Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dinosaurs Attack: Day Eight

(Click to view in Dino-Rama!)

"Share, and share alike" was the two pals' motto!

Today's 8th close-up look at the cards of Dinosaurs Attack starts with one of the goriest in the set... a nightmarish image of a military man being ripped in half by two hungry monsters, with flying bits of entrails. Without the wry and dark humor in the other cards, this one is sheer horror without anything to temper it or bring a nervous chuckle. More than a few cards after this begin to illustrate the terror in more graphic images, with some invoking a feeling of despair shared by the helpless and doomed victims. For horror movie fans like myself, this was the good stuff, without all the laughs. For the impressionable kids, I'm sure it inspired some bad dreams! The last line of the back of the card below prophetically hints at the bloodletting to come...

Only the request to "send more scientists" gave away that the message was faked by the very intelligent dinosaurs.

Below on card #16, the adorable Ankylosaurus warns away the threatening farmer with a slight wave of it's tail. Somehow, his injuries look a little more fatal than the back of the card reports, with him being "rushed to the hospital." Meanwhile, in the background, some obliging Pteranodons take a couple of happy cows for a joyriding flight around the barnyard.

Next: About to get eaten... twice!

All "Dinosaurs Attack!" images and logos (TM) & Copyright (c) of The Topps Co., Inc.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dinosaurs Attack: Day Seven

(Click on images to see in realistic Dino-Vision!)

Things get a bit hairy at the concert as the crowd goes wild!

Day Seven of the Dinosaurs Attack month brings us to card #13, as a rock concert gets slightly wilder. The rockers got off remarkably light, losing only their multi-colored locks to the plant-eaters. Not much blood here, just the shock of having the hair pulled out by the roots, but the cocaine buzz probably dulled it somewhat anyway, as they most likely thought they were having a bad trip.

Card #14, however, gets back into the good stuff as a couple of dinos, in a snacking mood, peel open a tin can of densely-packed Tiny Tot Treats and dig in. Mmm-mmm, they're better when they're Young 'N Tender!

Below is a bonus painting from the back of the graphic novel adaptation;
the look on the piper's face is priceless!

Next: The Colonel is torn between two courses of action!

All "Dinosaurs Attack!" images and logos (TM) & Copyright (c) of The Topps Co., Inc.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dinosaurs Attack: Day Six

"'The basement is the safest place to hide,' he says! Why did we listen?"

Day Six starts off with an apology. It was only after starting this series of posts that I realised I was missing a few cards here and there in the set, and #11 is one of them. I scrounged around online and found the front and back of the card, but unfortunately they are not large images; what you see is pretty much it. It's too bad, also, since this card features a good shot of a guy re-enacting the scene in "Jaws" where Quint meets his fate. I wouldn't place a bet on the babe-in-arms faring any better. And I'd really like to have a hi-rez scan here, because that sure looks like the fellow on the left is using a circular saw to cut a slab off of the dinosaurs's back!

It looks like the basement was not a good place to hide, since if you get trapped there's nowhere to run, as Ben pointed out in "Night of the Living Dead." The fact he was wrong in that movie (and everyone paid the price) doesn't invalidate the point, 'specially when you have burrowing dinos sniffing you out!

Alright, back to the regularly scheduled hi-rez show, as card #12 takes us out to the ballgame!

(Click on card to view in giant gore-a-vision!)
It's Dinos 3, Falcons 0 as the fourth inning gets underway.

One player about to be swallowed, two ripped-asunder halves of another in his claws, and still another trapped underfoot to be eaten next... looks like this Thunder Lizard is really making a splash on the sports page. Read all about it below!

Next: Concert-goers get their money's worth!

Suddenly, the kids in the audience no longer thought the circus was lame.

Bonus painting from the "Dinosaurs Attack!" graphic novel, to make up for the missing card #11. NOTE TO COLLECTORS: If you have an extra #11, I have extras in the set I will trade for it... or just scan it in at hi-rez and email it to me, and I'll post it giving you credit.

