If there’s one thing we were fed a healthy dosage of during the 90s, it was the importance of being “environmentally safe.” Even cartoons went eco-friendly on us with series such as Swamp Thing, Captain Planet and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reminding kids what role they plated in keeping the Earth clean. Among these shows, however, arose champions of a cult status nature… you could even call them “crusaders.” Toxic Crusaders.
Like a handful of cartoon shows during the late 80s and early 90s, the origin of Toxic Crusaders isn’t exactly kid-friendly material. Inspired by Troma’s Toxic Avenger (if you’re tragically not familiar with it, hit up Netflix now!)—a raunchy, over-the-top splatstick superhero sex fest of a film series—the animated series cut out all the good stuff and replaced it with an eco-friendly message about smog prevention or some such nonsense. Anyway, like all awesome kid show franchises, the series’ marketing team went full throttle with a line of action figures, comics, video games and—yep, you guessed it—trading cards.
Released by Topps in 1991, the 88 card set revolved exclusively around the 13 episodes from the TV show. To accompany the base set there are an additional 8 hologram sticker cards, of which mine remain proudly intact (I prefer everything carded). The first handful of the cards offer us an introduction to the cast and are unique from the rest of the set in that they feature original painted artwork reminiscent of the Marvel Masterpiece card series.
The rest of this series simply consists of animation stills ripped directly from the show with a title caption underneath the main image. The stills are very clean and crisp, though, and even feature some early-90s neon colors bordering them—makes them all a lot of fun to look at! The backs are pretty minimal, but they are kinda entertaining. The real treat here is located at the bottom: Toxie’s Tips.
While Toxie’s Tips are each themed around environmental safety, their moronic brand of humor is bound to land you in minor trouble if you follow his advice. I’ll list a few…
RECYCLE PAPER- Hand in the same term paper twice.
SAVE ENERGY – Don’t exercise!
CONSERVE WATER – Bathe with your dog.
The holograms are a super nice touch as well (not so nice to try and photograph), again featuring some original art. All in all, the full set, holograms included, averages around $13. Don’t pay more than that, that’s a top dollar price. Some people think holograms are super valuable and try to mark this set close to $25 to $30—don’t fall for it.
Is the theme song stuck in you heads now too? You’re welcome.