is a science fiction trading card series released in 1962 created as an homage to the Science Fiction movies of the 1950's. The cards feature artwork by science-fiction artists Wallace Wood and Norman Saunders and tell the story of the invasion of Earth by cruel, hideous Martians, under the command of a corrupt Martian government who wishes to conceal the information from their race that Mars is doomed to explode and proposes a colonization of Earth.
The cards depicted futuristic battle scenes and bizarre methods of Martian attack, torture and slaughter, as well as various Earth nations being attacked. The story ends with an expeditionary force of Earth men volunteering to counterattack Mars, in which the Earth force attacks the Martians in their manner (bayoneting and bullets) and forcing the Martian invasion force to be recalled to defend their homeworld.
The Earth attack force arms nuclear devices on Mars and departs just before Mars is destroyed in the predicted cataclysm, ensuring the peace and safety of Earth as the Martian race has been doomed to extinction.
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 have since become collectors' items, with certain cards commanding over $3,500 at auction.
The Mars Attacks trading card series was created by Topps in 1962. Product developer Len Brown, inspired by Wally Wood's cover for EC Comics Weird Science #16(click on cover for full comic), pitched the idea to Woody Gelman. Gelman and Brown created the story—with Brown writing the copy—and created rough sketches. They enlisted Wood to flesh out the sketches and Bob Powell to finish them. Norman Saunders painted the 55-card set.
The cards, which sold for five cents per pack of five, were test marketed by Topps through the dummy corporation Bubbles, Inc. under the name Attack from Space. Sales were sufficient to expand the marketing and the name was changed to Mars Attacks. The cards sparked parental and community outrage over their graphic violence and implied sexuality. Topps responded initially by repainting 13 of the cards to reduce the gore and sexuality, then, following inquiries from a Connecticut district attorney, agreed to halt production.
A 1996 American comic science fiction film directed by Tim Burton and written by Jonathan Gems. Based on the cult trading card series of the same name, the film features an ensemble cast consisting of Jack Nicholson (in a dual role), Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Tom Jones, Lukas Haas, Natalie Portman, Jim Brown, Lisa Marie Smith, and Sylvia Sidney. The film is a parody of science fiction B movies with elements of black comedy and political satire.
Alex Cox had tried to make a Mars Attacks! film in the 1980s before Burton and Gems began development in 1993. When Gems turned in his first draft in 1994, Warner Bros. commissioned rewrites from Gems, Burton, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski in an attempt to lower the budget to $60 million. The final production budget came to $80 million, while Warner Bros. spent another $20 million on the Mars Attacks! marketing campaign. Filming took place from February to November 1996. The film was shot in California, Nevada, Kansas, Arizona and Argentina. The soundtrack became famous for the Martians' quirky speech pattern, which was created by reversing the sound of a duck's quack.
The filmmakers hired Industrial Light & Magic to create the Martians using computer animation after their previous plan to use stop motion, supervised by Barry Purves, fell through because of budget limitations.Mars Attacks! was released on December 13, 1996 to mixed reviews from critics.
What follows are the cards that most likely set off outrage in the parents of the Baby Boomer generation, as well as a good helping of cards that were EVEN WORSE, so much so that Topps didn't even release them until the reprint sets came out decades later. Sadly, the unpublished series of cards that account for some of the most twisted entries on this list were included in the 1994 edition of Mars Attacks but not the 2012 edition.
These are new versions of cards that were originally proposed for the 1962 set but were abandoned as being too gory and never completed until now.