The cards proved popular with children but their explicit gore and implied sexual content caused an outcry, leading the company to halt production.
Mars Attacks is a science fiction trading card series released in 1962. The cards feature artwork by science-fiction artist Wallace Wood and tell the story of the invasion of Earth by cruel, hideous Martians. The cards depicted futuristic battle scenes and bizarre methods of Martian attack, torture and slaughter. The story ends with a combined Earth invasion fleet attacking Mars by landing on the planet and destroying it.
The cards proved popular with children but their explicit gore and implied sexual content caused an outcry, leading the company to halt production. The cards became collectors’ items.
In the 1980s Topps began developing merchandise based on the Mars Attacks storyline, including mini-comic books and card reprints. An expanded set of 100 cards was issued in 1994. Director Tim Burton filmed Mars Attacks! in 1996 based on the series, spawning another round of merchandising.
In 2012, in celebration of the franchise’s 50th anniversary, Topps has partnered with a variety of companies on a merchandising campaign to include comic books (via IDW Publishing), bobble heads and vinyl dolls (Funko), action figures and plush (Mezco Toyz), costumes (Incogneato), statues and busts (Quarantine Studio), electronics skins (Gelaskins) and a hardcover commemorative book (Abrams Books).