FALL 2005 - SPRING 2006


CAVEAT : MR. ZAPATA IS PARTICIPATING IN THIS INTERVIEW AS 'JEFF ZAPATA' THE ARTIST/FREELANCER,
AND NOT AS AN OFFICIAL SPOKESPERSON FOR TOPPS




1. Will
Garbage Pail Kids 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.


ANS2: 2a AERIAL ARIEL and 2b Bubbly BRIANNA

2. I was very pleased with the ANS3 Wacky Packages 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.


ANS2: 4a Umbilical COREY and 4b Unraveled RAFAEL

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.


ANS2: 19a Spider MANNY and 19b Webby WESLEY

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.


ANS3: 30a Chopper CHAD and 30b Hurlin' HARLEY

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.


ANS3: B5 COLE Gate

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.


Zapata Also Did a Few ANS4 Sketch Cards at the San Diego Comic Con

7. Is there anything else you can tell us about the ANS5 Garbage Pail Kids?

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!



THANKS JEFF!