Review by C.J. Bunce
Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block, authors of Star Trek 101, the Secrets of Star Trek: Insurrection, and the Star Trek 365 series, have compiled a new book in the Topps retro series of bubble gum-inspired books that includes the The 60th Anniversary of Bazooka Joe we previously reviewed here at borg.com. It’s Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, and it’s a must-have for fans of 1970s trading cards and the original Star Trek series.
Back before videotape you’d watch a TV show or movie and never have much hope seeing it again unless you were lucky enough to find it rebroadcast later. Keys images from your favorite films or TV series could be found on lunch boxes, T-shirts, school folders, and comic book covers if you were lucky. Bread companies would sometimes stick trading cards in loaves, and you’d be lucky to collect three cards from any collection. These included cards from Star Wars and Star Trek. Topps had great success with its series of Star Wars cards, but you may not be aware that the company released a series of Star Trek cards prior to that series, in 1976. It’s this series of classic cards that are the subject of a new book just released by Abrams.
Reprinting all fronts and backs of the 88 cards in the series and 22 rare stickers, whether you collected the entire series in the 1970s or just love to read all you can about Star Trek, Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series will give you a nostalgic look back to the day when you’d grasp any chance to have a photo card you’d take to school in your pocket so you could read about Kirk or Spock when the teacher wasn’t looking. And with Abrams’ clever bubble gum wax pack book design all that’s missing is the smell of Bazooka bubble gum.
Each two-page layout features the reverse of the card that contained the scripting on the left with the face of the card on the right, followed by new commentary, including interviews by the folks that designed the cards 37 years ago. The card text has not been updated–you get the image of the original cards–so you’ll find misspellings and wrong information, much of which is pointed out and explained by the authors. The most surprising take-away from the book is the inexplicable absence of George Takei’s Lieutenant Sulu from the trading card series. Smartly, to remedy the oversight, the authors have included four new cards for the series, two featuring Sulu.
At 216 page there is a surprising volume of content here. The design, from the waxy book jacket and hardcover images to the full-color card photos, is top quality.
Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series has a retail price of $19.95, but is available slightly discounted for around $15 from Amazon.com. Check it out now to get your next retro sci-fi fix!