Oddball Oddball Monster Card 13!
by Kurt Kuersteiner © 2005 Monsterwax Monster Trading Cards
The countdown for Halloween has begun. That means Jack-o-lanterns, cool weather and trick-or-treaters will soon be upon us. That also means it's time for the annual Oddball Monster Card Article. This year is our 13th installment, so break a few mirrors, walk under a few ladders, and read onward to see if you can't provoke the card gremlins to help you find some unusual monster cards.
First on our list is a set by one of our very own Wrapper subscribers, Justin Morenz. You probably saw his ads for the series of mythological monsters called Cardlings. It seems to be heavily influenced by The Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter. The cards were sold in factory sets of 29, plus a checklist and one of four different "familiars" (an owl, cat, raven or wolf). Mine came with the owl familiar, and although there is nothing on the card to indicate it is an insert, it is. In fact, none of the cards are numbered at all and have a uniform brown border. The artwork is excellent and rich in color. The backs contain a short poem that tells about the creature.
Typical monsters include a Cyclops, a Dwarf, an Elf, a Fur Foot, a Gargoyle, a Gnome, a Goblin, a Leprechaun, an Imp, an Ogre, an Orc, a Troll, a Vampire, a Werewolf, and a Zombie. Many of the images have the characters reaching out or crawling off the side of card.
Morenz had this to say about his series: "Cardlings is a one-man show by myself. I created the art, and put the whole product together over the course of three years. It was fun and I'm glad I did it, but I'm taking a break before I start on a second series."
9,000 of the sets were made and you can still find them at www.Cardlings.com. If they do well enough, it sounds like we can look forward to future series.
Another neat series to come out recently is Terror Cards by Necroscope. You have to hand it to these guys, they keep the product cheap! It's sold in 12 cello pack boxes for around $20 and includes an autograph card of one of the actors in the gore films profiled. I haven't seen any of the "B" flicks featured-- or the actors either-- but they do look pretty interesting, albeit heavy on the blood. Here's some of the titles and you can see if you recognize any of them: Dead Next Door, Exhumed, Skinned Alive, Realms of Blood, Addicted to Murder, and The Halfway House. The clear cello wrapper is nothing to write home about, but the box itself is handsome enough.
This year's really oddball item comes from overseas. I can't even tell what country it's from, but it looks German. Chupa Chups Universal Monsters stickers are little 1.8" x 1.6" stickers found inside foil packages of gum lollipops. There are several different colorful wrappers featuring the likes of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Creature, or the Bride of Frankenstein on the outside, and the artwork looks very similar to the colorful packaging from the Burger King Universal Monster toys from several years ago. There are 30 different stickers which have similar art as well. They're numbered, but still very tough for Americans to acquire. I'm not even sure of the date, but they look like 2000 or later.
An oddball promo set of 14 cards was issued by Screen Gems in 2001 for the movie Ghost Of Mars. It states that 1 out of every 10,000 packs contained a John Carpenter card. Since each pack contained half of the set, that would mean at least 5,000 sets were issued just to release a single Carpenter card. It's hard to imagine that many were distributed, because I rarely if ever see the regular 12 cards and two checklists... and I've never seen the Carpenter card. But the basic twelve look pretty cool. They contain crystal clear color stills of the cast with short character bios on the back. The movie itself is pretty creepy also. It's kinda a Friday the 13th slasher flick with an Alien Resurrection sci-fi premise.
Remember the fun Morbid Monster cards from Nostalgia Cards not long ago? Well, series creator Todd Riley was surfing the internet and happened across a company with a similar name and love of monsters. MorbidMonster.com is home of Digital Masterpieces. The small company recreates monster memories with a twist-- they create new titles that never existed in formats that are all too familiar. For example, their first card series is called Classics Not Illustrated. Comic book collectors remember the original Classic Illustrated fondly, since they were the first to put classic stories like Frankenstein and The War Of The Worlds into comic book form back in the 1950s. But what if they also adapted other great horror and science fiction stories like Dracula and King Kong as comic books?
The folks at Digital Masterpieces answered this question with a series of 25 oversized (4x6") cards. Each card is a beautiful recreation of a Classics Illustrated comic book cover for a title that never was, but should have been. The colors are rich and the artwork is compelling. Many of the images were taken from actual pulp magazine covers of the same era, painted by such masters as Virgil Finlay. What a pity Classics Illustrated didn't do these titles, but even if they did, they probably wouldn't have made such beautiful covers.
This is series one of an ongoing project. It has a focus on the works of H.P.Lovecraft, but also includes diverse titles like The Day of the Triffids, I Robot, When Worlds Collide, The Lost World, Who Goes There?, and The Mummy. Each set is serial numbered one of to 1,000 sets. It is printed on thick glossy stock and retails for $25. The first 100 sets also contained a special 26th card of Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit and The Pendulum. (They are currently past the 100th set, however.) The backs are blank and unnumbered, but future series plan to include story synopsis and author /artist info.
If you're like most red blooded American kids, then you collected the Aurora monster models back in the 1960s and 70s. Digital Masterpieces also offers reproductions of classic Aurora boxes for the same price, including several titles they never issued (but should have). Titles include The Thing, The Blob, Them!, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, The Incredible Shrinking Man, the Martian from the George Pal film of The War of the Worlds, Karl Kolchak from The Night Stalker, and a dozen different creatures from various H.P.Lovecraft stories. There are also other (never issued) Aurora models as well, including super heroes like The Fantastic Four and super villains from Batman. It's quite a collection and worth the visit to their website at Morbidmonster.com. While you're there, you can also check out their reproductions of various pulp covers as 16 x 24" posters. They are obviously big fans of the golden era of monsters.
That's it for this year's oddball installment. Remember to hand out some trading cards with your Halloween trick or treats. Do your bit to help spread that contagious disease with no known cure-- card collecting!
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