TOM BUNK : LUIS DIAZ : DAVE GROSS : JAY LYNCH : JEFF ZAPATA
FALL 2005 - SPRING 2006
1. What Topps projects are you currently working on?
Right now, I am working on... or at least, I should be working on the Garbage Pail Kids ANS 5. These days, I am a bit slow due to the chemotherapy and its unpleasant side effects. For the last Wacky Package series I didn't get to do any work for the same reasons. I was slow and weak, and when I could have started, the whole thing was already over and done with.
2. How many pieces of art,
per project, do you hope to have completed for the release(s)?
I hope to paint at least 4-5 pieces, depending on the deadline. As usual, I have many different jobs and things going on at the same time, though Topps is one of my priorities. Jeff Zapata (art director at Topps) is very understanding of my situation and gives me a lot of leeway... but deadlines are deadlines. I hope I can do more paintings than mentioned above.
3. What did you think of the Sketch
cards commemorating the 20th GPK anniversary for the ANS 4 set? That's 20
sets in twenty years you've worked on for Topps.
The sketch cards were a nice idea for the fans, so they could get their greedy, collector fingers on some original art. It was also good for Topps to sell more boxes, but for me, it was additional work (for minimal compensation), and because it was shortly after my surgery, radiation, and chemo, I had a really hard time even climbing up the stairs to my studio and holding a pencil. That's why I did only some cards, I don't even know how many I did. The remaining blank sketch cards I had to send back for somebody else to do their sketches. The 20 years commemorating part didn't really enter my mind very much at the time, but now I do think more about time flying away rapidly, and my mind with it!
4. How does working on GPK now
differ from twenty years ago?
20 years ago, it was much more exciting to work on the GPKs. I had a studio in Brooklyn, not far from Topps. They were in an industrial part of Brooklyn, near the port, a very romantic area... it looked like some great background for Mafia movies, where they get rid of their victims by putting them into cement blocks and dumping them into the water. Well, I went there once or twice a week to meet Art Spiegelman and Mark Newgarden (and other nice people who were involved, like Len Brown and Stan Hart). With the 3rd series GPK, I started to work on the fronts, but I also did a lot of work on the backs... partly complete series and partly with other artists. I was actually so busy and stressed-out that I didn't realize that the GPKs had become a phenomenal rage all over the globe. I remember Art asking me whether I knew that I was involved in something really big... I didn't, but then I started to see all of the newspaper articles about the GPKs crazy fame, and everywhere I went I saw GPK wrappers on the floor, on the streets, and in the subways. I was excited... thrilled... and amazed!
Today, things are just different - calmer, and more professional. In the beginning, I was still learning how to render the work realistically with Acrylic and airbrush. Though it's not as exciting and nerve-wrecking because I am technically more experienced and I feel more experienced, and I feel more confident. But now I do enjoy it very much in another way, for example, I am now getting recognition for the work I do and did for the GPKs (and many of the other Topps projects I did). The collectors are now more knowledgeable about the artists behind the stickers, thanks to the fabulous people like you Aaron, who kept the GPKs' flame on the front burner all of these years - I wasn't even aware of it until Jay Lynch told me about two years ago to check the internet in this regard. Well, in the 80's, the fans were little kids, there was no internet and typically, kids don't really care very much who does what, as long as it's really disgusting - and the most important thing was that their parents and teachers and other grown-ups hated them nasty, naughty stickers.
The other very nice side of the development now-a-days is that because of the increased interest in the art itself, I am starting to sell my sketches and roughs to collectors and fans. Fortunately, I have kept all of my sketches (not because I thought I would sell them one day, but because I can't throw anything out!). Now I'm glad I stuffed every piece of paper into my drawer and left it there all of these years.
5. What is your favorite GPK that
you drew in the Eighties?
My favorites are still the first ones: #89 (Hurt CURT/PAT Splat), #91 (BLAKE Flake/Hippie SKIPPY), #95 (Grim JIM/BETH Death), #115 (Warmin' NORMAN/Well Done SHELDON), especially #178 (EARL Painting/Blue Boy GEORGE), #263 (VINCENT Van Gone/Modern ART) and many others. Because they are all somehow like my children, it's hard to choose just one favorite - actually, I wouldn't like to have the GPK as my own children, they would totally destroy my already unstable state of mind! - but I still love them.
6. Do you have a favorite GPK for
the ANS releases?
