal part of coming up with concepts. You can tell those artists who are committed to the brand. They constantly come up with concepts, and try to understand what collectors’s enjoy, while at the same time maneuvering the corporate atmosphere at Topps. This year Brent Engstrom is the artist of the year. Brent had numerous cards that stood out in both retail and online sets. Half of the cards nominated for card of the year were done by Engstrom. His work specifically on the online GPK Classic set put him over the top for this year. From top to bottom the concepts and art are an homage sets of yesteryear. If you follow Brent on Facebook, you’ll often notice him painting late into the night with a new horror flick playing in the background. Here’s to many more late nights in 2018!
Honorable mention: David Gross, Joe Simko, Neil Camera

2017 GPK Card of the Year
Winner: May N. Calendar (Adam-Geddon Apocalypse #1a Artist/Concept: David Gross)
Reader’s Choice: Misfit Manny (Battle of the Bands Punk #9a Artist/Concept: Joe Simko)

There were just over 500 different Garbage Pail kids released this year! From retail sets, to daily online sets, to special smaller online sets there were endless choices for card of the year. In general collectors tend to gravitate towards gore, monsters, and bones. Many of the most sought after and collected cards featured one or more of those traits. Some collectors go for a parody of a real life person, while others like the random kids. This is another category where there is no wrong answer, any number of cards could have won. This year’s card of the year is May N. Calendar from the Adam-Geddon set. The gag is straight forward, its a parody of the Mayan Calendar. However, David Gross added in Adam Bomb right in the middle with a couple of other GPK inspired heads at the bottom. The artwork on the card is very intricate. Many small repetitive details had to be painted to get the card right. Simple gag, coupled with intricate artwork, and even an appearence by GPK icon Adam Bomb, makes May N. Calendar the GPK Card of the Year.
Honorable Mention: Misfit Manny, Giles Play, Zombie Robbie, Wipe Out Wally, Riot Beast

Vote Now for 2017 GPKNews.com Best in GPKs!

2017 was a full year for Garbage Pail Kids! From retail sets, dozens of online sets, sketch cards, and licensed products a collector had a lot of choices to make. So what were your favorite things GPK in 2017? Its your turn to help choose the Reader’s Choice awards! Click on the link below to visit GPKNews.com’s Facebook Page, and cast your ballot now!

https://poll.fbapp.io/2017-gpknews-com-best-of-gpks

Read on for an explanation about how the categories and nominees were chosen, along with the fine print of voting.

Here are the categories to be voted on this year:

  • 2017 Retail Set of the Year – Straight forward, pick which of the two retails sets you liked best in 2017.
  • 2017 Online Set of the Year – There were a lot to choose from, pick the best online set from the nominees chosen. Only sets released in 2017 are eligible.
  • 2017 Licensee of the Year – 2017 was a banner year for GPK merchandise. Which company did it best this year?
  • 2017 GPK Rookie Sketch Artist of the Year – To be eligible an artists first official Topps GPK sketch cards have had to appear in a set in 2017. Three sets contained sketch cards, Adam-Geddon, Battle of the Bands, and GPK Classic. A “rookie” might be someone new to Topps or a longtime Topps artist doing their first GPK cards. There were over 30 rookies in 2017! Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!
  • 2017 GPK Sketch Artist of the Year – To be eligible an artist must have had official Topps GPK sketch cards appear in a set in 2017. Three sets contained sketch cards, Adam-Geddon, Battle of the Bands, and GPK Classic. Sketch rookies are eligible in this category. There were nearly 70 sketch artists that did sketches in 2017! Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!
  • 2017 GPK Artist of the Year – To be eligible an artist must have painted an official Topps GPK final published card in 2017. Retail and Online sets are eligible. Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!
  • 2017 GPK Card of the Year – All GPKs published in 2017 are eligible. Retail and Online cards are eligible. For nomination purposes if a/b versions are available, only the “a” card is listed. There are hundreds to pick from! Don’t see your favorite on the list? Feel free to choose the write-in option and vote for them!

Categories and nominees were chosen by the Editor of GPKNews.com. Categories such as best artist, sketch artist, rookie sketch artist, and best card also contain a write-in option. Write-in votes will only be counted for a valid artist/card. Voting will be live from Friday 12/15 through Friday 12/22 @ 8:00 PM. Voting will only be done through Facebook. Participants can only vote once. Vote totals or individual votes cast will not be made public. Winners will be revealed in a future article that will appear on GPKNews.com right around the 1st of January.