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Tag Archive: Topps trading cards


After another day of Star Wars news via Star Wars Celebration 2019, including the teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and leaked footage of Jon Favreau’s November series The Mandalorian on YouTube, Topps, the trading card company, has rolled out the first tie-in product for Episode IX, but you’ll need to act quickly if you want to get it.

Topps is the company that first issued Star Wars trading cards in 1977, eventually to include five different series of cards showcasing scenes from the film, puzzles, behind the scenes images, concept art, marketing images, stickers, and bubble gum.  In case you missed it, take a look at our past coverage of the history of Topps and the Star Wars franchise via our reviews at borg of these Abrams books: The Original Topps Trading Card Series books for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, plus Star Wars: Topps Classic Stickers, and Star Wars Galaxy.  We also looked at the great Rogue One Sketch Art Cards, The Force Awakens trading cards (similar to this set), and Mark Hamill′s creative autographs on Star Wars Topps trading cards across the years here.  Notably the first trading card series for Star Wars wasn’t issued by Topps at all, but via a Wonder Bread premium–a small set of 16 cards, available in marked loaves of the bread and via mail request.

A must for Topps Star Wars trading card collector completists, the first series for the final entry in the nine episodic Star Wars films is here: The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Trailer Set is the first look at the last installment of the Skywalker saga via Topps cards, and it includes ten cards featuring images from the film’s teaser trailer.  Collectors of Topps’ 1977 series will notice the homage design to that series on both the front and reverse of the cards.

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Classic favorite trading card company Topps is teaming up with Dynamite Entertainment to bring back your favorite little creepy aliens.  Mars Attacks is back again, this time in a new series from writer Kyle Starks (Rick and Morty, Rock Candy Mountain) and artist Chris Schweizer (The Creeps, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl).  It’s coming this Fall to a comic book store near you.  Dynamite released the covers for the first issue as part of its San Diego Comic-Con announcements.

The pairing of Topps and Dynamite promises to reflect the tone of the original 1962 trading card series.  It all begins again when a kid named Spencer approaches his dad for a loan.  They wind up on the run from those helmeted fiends from space and their famous space rays and flying saucers.

    

Look for several cover variants for the series’ first issue.  Tom Mandrake (The Spectre), Ruairí Coleman (KISS/Army of Darkness), Eoin Marron (James Bond: The Body), Robert Hack (Dr. Who), Chris Schweizer (The Creeps) all have created covers (see above and below).

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carlos-cabaleiro-art-cards-for-topps-rogue-1    daniel-bergren-art-cards-for-topps-rogue-one

Topps’ new series of trading cards for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story scream out “These are the cards you’re looking for” with an array of insert “chaser” cards that trading card collectors and general fans of the series will want to check out.  The term “sketch” cards almost trivializes the variety of forms of media used to create these one-of-a-kind cards.  These aren’t prints or copies of the cards–they are the one-and-only originals the artist created.  Collecting a set is nearly impossible, and if collectors don’t plan to buy boxes and boxes of cards to only get a small number of the cards (if they’re lucky) then the last resort is eBay, where cards can fetch hundreds of dollars or more for a single card.

This weekend Topps releases its new trading card set – Topps Rogue One Series 1 trading cards.  This set features 90 base cards of characters and scenes from the film plus 6 insert sets to collect plus the second set of five Darth Vader continuity cards (the first 5 cards were available in Topps Rogue One: Mission Briefing).  Topps Rogue One also includes autographs, medallion cards, and printing plates, in addition to the possibility of nabbing a sketch card.  Inserts include character stickers, montages, “character icon” cards, propaganda poster cards, vehicle blueprints, and a set each of hero and villain cards.

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Autograph cards include signatures from Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso), Forest Whitaker (Saw Gerrera), Donnie Yen (Chirrut Imwe), Genevieve O’Reilly (Mon Mothma), Paul Kasey (Edrio Two Tubes and Admiral Raddus) and Nick Kellington (Bistan).

You can purchase a box set of card packs here now at Amazon.com.

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The latest volume from the partnership of Abrams ComicArts and Topps Trading Cards as they document some of the greatest non-sports trading cards ever released is now available.  Star Wars: Return of the Jedi–The Original Topps Trading Card Series Volume Three reproduces–for the first time–all 220 cards and 55 stickers in a single deluxe hardcover volume.  And like the first two volumes in the series, it includes the image of the classic bubble gum stick inside the classic wax pack style cover jacket.

It’s the next book in the now long line of great trading card books from Abrams.  It includes four bonus trading cards made exclusively for this edition, including both title cards for the two Return of the Jedi card series, and is similar in design to the previous trading card reference books 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.  Abrams ComicArts and Topps released the first compilation of Star Wars trading cards last December–Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume One, reviewed here at borg.com, and this April we reviewed the second volume, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Two, here.

