Joe Simko

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Joe Simko
Simko at the New York Comic Con
Occupation Illustrator
Known for Garbage Pail Kids
The Sweet Rot
Cereal Boom

Joe Simko is an American illustrator who has contributed to Topps’ Garbage Pail Kids[1] and Wacky Packages trading cards. He is the illustrator/author of the book series, The Sweet Rot, and he designs artwork for bands, creating album covers, tour posters and concert shirts. His project Cereal Killers Trading Cards, 1st Series was released May 2, 2011. The Cereal Killers cards spoof breakfast cereals with popular horror films. Joe wrote and painted all 55 cards for the first and second set and launched the series through his new company, Wax Eye. Cereal Killers, 2nd Series was released through Wax Eye in June 2012.[2]

Wax Eye's first mobile app game for the IOS platform, Cereal Boom, is based on characters from Simko's Cereal Killers card series.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Joe Simko was born in Philadelphia, and raised in Southampton, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1999 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cartooning. He was the recipient of the Joe Orlando scholarship award from his graduating department that year. Among Simko’s instructors at the School of Visual Arts were Joe Orlando (VP of DC Comics and associate editor of Mad), Klaus Jansen, Sal Almendola, and Carmine Infantino.[citation needed]


After graduating from the School of Visual Arts, Simko held a full-time position as an artist for men’s neckwear, creating design pieces for ties. In 2000 Simko was hired as a full-time, in-house storyboard artist for television commercials at GEM Studios in New York City. At this time he also did freelance jobs designing show posters for local bands. This freelance work gained some notice, and he began working for higher profile groups. In 2006, he designed all of the artwork for the large traveling rock tour, The Vans Warped Tour. In 2007, the Japanese rock festival MAGMA commissioned him to design all the artwork for their tour and oversee all the art direction as the managing artist. Two 20 feet (6.1 m) tall inflatable monsters based on Simko's character designs were also created for the Japan Rock concerts.[citation needed]

Simko freelances full-time from his studio in New York City[citation needed] and continues production as author and illustrator of his book series The Sweet Rot. An original story showcasing a group of wildly eccentric little kids also known as "little rotters" in the make-believe town of Pollilop Drop, The Sweet Rot is published by Schiffer Books.

Simko has created artwork for clients and organizations including Topps, Ride Snowboards, Sims Snowboards, Outlook Skateboards, The Gotham Girls Roller Derby League, Fangoria Magazine, New York Hardcore Tattoos, Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend, Monster Mania, JLO Hangtag for Andy Hilfiger, and the NYC clothing boutinque Live Fast.[citation needed]

Simko was penciller and co-creator, with actor Stephen Baldwin, of the graphic novel series Spirit Warriors, and designer of bottle artwork for Manglaze, a nail polish line.[citation needed]

His list of musical clients includes The Misfits, GWAR, Less Than Jake, Trivium, Murphy's Law, Dwarves, Insane Clown Posse, Sonic Youth, Good Riddance, The Undead, Peelander Z, and others.

In 2006, a Simko designed shirt was used in the film Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. The shirt was designed for the store Live Fast in New York City.[citation needed]

2011 was the launch of Wax Eye, a pop culture art based company formed by Simko and his wife June Gonzales. The company has released three trading card series to date: Cereal Killers series 1, Cereal Killers series 2, and Stupid Heroes; as well as a mobile app game Cereal Boom; and a T-shirt line based on the Cereal Killers brand.

