Former Topps Exec Announces New IP

Ira Friedman Enterprises launches “Craniacs” with Garbage Pail Kids artist as co‐creator.
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License Global

September 12, 2023

Craniacs Ira Friedman Enterprises

After more than three decades at


, serving in various senior management roles, Ira Friedman’s newly formed company, Ira Friedman Enterprises, is now open for business. Drawing on Friedman’s career experience, the firm is focused on creating original, merchandise-friendly content for collectors and kids. Craniacs is the firm’s debut intellectual property.

In collaboration with co‐creator, Joe Simko, fan-favorite Garbage Pail Kids card artist, the Craniacs’ backstory revolves around two civilizations – one from ancient times and the other in the far future. Due to intergalactic circumstances beyond their control, these divergent societies strive to co‐exist, though not without considerable challenges, robust competitions and humorous, action‐adventure hijinks.

Simko’s artwork, showcasing dozens of all‐new character creations, brings Craniacs to life in eye‐popping fashion. Through his self‐described “happy horror” art style, Simko’s vision for the Craniacs is one where all characters feature

unique, skull‐faced designs in various colors and with diverse personalities. 

“As a co‐creator of Craniacs, playing an integral part of a new IP that combines fun storytelling with completely original character designs is a dream opportunity,” says Simko.

The first phase of the Craniacs introduction will be a series of premium-quality trading cards geared to the hobby/collector community. “Series 0” will appear in limited quantities this October in card and pop‐culture shops. In addition to common cards in packs, collectors can chase after randomly inserted foil and other rare cards, including original art sketch cards. Plus, a one‐of‐one “golden ticket” card will appear in one random pack, redeemable by a lucky winner for an original Craniacs full‐color painting featuring an image from the series.

“The trading card category is obviously familiar territory for Joe and me and the ideal launch pad for introducing Craniacs,” says Friedman. “While we expect the brand to resonate in many other formats, cards will remain a key ingredient in Craniacs’ DNA.” 

With cards as a foundational building block, plans are in motion to expand the global Craniacs footprint into various licensed product categories. Talks are underway with interested merchandising partners, with an initial wave of official goods expected during the first half of 2024. News on the animated entertainment front will be announced soon. 

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