Mars Attacks Cards: Why They’re So Controversial

Unopened Five Cent Wax Pack of 1962 Topps Mars Attacks CardsIn 1962, Topps released their infamous Mars Attacks cards and faced an almost immediate public backlash.

So much so that a complaint from a Connecticut district attorney caused Topps to stop producing the cards altogether…

So what was the big deal?

The 55-card set told the story of a Martian invasion and near destruction of Earth in gruesome visual detail.

Images on the cards featured people and pets being burned, zapped with lasers, and ruthlessly tortured.

Kids may have loved the cards but parents naturally hated them…

What is not debatable is that this set is one of the most popular non-sports card sets of all-time.

And in this article you can see every card in the set and follow along with the story written on the backs of them card by card.

But consider yourself warned because again, some of them are extremely violent…

More...

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1962 Topps Mars Attacks! #1 The Invasion Begiins

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $3,500

Story on the back:

"The Martian leaders voted and decided that Mars would have to attack the Earth. Life on the 4th planet would not be able to continue much longer. Martian scientists had reported to their government that atomic pressures had been building up beneath the surface of Mars for many years. A mammoth atomic explosion was weeks away, perhaps only days. The explosion would destroy all life on Mars, turning the planet into a barren wasteland. To protect the survival of their civilization, the Martian officials plotted the conquest of Earth. The fearless Martian warriors were prepared for their journey through space, confident that their weapons would soon conquer earth."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #1 The Invasion Begins

#2 Martians Approaching

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $450

Story on the back:

"The long journey through space was over and the Martian soldiers were eager to start the attack. Finally at rest after traveling 48,000,000 miles, the saucers awaited the instructions from their home base on Mars. Powerful weapons had been transported across space... weapons so destructive that Earth would be crippled beyond repair. Centuries ago the Martians had learned how to harness the sun's energy. This solar energy now operated the deadly weapons that Mars used in its battles. Long ago the solar power was used to build beautiful cities and ingenious inventions. All this was changed now... Earth was to be conquered."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #2 Martians Approaching

#3 Attacking An Army Base

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"A quiet Sunday afternoon was turned into a tragedy as flying saucers launched their first attack against Earth, Circling an Army training base, the Martians observed the camp from high in the sky. Swooping down from behind the clouds, the invaders set fire to the military barracks. Soldiers ran outside trying to discover why their quarters had burst into flames. The young men were cut down by the strange rays which were unknown to our civilization. Officers and privates lay dying on the ground as the saucers continued their onslaught against the Army base. Word of the disaster shocked the world, and forced the president to declare “a state of national emergency.”"

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #3 Attacking An Army Base

#4 Saucers Blast Our Jets

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Under orders from the White House, a squadron of jet planes was sent up to try and locate the enemy saucers which had attacked a U. S. military base. For the first hour there wasn't any sign of a spaceship. Just as the pilots headed back to their base, radar revealed four saucers soaring toward the jets at fantastic speeds. The U. S. planes fired at them, but the ammunition bounced harmlessly off the metallic exteriors of the saucers. Returning the fire, the alien ships sent two jets crashing to the Earth in flames. One of the pilots tried to get a look at the inside of a spaceship. Seeing this, the saucer smashed itself in the jet without any damage to itself."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #4 Saucers Blast Our Jets

#5 Washington In Flames

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The United States waited anxiously for word from Washington concerning the safety of the president. With the nation's capital under siege, it had been difficult to receive accurate reports on the damage that had been done there. Frightening rumors had reached some of the cities that the White House was in flames, after being battered by the Martian saucers. Such famous landmarks as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument had been completely destroyed. Fleeing citizens reported the entire city in flames. The Martians did not spare anyone from their vicious death rays and fear for the president’s welfare continued to grow by the hour."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #5 Washington In Flames

