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Saturday, April 19, 2008

The best $3.93 I ever spent

You can find some great stuff at Goodwill. I got a nice desk there once for 20 bucks. They are probably the best used bookstore around, I recently found a trade paperback copy of A Confederacy of Dunces in unread condition. There's all kinds of stuff in there, but I didn't expect to see baseball cards. At the one near me there is a large shoebox full of junk that costs $52 or a dollar a card. They also have about a case of 1991 Fleer basketball for ten bucks a box. When I went yesterday though, there was a small broken plastic box of cards there with this card on top:

WHAT THE HECK?!?!? A dinosaur eating baseball players??? What is this madness? I asked to see it, looked through the cards and had to have it. The price tag said $3.93. Now, I may have spent $3.92 in a better fashion than this, and I know for a fact I've done better things with $3.94, but this is absolutely the best $3.93 I ever spent.

What I got for my money was a Topps set from 1988 called Dinosaurs Attack! It's a pretty infamous set sort of based on the Mars Attacks! set only with Dinosaurs instead of Martians. You can read all about this set online. I-Mockery, Head Injury Theater and Non-Sport bible The Wrapper have all written about this insane set. There's even a website completely dedicated to the set with scans of every card, front and back. The premise is intensely stupid. A bunch of scientists create a device that will allow them to see events from history, such as the extinction of the dinosaurs for example, so they can study them. Something goes wrong (as it always does) the dinos get transported to present time and start eating everyone and wrecking the joint. After lots of blood, gore, and a cameo by the dinosaur Devil, the scientists send the critters back in time (killing them all in the process) and the shattered world tries to rebuild. Plot really doesn't matter though, as it's all just a big excuse to show dinosaurs fighting and people getting eaten, stomped and ripped to shreds in a horrifically graphic fashion.

Like I said before, there are articles all over the web describing this stuff in minute detail, so I'm going to list my picks for best and worst in the set. Unfortunately I'm missing about five cards and a sticker, so I might leave out a really good one but jut click on Bob's site to see them all for yourself and choose your own favorites.

Coolest Freaking Card Ever:
Tie - #4 The Past Comes Alive! and #35 A Lady In Distress

These cards epitomize the statement "Holy Crap this is cool!". The Statue of Liberty card was also used for the cover of the comic book. My favorite are the jet fighters in card #4.

Funniest Cards:
runners up:

#17 Blue Water, Savage Death
This one is more ironic funny than ha ha funny. The dude's about to get eaten by the Great White, but the shark is then going to be eaten by the freaky looking dino! The ciiiiircle of liiiife...

#40 Wrestling Riot
The front is goofy enough, but the back really makes this card. Just look at these dudes and try not to laugh. According to The Wrapper article, the guy on the left is Arthur Shorin's chauffer.

#32 Cat Lady's Revenge
This is one of the nastier cards in the set, but ya gotta love the crazy old lady with the shotgun.

#44 MELTDOWN!! (back)
The front of this card is probably the most horrific in the set. The back however is pure comedy GOLD. The faces those two guys make are just awesomely wonderful. I wonder if this card inspired the Scuzzlebutt episode of South Park.

And the winner:
#26 Coasting to Calamity
Call me a sick puppy, but every time I look at this card I giggle uncontrollably.

Most Horrible and Disgusting Cards:

You'll have to look these up on your own, children read this blog. Of course they'd be the most interested in the bloody ones, wouldn't they?
runners up:

#6 Police Precinct Assaulted
The front is bad enough, but when you read stuff like "The walls of the station house were literally dripping with human organs and spattered blood" on the back the imagination kicks in and it gets much worse.

#37 Picnic of Peril
There are quite a few drawings of people rent in twain in this set, but this is the only one where twenty feet of bloody entrails in vivid detail connect the two halves.

#31 Our Forces - Flattened!
Not only is the drawing of the General who got stepped on entirely too detailed, but the pun is quite possibly more disgusting than the art.

#49 Ripped Out Of Time!
This card shows what happened to the Dinos as they were sent back to their proper time. Unfortunately their skin made it back a minute and a half before their skeletons.

And the winner:
The people melting from the nuclear holocaust that occurs when a couple of dinosaurs decide to fight in the middle of a nuclear power plant can go toe to toe with any disgusting death from the Mars Attacks! set and hold its own. Simultaneously horrible on the front and hilarious on the back, this may be the best card in the set.

Most Ridiculous Card:
runners up:

#23 The Perfect Wave
The dude surfing on top of a murderous elasmasaurus is the coolest thing since Fonzie jumped over that shark.

#40 Wrestling Riot
No explanation neccessary.

And the winner:
#13 Rock Concert Carnage
Ok, the front is silly. The dinosaurs EAT THEIR HAIR. But check out the back.

Another genius photograph by the Topps photographers. Every facial expression is gold - bored "Heavy" dude with the handlebar mustache, Mr. Contemplative in back, freaked out man and the WTF? reporter. You also have to appreciate the Springsteen poster in the background. It's the little details that make it work so well.

Stupidest Card:

#39 Trilobite Terror
Absolutely no contest on this one. It's so dumb I refuse to scan it. Basically someone in marketing decided that if they crammed as much dinosaur trivia as they could in the set, they could play it off as "educational" when the parents freaked out. But trilobites?? Seriously??? They even have the gall to call them "flesh-eating worms from the Devonian period on the back.

Most Interesting Deaths:
runners up:

#22 The Behemoth Fries
The poor slob in the lower right corner escaped being torn to pieces by an iguanadon and instead is electrocuted by a stray downed power line as he runs away instead. I believe the technical term for such a person is a schlemiel.

