(IDW Publishing, 2015)
Dean Haspiel, Joe Simko, Mark Pingitore, Peter Bagge
Garbage Pail Kids: Love Stinks from IDW is like any GPK card I’ve ever seen. Extremely low taste concepts paired with provocative art. If you are looking for intelligent, thought provoking sequential Art (with a capital “A”), you are looking in the wrong place. If you want hilarious low brow hijinks with gorgeous art by such alt-art greats as Peter Bagge, Shannon Wheeler, Dean Haspiel, Joe Simko (to name a few) then you found it.
This is an anthology of short comedic pieces, so by definition it’s not going to get too deep plot-wise. Throw in the fact that it’s starring the cast of the GPK cards, all one note joke characters, and the pool gets all the more shallow. That isn’t a criticism exactly, I’m just setting the tone. The humor revolves around visual gags (in both meanings of the word), puns, pop culture references, and just plain gross out humor. As to be expected.
I don’t typically seek out that type of humor, but I was entertained none the less. I remember these cards from my youth, and I was pretty familiar with them, but I didn’t collect them. So I’m curious if someone who is more of a fan of the cards would get more out of this book. I kind of doubt it, although nostalgia may be a factor here. I remember them fondly, so I’m already won over. If you have never seen one of these cards, you may be a little in the dark in terms of what these things are all about.
Be prepared for a lot of vomiting, farting, snot, pus, blood, and even more vomiting. Seriously, a lot of ralphing takes place. If this excites you, perfect. You have a winner. If not, think about giving it a chance just for the superb drawings. I won’t get into the pros and cons of all the individual artists, but I will say that I didn’t see a single drawing in the book that I didn’t like. None of the writing blew me away exactly, but given the subject matter, that’s probably to be expected. The stories were all pretty clever, and it was funny throughout. Lots of interesting riffs on the character concepts. The “love” theme made it a little more tricky I’m sure for the writers. Not only are they being funny with these gross little babies, but they are telling love stories at the same time. Probably harder than it looks.
I know there are a couple sections in there that will stay with me for a while both for the funny concept and the visceral art. At times, when the art and writing really gel, the book produces an extremely memorable image. You just have to ask yourself if these are the images that you want to fill your brain with. Recommended for fans of the original cards, fans of alt-comics art, fans of disgusting babies falling in love, and fans of vomit.