New book about the greatest trading cards ever: Mars Attacks


20 Responses to “New book about the greatest trading cards ever: Mars Attacks”

  1. Ramone says:

    I have this and it’s a thing of beauty. The jacket cover is the same paper quality and texture as the old card wrappers!

  2. Aleknevicus says:

    Gruesome and violent to be sure. But sexually explicit?

    • Dlo Burns says:

      Maybe it was the phallic heads? 

    • Some of the cards had buxom women with torn blouses and skirts being grabbed by the Martian’s steel claws, a bit like the covers of pulp magazines of the 50s. Not really explicit, but certainly in keeping with the delicious sleazyness of the entire enterprise.

      i remember the outcry in the papers when these first came out, and how collecting them took on a cloak of rebellion. There were similar cards on a US Civil War Theme (it was the centennial of that conflict) which tried to gain some historical respectibility, but the cards featured Johnny Reb getting his arm blown off, etc, so it missed by a bit.

  3. If only trading cards could have built on this, becoming a vast, respected paraliterary genre….

  4. Daemonworks says:

    I never actually saw the Mars Attacks cards, but Dinosaurs Attack… that, I remember.

    • Marc Montoya says:

       the younger, and what i consider much more deranged brethren of Mars’.  I like the complete disregard to scientific accuracy.

    • sean says:

      The problem with “Dinosaurs Attack” (and other subsequent card series, including later and inferior “Mars Attacks!” cards) was that they were too self- aware…”Mars Attacks!” came out in the pre- ironic- everything days of the early 60′s. As Tim Burton says, “Not a bit of ‘camp’ about them”, though he went on to make the horrible, campy movie version of the cards.

  5. Count Ulster says:

    The recall lead to the creation of Wacky Packages, from what I remember, a product my mother despised almost as much as the Mars Attacks cards.

  6. nickdanger3deye says:

    Next up, Mars Attacks Popeye, Kiss, and the Ghostbusters:

  7. Binder of Mars Needs Women?

  8. fergus1948 says:

    As I’ve posted before, my friend Keith Bates has uploaded a lovely hi-res Flickr set of scans of his original full set of Mars Attacks bubble gum cards from 1962, purchased in Liverpool UK when he was a lad. They look particularly great as a slideshow.

  9. sean says:

    Had those as a kid (and the “bloody Civil War News” series) and LOVED them. My 3rd grade nun confiscated my cards when she caught me with them in class… I was devastated. She put them in the big supply closet at the back of the classroom- I saw the cards she had stolen from us kids on the top shelf, and kept my eye on them every time that door was opened, for months. I waited and waited until the last day of school, and as she was leading everyone out I ran to the closet, tore open the door, and jumped up to grab the cards. My heart was pounding! And to my crushing disappointment, they were all just baseball cards- not a “Mars Attacks” in the lot. She must have thrown them out as soon as she saw them.
    This is a major reason I am now an atheist and despise the catholic church.
    I paid $350 for a set of them in the late 70′s- a ton of money to me then. But I HAD to have them.

  10. sean says:

    Despite the commonly held belief, Norman Saunders didn’t do ALL of the cards. It mentions this in the book, and if you look closely you can see differences in the art. Cards 6,8. and 9 (and probably card 5) are not by him, for instance.Card 7 is- his art glows, and isn’t as “flat” as the other artists’. Norman had a huge hole at the bottom of the saucers- you can see the Martians around the interior rim in card 4. Pulp artist Maurice Blumenfeld painted the saucers with solid bottoms, for the most part. Plus his people look dated- look at the ladies in card 8, they look like 1920′s flappers.

  11. dr.hypercube says:

    If these are insufficiently lurid, there’s always Commies from Mars, the Red Planet. Love ‘em both.

    • Sparg says:

       Loved those Commies from Mars!  Have a set of them and the trade paperback.  A few are water damaged from the flood of ’93, but not too bad.  Loved the mixing in of other Zap! critters.

  12. hypersomniac says:

    Any time I see the Topps logo, it’s an instant nostalgia-boner.

  13. Clifford Tooker says:

    Come to the Nonsport Card Update show this weekend and maybe bring some cards home with you. Theme of the show is the Mars Attack Anniversary. Lots of door prizes. Check out the web site for details.

  14. Harris Toser says:

    Mars Attacks is the #1 non-sport trading card series. We publish a magazine for non-sport trading cards collectors (Non-Sport Update) and are promoting a show this weekend which has Mars Attacks as it’s theme! All show attendees will get a free and exclusive Topps Mars Attacks promotional card along with many other free cards. Topps will be exhibiting at the show. Details at

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