#24 London In Flames
I can't look at this card without hearing London Calling in my head. Leaping from a burning building fully engulfed in flames and impaling yourself on the spikes of an angry polacanthus is how I want to go, personally.

#7 D.C. Holocaust
Who doesn't want to see rabid pteranodons devouring the President and First Lady? The fact that the woman getting chomped kinda looks like Hillary Clinton is just a bonus.

#9 Nuptual Nightmare
I don't know, I think the bride and groom getting simultaneously impaled on the horns of a monsterous beast during their wedding ceremony is kind of sweet, really.

And the winner:
#34 Animal Wars
Mr Abe Morgenstern, Zookeeper at the San Diego Zoo, was crushed to death underneath a lion and T-Rex fighting to the death. BEST. DEATH. EVAR!

Best Reactions:
runners up:

#36 Comics Con Catastrophe!
Comic Book Nerd is much more concerned with keeping his copy of MUD #1 in mint condition than he is about getting devoured by a cold blooded monster.

#10 Italy Under Siege!
Mamma Mia! That's some spicy meatball!

#43 Business Lunch
The teeth falling out is a nice touch.

#45 Anchorman's Peril
Our buddies from the back of card #44 return to reprise their ridiculous faces.

And the winner:
#19 Madness In The Streets
Blind dude blithely moseying along NOT NOTICING THE GIGANTIC FREAKING LIZARD TWO INCHES FROM HIS FACE THAT'S CRUSHING VEHICLES LIKE POP CANS AND BEING SHOT AT WITH GUNS. Classic. His frickin guide dog is probably dino poop by now.

Most Egregious Examples of Child Abuse:
runners up:

#8 Crushing a Canine
Watching your beloved doggie get squashed "Bambi Meets Godzilla" style right in front of your face is gonna leave some mental scars. Hopefully the poor little girl was immediately ripped to shreds and avoided the years of therapy.

#14 Lunch Break!
This card reminds me of the Far Side comic where the Polar Bears are munching on an igloo and say "I love this stuff! Crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside!".

#5 Homeroom Horror!
An allosaur devours almost an entire class of kids in one chomp while the hot substitute teacher stabs it in the eye with a pointer. There's almost as many ladies with huge racks in this set as unspeakable acts of violence. Always a good combination!

#30 A Kid Strikes Back!
Little 12 year old Melissa blows the living guts right out of a rampaging dinosaur right in front of her baby brother. Once you get your first kill it each subsequent one just gets easier and easier...

And the Winner:
The winner is actually one of the stickers from the set and I'm doing a seperate post on them. Click here to see!

And finally, our last award for the set...
Creepiest card:

I'm going to scan these, because while I don't want you to be offended by the blood and guts I don't have any qualms whatsoever about mentally scarring you for life.
runners up:

#28 Saurian Secrets
This Lovecraftian Lizard-Thing horror is explaining to the scientist how humans are better than lizards because we have souls and know right from wrong. The dumbass scientist then proceeds to take advice from the amoral soulless Saurian on what to do next. Which leads to...

#47 Supreme Evil
Satan Lizard! The Evil One here wants the dinosaurs to stay on the earth so he can rule over them. To prevent them from going back in time he grabbed the Doc. The Professor can't allow evil to rule the Earth and wipe out Humanity, so he makes...

#52 The Ultimate Sacrifice
This is probably the most infamous card in the whole set. Get ready for this one folks...

Time To Die...
Helen I'll love you always

See this is what happens to those Godless scientists when they believe in Evolution and such. BURNING IN DINO HELL!!! The "I'll love you always" melodrama is perfect, especially since he ordered Helen to pull the switch that would kill off all the dinosaurs and trap him in the reptile netherworld in the first place.

Unfortunately the set is missing one sticker and about five cards. It would probably be easier to just buy a whole set rather than track down five cards. This beat up incomplete set just sort of feels right though. Had I bought this stuff instead of '88 Score and Fleer basketball when I was a kid, I would have gotten about halfway through the set before getting disgusted or bored with it and never completing it anyway. Of course now I can rationalize buying a pack of the stuff to rip on A Pack A Day... I might get those five cards! It's a solid plan, I may have to do it.


Captain Canuck said...

that was undoubtably the longest blogpost I have ever read from start to finish....

Dinged Corners said...

All great, but Cat Lady's Revenge...there are no words.

Fleerfan said...

I've seen this set for sale before, but had no idea it was a Mars Attacks spoof. These cards are great! I agree that for about what you'd pay for a single pack of cards today, you got an incredibly sweet deal for under $4.

I wonder if the pictures on some of the backs are folks from Topps who thought it would be fun to be goofing around in the card set they were working on.

ernest of canada said...

pure American genius.

Gellman said...

We definitely need more dinosaurs eating babies and theme park goers in cards these days.

In fact, make it a feature of 2009 Allen and Ginter.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap! These are freakin' sweet. My fave is the Coasting to Calamity one. I giggled too, especially at the lil' man impaled on the broken roller coaster beam. What a way to go. But I guess that makes me a sick puppy also. :D

NYBBNUT said...

That brought back great memories. Now I'll have to dig out my set from somewhere. I may have extras so let me know which 5 you are missing. If I have them they're yours.

dayf said...

Not sure how to get in touch with you, but here are the ones I need:

1 Title card
2 Experiment in space
3 Time scanner disaster
20 Bashing the bmt
38 "We can't hold them back!"
Sticker 11 T-Rex

If you have any of them please e-mail me.