ANS1 - # 18 (Rodent ROB), #23 (Sushi SUSIE) and #28 (Duped DAVID). [also from the unpublished 16th series set]
ANS2 - #5 (Fat CHANCE) and #16 (Dandruff DAN).
ANS3 - #14 (BOB Gnarly), #10 (Astro NAT) and # 31 (Poopdeck PETE).
ANS4 - #12 (Brainwashed BRIAN) and #30 (Turdking TRAVIS).
7. With the Care Bears being
popular again, any hopes that Topps will come out with a card release for
the Gross Bears buttons you did in the 80's?
I don't know anything about Topps' plans in this regard, but I'll ask Jeff Zapata. It would be about time to take on these cute bears and tear them apart!
8. How was it working on the Gross Bears set?
When I got the job in June of 1985
to create a complete Barf Bears series (that's what they were called then),
I thought, "Oh, my - that's going to be a major headache!". It was
the same time that John Pound was already working on the GPKs, and Topps,
Art Spiegelman, and Mark Newgarden had me already drawing the cartoons for
the reverse side of the complete 1st and 2nd GPK sticker sets. And, on top
of it all, my first child was just about to be born. My wife and I lived in
a one room apartment in Manhattan, and I had to do the airbrushing (it's kind
of toxic) in our tiny, windowless bathroom! Also, I didn't know anything
about airbrushing and had to teach it to myself the nerve-wrecking way! So
I had to find a studio somewhere else where I would have the space, the peace,
and the light for the work... which happened to be in Brooklyn at my inlaws
house not far from Topps. There I completed in September, the whole Gross
Bears Buttons series, including the box artwork, "wrappers", and
lettering... warts and all!
Unfortunately, the Bears didn't have much of a chance to get very far, because the GPKs' craze took all of the attention away from Topps, the candy store sellers, the american youth, and the nation in general. Then immediately after I finished the Bears, I started to work on the Garbage Pail Kids, this time not only continuing to do work on the backs, but now also on the fronts (starting with the 3rd series). Because the GPK rage started to really take off and we had to produce sets fast and furious, soon James Warhola joined the crazy club with his art. It became a very stressful time for me for a couple of years (without getting even one additional penny from the multi-million dollar profit Topps ended up making - we didn't even get the originals back - Topps later sold these in auctions making even more profit without giving the artists any compensation as recognition of their contribution -- which I thought really sucked). After that, Art Spiegelman left Topps and made comic history by finishing his Maus books.
9. Where else can we find Bunk
art? And what other personal projects have you recently been working on?
I have worked quite regularly for MAD magazine since 1990, and I'm doing a lot of other jobs for children books, science magazines, and illustrations for high school textbooks (physics, chemistry, earth science, etc.). I'm just now having an art exhibition in the Hall of Science in Queens, NY where almost 60 of my metaphysical illustrations for Quantum, a science magaizine, are being shown. There is also a wonderful book, called Quantoons, with all of the illustrations that is published by NSTA. When I have some time inbetween, and I wish I had more, I work for my own plain pleasure on larger size oil paintings. That's what I really would like to do in the future, whatever future there is in store for me. But to survive, I have to do all of these jobs, after all, somebody has to put the tofu on the table! I actually love to do them, too.
10. What other Topps projects,
other then GPK and Gross Bears, have you worked on?
There were jobs to do all of the time besides GPK that Topps wanted me to do. I worked on complete projects (with wrapper and box art, etc.) like Stupid Smiles Stickers or Pick'N Chews Bubble Gum. I illustrated two, very funny, little books called The Nursery Crimes (parody of Nursery Rhymes) and My Pal the Pit Bull, both have been finished but they never made it to the stores. I also created art for a whole bunch of boxes: Dino (toys with candy eggs), Wacky Packages (1985), Mutant Eggs, Funny Farm (my first job in 1984), Cheap Toys (GPK toy figurines), T-Shirt Factory, Thumb Sucker, etc. I also worked on various projects like Toxic High, Gruesome Greeting Cards, Iron-Ons, Wacky Packs, Trash Can Trolls, Bathroom Buddies, and there were projects that were created, worked on, but never finished or published - like the Loco Motion cards, with crazy images of x-treme sports, like skating, snow boarding, dirtbiking, surfing, etc. There were also projects that were started, and I don't even remember what they were about! I did practically all the odds and ends stuff that needed to be done at Topps, and I was always around. It seems I was Topps' multi-talented, all-around, resident artist... and when I look back, I wonder how I even had the time to take a breath, let alone live!