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Star Wars insider and trading card editor Gary Gerani returns to give fascinating insight and a behind-the-scenes look at Topps as it coordinated with Lucasfilm to create and market these licensed images.  Gerani was the original editor of the three Star Wars Topps series who worked with Lucasfilm to select the photographs for the card sets and wrote the card titles.

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Topps Empire Strikes Back Abrams

Coming next week is the latest volume from the partnership of Abrams ComicArts and Topps Trading Cards as they document some of the greatest non-sports trading cards ever released.  Complete with a photo of the famous stick of bubble gum on the cover, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back–The Original Topps Trading Card Series Volume Two reproduces–for the first time–all 352 cards and 88 stickers in a single deluxe hardcover volume.

It’s the next book in the now long line of great trading card books from Abrams.  It 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.  Abrams ComicArts and Topps released the first compilation of Star Wars trading cards just last year–Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume One, reviewed here at borg.com.  An introduction and commentary throughout Volume Two 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 for The Empire Strikes Back series, too.

Yoda Topps card    ESB Topps title 2 card

Gerani recounts reading the script for Empire in advance of the release, and learning the real #1 secret that Lucasfilm was trying to keep under wraps.  And it wasn’t about Luke Skywalker’s parentage or a bounty hunter with little actual screentime.  Hint: It may be related to a certain spectacular new “muppet from space”.

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Topps retro cards 2015

I began collecting my first “non-sports” trading cards back in 1976 with presidents cards produced by local bread companies such as Colonial Bread.  I then moved on to Star Wars cards thanks to a very small run of cards released in Wonder Bread loaves.  Hooked on images of Star Wars in an age before VHS, in 1978 I moved to the Topps series with their red and then gold series of Star Wars cards.  Thanks to collecting dimes that fell out of my older brother’s pockets I was able to pick up a pack per week from the Kwik Shop down the street.  At the age of seven, I learned more than you might think from these cards.  I learned vocabulary words.  Words like “peril,” “chasm,” “evacuate” and “triumph,” and I can point to those individual cards that formed part of my education, much like kids today probably credit the Harry Potter series with similar learning experiences.  (I also learned great words from Marvel’s Star Wars comic books, like “armageddon” and “behemoth”).  Star Wars as teaching tool?  Who knew?

Only later I learned I had missed an entire series of Star Wars cards, the original blue cards with a white star field.  None of these Topps series ever got very expensive so I picked up a complete set of the original blue series cards for $10 in college.  Here is what all five of the original series look like:

Original Topps cards Star Wars

As part of the lead-in to Episode VII, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Topps has produced a new series of 110 cards called “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”  They are made to match the style of the original blue series, but also come with rarer background color cards and stores like Target, Toys R Us, WalMart and Walgreens have even more variants by store.  You’d go crazy finding them all, so don’t.  Just pick up the complete sets from eBay card retailers who do the sorting for you.  Or take your chances by the pack.  But don’t look for the bubble gum or classic bubble gum scent of the cards.  You’ll need to find an original set for that.

Here are the checklists of what you will find (click to enlarge):

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Mars Attacks 50th anniversary book

You’ve heard of Mars Attacks, but do you know the origin of Mars Attacks?  A 1950s serial?  A pulp magazine series?  Strangely enough, Mars Attacks was an idea created by Len Brown and Woody Gelman for a 1962 set of 54 Topps trading cards.  Those oversized-brain Martians first conquered Earth with a piece of pink bubble gum, and bridged sci-fi and horror like never before.  One of my favorite areas of collecting as a kid were trading cards, what collectors today categorize as “non-sports trading cards.”  I collected any card that came in a loaf of bread, cards that came on the backs of boxes of cereal, and cards given away at Burger King.

It’s not likely that many people actually got their hands on the 1962 of Topps trading cards, as explained in Mars Attacks 50th Anniversary Collection, the latest in Abrams Comicarts’ series of bubble gum-inspired books including Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, and Bazooka Joe and His Gang 60th Anniversary Collection, both reviewed previously here at borg.com.  The original Topps card set was not well-received by parents and teachers because of its graphic depictions of burning bodies, exploding, mutilated, and sliced-up people and animals by the vile Martian invaders.  So the card set had a limited run.  The result is a collectible that would cost you $25,000 in order to acquire a complete card set.  Which makes this new book a great way to see what we missed.

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Creators Brown and Gelman were surprised by the backlash against the cards.  According to Brown, “Our Civil War set was just as gory as Mars Attacks.  I suspect because it was historical, people just felt that kids were learning, so the violence was okay.”  Brown, Gelman, and artist Norm Saunders were told to go back to the drawing board several times even before the series was released, to correct women who were too scantily dressed, and update skeletal remains with some flesh.

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