Back in 1962 Topps released a strange, 55-card non-sport set called Mars Attacks. The set has become somewhat of a cult classic, and is an all-time favorite of many non-sport collectors. As a result, the cards from that original set still demand a premium in the online marketplace. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the set's release, Topps recently put out a Heritage Mars Attacks set:
The base set is a reprint of the original 55-card set, and the cards come on the standard Heritage cardstock that we've all become accustomed to from the baseball sets. Of course, there are also a handful of new insert sets available in the 2012 Heritage release, as well as artist sketch cards, etc. I've always been a fan of these, so I was excited to check out the Heritage version. There are a few somewhat violent cards to be found, but overall it's a fun concept. The artwork is very vibrant, colorful, and bizarre. These reprints now make it affordable to see what an entire set looks like together. I picked up a base set on eBay, let's see some highlights from the best $10 I've spent on cards in quite some time...
The storyline is pretty straight-forward. The Martians learn that their planet's days are numbered and they need a new place to call home, so they decide to come on down to Earth to whoop our asses, with a whole bunch of tricks up their sleeves.
Even the backs are true to the originals, with the only difference being the copyright line towards the bottom. I applaud Topps for not changing anything here.
Here we see the Martians approaching Earth. The first wave of the attack is your standard flying saucer fare.
As you'll see over the next few cards, things did not start well for Earth. They caught us off guard I guess, what can I say.
For some reason the Martians decided that they were going to pursue major landmarks first and foremost. Sure, they could have done something like drop a gigantic bomb, or poison our water supply, but they decided that the Golden Gate Bridge was a more critical target.
Not wanting to ignore the East Coast, they also hit up Times Square...
...and some skyscrapers.
This is possibly my favorite card from the set. These guys know how to conquer a planet in style. You don't roll up your sleeves and do the down-and-dirty flying saucer work. No, you leave that for someone else. What you want to do is just have it up on the big screen, and host a viewing party, complete with cocktails.
It seems the Martians, in addition to looking for a new home, are also quite interested in our women. Our slender, blonde women that is.
The Martians have a variety of "rays" with different effects, one that frosts...
...and one that shrinks. At this point, things were looking pretty grim for Earth's population. We'd been blown up, frosted, shrunken, and
they'd taken our beautiful blonde women. Could it get any worse?
Yes! The rabbit the Martians pulled out of their hat next was the ability to enlarge insects to 500 times their normal size (random?).
To make matters worse, the insects also
developed a penchant for our blonde women!
In one final surprise, the Martians also launched an attack using gigantic robots with huge metal claws and rotating laser-heads.
Another great example of the colorful artwork.
Probably the most disturbing card in the set, card #36 features a Martian destroying a young boy's pet dog right in front of him as he cries out in horror. The again, I omitted showing cards such as "The Human Torch", "Burning Flesh", and "Burning Cattle" so I guess there are some others in the running.
Here's where our front line met the front line of the giant insects, Braveheart-style.
One of the more interesting cards in the set. The Eiffel Tower being destroyed by a gigantic caterpillar. I guess this one doubles and also fits into my small Eiffel Tower collection.
Finally, around 45 cards in, Earth decides that it's had enough, and we send some soldiers up to Mars to fight back.
How could we breathe on Mars you might ask? Bubble helmets, obviously. And yes, we could have gone to Mars at any time yet we had no idea there was a Martian society living there prior to being attacked.
This guy's got a good cut. The Red Sox could use a guy who can swing like that in their lineup right now.
Little known fact; the giant robots on Mars are designed exactly like the toy robots that children received as presents in the '50s and '60s.
In the end, the explosion that the Martians were concerned about, which was the catalyst behind the attack on Earth, occurs. The planet Mars becomes millions of tiny asteroids. The End.
The final card has a summary on the front and a checklist on the back. So, that's a wrap. This is an enjoyable and unique look back at an off-the-beaten-path Topps release from the past. I would definitely recommend picking up a pack or two if you're looking for something a bit different...