All "Dinosaurs Attack!" images and logos (TM) & Copyright (c) of The Topps Co., Inc.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dinosaurs Attack: Day Five

(Click on images to view dino-sized.)
The phrase "Til death do us part" suddenly took on urgent new meaning.]
The rampage continues as we look at the next couple of cards in this somewhat infamous set, "somewhat" is used since they were never very well-known. But not for lack of trying; above we see a bride and groom united in mayhem rather than matrimony. Note the wedding photographer in the background, still busily snapping away! He's gonna get paid for this gig, one way or another.

"Madre dios! Who's-a gonna pay for dis-a mess?"

Even the land of the mafia and meatballs gets trampled underfoot, in an image that pays simultaneous homage to "The Giant Behemoth" and "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms."
Next: The basement is the safest place to hide, trust me!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dinosaurs Attack: Day Four

(Click on all images to view dino-size!)
Proving that they aren't discriminate about who or what they eat, the dinosaurs even chow down on the denizens of the nation's capitol.
Dinosaurs are apparently smarter than they were given credit for, often multi-tasking and killing several people at one time using various appendages. Here a Secret Service man gets casually decapitated, mid-curse, by the wing of the Pteranodon carrying away the President. The First Lady fares no better, suffering the horror of being chewed AND disemboweled at the same time, all while kicking and screaming. Too bad about the pearl necklace, though...

Ironically, Barney had only just narrowly missed being run over by a car.

Above, we have easily the most disturbing card, depicting a poor helpless mutt being stepped on. Sure, they can maim and massacre people, but kill a dog and they've gone too far! (The flat cat in the background is hilarious, though.) Sad though it is, the artist showed considerable restraint... the blood and guts that one might expect to be squishing out are notably absent in this one. Perhaps they felt it went far enough as it was, considering how kids love their pets, without pushing it. A big jet of bloody poop hitting the girl's dress would have been a nice touch, though...

Next: "I now pronounce thee man and....AAAAUUUUURRRRGH!"
All "Dinosaurs Attack!" images and logos (TM) & Copyright (c) of The Topps Co., Inc.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dinosaurs Attack: Day Three

(Click on images to view dinosaur-sized!)

"Children, walk, don't run to the nearest exit in an orderly fashion!"
Day Three of the attack of the dinosaurs gets underway with the first arrival of the gore everyone talks about when these cards come up... and what an arrival it is! Kids, no less, being devoured alive, with nothing left to the imagination. No, purple dinosaurs aren't cute and fun to play with, the children find out, as the bloody body count begins. But, it was a good day for the usual teacher who was out sick, and the frog, who fortunately escaped the carnage and probable dissection. Counseling was made available for the traumatized surviving children... until the counselors were eaten also.

Gripped by a mob mentality, the normally docile and plant-eating Stegosaurus were incited by all the violence to join in and stick one to The Man.

I love the sensationalistic reporting in the "news article" above. If real newspapers were this luridly descriptive they would be a lot more interesting! "Two people were killed last night in a one-car auto accident on Highway 95. The driver was mangled beyond recognition by the impact with the concrete bridge support, his skull destroyed and bloody brain matter splattered all over the hood of the vehicle. The passenger was folded up like an overnight suitcase, internal organs oozing from several bodily orifices. The tragedy was so sickening that one of the first policemen on the scene vomited for five minutes."

Next: Washington Gets It!

All "Dinosaurs Attack!" images and logos (TM) & Copyright (c) of The Topps Co., Inc.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dinosaurs Attack: Day Two

(Click on images to view dinosaur-sized!)

Oh, come on, don't look so shocked...

Day Two commences of the Monster Memories hi-rez look at the goriest cards in history, the 1988 "Dinosaurs Attack!" set from Topps. Each weekday you can come back and see in bigscreen horror all the gore and good times in juicy two-cards-per-day chunks. Most of the foreground characters pictured on the cards were based on real people from around the Topps office. For example, Dr. Elias Thorne is based on the cards story writer, Gary Gerani.

A Closer Look:

Why is this dude wearing sunglasses?

"Sir! It's out of control... but I'm cool!"

This technician is seemingly more horrified by what's on his
co-worker's shoulder than anything else around him.

"OMG, would you just LOOK at the DANDRUFF!"

"Where's the beef?"

Re: the last question in the news story.... "YA THINK?"

