Two months after announcing the next GPK set, 2017 Series 2 Garbage Pail Kids Battle of the Bands, Topps began sending out invites this week to perspective sketch card artists. In a bit of a surprise the invites were not just for 2017S2, but also for 2018S1. Artists accepting will be shipped sketch cards for both sets at once. This will give the artists more time to complete the sketches for the 2018S1 set. With just over 3 months between sets, Topps is trying to stay ahead with the GPK brand so 2018S1 isn’t rushed.
For 2017S1 GPK Adam-Geddon, released back in January, Topps had 38 sketch artists take part in the set. Of those 38 it appears only 30 are confirmed to return for 2017S2, while 32 are confirmed for 2018S1. The following artists from 2017S1 Adam-Geddon will return for both 2017S2 and 2018S1; Simone Arena, Michael Barnard, Neil Camera, Daniel Contois, Jasmine Contois, Sobot Cortez, Jason Crosby, “GPK” Dave Dabila (2018S1 Only), Vincenzo “Chenduz” D’Ippolito, Patrick Giles, Dennis Gortakowski, Cecilia Granata, Jon Gregory, Kelly Greider, Jason Heil, Marisol Henriquez, Lowell Isaac, Robert Jimenez, Matthew Kirsch, “Smokin” Joe McWilliams, Chris Meeks (2018S1 Only), Lily Mercado, Rich Molinelli, JM Monserrat, Barry Nygma, Steve Potter, Cathy Razim, Chad Scheres, Anthony Skubis, Matt Steffens, Magnus Von Robotsoon, and Dan Burn Webster. Six artists who worked on the last series are not returning for various reasons. Mainstay GPK artists Brent Engstrom and Joe Simko will continue to paint numerous base cards from in the upcoming series, but will not be working on sketch cards. Longtime GPK sketch artists and fan favorites Dustin Graham, Ryan Moffet, and Sean Norvet all decided for various reasons to no longer create sketch cards. Finally Denis St. John is undecided.
Topps isn’t stopping there. As with the last few sets, there are many artists making their GPK debuts. The following artists have confirmed accepting the invites; Bryan Abston, Ro Garcia Astorga, Sean Bolger, John Brewer, Joseph Grotesque, Kevin Lea, Paul Mangione, Mike McHugh, Rory McQueen, Ande Moores (2018S1 Only), Victor Moreno, Brent Scotchmer, Floyd Sumner, Gregory Tilson, Matthew White, and Gavin Williams. While a couple of these artists will be making their Topps sketch debut, the majority have worked on other Topps properties in the past. In most cases these artists have also been GPK collectors for a long time. The total of new artists for 2017S2 is 15, while 16 artists will work on 2018S1. The largest group of new artists in some time brings a record 45 artists working on 2017S2, while 2018S1 will break that mark with 48 artists.
While the number of sketch artists is increasing, their workload is getting smaller. Artists will be shipped the same number of sketch blanks for both sets. While Loaded, Panoramic, and Dual Artist Panoramic sketch numbers appear consistent with previous sets, the amount of regular and die-cut sketches has dropped versus 2017S1 Adam-Geddon. This can mean a couple of things. Most likely, sketch cards will be tougher to come by in the next two sets. Of course this is also all based on production numbers. While Topps has pre-order info for 2017S2, they have not solicited yet for 2018S1. There is no way to know at this point how much product gets ordered. If the products are popular and prove to sell well, then sketches will be very hard to pull. This will be especially true with the Shaped sketches which are now only found in Collector boxes. Topps has cut back by up to 66% on the amount issued to artists. We saw this with Adam-Geddon. Despite production being lower, sketch odds were longer than previous sets. Bottom line is, it keeps getting harder and harder to pull a sketch card in packs.
One improvement this time around compared to Adam-Geddon is the deadlines the artists have to complete sketches. Artists will have nearly two months to complete 2017S2 sketches, with a deadline in mid-Sept. The 2018S1 sketches are not due until early Dec., giving artists ample time to work on sketches. Artists had just over a month to complete sketches for Adam-Geddon, so the slightly longer deadlines should help the artists. Besides the deadlines, not much else appears to have changed with sketch card rules. Artist Return sketches still must be completed prior to the set’s release. Approval via scan by the Art Director must happen before they can be mailed to customers on the release date. The “banned sketch” list continues to be the same. Artists are not allowed to sketch cards featuring Stan Lee, Gene Simmons, the Hundreds set, Riot Fest set, and all Disney properties including Star Wars and Marvel. Expect sketch previews to start showing up just prior to release after approval towards the end of Sept. 2017 Series 2 Garbage Pail Kids Battle of the Bands is set to hit stores on Oct. 18th, 2017.