1. What Topps projects are you
currently working on? GPK/WP?
I'm currently working on ANS5 GPK right now.
2. How many pieces of art,
per project, do you hope to have completed for the release(s)?
I hope to finish more than last time (for ANS4 GPK), which was 9 pieces. I'm about to finish my 9th piece this week. I didn't work on Wacky Packages this time around. So the StarDucks Coffee is the only one I've done so far for the ANS2 set because I had other things I had to work on at the time.
3. Do you have a favorite GPK for
the ANS releases that you've done?
I think some of the new ones that I've done (for ANS5) have come out great compared to some of my first painted ones. I like the Batman ("Batty Brad" promo) one. I think that's where the paintings started to look more like what I thought they should look like. I was really kind of mixed-up at first because I was trying to paint them like the ones I grew up with in the 80's when I was eight. I grew up with GPK from the 2nd series to about the 6th and 7th series or so, I really didn't know what happened after that and I didn't know about the changes or history until I started working for Topps. I got some information from fans like you guys... so thanks!
4. What type of artwork history
do you have? School, comics, etc.?
I went to the Maryland Institute - College of Art and graduated in 1999. I was into comic book super heroes since I was four. I loved them, but it wasn't until a friend started to bring comic books to school that I got into that. I think the biggest influences in my art were Garbage Pail Kids' by John Pound (the first paintings I had ever seen), Judgement in Gotham by Simon Bisley, and Darkwerks by Brom... and now I think Mark Ryden and Todd Schorr are the things I look at the most and want my art to go into that direction. Those are the most important art influences I have. As for comic books, I really don't like super hero books anymore, especially the well established ones. I like mature oriented books. That's what my writer bud, Ricardo Porven, and myself like to create for our work. The forum for projects that Rick and I are doing, and general talk, is at: www.hallucinonia.com/Hallucinonia.html
5. How did work find you at Topps?
It was a funny story - aren't they all!? I went into this thing where I wanted to see if I could locate Pound, Bunk, and Lynch and thank them for working on the Garbage Pail Kids. So I wrote to them and I told them that their work had influenced mine so much, and like always, I pimped the work from my website (www.ldiaz.com) and they gave me some really good advice.
They were all very nice, and I was happy that they just responded. They also told me about the new series and I was in shock to hear about it. So I asked them if they were looking for any artists. Jay Lynch gave me the information and where exactly to send the work to for review... so after almost a month, I came up with three samples and I sent them to Topps later that year. After a few months, and with very little expectations to receive work, I got a phone call from Jeff Zapata. It was a dream come true, and one of those things in life where everything kind of goes full circle. Like a father passing on the torch to his kid or something like that... I'm not good at writing, so I leave that to the experts! So after that, I got the "Sweaty BETTY" character to work on which was my first... and I was glad it was a woman (laugh!).
6. Were you a fan of GPK or WP
back in the 80's? And, how do you feel about working on the new phase of the
GPK craze now?
I was one of the kids with a huge stack of GPK with rubber bands around them, and it was no wonder my teachers always took them from me. Some of my friends had them on their Trapper Keepers and folders, but I never liked to stick them anywhere. I had some friends with their whole door filled with them... man... that was awesome! I never had the guts to do that. I'm a neat freak.
Wacky Packages I didn't know about them until a few years ago, so that totally skipped me... and I guess that's why I wasn't trying to get work for the series, but I know there are some series die-hard fans that love it, and I've grown to like them also... so I hope to work on some in the future.
About the GPK... I know I dwelved a little into this question earlier... but like I said, it was a dream come true, and it was my first real mass produced work. I had done a comic book before, but it was short, and it was also made into a black and white book (Wynonna Earp), which I had done some nice colors on for IDW Publishing. So Garbage Pail Kids were my first real big-time work. I am excited about it and I think lots of fans out there have embraced my GPK work. I never had fans before, and the amount of really nice people I have met through emails and letters really make it all worthwhile.
7. You're coloring style is eerily
close to Pound's GPK work... you're extremely talented and have been labeled
the "new" Pound within the GPK community... what are your thoughts?
What are your technique's, painting style?
