Monday, January 20, 2014

And Now for Something Completely Different - Mars Attacks!

For the most part, I confine my collection to baseball and hockey.  They're my two favorite sports, the two sports I have the most history with, and they keep me more than busy enough in the little free time I find each week for my collection.  With that being said, I'm a believer in the "variety is the spice of life" line of thinking, and every so often I like to branch out and sample something outside of my self-imposed collecting boundaries.  Recently I did just that, acquiring my first authentic, vintage Mars Attacks card:

I posted about the Mars Attacks Heritage set back in 2012.  The original set was released back in 1962 and is one of my all-time favorite non-sports sets.  I'm sort of an amateur fan of history, as well as science fiction and space travel (told you, variety is the spice of life), and I love how this set kind of blends all of these interests together.

The cards were produced in 1962.  At that time, many scientists theorized that there was liquid water on Mars, and wondered whether the Red Planet could foster life.  It wasn't until our first fly-by three years later in 1965 that we began to confirm that Mars hosted neither life as we hoped/feared, nor liquid water (although some has been found in ice form since, especially at the poles).  Anyway, not to get bogged down in a history lesson, but you can see how public opinion/curiosity in 1962 could have led Topps to create and distribute a set like this.

Here's a closer look at my card, #5 on the checklist, "Washington in Flames".  The cards have a very basic design but feature awesome artwork by artists Wallace Wood and Norman Saunders.  Wallace sort of fleshed out the initial sketches/ideas, and Saunders actually completed the paintings.  These guys are interesting enough to deserve a post each in their own rite, with Wallace being one of the founding cartoonists of Mad magazine, as well as putting in extensive work on Marvel's Daredevil series.  Norman Saunders was involved in a ton of stuff as well, and actually got started with the Topps company a few years prior to this set's release painting over uniforms on baseball cards to change the player's team.  Basically, Saunders was Topps' Photoshop before Adobe (or personal computers for that matter) existed.

This card features a nice battle scene where the martian saucers are completely decimating our nation's capital.  Our tanks don't seem to be able to do much, and right in the center we have a member of the US Army running away on fire.  This is actually a pretty tame painting compared to some of the cards on the checklist!

The back of the cards carry the card number and title over from the front, and continue the ongoing narrative that plays out over the 55-card set.  Towards the bottom you get a small preview of the next card on the checklist, which is unique.

My card is pretty badly off-centered, although somehow it avoided an OC designation when graded by PSA?  I don't care though, my only real qualification in searching one of these out was that the painting be intact with good visual appeal, which is definitely the case here.  Thanks to the centering issue and the low grade, I was able to land this one for the paltry sum of $7.16 plus a couple bucks shipping.  I won't formally go after this set, as it can get fairly pricey for just 55 cards, but I couldn't turn down a beauty like this for just $10 and I'm happy that an original now sits beside my Heritage set in my collection.

Coming later this week are two awesome trade packages that arrived towards the end of last week...

1 comment:

Hackenbush said...

They're just cool. I asked my wife for some Mars Invasion for Christmas but she must have forgotten or couldn't find them. I've almost pulled the trigger on a complete set.

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