Retro fix–New book chronicles the complete Planet of the Apes trading card series

Gary Gerani, Topps editor for hundreds of classic trading card series returns with a new book in Abrams ComicArts’ unprecedented series of hardcover books recounting the  classic Topps “non-sports” trading cards.  This time Gerani looks at the entire collection of Planet of the Apes images featured throughout three series chronicled on cardboard by Topps in Planet of the Apes: The Original Topps Trading Card Series.

In nearly 500 pages Gerani includes the fronts and backs of all 44 cards from the original 1969 Topps set documenting the original film starring Charlton Heston, all 66 cards based on the 1975 television series (featuring Roddy McDowell and Star Trek’s Mark Lenard), and all 90 base cards, 10 sticker cards, and 44 chase cards from the 2001 reboot film directed by Tim Burton and starring Mark Wahlberg.  If you’re a Planet of the Apes fan, a fan of either of these incarnations of the several adaptations of Pierre Boulle’s 1963 science fiction novel Monkey Planet, or a POTA completist, you’ll learn something new about the franchise now spanning nearly five decades.


Although you’ll get exactly what you’d expect–full color images of the fronts and backs of the cards, Abrams’ trademark bubble gum cover and wax pack wrapper jacket, and promotional images–the real insight is found in Gerani’s knowledge as a Topps and Hollywood insider.  Working directly on the second and third series and working with the creators of the original series, Gerani provides an understanding of the business of designing a trading card series, the challenges (like celebrity image licensing restrictions), and high points (like finding that perfect image for a card that fans will love).  Many cards use photos taken on the shooting set, so they give different vantage points to the actors and sets than found in the films.


I for one am always trying to recount (and create my own potential) titles for POTA installments, and Gerani included in his commentary to the cards a list of movies created from the television series I was not aware of, like Back to the Planet of the Apes, Forgotten City of the Planet of the Apes, Life, Liberty, and Pursuit on the Planet of the Apes, and Farewell to the Planet of the Apes.  What franchise is such a how-to manual of adventure story titling?

Considering a complete box of the 1969 wax packs of Series One is currently offered on eBay for $15,000, individual mint cards sell for about $50 each, and a full basic set will set you back $300, this is a great and inexpensive way to revisit this classic movie card series.  The Series Two images will provide a rare look at an often overlooked TV series for most readers, and the 2001 series shows how far photography, printing, and special effects had improved 30 years later.  One highlight is a look at the iconic science fiction actor David Warner as an ape in multiple cards from the 2001 film.  This is also the first Abrams look at card series featuring costume swatch cards.

Another bonus–as with prior volumes in the Abrams The Original Topps Trading Card Series books–the back cover includes four bonus trading cards.  It’s the only place you’ll find trading cards from Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and two cards for War for the Planet of the Apes.

Pick up a copy of Planet of the Apes: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, available now here at Amazon.  Take a look back at all our reviews of the past books in Abrams’ series of Topps trading card books at here.

C.J. Bunce

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