Well, that just kind of makes me tear up to think some people might think that! First off, no one can compare to what Pound does. He's the creator of the whole GPK look. I'm just trying to bring in some of that fun stuff he does with what I know about painting and my own history with the GPK world... but I know for sure that I paint differently from Pound. I do think my painting style or art style tends to be more about dramatic lighting where I have to imagine where light is hitting the characters and go from there. So sometimes the darker humor I think works better for me... like bloody things, and chopping off hands... and the like. "Hallow WAYNE" comes to mind, and that one was received very well.
Pound is great all around, but he's more of a realistic cartoonist, like the Low Brow guys in California that are doing some great gallery work right now. I also like the one's Tom Bunk did... and still does... that have stuff all over the place (remeniscent of "Where's Waldo?" scenes). I appreciate the junk he adds to his work. He also has some good colors working in there and has done a great job on the new and original GPK series'. I especially loved his Gross Bears.
As for my technique... hmmm... I really
think I didn't take anything with acrylics as far as the way I have done with
GPK, which means I never added so much detail or used the tiniest brushes
before. I was more of a mixed media guy, so GPK have really forced me to work
from start to finish with acrylics. It also made me go back to the old airbrushes
I used in high school. With the newer GPK, I'm always trying to find ways
to get as much detail as I can and find new ways to draw GPK. I found some
ways now with different kinds of paper and ways to do backgrounds a little
easier... but I'm still painting with acrylics and there really is no other
way for me to achieve the things I do any other way... trust me... I tried!
8. Where else can we find Diaz art? And what other personal projects have you recently been, or will be working on (Projects, website, etc.)?
When I am not drawing GPK, I'm working on comic book stories for Grafika and Arcana, and any other sick company that decides to give us a chance. Rick and I have a few books out so far that are more like previews. One called 3DDD which is an apocalyptic-styled book (www.gafikapress.com/3ddd-fp.html) and the other one is Chupacabra for LO-FI magazine (www.devil-dealer.bigstep.com/category.html?UCIDs=1322593), issues 1-2. The other ones will be coming out some time in the summer. We were also featured in Fangoria online twice.
I am also available for commissions
and do that a lot these days for fans. I also do my own sketch cards with
my character LD Monster and I've sold and given out about a hundred
or so of those. I also hope to sell some paintings of my own characters when
I open up the GPK Art of Luis Diaz site again in the spring. I also have a
store (www.cafepress.com/hallucinonia) to get your own posters and shirts
of LD Monster's and other creepy cool stuff. I plan to expand the clothing
A "Thank you" to all of my friends that have enjoyed my work in the ANS GPK and I hope you guys love the new stuff I've done for the upcoming ANS5 set!
1. What Topps projects
have you recently been working on?
I recently worked on Wacky Packages Series 3 and Garbage Pail Kids Series 5... and I just started Wacky Packages Series 4.
2. How many pieces of art (per project) were completed for the release(s)?
For WP3 I did 36 paintings and another 3 designs. 26 are in the base set, 3 are part of the foil subset, 4 are bonus stickers, and the rest were held back probably for WP4. For GPK5, I did 6 designs, 2 of which I painted. Luis Diaz painted two of the others, with John Pound and John Cebollero doing the other two. I've seen three of the four pieces and they are outstanding. I'm more of a fill-in artist for GPK at this point due to heavily working on Wacky Packages, and at the same time, as well as the fact that Topps has some really great artists in Pound, Bunk and Diaz working on it. By the time I'm done with Wacky's, there areonly a few GPK left. A few of the more entrenched fans were a bit tough on some of my first pieces, but I think they will be happy with the new ones. There's a big learning curve on GPK because the fans want everything to look like John Pound. It takes some time to adjust your style to mimic someone else. Hopefully they look "Pound-ish" (new word!), but still have some of my own look in them.
3. Do you have a favorite GPK
or WP for the ANS releases that you've done?
For Garbage Pail Kids, one of the new pieces I did is my favorite so I can't tell you what it is right now! I'll just say it involves gambling. I am happy with "DOUG Sledding" (bonus card #6) from GPK4 as well, but just a bit disappointed by how dark it was printed. It lost a lot of its charm.
For Wacky Packages, I really like Creeps from WP2. This is a spoof of those tasty marshmallow Peeps candy that come out every Easter. For WP3, my favorite is "Sundburn Bread".
4. What type of artwork history
do you have? School, comics, etc.?
