Mike Gold: Mars Attacks – Completely!

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, www.getthepointradio.com and on iNetRadio, www.iNetRadio.com (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check www.getthepointradio.com above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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2 Responses

  1. Doug Edwards says:

    The recall of the Mars Attacks cards was not the end of the story in the early 60’s. At least some of the cards found their way back into the marketplace very shortly after the controversy. Given that I wasn’t quite 10 years old yet at the time, I can’t nail down the exact year, but given the impact those cards had on me, I do remember a surprising amount of details.

    It was October in Detroit, and a discount department store chain named Arlan’s was selling cellophane packages containing several dozen single trading cards, each individually wrapped, for distribution as halloween ‘candy’. The wrappers were a bright red, with the words “Trading Card and Gum” printed in white, along with some other small graphic images framing the text. My parents had picked up several packages of these for the local trick-or-treaters, not all of which wound up being handed out that night. My younger sibs and I were given the remaining cards to open up the following morning.

    Personally hoping for Topps baseball cards, which I was avidly collecting at that time, I was disappointed by the first few single-card ‘packs’ I opened: funny valentines, football, some other humor stuff. Then came the first of what we took to calling “Martian cards” – #18, “A Soldier Fights Back”, with the preview of “Burning Flesh” on the back. We were hooked!

    Significantly pleading with my folks got us back to Arlan’s, where we were able to purchase a couple of additional cello bags of the cards. We were ultimately able to assemble 53 cards of the 55 card set – all but card #1, and one of the cards in the mid-30’s, which name I can’t remember. I have no idea what ultimately happened to that near-complete set: my brother and I turned up other early-to-mid 60’s gum cards digging through closets before Mom sold the house 20+ years ago, but our beloved “Martian cards” weren’t among the treasures.

    Prior to the release of the 1994 reprints, the two of us spent several years visiting card shops, flea markets, and other collectible venues assembling a full set of cards from scratch, typically acquiring one or two at a time. During all of that searching, I never found anybody else familiar with the cards being remaindered in the manner in which I’d first encountered them. But my personal experience still has me thinking that cards aren’t truly as scarce or limited as the hobby would have you believe!

  2. I think a word of praise should be given for Topps’ 25th anniversary celebration set, the equally entertaining Dinosaurs Attack!

    Intended as a thematic sequel to the original masterpiece, it featured equally gory art and an equally exciting story. A scientist invents a ray that can pull things from the past to the modern day, and he chooses to bring us dinosaurs, with the predictable results.

    Didn’t make nearly as big an impact, but a great set in and of itself.