More Mars Attacks: The Movie & Merchandise
By Kurt Kuersteiner (© Monsterwax Monster Trading Cards) for The Wrapper Magazine
Just when you thought you had spent enough on your Mars Attacks collection, it happens: Yet another wave of Mars Attacks merchandise assaults the stores. It all started with the original set. It was great but hard to find. Then came the mini comics. They were plentiful but discontinued after four chapters. Then came the Scream'in Models. They were easy to find but tough to pay for. Then came multiple series of Topps comics, paperback books, and a major motion picture. Is there no end is sight?
Ours is not to question why, but to collect and buy.
And what an armada there is to invade your wallet. There's been an explosion of magazines with Mars Attacks covers, almost two dozen comics, several paperback books, and an assortment of non-paper related items. Collector Todd Riley has cataloged over 100 different collectibles! For this reason, we can't possibly cover everything, but here are a few of the highlights:
The Sneak Preview movie ticket. Many of them were made and given out, but few were saved. Bob Conway sold one in his last ad. He missed the preview but saved the ticket and received many calls regarding it. The ticket featured a color picture from the poster with a sea of Martian heads on it. At the preview, viewers received a poster from the movie and a post card as well. Both featured similar graphics and the slogan, "nice planet: We'll take it". Little doubt some collectors made off with the eight foot banner theaters nailed above the entrance with the same theme.
The movie cards soon followed. Printed by Topps in widevision format, there's 72 regular and 6 chase cards featuring scenes from the film. The wrappers are quite vivid, but it's the boxes that really reach out and grab your attention. There are also at least two promos available, one with a close up of the Martian face, another with a movie scene of the Martian leader enjoying a centerfold.
There's also four cards from inside two of the Mars Attacks paperback novels. They feature art from the paperback covers. And speaking of paperbacks, Mad magazine has six Mad Attacks parody cards on the back cover of their January issue. There's no Martians here, but scenes of graphic violence against unpopular public figures (like O.J. Simpson). Cracked magazine soon followed with a dozen Mars Attacks "fake out" cards inside their April issue. These perforated cards feature goofy versions of the same aliens in the original card set. They're printed on flimsy card stock but look good.
There are also several clothing items. At least three baseball caps and a dozen different T-shirts. (Expect to see them on folks at the upcoming card shows!) The Warner stores sold lots of these, plus two different enamel buttons. They also sell a pretty hot Martian coffee mug.
But the neatest Mars Attacks items (besides the cards) have got to be the action figures from Trendmasters. Wow! The large 12 inch figures not only talk, but their brainy heads light up and throb!
Oddly enough, there are two different styles of figures. First, there are characters from the Topps comic books. These come in blue boxes and are okay, but don't look like the Martians from the card set. Second, there are characters from the movie, and these are identical to the card set Martians. (They come packaged in orange boxes.) Both series are cataloged on the back of each package. Briefly summarized, there are five different groups of toys. There are two 12" action figures, seven 6" action figures, three 4" action figures, two 10" flying saucers and two full sized laser pistols.
If you press a button, the figures speak Martian gibberish. Press again, and they say "Take me to your leader", "Mars will rule", "We come in Peace", "Destroy Earth", or "Trust me". However, each figure only says one of these phrases (except the Kay-Bee toy versions which don't talk at all).
The 12 inch figures were described earlier. They come in a blue box variety (based on the comics) and a orange box variety (based on the movie). Suggested retail is $15.
The 6 inch action figures also talk (same phrases) but their heads don't light up or throb. The blue box (comic book) variety feature the Paeec Overlord (a Cyclops Martian), the Martian Trooper (regular Martian with shield) and the Supreme Commander (regular Martian with cape and blaster). The orange box (movie) variety features three identical Martians, only with different gear and capes. There's the Martian Leader (purple cape and Ray Staff), the Martian Ambassador (red cape and blasters) and the Martian Trooper (2 blasters but no cape). The Martian Trooper looks just like the Martian from the card set. There's also the Martian Spy Girl. Her mask comes off (just like in the movie) and reveals a hideous Martian. These are currently in short supply, but the company reports that many more are being made. Suggested retail is $10
The 4 inch figures only come in a blue box (comic book) variety. There's a Doom Spider (Martian inside a robot spider), a Doom Robot (Martian atop a giant robot) and a Martian Trooper (Martian with four robot/octopus arms). None of these talk but all three come with a Mars Attacks Mission Disk. Each disk has one of three IBM computer games on it; Mission of Doom, Martian Emergency, or Attack of the Killer Bugs. The figure and disk retail at $6.
The Flying Saucers come in two varieties. The blue box (comic book) Doom Saucer and the orange box (movie) Martian Flying Saucer. Both include one of the three different computer game disks mentioned earlier. Both feature multiple phaser sounds. The Doom Saucer also has a detachable micro-saucer included. The orange box version looks similar to the craft in the card set, but there's minor differences. The cost is $20 retail.
Finally, (and probably the favorite for kids) there are two disintegrator pistols. These not only make neat-o sounds, they flash lights and have a throbbing brain light up from within. You can disintegrate your friends for just $15 retail. The blue and orange box pistols are both pretty much the same.
Whoever would have thought so many items could be spawned from a gum card set? Is there yet more to come? No telling. When it comes to Mars Attacks, the sky's the limit.
The Non-Sports Trading Card Article Index