Trade or Die: Topps MARS ATTACKS Heritage Trading Cards (2012)

Topps MARS ATTACKS Heritage Trading Cards

I’m sure, hopefully at least, by now we’re all familiar with the franchise known as Mars Attacks. What started as a trading card series in 1962 has since spawned off into many different branches of merch and marketing; there’s been toys, comics, card sets, a movie and even some talk of it even becoming a video game for a while. We Earthlings sure do seem to have a liking for those Martian invaders.

Much like the Dinosaurs Attack card series (that series was inspired by this one) , the entire set of cards combine to tell the story of a Martian invasion. Turns out, the Martian government is a tad corrupt and doesn’t want to tell it’s people that Mars is going to explode so they take the only reasonable course of action possible… invade and colonize Earth for their own!

mars-attacks-heritage-3What I have here is the 2012 TOPPS Heritage cards, a reproduction of the original 1962 run released to celebrate the franchise’s 50th anniversary. The base set, cards numbered 1-55, are exact replicas featuring the same exact artwork that was done by sci-fi artist Wallace Wood and Norman Saunders. In 1962 parents felt this imagery was a tad much—essentially denouncing them as portrayals of doom, torture and sexuality—but, personally, I feel the artwork is a bit tame. A bit dated in appearance, they’re are still beautiful works of art by today’s standards.

On the reverse side, you there’s a narrative tidbit on the invasion story itself. If you’re thinking the movie played it out accurately, you’re mislead. The cards tell a story where we set up a counter invasion forcing the Martians to return to Mars in order to defend what they have left only for us to finish them off with nukes to save the day.

Their build is pretty much what you would expect from a modern day card, thick and durable. However, TOPPS stayed partially true to the old ways of minimal front gloss and dull cardboard backs for authenticity sake… I appreciate that.



As a bonus, there’s a few extras with this set not found in the original series! We’re given 10 all new cards known as the “Deleted Scenes.” The artwork mimics that of the original series, and even continues the narrative of the invasion story on the backs, but it’s still extremely crisp in appearance. They carry more gore and violence to them than originals but are actually based off of original unused drawings that were never before seen.

That’s not all though… there’s one more treat. WE GET ANOTHER 15 CARDS! Coinciding with the 50th anniversary celebration, IDW launched a new comic series set in a whole new universe resulting in an honest, and truly awesome, remake of the Mars Attacks saga. The artwork, provided by comic illustrator John McCrea, for these “New Universe” cards are simply beautiful. These new school 15 cards are my favorite of the re-releases and I only wish there were another 40 more to go with them.


Now, market prices for this stuff here… the base set alone goes for about 25 bones, the “Deleted Scenes” go for around 5 to 9 bucks, the “New Universe” cards go from about 13 to 25 and there’s a green-bordered chase set that goes for around 35 to 40 dollars. You can save yourself some headache, though as there are complete master sets out there with all that is listed above, green chase card set included, for about a hundred bucks. If you’re a card collector or just a Mars Attacks fan this set is, simply put, a lot of fun.

Written by Christopher Bacon

Mister Bacon tries really hard to define the line between collector and hoarder. Between comics , cards , video games , metal and horror movies the only thing he likes more than obtaining them is talking about them. Beer is good too.

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