The New York Times reports that underground comics artist Jay Lynch died this week.
Though he never achieved the same level of fame as some of the other subversive comic creators of the 1960s and ’70s, he was a key figure in the comix movement that included Robert Crumb, Jay Kinney, Art Spiegelman, Gilbert Shelton, Justin Green, Kim Deitch, and others.
Most American kids became familiar with Lynch’s art through his work with the Topps trading card company. From 1967 to 1990, he was the main writer of the Bazooka Joe comics that came wrapped around sticks of rock hard, powdery bubble gum. During that same time period, Topps and Art Spiegelman tasked Lynch with contributing to a series of stickers that parodied well-know consumer products and brands. Listerine mouthwash became Blisterine, Eveready batteries became Neveready, Ding Dong cake became Ping Pongs.
In 1985, Topps added a little extra grossness to the Wacky Packages concept and introduced Garbage Pail Kids, a series of trading cards that parodied the then-popular Cabbage Patch Kids. Each card featured a Garbage Pail Kid, usually suffering some from some terrible disfigurement or malady, with an alliterative character name. The cards were so popular that Messy Tessie, Foul Phil, Greaser Greg, Ali Gator, Valerie Vomit, and other Garbage Pail Kids starred in their own movie in 1987.
Jay Lynch’s work for Bazooka Joe, Wacky Packages, and Garbage Pail Kids has been collected into a series of art books.