I went to Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers where I studied painting and printmaking. Since then, I worked with Jim Shooter at Defiant Comics doing pencil work on their trading cards before that company bombed out! I did a few comics over the years along with loads of temporary tattoo work for WCW (the wrestling company that was bought by WWE), other tattoos, along with toy and package design, wrapping paper, children's puzzles, etc. Found out something over those years... pay for artists SUCKS and you're always the last to get paid (if at all). So I said "Screw it" until the Wacky Packages gig presented itself. My wife and I have an internet collectible toy biz and own a bunch of real estate now which gives me some time and money flexibility to do projects like this.
5. How did work find you at Topps?
I had known Jay Lynch through the Wacky Packages message boards. When I heard that Topps was bringing back Wacky's, I quickly did three sample paintings and with Jay putting in a word for me, I sent them over to Topps by computer. Just an hour or so after sending them, I got an email from editor Jeff Zapata telling me they wanted to use one for a bonus sticker for ANS1 WP. So that's how I got Asteroids into that series. I lucked out because they had just pulled a piece from teh series and were desperate for a new piece. Right spot at the right time!
6. Were you a fan of WP or GPK
in the 70's and 80's, and how do you feel about working on the new phase
of the WP and GPK craze now?
I was a HUGE Wacky collector as a kid. I was pretty young when they came out, but I hoarded them for a few years. About ten years ago, I found a nice 7 inch tall stack of them, at my parents house, and finished off any of the ones I was missing, so I have a full set of the oldies now. I did not collect GPK because I was in high school but my sister was a big collector of them so I knew them well. In fact, she gave me a monstrous box full of them when she found out I was working on them.
It's a real thrill to be painting these. I started drawing because of Wacky Packs. I would copy all the stickers when I got them and make some of my own so this is a full cirlce thing. Never would I have thought they would bring Wacky Packs back. I really enjoy the GPK too. They are even more of a challenge than the Wacky's because the fans are so demanding.
7. As seen laid out in my ANS3
"GPK History" section, I was blown away at your GPK roughs you
completed for the series that were switched-up a bit for the final release...
and extremely surprised that your unpublished "Pushing up DAISY/Dawn
of the DAWN" piece was never released. What are your technique's, painting
I liked that piece! I think the problems with it were that it was done too much like the Cabbage Patch Dolls which is a no-no, and that dead characters rising from the grave have been done to, well, death.
Almost everything I have done for Topps I have written, so I'm usually working from my own roughs which gives me the flexibility to alter things as I go along. I like to keep most of what the rough looks like if I get it from another artist, unless Topps specifically asks for changes. I made quite a few changes to "Totem TIM" (ANS4 25a and 25b "High Man DAN"), because the rough Jay sent was similar to an older GPK totem pole gag in terms of layout (original 3rd series 107a "Totem PAULA" and 107b "TATEM Pole"). That's probably the only one.
As far as how I work, well, I'm hunched over my desk with little brushes painting with gouche on a canvas of paper no bigger then 5" x 7". Tough on the back and eyes. I trace my rough out, block in the colors, and then start detailing. That's about it. I was used to painting on 5 FOOT canvases, not on 5 INCHES!
8. Where else can we find "Gross"
art? And what other personal projects have you recently been, or will be,
working on? Website, etc.?
I wish I had time for my own art right now, but I am already working on WP4! Thanks for reminding me though, I have to get a website going one of these days...
Thanks for asking for an interview, I hope people like the new Wacky series and the few pieces I did for GPK this go around. Take care - Dave.
1. What Topps projetcs have
you currently been working on?
I did the backs for the ANS 5 GPK set, and a few roughs for the fronts... and roughs for the 'alphabet stickers'. And right now, I'm working on some roughs for some top-secret new series ideas, which may, or may not come out.
2. How many concept pieces (per project) did you have completed fro the release(s)? did you once again work on the backs for both GPK and WP sets?
I didn't do anything for the ANS3 WP set, I don't think... Unless Topps used some gags I submitted for Series 1 or Series 2 that they didn't use in those two previous sets. I haven't seen the WP Series 3 set yet. Topps doesn't send me this stuff. Dave Gross did most of the ANS3 Wacky's, and Neil Camera did the backs. I've been too busy with the ANS5 GPK to do anything for the ANS3 WP set. On Series 5 GPK, I did 70 or 80 roughs. 24 for the backs... 30 alphabet stickers... and the rest would be roughs for the fronts. I won't know what they used for sure until I see the printed product.
