For today’s post, I wanted to talk about something a little different, but I’m sure many have indulged in. Just as there was toys and comic books for cartoons and movies, there were trading cards. For me, collecting comics and trading cards went hand in hand. Sure, I collected baseball cards in the beginning, but then I found non-sports trading cards. Just as there were kids trading their Pokemon cards at school 10 years ago, I remember trading Marvel Universe trading cards before class.
These things were all the rage in my school. Even if you weren’t into comics, you collected these cards. For me though, these were an awesome addition to the comics I was reading and collecting. There were cards of characters you knew and ones for those that you weren’t familiar with. But with these cards, they added something every kid pined for. Randomly inserted into these packs were 5 different hologram cards for kids to collect. I think on average, there were 2-3 holograms per box. I learned a trick to finding the holograms before you bought a pack from a kid a grade above me. These packs were made of plastic. If you scratched a small hole on the front of the pack, you would see if that pack had a hologram(all of the hologram cards manufactured were the first cards in the packs that contained them). Of couse, store owners and employees realised this and had to place them closer to the registers. To get around this, I found out another way to find out which packs had those precious hologram cards. If you placed 2 packs side by side, you could tell which packs had holograms by finding which packs were just a bit taller compared to the other packs(hologram cards were just a bit thicker than ordinary cards).
Here are two sealed packs from 1991. Sorry, I’m not going to open them today.
And these are the cards
As you can see, there were a few different sub-sets. We have Super Heroes, Super Villains, Rookies, Famous Battles and some cheesy Spider-Man interview cards(not pictured). On the back of each card it gave you some stats, such as, their real name(if known), their height and weight, as well as the comic book they first appeared in and their win/loss record. On the bottom of the card backs there were little trivia blurbs, titled, “Did you know?”.
I bought countless packs of these and eventually completed the set and had each of the 5 holograms. Of course, alot of wheelin’ and dealin’ went on. For some reason, it seemed that the card of Quasar was the most difficult to obtain, and he’s like a D-list character! This was the first of many wildly successful comic book trading card series
Of course comic books weren’t the only cards that got the trading card treatment. If you’re around the same age as me(31), I’m sure you remember Nintendo being a way of life for a good chunk of years. There was merchandise for everything Nintendo. Games, magazines, sheet sets, stationary and toys. In 1989 our good freinds at Topps, put Nintendo GamePack trading/scratch and win cards on the market. There were one of three Nintendo characters on the wrappers. There was Mario(of course), Princess Peach and Link.
Here is an unopened pack with Link on the wrapper.
And here are the cards.
The idea behind these cards was the same idea of scrtch-off lottery tickets. On the back of the card, they showed you all of the possible icons you would uncover by scratching the different spots on the front, and their meaning. Your objective was the same as the game that the card represented. There were six different games represented, with a total of 10 different cards for each game. The games represented are, Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.2, The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, Punch-Out!! and Double Dragon. In addition to the 3 trading cards cards you got in every pack you also got 2 stickers. On the back of these stickers there were “Top Secret Tips”. Most of these so-called ‘tips”, were bullshit! Almost every kid on earth knew them already! Maybe I’ll show you some examples in a future post. The cards were pretty much useless after you scratched them, but that didn’t stop me from buying a whole lotta them!
The last set of cards we’ll revisit are cards that I went absolutely nuts for in the 3rd grade. I present to you…ALF trading cards.
In 1987 our friends at Topps(seriously, is there a property they didn’t make cards after?), unleashed ALF trading cards to the masses. As you can tell from the picture above, the cards must have been successful, as they released a 2nd series. In each of these packs, you got 5 cards, 1 sticker and 1 stick of Topps’ famously stale gum(do not eat!). I remember trading my regular cards and stickers for the “Bouillabaseball” cards. These cards were cartoon drawings of different Melmacians that played on various bouillabaseball teams. I have no idea how they came about, but I loved them. They had a weirdness about them that totally spoke to me.
Here’s a few of the cards and stickers you could have got.
And there you have it! A few of the many trading cards marketed to the kids we all once were. I wouldn’t say that I won’t do a similar post in the future, as I have a huge selection in my personal collection. I hope you had fun on this trip back in time. And with the famous line from Jerry Springer…”‘Until next time America”.