Ad It Up: Marvel Trading Cards

Like a lot of my fellow collectors, comics weren’t my first addiction. Before comics, I was WAY into trading cards. I started off with sports cards, going so far as to buy packs, sets and boxes of sports I didn’t even care about. Back in the late 80s and early 90s it was a boom time for trading cards and those of us who were kids back then were inundated with options. Every big, kid-oriented blockbuster movie had a card series. All the cartoons had them. And then, there were the comic book cards. I remember going over to a friend’s house who had the entire set of Marvel Universe Trading Cards and being insanely jealous and curious. Who were all these strange characters? Sure, I knew the biggies, but who the heck is Prowler? (He might not be one of the actual cards, but you get the idea). These cards segued nicely into my burgeoning comic addiction, especially as the worlds of comic and card shows were still joined at the hip when it came to small shows at the Knights Of Columbus Hall or local churches in Toledo, Ohio.

I’ve talked to a lot of my friends and fellow collectors and a surprising number of us got our first in depth look at the Marvel and DC comic book universes through card sets. The Marvel ones were very popular, but I also have fond memories of a similar DC set with gray borders and another one called Cosmic Teams or somesuch. I’ve got full sets of both of those.

I love this ad, but at the same time it’s kinda weird, right? Why would they have their trading cards fanned out light playing cards? Any time I traded cards with my friends, we just grabbed the other persons extra/doubles pile and just flipped through. Better yet, why are some of the cards flipped over? Maybe to show off the card backs, but they’re not very well showcased. Finally, who does the hairy ape-like hand at the top belong to? I’m guessing the human hand is supposed to be “You, the consumer!” and the others are Spidey, Doctor Doom and the Lizard (what are they doing hanging out?!) but that top one is either super obscure or an extra fake arm the prop company had lying around for the photo shoot. Man, I’ve thought about this WAY too much. Back to work!

2 thoughts on “Ad It Up: Marvel Trading Cards

  1. Just want to say, thanks for the little nostalgia trip. I am one of those people who got into comics through trading cards. IIRC, there was a Marvel card w/ Spidey in the black costume, and I read the back which told about the whole symbiont storyline, and at that moment I realized I was a Spider-Man fan and needed to read all his comments, and that I definitely needed to obtain a copy of the issue where the black costume first appears.

    I still have that comic, framed on my wall.

  2. LOL – sorry for the double comment, but I mis-typed. I meant I wanted to ready all the Spider-Man COMICS, in case that wasn’t clear…

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