3. What did you think of the Sketch cards commemorating the 20th GPK annivarsary for the ANS4 GPK set? That's 20 sets in twenty years you've worked on them.
I don't know what to think of the 'sketch cards'. I enjoyed getting paid, that's for sure. I did 2 or 3 thousand of them. It was kind of mindless work... drawing the same thing over and over. But I enjoyed the money. In order to make it profitable I did something like 6 images and repeated them 500 times each, or something like that. I figured it out... I had to do one card a minute to make it worthwhile. I used a crow-quill pen, which allows one to draw fast. I thought they came out okay. Serious collectors might like them... but I don't think the average ten-year-old thinks of these cards as "drawings". I don't think a kid thinks of them as something that someone drew. They just take them at face value... an ugly kid with a goofy name and a funny gag. They don't think anyone actually DREW these pictures. so I dont' think the 'sketch cards' were something that would be a real selling point with a mass audience of actual kids... who buy the cards for their entertainment value. I think the real audience, the kid audience, will be more amused by the 'alphabet sticker' cards... where they can use these ABC stickers to spell out rude words on public walls and stuff.
4. How does working on GPK now
differ from twenty years ago? Technique/freedom?
The GPK's are gone over with a fine-tooth comb for political correctnes now-a-days. There is also a general thought at Topps that kids know nothing of the mass culture except for the media that is aimed directly at kids. So in the old days, we could make jokes about the adult culture as well as the kid's culture. One of the old fake premiums on the backs of the cards in the 80's was these eyeglasses that the kid would supposedly send in 5,000 GPk wrappers and $500 for (comic back for 8th series cards 294A and 294B)... they were eyeglasses that had spikes in them, so that when a person put them on they would poke out their eyes. We called them "Oedipus Spex". A gag like that would never pass the Topps execs today. Not so much for the eye injury aspect, but because someone along the line at Topps would say "Kids don't know who Oedipus is, change it to Sponge Bob". In the old days, we could educate kids. Now we just seem to condescend to some notion of the idea that kids only know the kids media... which kind of cramps the style of the humor. But this is usually the case with every successful satire product throughout history. Once it starts to make money, it starts to aim at a wider audience which inevitably waters-down the humor.
5. What is your favorite GPK that you drew in the eighties? Concept/final?
I don't know what my favorite GPK that I did the rough for in the 80's was... I guess the prisoner kid... where there is a smaller prisoner behind bars inside his mouth. I called it "Jailhouse RICK" on the rough, but the name was changed to something else when they released it (9th series 343a "Con VIC" and 343b "AL Catraz").
6. Do you have a favorite GPK for the ANS releases?
My favorite GPK of all time that I did was "Birdbrain BRIAN" (ANS3 20a and 20b "Cuckoo CHRIS"), though. This is from one of the All-New Series'. That one has a moral to it: "Don't let anyone brainwash you kids! If you do, you're a sap!". That's the meaning of the card... don't tell Topps, though.
Jay does great GPK and WP work for commission!
7. With the recent success of both of Topps GPK humor and WP parody sets, and the 80's nostalgia being so popular again, any hopes that Topps will come out with another humor or parody set? Like another Trash Can Trolls set? Or like the Dark Horses's Meanie Babies parody set?
Topps is always trying to develop new parody and humor sets. They might be a little more cautious now, as they haven't done as many original sets in recent decades as they did in the 60's or 70's, but it seems a good climate for a new set now... with the success of the new GPK's and Wacky's and all.
8. How was it working on the non-Topps Meanie Babies parody set with John Pound? The writing on the backs were very humorous, especially the Top Cow's GUFF! comic.
I still have the roughs for the GUFF! Meanie Babies story. Pound created all the characters for the Meanie Babies. I just wrote the poems for the backs. I wrote 2 poems for each back, and David Scroggy, an editor at Dark Horse, picked the poem that he considered the better of the two for each back, and that's what they printed... it was a pretty easy gig.
