This year marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Mars Attacks trading cards from Topps. Created in 1962, the cards depicted evil martians attempting to destroy Earth, and rose to popularity for their graphic and lurid depiction of the invasion. Ironically, what made them popular also led to their downfall, as parental outcry over the graphic nature of the cards resulted in their production being halted, with only 55 of them being produced. The line of course experienced a huge revival in 1996, when Tim Burton bought the rights to the trading cards and turned them into a big budget film, populated with some of the biggest stars of the time.
Now 50 years after the original release of the cards, Mars Attacks is once again experiencing a big time revival, with everything from a coffee table book to a line of toys hitting the market this year. Hell, Fright Rags is even releasing a Limited Edition Mars Attacks t-shirt, set to drop on August 10th. In conjunction with all these merchandising goodies, Topps has also just released new packs of Mars Attacks trading cards, dubbed the 50th Anniversary Heritage Series. I picked up a pack of these at Target the other day (seen above), so come along with me as I crack it open and see what this series is all about!
The awesome thing about this series, which I didn't realize until I just opened this pack up, is that the majority of the cards contained in it are reprints of the original 55 Mars Attacks trading cards, and as you can see they have that same vintage look that those original collector's cards have. Through the images on front and text on back, the cards told the story of the martian invasion on Earth, with each card in the series coming together to form the complete tale of martian vs human mayhem. You'll notice above that the humans begin to fight back in the later numbered cards, and the series actually ends with humans landing on Mars and destroying it. Hoorah.
Now in addition to that 55 card original base set, there are also a couple other little gems hidden within this Heritage Series. Above is a 'Deleted Scene' card, part of a sub-series of 10 original unused sketches that have been repainted (by Jason Edmiston!) for the 50th Anniversary. You get one of these Deleted Scenes cards per pack.
Each pack also has one of 15 'New Universe' cards, which depict art and storylines from the Mars Attacks revival comic book series put out by IDW Publishing this year. So there's a nice balance of the old, the new and even stuff from the past we've never before seen in these packs. I approve.
The back of the packaging also lists various inserts of varying rarity, including sketch cards, 3D cards and special colored parallel cards, but I wasn't lucky enough to nab any of these in the pack I bought. Oh well, maybe next pack!
I love it whenever something from the past experiences a modern day revival like this (Garbage Pail Kids come to mind), so I'm so happy to see all this Mars Attacks love, 50 years later. Funny how in that time span the world has changed so much that these cards are pretty damn tame by today's standards, whereas they were so offensive back in the 60's. Don't think any parents will be complaining about these things here in 2012, that's for sure!