Oddball Monster Card Marathon!
By Kurt Kuerstener © 2002 Monsterwax Monster Trading Cards
A cold wind blows dead leaves across a collapsing front porch. A dilapidated door squeaks open and beckons daring youngsters to enter the abandoned house. It's the "haunted house" that everyone whispers about. The place where someone supposedly died a long, long time ago... Yes, it's almost Halloween. Kids everywhere are getting ready to get scared. That also means it's time for the annual oddball monster card article, our 10th installment thus far!
Let's begin with a boxed set often sold for just $5 or so. It's called Hollywood Horrors. The 37 card duotone series is written by Michael H. Price. It was printed in 1993 by Shel-Tone. The box claims the series is "a grand portrait gallery of classic horror actors from the beginning of the silver screen into the 60s!" The images look like illustrations, but they are probably computer manipulated photos with grain and other "noise" added for effect. It's a Who's Who of horror flick character actors. The bios on the backs are a fun read and make this set worthwhile. It's definitely oddball!
Tallahassee isn't only the home of recent election debacles, it's also the birthplace of Plan Nine From Outer Space-- the remake! A local film maker figured, "What the heck? No one will say my remake is worse than the original." It premiers this Halloween at our local dollar movie house. Ed Wood isn't around to see his monster classic revived, but I bet if he was, he'd keel over dead again. Yours Truly is supposed to help design a card set for this project, but that's in the future. In the meantime, Kitchen Sink released a snappy boxed set full of Plan Nine characters. The 1992 series was called The Ed Wood, Jr. Players. It's a 36 card duotone set drawn by Drew Friedman. The art is detailed and the backs tell the incredible story of the worst director of all time. Featured actors include Bela Lugosi, Vampira, and Tor Johnson.
Tor is also profiled in the 1999 series of oversized cards by Good Stuff cards. It's called Tor Johnson Maximum Horror Cards. The ten card set measures 3 5/8th x 5 1/2 inches in size. The black and white illustrations are by Tony Nazar. Several of Tor's infamous "B" movies are discussed, including The Black Sleep, The Beast of Yucca Flats, The Unearthly, and Bride of the Monster. The series was limited to 1,000 sets.
Here's another interesting item: The 1992 series of Vampires Throughout History. This 50 card tri-color set (black & white with red trim) was released in 1992 by Acid Rain Studios. The images are clean line illustrations by an unnamed artist. Some of the cards are filler, including one with nothing but a stake on it, another with nothing but a silver bullet on it, and yet another with nothing but NOTHING on it! The blank card is of "The Horla"-- a psychic vampire. Get it? Invisible!? (Me neither.) However, the other cards are much more interesting to look at and read. Whoever put this set together sure loved vampires! (Maybe they were married to a lawyer?) Oddly enough, there are no numbers or checklists included in the set. The only way to make sure you have all 50 is to count. Get it? The Count?! (Me neither.)
A more playful series is Scary Monster Movie Parody Cards. This 36 card set was released by Drukenis Publishing in 1994. It's made up of satiric parody posters of famous monster movies from earlier decades. Examples include Creature of the Bleak Lagoon, The Day the Earth Still Stood, and The War of Words. The art on the front was drawn by Ronn Foss, and appears to have been created with a black marker and then colored with water colors. The commentary on the backs is rather sparse. The jokes on the front are tongue in cheek. You'll recognize many of these humorous spoofs.
The latest two series worth examining are from long time Wrapper dealer, Todd Riley. NostalgiCards has just issued Galaxy Goons and More Morbid Monster Cards. Both are full color sets of original monster art. Both are sold as 24 count test boxes for under $100. Only 300 of each series were made, and both include special chase, prototype and bonus cards. (There are so many extras, in fact, that collectors should visit www.nostalgicards.com to appreciate the complete list of details.)
Odd Rods collectors will especially enjoy the Galaxy Goons. Artist Michael Bruinsma captures the Odd Rod flavor wonderfully. Crazy monsters drive wild and wacky machines. The puns are funny, too. Classic sci-fi movies like Star Wars and TV shows like Star Trek are cleverly satirized. There are 36 cards in the basic set, plus all sorts of extras.
More Morbid Monster Cards is the sequel to Morbid Monsters. These are along the same line as the popular Ugly Stickers from Topps. Instead of just a monster and a name, however, collectors are also treated to a Loathsome Limerick on each back. The Rileys clearly invested a lot of time and creativity on this set, and it shows. There are 36 cards in the base set, 7 different promos, 9 different foil cards, special "mini" prototypes designed for Cracker Jacks, and much more. Card collectors often complain that no one is selling original art cards in packs anymore, so now is there chance to indulge themselves. Let's hope NostalgiCards continues to make original yet really limited cards. It's a great addition to the hobby.
Since pictures are worth a thousand words, I'm going to let the images do the rest of the talking. But not before plugging non-sports as the perfect Halloween trick-or-treat. Dumped card classics like Dinosaur Attacks and Fright Flicks are cheaper than most candies-- less than 7 cents a pack! (See page 54 of last Wrapper for examples.) Cards are also healthier and introduce our hobby to a new generation. And that means fresh blood, heh-heh-heh... So give the little monsters paper monsters and have a happy Halloween!
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