Review by C.J. Bunce
Abrams ComicArts and Topps have released the first compilation ever of the original 1977 and 1978 Topps Star Wars trading cards–Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume One. Reprinted in its entirety are all five series of cards in their original size. The deluxe edition contains the fronts and reverses of all 330 cards and 55 stickers, including movie facts, story summaries, actor profiles, and puzzle cards featuring scenes from the one and only original Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It seemed like every kid from 5 years old to high schoolers picked up at least a few sets of these back in the 1970s. In years a galaxy far, far away from VHS tapes, DVDs, or Blu-rays, these cards were a fan’s only window into that world experienced in the theater. With these trading cards you could refer over and over to key scenes, and use the images as resources to discuss film details with friends.
The book includes four bonus trading cards made exclusively for this edition, and a wax pack-style book jacket like the similar excellent releases Bazooka Joe and His Gang reviewed here at borg.com, Mars Attacks 50th Anniversary Collection reviewed here, and Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series reviewed here. An introduction and commentary throughout the volume is provided by Gary Gerani, the original editor of the Star Wars Topps series who worked with Lucasfilm to select the photographs for the sets and wrote the card titles. An afterword is provided by Robert Conte, discussing the well-known Wonder Bread Star Wars trading cards, also reprinted for the first time in this edition.
You might recall that Topps recently reintroduced an edition of Topps Star Wars cards in the style of the first edition of trading cards from 1977. Those cards were released with images from all seven Star Wars films including preview cards for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, discussed here at borg.com.
The text of these classic trading cards was smart and informative–a great opportunity for kids to learn vocabulary and spelling from text used only on the cards as well as from quoted lines from the movie. Gerani says that many of the photos were manipulated for the cards, like special effects images, and others were used in different ways, like blown-up views or close-ups, on different cards in the series. Finding new images for the final series was difficult after more than 200 images had already been used. The book includes reprinted images of both of the infamous C-3PO error cards from the green edition, as well as Gerani’s thoughts about that well-known error card. Later editions of the cards featured rare behind the scenes photos from the Star Wars production and marketing photos not seen elsewhere, plus deleted scene images decades before they were released in the special editions.
You’ll find photos of the original card boxes, wrappers, full puzzle recreations, and art created exclusively for the card series. This is a must-have for non-sports trading card collectors and will be a nostalgic trip through time for those who owned the original cards and loved the original film.
Get your own copy of Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume One now here from Amazon.com. You can even pre-order Star Wars: The Empire Srikes Back: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Two here now and later in the year Return of the Jedi: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Three, both coming in 2016, also from Abrams ComicArts and Topps.