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Tag Archive: Topps


On the Big Wheel.  On the bedroom wall.  On the Trapper Keeper.  On the toy box.  On the dresser.  Everywhere your parents didn’t want you to put ’em.  If you were a kid in the 1970s and 1980s and you collected Topps Star Wars trading cards, your sticker collection might look like this today:

Because the stickers that came one per pack ended up going anywhere kids are going to think they should go.  Or you might have kept your stickers intact–maybe you even made a complete collection of the trading cards–but, because of the nature of random inserts, your sticker collection looked like this:

If this describes you, then this new throwback book is just for you.

As a supplement to the series of books chronicling the original Star Wars trilogy trading cards (reviewed previously at borg.com here), the stickers are now available in a single volume from Abrams, Topps, and Lucasfilm, Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book.  Reprinting a selection of the original sticker images from these card sets as removable stickers, kids young and old can use them anywhere or place them on one of five double-sided pullout posters included.

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Ten years after Return of the Jedi, Topps trading cards editor and writer Gary Gerani was tasked once again to meet fan demand for more Star Wars trading cards.  Many years before he would create photo cards for a new trilogy of prequels, he would team up with Lucasfilm’s Steve Sansweet to showcase Star Wars as interpreted by some of the best artists that contributed to the films or would re-imagine the “Star Wars Galaxy” in their own styles.

The three resulting trading card series have been released in the 2016 addition to Abrams ComicArts successful hardbound series featured here previously at borg.comStar Wars Galaxy: The Original Topps Trading Card Series includes the works of more than 170 artists in more than 200 card reproductions, plus commentary by Gerani and an afterword by notable poster artist Drew Struzan.  Unlike the prior volumes in the series, only the obverse image from the cards, which featured the artwork, is included.

chiarello-sw-galaxy-card     starwarsgalaxy_p062-0

You’ll find an incredible array of imagery by a surprising combination of artists, including rare images you will have seen only if you collected the original cards.  So you’ll find the work of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Ralph McQuarrie, Moebius, Drew Struzan, Dave Dorman, Al Williamson, Howard Chaykin, Mike Grell, John Eaves, Mike Zeck, George Perez, Jim Starlin, Dave Stevens, Walter Simonson, Gene Colan, Rich Buckler, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mark Schultz, P. Craig Russell, Dave Gibbons, Sergio Aragones, Boris Vallejo, Charles Vess, and Gil Kane.

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The volume includes the entire run of portraits created for Star Wars Galaxy specifically for the Topps cards by Joseph Smith–the original art was later bought by George Lucas for his personal collection.

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rotj-title-1    1983-star-wars-return-of-the-jedi-133

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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Star Wars The Original Topps Trading Card Series Volume One

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.

Ben with sabre    Kenobi Wonder Bread card

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.

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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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star-trek-the-original-topps-trading-card-series-cover

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.

St card back

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Bazooka Joe 60th Anniversary

Review by C.J. Bunce

Until only a few years ago every gas station across the country and every local supermarket had Bazooka bubble gum on the counter as a point-of-sale purchase item and at last look three cents was a pretty fair price for the flavor packed into that loud pink rectangle of gum.  And until last year each of those pieces of gum was wrapped in a mini-comic wrapper featuring Bazooka Joe.  As nostalgia goes, what single item compares to the smell and flavor of Bazooka gum—that same smell and flavor tied to baseball cards.  Topps, the gum and trading card company, and Abrams Publishing have released a celebration of the gum and its mini-comic art with Bazooka Joe and His Gang 60th Anniversary.

On first look it’s the design that really hits this new collectible book out of the park—the book jacket has the appearance of a piece of Bazooka gum, complete with the see-through wax paper where you can almost peek at the comic on the back side.  The edge of the paper is all bubble gum pink, creating a perfect package for this coffee table look back at 60 years of the small “throwaway” comics that everyone eyed before wadding ‘em up and throwing them into the trash.  How many if these did you go through in your lifetime?  Literally thousands of the mini-comics were created, most by artist Wesley Morse, including so many in inventory that new comics were being wrapped around gum decades after Morse created them, and decades after he passed away.  This explains why kids in the 1970s were exposed to the 1950s style of artwork on the wrappers.

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