9. Where else can we find Lynch art? And what other personal projects have you recently been, or will be working on?
I started to do an autobiographical comic... three stories from it are posted at www.topshelfcomics.com. I don't know if I'll ever finish it though. This type of stuff pays very little... and I rarely have time to work on it. I wrote these yarns and did roughs and Ed Piskor drew them. I also do some dangerious stuff... but this is the stuff I like best... if you go to www.corporatecampaign.org and check out the 'current' campaigns... check out Coca Cola and The Airline Mechanics Union stuff... I did all the paintings and drawings and lots of ideas for these campaigns... but I didn't sign any of the Coke stuff, since I dont' want to get killed! I mean, this stuff REALLY fights the "Man". The trading card stuff is subtle satire... but the Corporate Campaign stuff tells it like it is. King of like Wacky Packs with sharp teeth.
10. What other Topps projects, besides GPK and WP, have you worked on in the past?
I've worked on tons of Topps projects over the years. I wrote the Goosebumps trivia questions sticker album... I've never seen a printed copy, though. Topps doesn't send me this stuff. I wrote the copy for Precious Puppies... I did the Batman sticker album... Smurfs cards... Funny Little Joke Books... Tattoons... Bathroom Buddies... Travel Posters... On Board Signs... those Marvel character stickers in the 70's... I designed candy products like Paint-Roller Pops... and numerous lollipops and candy dispensers... I did the Bazooka Joe strips in the early 90's... I did the folding valentine posters in the 70's... and I worked on lots of this licensed stuff... like Happy Days cards, Good Times cards... cards from all those old TV shows... I drew the Duckman comic for Topps... I did Ugly Stickers roughs... the list just goes on and on!
** FORWARD : MR. ZAPATA IS
PARTICIPATING IN THIS INTERVIEW AS "JEFF ZAPATA" THE ARTIST/FREELANCER,
AND NOT AS AN OFFICIAL SPOKESPERSON FOR TOPPS**
1. Will GPK still be released in February, or be pushed back at all?
Yes! The Garbage Pail Kids will be back and better than ever in February, and so far, there seems to be no delays.
2. I was very pleased with the ANS3
WP presale, the set is amazing, with a sharp look, but almost an old, nostalgic
feel to them... looking forward to the national release in March for the bonus
card goodies. I hear some of the artists are already working on a ANS4 WP set...
will there possibly be a ANS6 GPK set to follow the ANS5 release, or will this
all depend on sales?
First off, thanks for noticing the great artwork in Wacky 3. Dave Gross, Joe McWilliams, John Pound and the other great Wacky artists really made this a special series. I honestly think it's one of the best of the new Wacky card sets. We put together a fantastic team of artists/writers who understand what Wacky is all about, and most importantly, were able to take art direction from a really great, and may I say, handsome guy! (hahaha) But seriously, we all "Form-ed Voltron" and tried to make a set that would be a homage to the originals. And yes, the rumors are true, we are already underway in producing more gags for a possible ANS4 set.
In regards to another GPK series, well, anything is possible. It's still going strong and I'm hoping Series 5 will be successful enough to bring about another series. It depends on sales and also what can be done differently the next time around. In Series 5, I was finally able to do things I wasn't able to do in the last few series. First, I made a new style guide that I thought looked better than the "David and Goliath" looking GPK's we were doing [see picture of style guide within ANS5 section]. Also, I got my dream team of John Pound and Luis Diaz to do most of the art/gags. I was also able to get more surreal type gags in the set that were so hard to get approved before. Besides that, there are some other great innovations but I'll let that be a surprise.
3. Do you have a favorite GPK or
WP for the ANS releases that you've done a concept for? How much "hands-on"
were you for the upcoming ANS5 GPK set?
My personal "hands-on" with GPK were probably the kid being thrown-up by the shark (ANS2 3a "Eaten ETHAN" and 3b "JOSÉ Soufflé"), the Ozzie-looking kid eating a bat sandwich (ANS2 13a "Scuzzy OZZY" and 13b "Rockin' RICK"), and the Girl Scout throwing-up cookies (ANS2 25a "Cookie-Tosser TESSA" and 25b "Krummy KIM"). I did a bunch more, but those are the ones that stick out. In Series 5, I didn't do that many roughs, I'm too busy doing other card sets like WWE. Although, I do sometimes re-draw compositions and come up with gags with that artists. John Pound and I have a great relationship in that respect. We'll just be talking on the phone and he'll say "How about this!?" and I'll say "Yeah, that's cool, but imagine if this happened as well..." and the next thing we know we're cracking up and taking notes. Working with John Pound is one of the best parts of my week.
