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Topps talks brand new “MARS ATTACKS” trading cards

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It has been fifty-one years since Mars invaded the planet Earth, leaving a worldwide trail of bubbling blood and burning flesh in its wake, in the classic Topps trading card series MARS ATTACKS, back in 1962. But that was merely the first wave of that invasion.

Through the ensuing five decades MARS ATTACKS has become a bonafide cult classic, and with the release of last year’s MARS ATTACKS HERITAGE—a 50th anniversary reprint of the original cards, loaded with carnage-packed new extras—the belovedly tasteless cardboard classic has transformed into a mainstream hit, with a tie-in comic from IDW and tons of killer merchandise.

But one thing has been missing. One thing has always been missing…a brand, new set of trading cards. Not a reprint…not a tantalizing handful of extras here or there…a completely new story, with completely new art from top to bottom. It has been the fantasy of many—perhaps all—MARS ATTACKS fanatics for decades.

And finally…finally…it’s going to happen.

Just in time for Halloween, Topps unleashes MARS ATTACKS: INVASION, a brand-bleeding-new trading card series destined to make fans of the originals weep with disbelief and childlike joy. I know. I sure as hell did.

MarsAttacksVert“Last year’s HERITAGE re-issue was a smash hit with fans,” says Topps ‘Adam Levine, who has overseen MARS ATTACKS’ recent resurrection, “and this brand-new series is what we’ve been building to. It will be a fresh re-imagining of the original series and will stay faithful to MARS ATTACKS pulpy, classic sci-fi roots. This means all-new, traditionally hand-painted cards illustrated by a group of artists carefully selected to carry forward creator Norm Saunders’ legacy.”

The new series will be packed to the bloated brain with insanely talented, pulp-style artists, such as  living legend Earl Norem  (no stranger to painting Martians, having illustrated Topps’ fiendish invaders numerous times in the past), Joe Jusko, Ed Repka (painter of countless iconic Iron Maiden album covers, himself a Mars Attacks veteran , Glen Orbik, Gregory Staples, and the phenomenal Rafael Gallur. “Gallur is a fantastic painter out of Mexico who American audiences are probably not familiar with, but who is one of the best modern pulp painters I’ve ever seen. He was, personally, one of the guys I wanted to be part of this set very badly,” says Levine with obvious enthusiasm. Still more artists will be announced in coming weeks, making the set a virtual pulp powerhouse.

Each artist will illustrate a different chunk of the 63-card set, weaving together an apocalyptic story that rivals even the 1962 originals in terms of scope. “Topps hasn’t done a set like this in more than twenty years,” says series editor David Waldeck. “It’s a return to the days when trading cards hooked audiences with incredible imagery and imaginative storytelling. We’ve loaded the set with everything fans know and love about MARS ATTACKS: giant insects, flying saucers, ray guns, robots, damsels and death rays!

So will the new series reflect what’s been going on in IDW’s MARS ATTACKS comic book? “In a way, yes” says Levine, “but we are not being limited by it. Fans of the series will definitely see some connective tissues, a few characters referenced here and there, but we very much see the comic as an extension, and not the only story. While the comic chronicles smaller, individual stories about specific characters, our card set—like the original—takes a broader view of the invasion. The stories from the comic and the card set will cross in a few key spots, but we really see Mars Attacks as a huge, open world of stories taking place within a global, alien apocalypse.”

Additional chase card subsets and inserts will be detailed in the coming month, but one thing that will be on the menu are original 1962 MARS ATTACKS trading cards randomly inserted into pack. That dull smacking sound you hear is hordes of rabid MARS ATTACKS devotees fainting at the news of this, the ultimate chase card.

Another recent announcement from the Topps/IDW camp is the return of MARS ATTACKS’ beloved cult sister title DINOSAURS ATTACK! in the form of a restoration of the comic book adaptation, unfinished since 1991. IDW is finally releasing the entire epic in five parts beginning this July, in time for DINOSAURS ATTACK!’s 25th anniversary…could an announcement of further earth-shaking, saurian slaughter be far behind?  “Nothing quite yet”, Levine teases. “Very soon, though!

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Skin-scorching Martians, flesh-eating dinosaurs, and classic art, oh my. Topps hasn’t lost a step in more than half a century. And with the Garbage Pail Kids in the middle of their own comeback, we’re getting more pure-blooded Topps insanity at once than ever before. Ladies and gentlemen…the new golden age has arrived.

Look for Mars Attacks: Invasion this October, filled with high levels of sci-fi action and excessive amounts of bone-chilling gore that will surely thrill long-time fans and legions of new ones in equal measure. Keep your eyes on Fango for all the gory details!

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Mike Wasion
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