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The Most Important Horror Trading Cards?
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What do you think?

https://dailydead.com/they-won...-dead-trading-cards/

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Posts: 65 | Location: Maryland | Registered: February 04, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The article refers to "Mars Attacks" being banned. I think this is an urban myth. I've never seen any contemporaneous accounts of Mars Attacks cards being banned. I have seen a 1974 article, an interview with Sy berger, that said the set was a flop for Topps.

I think they just didn't sell well in 1962, and stories about them being banned or withdrawn from the market sort of grew on their own.
 
Posts: 1279 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
I think they just didn't sell well in 1962, and stories about them being banned or withdrawn from the market sort of grew on their own.


I don't know if there is a reference to this anyplace, maybe the story did just get repeated so often it was taken as fact, but I do seem to remember seeing that the Mars Attacks cards were banned in certain places and a couple of the more graphic cards were singled out and not shown. There was a problem with the one where the dog was killed in front of the boy and a couple of the ones with leering Martians and scantily clad women.

It may not have been a totally official ban, but there was a backlash and people were offended and complained at the time.
 
Posts: 7119 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've heard the stories, too, but never from anyone who was in a position to know. I think they all were repeating the myth.

quote:
There was a problem with the one where the dog was killed in front of the boy


What problem? The card was printed, just like all the others.


The only thing that I've ever read about that approaches a "ban" is a story told by Len Brown in the Mars Attacks book from Topps that said a Connecticut District Attorney who complained, and said they were unsuitable for children, and that Topps shouldn't make any more. Hardly a ban.
 
Posts: 1279 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Weren't some of the Mars Attacks cards painted over to cover up some violence and sexy women in reprints?

Also, I'm pretty sure there was never an official Nightmare on Elm Street card set, but there were some featured in the Fright Flicks series.

Nonetheless, these NOTLD card articles are great reads!
 
Posts: 1286 | Location: NJ | Registered: August 28, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ted, Impel did a Nightmare On Elm St set in 1991

See below

https://www.nslists.com/nightimp.htm
 
Posts: 2381 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
I've heard the stories, too, but never from anyone who was in a position to know. I think they all were repeating the myth.

quote:
There was a problem with the one where the dog was killed in front of the boy


What problem? The card was printed, just like all the others.


The only thing that I've ever read about that approaches a "ban" is a story told by Len Brown in the Mars Attacks book from Topps that said a Connecticut District Attorney who complained, and said they were unsuitable for children, and that Topps shouldn't make any more. Hardly a ban.


There's actually a lot of documentation on various sites about the original Mars Attacks cards being badly received because of the graphic artwork. That specific card with the dog was an example of one of the main complaints. Kid begging not to kill his dog and watching it get blasted anyway, kind of a mean streak there, no?

From Wikipedia, "The cards sparked parental and community outrage over their graphic violence and implied sexuality. TOPPS responded initially by reprinting 13 of the cards to reduce the gore and sexuality."

This was in the 60s, when trading cards about drawn Martians were not advertised as adult themed and children could pick up TOPPS cards in every candy store and 5&10, or at least until their parents saw them. TOPPS did distribute them, but they were either pulled from places once they got complaints or places never brought them in, so they didn't sell well and were not successful at the time.

You could say there was no official ban, but it wasn't a myth. These cards were rejected by the public and TOPPS had to change course. It wasn't until like 30 years later that they became iconic because they were so far ahead of the times.
 
Posts: 7119 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mars Attacks were not banned in the USA. Nor were the 13 cards revised and reissued. (13 cards were modified but not released. Sagging sales and rising complaints made it easier to just stop printing them. A limited edition series of 1,000 sets of the modified cards was eventually released by Rosem Enterprise in 1984, although some question their authenticity. They were called "Mars Attacks the unpublished version")

However, Mars Attacks was even more controversial in the UK, because the English Parliament did not appreciate being depicted as destroyed by Martians. Both countries gave copyrights as "Bubbles Inc" to help dodge complaints, but it was far more obvious in the UK who released them, because no one besides Topps A&BC had that connection to the USA market which also released them. I don't believe they banned in the UK, either, but I'd want to research it more before saying for sure.

What is for certain though, is that dealers like to "hype" certain stories about collectibles, and it's far more exciting to say a set they are selling was "banned" than that to say it didn't sell well when it first came out. Granted, one of the reasons it probably didn't sell well was because many retail stores were embarrassed by the content and were placing them on the bottom shelf rather than the countertop. And that's a form of self censorship, really. Regardless, it was a terrific set and a shame it didn't get the attention it deserved. (Neither did Dinosaurs Attacks, another all original, beautiful horror series of paintings by Topps that deserved much better treatment in the market than it got.)

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Posts: 361 | Location: Tallahassee, FL | Registered: April 12, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great discussion, gentlemen! Thanks for your thoughts!

1--It may be the case that Mars Attacks wasn't "banned" and just very controversial or poorly received. I am not the only one who refers to a ban but I've heard that it was for so long that I have just come to accept it as fact. Maybe it's not. Haven't been able to find anything conclusive one way or the other.

https://waroftheworlds.fandom....opps%27_Mars_Attacks

2--Topps' 1989 Nightmare on Elm Street cards were indeed part of the Fright Flicks set, not actually a dedicated set. My apologies on this detail. Would there be a better Topps or other manufacturer set to cite along with Jaws and Gremlins?