4. What type of artwork history do
you have? School, comics, etc.?
Geez, we're going some years back! I went to The School of Visual Arts in NYC and was taught by some of the best comic book artists, like Gene Colan and will Eisner. While I was working part-time as a stock boy for an audio/video store, I'd draw full-page comics on large projection TV set boxes and such. One day, I got a call from a famous comic book artist who said he bought one of the TV's and saw my art on the box. The man liked it enough to want to see my portfolio. He looked at it and gave me a note saying I should look for work at a place called Valiant Comics. I showed Bob Layton (the editor-in-chief, and an awesome artist) the note and they hired me as an assistant. I will always be indebted to the great Neal Adams for referring me to them and taking the time to give a kid a chance. At Valiant, later to become Acclaim Comics, I did whatever I could to try to get professional work... I did paste-ups, answered phones, re-touched art, and finally was able to design characters and draw some pin-ups. It was there that I got a call from an editor named Tony Bedard (now a full-time professional comic writer and one of my best friends) from Crusade Comics. He worked for artist Bill Tucci, the creator of SHI. There I was able to learn every facet of publishing. We worked on comics, toys, posters, and games. We got to work with Marvel for a Daredevil/Shi crossover, and I got to draw a 22 pages of the "Thing" for a Marvel pin-up looking game and an issue of Shi. On a freelance basis, I would do story-boards for commercials and whatever other gigs I could get. Recently, I just finished some sketch cards for a new "Lord of the Rings" card set. You can check some samples of my sketch cards at: www.lotrsketchcards.com. And, I'm always willing to do any work-for-hire that wouldn't interfere with my Topps work. That's my art history.
Jeff Zapata also did a few ANS4 Sketch Cards at the San Diego Comic Con!
5. How did work find you at Topps?
After I split from Crusade Comics, I was at home just moping around and I got a call from Topps. They said a design studio, that knew of my work in comics, referred them to me. I went and met with the folks at Topps and was hired to edit and manage the Official Star Wars Episode 1 Souvenir Magazine. That's how it started. I later went to design candy products, edit several card sets, including Marvel Legends, Xena, Planet of the Apes, Spider-Man Movie and many other licenses and properties including the Simpsons, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, etc., you name it, I worked on it.
6. Were you a fan of WP or GPK in
the 70's-80's, and how do you feel about working on the new phase of the GPK
and WP craze now?
I was more of a Wacky fan in the 70's/80's, but I did buy the GPK's now-and-then for the art. I became more of a fan years later when I started getting interested in underground comic artists like Bunk, Lynch, Spiegelman (who also taught at SVA as well), and Pound. I would buy some old "Raw" or "Arcade" comics and say "What else did these guy do?". Then I would buy loose GPK cards and stare at them trying to find out how they airbrushed this or how they got a texture to look like that. As far as Wacky's go, I collected like crazy in the 70's and 80's and I still have my old collector album and stickers. I was, and still am, a huge admirer of Norm Saunders, the man, and his art. I would collect his pulp magazine covers as a kid and never knew it was the same guy who did Wacky. It's such an honor and a thrill to be working with both Wacky Packages and Garbage Pail Kids. It's a dream come true, and yet, I wish I could talk to guys like Spiegelman who may be he only other person who can understand the obstacles one goes through in a card series like these. Things are done differently since his days at Topps, and I would love to trade notes and get advice from him. Not on art direction or anything (although, I wouldn't mind!), but on other aspects of the job that I know he faced as well.
7. Is there anything else you can
tell us about the ANS5 GPK?
Yes! I finally convinced Jay Lynch to write, pencil, ink, and color (the coloring was his idea) all of the card backs that will feature GPK comics and puzzles. It makes a big difference when he does finished pencils and inks. Also, Justin Green is doing a fine job on the 'alphabet stickers', in which Lynch did the layouts for. I'm sure kids will love these cleverly designed stickers. Also, this series will introduce a few new artists and feature old fan faves like Pound, Bunk, and Diaz. Also, look for some pieces by Wacky Packages artist extraordinaire David Gross, who has improved by leaps and bounds since his last GPK outing. There's a bunch more stuff in the new series that's exciting, but that's all I'll say for now.
Thanks Aaron, for all of your support and past suggestions, it's great to see another GPK site run by a true fan that talks about the series with its creator's and not about themselves... you are a class-act and professional. Take care!