Next time: The grue gets underway with "Homeroom Horror!"
All "Dinosaurs Attack!" images and logos (TM) & Copyright (c) of The Topps Co., Inc.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dinosaurs Attack: Day One

The top of the card box display art; three fatalities already!

In 1988, Topps released the "Dinosaurs Attack" cards, in the hopes of duplicating their success with the decades-earlier legendary "Mars Attacks" set. While the "Dinosaurs" cards never caught on or made the impact on the same wide-scale as the "Mars" cards, they were every bit as outrageous as their predecessors, with even more of an emphasis on the gruesome and graphic gore. Considering their main market was kids, it's a wonder their parents didn't raise a protest and get them in the news, thereby pushing their popularity through the roof.

A day at the ballpark becomes more exciting than usual!

I first came upon this sick (and I mean that in a good way) set of cards in 1992 at a comic book store in Ft. Lauderdale FL where I lived at the time. Being an "adult" when I found them meant that the cards didn't shock me like it might have most kids that bought them, it mostly amused and amazed me that cards like this could still be produced in the politically-correct atmosphere that prevailed. Scenes of people being torn apart and devoured, a baby eaten, pets smashed, all are merrily displayed in full color and in the good spirit of light and harmless entertainment. Fun, fun, fun, til your Mommy takes your gum cards away!

The blood! The torn skin! The pain! And that's just from the cheek-lacerating shards of the stick of gum included in the package!

I love the crazy vignettes played out in these cards, which if in a movie would have to be released unrated. Enhanced on some of the card backs with photos of the hapless humans reacting to the bloodbaths, this set is as hilarious to me as it would be horrifying to some parents. Although other sites have posted all the cards before, I felt that the artwork deserved to be seen in a larger format than any I found online. One has to see them in high resolution to truly appreciate the insanely dark humor and gut-splatteringly gory artwork! So, I plan on posting two cards each weekday until the entire set is covered. Click on any image to view the dinosaur-sized scans... and if you haven't seen them before... prepare yourself! Yes, they really were found in the candy shelves and sold to children! Lucky brats... I never found anything this awesome when I was a kid.

The cards told the story of an experiment in viewing the past that goes horribly wrong, bringing the bloodthirsty lifeforms of the prehistoric world into the present. Below are the three wrapper variations, small hints of the carnage awaiting inside...

The saga begins:

We start with #1, the title card, front and back...

This dinosaur attack coverage brought to you by...

I remember my reaction to the set when I bought my first pack. It was lunchtime and I had run out to my favorite fast food place, Checkers. On the way I went by a comic book store to get something to read, and I saw the intriguing box of these cards. I bought a pack, put it in my pocket, and went on through the Checkers drive-through window. I parked under a tree to eat, and while scarfing down a double cheese-burger with bacon, I opened the pack. I nearly choked on a hunk of cheesy beef as my eyes took in the ghastly events pictured in the cards. Now, this, folks, is the way to do it! Shredded flesh, crushed bones, flailing intestines, bashed brains! I knew I had a winner, and as soon as I finished lunch (and no, the cards didn't ruin my appetite) I headed back and bought several more packs. Each day for several weeks I repeated the routine until I had them all, and even acquired the empty box. Life was good.

And, the story begins, bloodlessly enough... but that won't last...

really, what could possibly go wrong?

Next: "Time Scanner Disaster!"

Some fun "Dinosaurs Attack!" links around the web:

All "Dinosaurs Attack!" images and logos (TM) & Copyright (c) of The Topps Co., Inc.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Scream #6: "The Vampire of the Opera"

(Click on images to view full size.)

In the summer of 1974, I was 15 years old and living outside of my hometown of Macon, GA. I picked this awesome issue of Scream up at Chi-Chesters pharmacy on Vineville Ave there, on a weekend I was staying at my Grandma's house, which was a haven where I had some freedom from the oppression at home. This story, obviously inspired by 1972's "Blacula," even borrows the look of the character, almost duplicating promotional images from the movie in several frames as you can see from the poster below. But I can say that it does come to a more horrifying conclusion than the movie, and portrays the vampire brother as more of a true monster rather than a sympathetic victim as he is in the movies.

I posted another scan from this same issue earlier, in case you missed it: "The Death of Frankenstein."