By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Every year, we try to pick an artistic theme that'll make our Scariest People issue as ghastly as possible—say, Dia de los Muertos, zombies or the Lincoln Club. But this year, when we saw the gargantuan, disgusting, all-chin mugshot of accused child kidnapper Victor Joseph Espinoza, the idea came immediately: Garbage Pail Kids!
Of course, we didn't figure this out until about a week before deadline, which explains why we were only able to commission such few homages to Topps' cult-classic trading cards. But to make up for our fuckup, we asked actual Garbage Pail Kids artist Joe Simko to do the honors of turning four of our Scariest nominees into grotesque, hilarious caricatures. Enjoy, and don't forget to visit our Navel Gazing blog to see who's this year's inductee into the Bob Dornan Scary OC Hall of Fame!
1. VICTOR JOSEPH ESPINOZA
It's pretty frightening what the documented gang member is accused of doing: grabbing a 10-year-old boy, hoisting the lad and sniffing him. The boy managed to break away and run to his soccer coach, who tackled and briefly held down the 425-pound man, who eventually escaped. Police caught him hiding a short distance away, and 55-year-old Victor Joseph Espinoza is now up on false imprisonment and street terrorism charges, with gang and prior-strike enhancements. But vastly more scary than all that is the balloon-sized bubble of fleshy neck fat extending from just below Espinoza's chin to his upper chest. Don't look directly at it too long, for it seems to possess strange powers to get humanity to collectively vomit. Mitigating factor: Rumor has it the flapping noise of neck fat slapping against Espinoza's chest made it easier to pick up his trail—that and his being a 425-pound fat bastard.
2. ITZCOATL OCAMPO
On Oct. 25, 2011, the same night our Scariest People 2011 issue went to press, a monster stabbed Raquel Estrada, 53, and her 34-year-old son, Juan Herrera, dozens of times, leaving their lifeless bodies on the floor of their Yorba Linda home. Authorities say the same man went on to fatally stab four homeless men—James McGillivray, Lloyd "Jimmy" Middaugh, Paulus "Dutch" Smit and John Berry—over the next few months and into 2012. Police say that man is 24-year-old Itzcoatl "Izzy" Ocampo, a discharged U.S. Marine who's now facing the death penalty. Mitigating factor: It's difficult getting scared by a guy who goes by the name Izzy.
3. KILLER ANAHEIM COPS
The world reacted with shock after Anaheim police officers shot and killed unarmed Manuel Angel Diaz—then with disbelief when they did the same to Joel Acevedo the following day. But for Anaheim residents, this was the same old song. The city's officers have left a trail of dead over the past decade, killing unarmed black men (Julian Alexander), mentally disturbed white men (Roscoe Cambridge) and a hell of a lot of Mexicans. Mitigating factor: They're still better than Huntington Beach cops.
4. BRUCE JENNINGS
The fact he made, through his Costa Mesa-based Bryco Arms, "Saturday Night Special" handguns that were involved in numerous murders in the drug-fueled craziness of the 1980s is reason enough to hate Bruce Jennings. There's also the fact these guns were so cheaply made they often malfunctioned, which left 7-year-old Brandon Maxfield in a wheelchair for life. But Jennings didn't want to go down in history just for being a walking advertisement for gun control. Instead, he figured he'd double down on notoriety—by getting busted this September in Florida for possession of child pornography. According to the cops, Jennings knew the videos were of "real children who had been sexually abused," but he "did not feel guilty" about watching the films. Mitigating Factor: He gets to meet fans of his guns in prison.
5. CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
Where to begin with a group that teaches that people are actually "meat bodies" inhabited by extraterrestrial "thetans" who were blasted out of an ancient volcano? Or that grabbing a pair of wired-up joysticks will help you walk the Bridge to Total Freedom, passing from the abyss of pre-clarity to Operating Thetan-hood for only a few hundred thousand dollars' worth of classes? Yet despite what seems to be a never-ending supply of bad publicity, Scientology just keeps expanding. In June, the cult unveiled its first OC "Ideal Org" in Santa Ana. Problem is, many of the folks who showed up for the unpublicized grand opening were either bussed in from out of town or protesters. Also present: then-Weekly reporter Josh Dulaney, who, for his troubles, had his picture taken by a Scientologist spy. Mitigating Factor: Hail Xenu!
6. STEVE CHAVEZ LODGE
Steve Lodge has gone by Steve Lodge professionally for decades, but when he announced an Anaheim City Council run this year, he decided to use Steve Chavez Lodge. (Chavez is his birth surname.) The reason for the sudden Mexican love? Anaheim has a huge Latino electorate but no Latino council members. Activists sued to prohibit Lodge from using his newfound name for the election; they lost. But Lodge can't escape his past as a dirty Santa Ana cop who beat up a jaywalker so badly a federal jury fined him $612,000. And there was also the 2001 case in which Lodge had a man wrongfully imprisoned for murder for more than a year—until prosecutors dropped all charges Meanwhile, Lodge's campaign signs keep getting tagged with "pocho," which is Mexican Spanish for "Steve Lodge." Mitigating factor: His brother is KLAA-AM 830 morning show host Roger Lodge.