If you're not familiar with the story of the original Mars Attack trading cards from 1962, they were of a set of bubblegum cards with lurid paintings that told the story of a horrific invasion of Earth by hideous-looking Martians with giant exposed brains and rictus leers. When parents discovered the gruesome, violent, and sexually suggestive images on the cards, Topps was forced to pull them off the shelves, making them instant collectors' items (here's my post about an excellent Mars Attacks book that came out last year, and here's my Mars Attacks wall art with Jane posing next to it for scale).
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of its most infamous product, Topps is busting out the stops with an all-new Mars Attack trading cards series (coming out this October), and I'm happy to report that the art is excellent! Last month I posted this cool painting by the 88-year-old pulp magazine legend Earl Norem, and a representative from Topps contacted me and asked if I'd like to run an exclusive sneak preview of the card art on Boing Boing. "Of course!" I said. Moments later, he sent me the following images, which include Norem's stunning concept sketches. Enjoy!
Riding the momentum of the 50th Anniversary of their best-selling franchise, Topps is proud to announce the first all-new MARS ATTACKS story-based trading cards in more than half a century! While paying homage to the infamous card set that first shocked parents and delighted children in 1962, Mars Attacks: Invasion will be a bold revival, and will take the property into exciting new territory.
"Last year's Heritage re-issue was a smash hit with fans,” says Topps' Adam Levine, who has overseen the recent resurgence of MARS ATTACKS, “and this brand-new series is what we’ve been building to. It will be a fresh re-imagining of the original series and will stay faithful to MARS ATTACKS' pulpy, classic sci-fi roots. This means all-new, traditionally hand-painted cards illustrated by a group of artists carefully selected to carry forward creator Norm Saunders' legacy."
The set will boast an impressive roster of talent, from living legend Earl Norem and master illustrator Joe Jusko, to renowned painters Ed Repka, Glen Orbik, Gregory Staples and more to be announced. Artists contributing to the 63-card story-based portion of the set will each illustrate multiple cards, with the set being divided into themed subsets that combine to tell the story of an alien apocalypse unlike any other.
"Topps hasn't done a set like this in more than twenty years,” says series editor David Waldeck. “It's a return to the days when trading cards hooked audiences with incredible imagery and imaginative storytelling. We've loaded the set with everything fans know and love about MARS ATTACKS: giant insects, flying saucers, ray guns, robots, damsels and death rays!"
Topps will also provide fans with the opportunity to find original 1962 MARS ATTACKS trading cards randomly inserted into packs! These vintage trading cards from the most valuable non-sport trading card set in history have been certified by Topps in 2013 and will be available as rare chase cards in Mars Attacks: Invasion!
Additional chase subsets and valuable collector-driven inserts will be detailed in the coming months. Filled with high levels of sci-fi action and excessive amounts of bone-chilling gore, this all-new series will surely thrill long-time fans and legions of new ones in equal measure.
Mars Attacks: Invasion is scheduled for release in October 2013.vFor more information on MARS ATTACKS, follow on Facebook. Read the continuing adventures of the new Mars Attacks comic book series, published monthly by IDW.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects