Trade or Die: ‘Tales from the Crypt’ Trading Cards (1993)
It’s cards like these that make me seriously question why I ever stopped collecting cards. Released back in 1993 by a company simply called CARDZ Distribution (they also did a set of Muppet trading cards I once had), the Tales from the Crypt “Crypt Cards” consisted of randomly packaged 8 packs containing high glossy photos from the show intermixed with reproductions of the original comic book covers, cast/creator profiles, hologram cards and even (gasp) a “Tekchrome” card.
While each most of the cards boast a nice, hi-res shot of the Cryptkeeper from an episode of the show, there are a few duds that are blurred beyond reason. Fortunately, these only consist of a small handful when compared to the entire set. These episode-specific cards each feature comical word balloons with the ghost host’s trademark puns on the front while on the back you get the episode number and a bit of relevant trivia. Those that don’t include the word balloon, however, feature a series of lists called the Cryptkeepers Favorites that countdown some of the ghouls most fiendishly favorite things such as food groups, hangouts, hobbies, and so on.
The comic book covers are equally cool with each card listing the story title, date published, and a short history on the story and its creators. My favorite type of cards from the set, though, have to be the behind the scenes and cast cards which shed light on not only the original comic books, but the show and its production team as well. These are were a wealth of untapped knowledge for my Tales from the Crypt curiosities including the names of the puppeteers behind the Cryptkeeper and bios (albeit abridged) for people like John Kassir and William Gaines.
The card packs themselves are equally clever with a nondescript ad on the seam of each one promoting a Crypt Card Collector’s Album (so wish I had gotten one of these): “YOU KNOW KIDDIES… LOTS OF HORRIBLE THINGS CAN HAPPEN TO YOUR CRYPT CARDS! That’s right… a TALES FROM THE CRYPT Collector Album is just the thing you need to keep your Crypt Cards safe from the soda that your little brother spills on everything or the pizza you forgot under your bed.”
I can only guess as to how rare the infamous hologram and Tekchrome cards must have been because after laboriously going through an entire box of 36 8-packs I only came out with ONE special card (a hologram)! Granted, that one card is pretty freaking awesome, but I can’t even imagine how much effort must have been spent trying to collect the whole set. Regardless of whether you can find a whole box like me or even just a few 8-packs for fun, the Crypt Cards are an awesome example of trading cards done right and a constant source of fun for this strange kid to sift through.