In 2014, Simko formed the independent film production company Peel Here Productions,[3] along with partners June Gonzales and Jeff Zapata. Under this film company, they will release a documentary film based on the Garbage Pail Kids phenomenon titled 30 Years of Garbage.[citation needed]

Artwork for rock music festivals[edit]

  • MAGMA – 2007, 2008
  • Vans Warped Tour – 2006
  • Superbowl of Hardcore – 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Medusa Festival – 1 through 5 (2003 through 2006)

Published artwork[edit]

  • One-off sketch cards for the 2012 Mars Attacks! Heritage trading card series - 2012
  • Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packages trading cards for Topps - ongoing
  • Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground, Schiffer Books - Fall 2013
  • The Sweet Rot, Book 3, (The Purple Meltdown) - Schiffer Books - Spring 2012
  • The Sweet Rot, Book 2, (Raiders of the Lost Art) - Schiffer Books - Fall 2011
  • The Sweet Rot – Schiffer Books - Spring 2010 (creator, illustrator, writer)[4]
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow, 2009 (illustrator)
  • Revolver magazine, 2009[5]
  • Roller Derby Art, Schiffer Books[6]
  • Doll magazine – June 2007[7]
  • Revolver – March 2007[8]
  • The Art of Modern Rock mini A-Z. Chronicle Books[9]
  • Skinnie magazine – November 2006[10]
  • Stephen Baldwin’s Spirit Warriors, graphic novel series, B&H Books (creator, illustrator)
  • Blood and Thunder magazine – Winter 2006[11]
  • Spin magazine – spring 2006[12]
  • Swank magazine – April 2004[13]
  • The Art of Modern Rock, Chronicle Books[14]
  • The Art of Electric Frankenstein, Dark Horse – February 2004

Art shows[edit]


  • Dave Brockie Memorial Art Show - MF Gallery (BKYLN, NY)- May 2014
  • Comix Art Gallery Opening - Group show - Comix Art Gallery (Los Angeles, CA) - Feb. 2014


  • Neon Graveyard - Solo Exhibition – TT Underground Gallery @ Toy Tokyo (NYC) – June 2013
  • MF Gallery's 10th Anniversary Art Show (BKYLN, NY)- June 2013


  • MF Gallery 10th Annual Halloween Art Show (BKYLN, NY)- Oct. 2011


  • WWA - Sweet Streets "American 80's in Japan" - (CA) Nov. 2011
  • MF Gallery 9th Annual Halloween Art Show (BKYLN, NY) - Oct. 2011
  • D****Y Group Art Show - MF Gallery (Brooklyn, NY) - January 2011


  • Fangoria Magazine's Halloween Art show - G2 Gallery/Lounge (NYC) - October 2010
  • MF Gallery's 8th Annual Halloween Art show (Genova, Italy) - October 2010
  • I Need Your Skull Show - MF Gallery (Genova, Italy) - September 2010
  • Skateboard Group Art Show - G2 (NYC) - July 2010
  • The Civil War & Founding Fathers Custom Qee Show - Spaghetti Project (Fredericksburg, VA) - July 2010
  • The Sweet Rot Book Release – TT Underground Gallery @ Toy Tokyo (NYC) – June 2010
  • Zombies Attack Brooklyn - MF Gallery (Brooklyn, NY) - June 2010
  • I Need Your Skull Show - MF Gallery (Brooklyn, NY) - May 2010
  • G2 Opening – G2 Gallery Lounge (NYC) – April 2010


  • Naughty and Nice show – Parlor Gallery (NJ) – Dec. 2009
  • Return of the Living Decks – Ave. A (NYC) – Oct. 2009
  • MF Gallery’s 7th Annual Halloween Art Show (NYC) – Oct. 2009
  • Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Horror Weekend – (Orlando, FL) – Oct. 2009
  • Closing Art Exhibition – Live Fast Underground Gallery (NYC) – Sept. 2009
  • Tatto Art Show – MF Gallery (Genova, Italy) – Sept. 2009
  • Kings of Pop – Ave. A (NYC) – August 2009
  • The Art of Simko -Solo Exhibition – Live Fast Underground Gallery (NYC) – Aug. 2009
  • The Punk Rot Art of Joe Simko - Solo Exhibition - ITM Lounge (NYC) – June 2009
  • Night of the Living Decks – Ave. A (NYC) – June 2009
  • MF Gallery Show at Asbury Lanes (NJ) – May 2009
  • Welcome to Our Nightmare - Don Pedro’s (Brooklyn, NY) – March 2009
  • Stitch Custom Vinyl Show – Showroom Gallery NYC (Hong Kong, Hawaii) – Feb. 2009