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Posts: 65 | Location: Maryland | Registered: February 04, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Ted Dastick Jr.:
Nonetheless, these NOTLD card articles are great reads!


Thanks so much, Ted! I was trying to cover a lot of ground on this one and hope my inaccuracies didn't ruin the point I was getting at!

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Posts: 65 | Location: Maryland | Registered: February 04, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Raven:

There's actually a lot of documentation on various sites about the original Mars Attacks cards being badly received because of the graphic artwork.


There are a number of websites that say that the cards were poorly received, but there is very little documentation of that fact. And wikipedia is just wrong on this particular issue. There were no reprints by Topps.

The cards were poorly distributed, they didn't sell all that well, and Topps got a few letters of complaint. That means that the cards aren't very common today, and that urban legends grew.
 
Posts: 1279 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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In an age when the word "overproduction" did not exist for TOPPS, they stopped printing Mars Attacks cards because they weren't selling. I think that much everyone can agree on, but enough of these cards were distributed and you can still find them fairly easily today. Like all vintage cards, the key is condition, and the high grade copies are what's uncommon today.
 
Posts: 7119 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Ted Dastick Jr.:

Also, I'm pretty sure there was never an official Nightmare on Elm Street card set,



I am sitting here looking at mine so i can confirm that there was a set. As Tommy C pointed out it was by Impel and came in a coffin type box.

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Posts: 27733 | Location: wolverhampton staffs uk | Registered: July 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Do you collect Mars Attacks, Bill? Sounds like you know quite a bit about them. The original 1962 set is a next potential target for me. Just not sure if I want to dive down that rabbit hole!

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Posts: 65 | Location: Maryland | Registered: February 04, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by wolfie:
quote:
Originally posted by Ted Dastick Jr.:

Also, I'm pretty sure there was never an official Nightmare on Elm Street card set,



I am sitting here looking at mine so i can confirm that there was a set. As Tommy C pointed out it was by Impel and came in a coffin type box.


The cards I was referring to in the article were the Fright Flicks, just didn't note that correctly. What year were the Impel cards released?

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Posts: 65 | Location: Maryland | Registered: February 04, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The Impel set came out in 1991. Here it is

https://www.nslists.com/nightimp.htm
 
Posts: 4167 | Location: Bayonne, NJ, USA | Registered: May 06, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In the book celebrating Mars Attacks 50th Anniversary published by Topps in 2012 the introduction by Len Brown makes mention the of the then Topps President Joel Shorin receiving a telephone call from a friend in Connecticut telling him that the cards were unsuitable for children, this friend happened to be a District Attorney and according to the article this call plus negative press and comments was enough to persuade Mr Shorin to curtail plans to expand the series of Mars Attacks. I believe at the time the cards had not been released nationwide in the US.

Being from the UK and at the time living not far from A & BC Gum's Harold Wood base I seem to remember the cards being banned by the local school authorities and having done a quick search on the British Library's British Newspaper Archive I came across at least one headline that appeared on page 7 of Newcastle Journal dated 23rd October 1963 which states "Bubble Gum attack from Mars meets a sticky end". regrettably the copy of the article is very poor making it difficult to read. It appears that the Police and Home Office had contacted the distributor concerning the complaints that had been received and they had promised not to release any more.

regards

John

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Posts: 1463 | Location: United Kingdom | Registered: October 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah John, that sounds about in line with what I have always heard. The original release was before my time, but when I started serious card collecting Mars Attacks had already begun to get the big recognition. I can remember picking up a mint #1 The Invasion Begins at a show and it is still the only original card that I own, although I went for all the reprints.

The unknown part is how many 1962 Mars Attacks cards were printed before it was stopped and what happened to the inventory that either never was distributed or was returned. TOPPS kept cards. There is a famous story, also something of a myth perhaps, about how TOPPS dumped a warehouse full of cards into the East River of NY in the mid to late 60's. It was said that a bunch of high numbered baseball cards from the late series, including 50's Mantles, were just deep sixed.

So even if there was a good production count on Mars Attacks, it might still not help to say how many made it out into public availability, either thru regular distribution in 1962 or anytime later when demand increased. There are enough of the individual cards and a couple of complete sets on eBay whenever I take a peek, but prices vary widely and high grade copies have dried up a lot. Just by my impression anyway.
 
Posts: 7119 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Raven

Please be advised that the Mars Attacks cards issued in the UK in the 1960's was a smaller card than that issued in the US and of course was printed in England as stated on the back.

regards

John

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Posts: 1463 | Location: United Kingdom | Registered: October 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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No evidence the cards were ever banned, probably they just didn’t sell well enough to warrant larger distribution. It probably would have done much better a couple of years later when the Universal Monsters became a national craze with Famous Monsters of Filmland and stations running the classic monster movies on Saturday nights. It probably didn’t help that it was not tied to any popular license at the time, amazing how it has become so popular with age.

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