Country Brunchin’: Mars Attacks! (1996, Tim Burton)
Saturday, July 5 & Sunday, July 6; Brunch | Buy Tickets
If I had to pick a favorite American past time, I would pick a cookout or a crab picking. If I had to pick a second favorite American past time, I would pick debasing our youth through trashy popular culture. You know the stuff, the kind of culture that creates heroes like Eric Cartman, Alfred E. Neuman, and Scorpion from Mortal Kombat. These are characters that do bad things and look good while doing it — and the best part about them, kids love the stuff and parents haaaatttte it. They’re monsters of bad taste who sneak their way under kids’ beds to teach them a thing or two about how the world really works.
In this regard, the little green troublemakers from the 1962 Topps trading card series Mars Attacks! deserve a top spot in our pop culture rogues gallery. Inspired by the grotesqueries of EC Comics, Mars Attacks! depicts a violent Martian invasion of Earth in a series of gory little vistas. Kicking off with the Martian demolition of Earth’s armies, the violent spacemen from Mars Attacks! rampage across the planet; unleashing giant bugs on civilians, zapping dogs with death rays, and stealing away all of our pretty blondes.
Even though humanity eventually triumphs in Mars Attacks! — we invade Mars and blow up the whole planet (an American plan, my guess) — it’s not Earth’s eventual victory that makes Mars Attacks! fun the to flip through, it’s seeing how much fun the Martians are having while killing little kids and blowing up bridges. When it comes to wanton acts of death and destruction, these Martians know how to party.
Below we’ve put together some of our favorite cards from Mars Attacks!, both from its original 54 card run and subsequent editions from the 1980s and 1990s. They get trashier as it goes along, but that makes sense. Stirring the pot is a war of attrition, and lucky for us, it looks like the Martians are winning.
3. Attacking an Army Base
4. Saucers Blast Our Jets
7. Destroying the Bridge
8. Terror in Times Square
12. Death in the Cockpit
21. Prize Captive
38. Victims of the Bug
51. Crushing the Martians
59. Blasted Into Oblivion
62. Last Licks
64. Slaughter in the Suburbs
65. Naked and The Dead