Ah, good old Topps trading cards.
Founded in 1938, Topps stared as a chewing gum manufacturer. Eventually, their focus shifted to trading cards, becoming famous for their baseball cards. Throughout the years, they’ve produced trading cards of all types, from sports to horror films.
In 1962, Topps released their Mars Attacks cards, telling the story of evil martians invading the earth. Notable for their graphic and detailed artwork, the series caught on among children… but naturally, parents complained. That said, Mars Attacks is still well-known to this day, spawning 1996 film from Tim Burton and recently making a full comeback. But there was a lesser-known successor to Mars Attacks that tends to get overlooked.
Released in 1988, Dinosaurs Attack featured the same artwork and graphic violence that made Mars Attacks so famous. Much like it’s predecessor, it featured an ongoing storyline; a scientific experiment gone wrong has brought dinosaurs to modern times, where they cause all sorts of destruction and chaos. For whatever reason, it failed to catch on, but it’s become considerably more popular in recent years.
Even the packs themselves were gruesome. What kid of the 80’s could have resisted such a grotesque display? Topps knew that shock sold.
Each pack included 5 regular cards, 1 sticker card, and a stick of gum. As you might imagine, the gum has not aged well. It’s more like chalk at this point, and might even be considered a biohazard.
Ugh. Isn’t that just so delightfully nauseating? The dinosaurs were all terribly off-model and unusually bloodthirsty, but that just added to the charm. For all the violence, the series had a definite sense of humor. Sure, it was gruesome, but it was so over-the-top and silly that you couldn’t take it too seriously.
The backs of the cards featured plenty of content, too. They either furthered the story, or elaborated on the scene displayed on the card. With news clippings, news broadcasts, and narration, there was quite a variety. This helped to keep things interesting.
The backs of the stickers, on the other hand, featured facts on the featured dinosaur.
It’s a shame the series didn’t catch on. To many, it’s every bit as memorable as Mars Attacks. Hopefully, someday it will get the recognition it deserves. Tim Burton was actually planning to make a film adaption, but it was canned. Perhaps, if there’s enough demand, Topps will bring back the series like they did with Mars Attacks. Until then, you can find scans of all the cards online! And if you’re interested in owning the cards yourself, you can find them for pretty darn cheap on ebay.