  • Vicious Intent Poster Show – Showroom Gallery (NYC) – Sept. 2008
  • Halloween Art Show – ITM Lounge (NYC) – Sept. 2008
  • NYC Tribute Art Show – Ave. A (NYC) - Sept. 2008
  • Paint It! – MF Gallery (NYC) – June 2008
  • Sci-Fi Art Show – MF Gallery (NYC) – Jan. 2008


  • Skateboard Art show – Ave. A (NYC) - August 2007
  • Creepy Carnival – MF Gallery (NYC) - August 2007
  • Bart Simpson Custom Vinyl Show–ShowroomGallery (NYC,Japan, China) Summer 2007
  • Zombies Attack! – MF Gallery (NYC)– April - 2007


  • The Skull Show – The Back Alley Gallery (Minneapolis, MN) – May 2006
  • Girls, Girls, Girls – (Live Body Painting Exhibition) MF Gallery (NYC) –April 2006
  • Live Body Painting Exhibition – Live Fast (NYC) – March 2006
  • Zombie Art Show – MF Gallery (NYC) – January 2006


  • The Throne Show – Lulubell Toy Bodega (Tuscan, AZ) – November 2005
  • Halloween Art Show – MF Gallery (NYC) – September 2005
  • Live Fast - Store opening/Mural exhibition (NYC) – Summer 2005
  • Graphic Noise Poster Show – Museum of Design (Atlanta, GA) – Summer 2005
  • Funny Club Show- Rotifugi(Chicago), Munky King(CA), Pixie Gallery(Tawain)–Spring


  • Electric Frankenstein Poster Art – CBGB’s Gallery (NYC) – Summer 2004
  • The Art of Musical Maintenance – The Goodfoot (Portland, OR) – July 2004


  • CBGB’s Gallery – (NYC) – May 2000


  • Solo Exhibition - Gray Parrot Café – (Brooklyn, NY) – 1999
  • Society of Illustrators Group show (NYC) - 1999


  1. ^ GPK artist bios
  2. ^ Simko, Joe. "It's Called the Music Business", Alternative Press Magazine, May 2009, page 37.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Simko, Joe. Schiffer website, Spring 2010. Retrieved on July 11, 2010.
  5. ^ Miret, Roger. Revolver Magazine, New York,2009.
  6. ^ Pfouts, Sherri Schiffer website, Spring 2008. Retrieved on July 11, 2010.
  7. ^ Doll Magazine, Tokyo, Japan. June 2007. Issue 238, back cover artwork
  8. ^ Burgess, Aaron. "Built To Last", Revolver Magazine, NY, New York. March 2007. page 101
  9. ^ King, Dennis. The Art of Modern Rock site 2007. page 61, page 167. Retrieved on July 11, 2010.
  10. ^ Jones, Howard. "Kill Switch Engage", Skinnie Magazine, Rancho Cucamonga, California. November 2006. page 44.
  11. ^ Rio, Dale. "Derby's Image Makers", Blood and Thunder Magazine Winter 2006, page 44
  12. ^ Spin, Spring 2006. page 35
  13. ^ Swank, April 2004.
  14. ^ King, Dennis., Grushkin, Paul. The Art of Modern Rock site 2004. page 483. Retrieved on July 11, 2010.

Further reading[edit]

  • Suarez, Alex. "Dr. Chud, Famous Monster in Stitches", Rebel Ink, January 2010, page 71
  • Wernig, Crazy Glenn. "Parents Be Warned The Sweet Rot, Joe Simko talks 'bout his new book for Kids!!". New York Waste. June 2010. cover, page 8
  • Wernig, Crazy Glenn. "The Art of Joe Simko at LiveFast". New York Waste. Fall 2009. page 6.
  • Simko, Joe. "It's Called the Music Business", Alternative Press Magazine, May 2009. page 37.
  • Rio, Dale. "Derby's Image Makers", Blood and Thunder Magazine Winter 2006, page 44

External links[edit]