#6 Burning Navy Ships

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"A fleet of Naval destroyers was on a routine mission off the Philippine Islands when disaster struck. A group of saucers suddenly appeared, circling the ships at fantastic speeds. Flying dangerously low, the objects opened fire. Powerful rays rocked one of the ships and turned it into a flaming coffin. The sailors aboard the other ships raced to their weapons to try to repel the attack. But there wasn’t any means of fighting the saucers, for they easily dodged the gunfire. Even when a saucer was hit, the ammunition had no effect on the Martian ships. Seeing the futility of it, the admiral issued orders for the fleet to retreat before all the boats were destroyed."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #6 Burning Navy Ships

#7 Destroying The Bridge

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The Martian invaders struck out at the West Coast of the United States as flying saucers released their potent rays over The Golden Gate Bridge, while thousands were traveling home after a day at the office. At the height of the rush-hour the Martians attacked the mammoth structure, melting the huge beams that supported the bridge. Cars plunged into the icy waters bringing death to the helpless passengers within. Screaming hysterically, the people had no way of escaping their steel coffins. A Coast Guard vessel was cruising under the bridge when it was struck by the falling debris. Several crew members surviving the disaster told of the scenes of horror they had witnessed."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #7 Destroying the Bridge

#8 Terror In Times Square

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Death and destruction came to the streets of New York as the flying saucers attacked the busiest city in the world. Despite warnings of the impending raids by newspapers and radios, citizens conducted their business as usual on the city streets. Martian spaceships appeared without any warning, blasting and burning the New York skyline with their penetrating power. People panicked at the sight of alien spaceships, fleeing for shelter in buildings and subways. The death ray struck time and again, igniting Broadway with flash fires. People were trampled as they tried to escape the invaders’ weapons. What once was known as the Great White Way had become a showcase of horror."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #8 Terror In Times Square

#9 The Human Torch

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The Army rushed armed units into the city in an attempt to protect the citizens from the Martian invaders. Tanks and bazookas were a common sight in the streets, as people hid in their basements and shelters. Saucers constantly flew over the city, destroying buildings and lives with its deadly beams. Attacking the soldiers, the Martians fired their death-rays at them. The helpless military force was turned into flames as the aliens continued their reign of terror. No known weapons seemed to be able to combat the saucers. Terrorizing the cities of the United States, the Martians had the people of America trembling with fear."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #9 The Human Torch

#10 The Skyscraper Tumbles

Estimated PSA 8 NM-mt Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The Empire State Building crackled in flames as hundreds of workers were trapped inside the famous skyscraper. The attack took place at the end of a working day, just before men and women were to leave their offices to return to their families. Thousands of lives were lost as people fled for their cars, hoping to escape the flaming city. Autos piled onto the roads, with police completely helpless during the panic. Fires sprang up everywhere, as the saucers continued their assault on the city. The fire department was helpless because of the jammed roads. New York City was burning down and no one could do anything to help."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #10 The Skyscraper Tumbles

#11 "Destroy The City"

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The flying saucers descended, landing on the outskirts of the city. Carrying powerful atomic weapons, the invaders stalked through the streets. Citizens trying to hide were wiped out with one blast from the alien heat guns. The Martians set about destroying the city... burning the homes, the schools and the factories. All vehicles were demolished and communication was completely disrupted. Those that survived lived in a nightmare world, afraid to wander outdoors and yet facing starvation if they remained locked in their basements. Once all the property had been destroyed, the Martians continued patrolling the city, gunning down any stray survivors without mercy."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #11 Destroy The City

#12 Death In The Cockpit

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The U. S. Army sent up jet fighters in an attempt to intercept the flying saucers. The saucers darted back and forth, easily dodging the planes. One jet pilot, more persistent than any of the others, tried to follow the alien ships. Although he knew he couldn't catch up with the saucers, the pilot hoped to learn where they were stationed. The Martians soon became aware of the jet following them and sent a saucer back to blast him out of the sky. The alien ship soared head-on toward the jet and fired its potent ray. The cockpit was instantly transformed into a flaming coffin, giving the pilot no chance to parachute to safety."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #12 Death In The Cockpit

#13 Watching From Mars

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"From their observation post in the capital city of Mars, the Martian leaders excitedly watched the progress of the invasion against Earth. Their advanced civilization had developed TV cameras which were capable of sending pictures millions of miles through space. Through their long range tele-viewers they watched the Earth's cities being destroyed. Paris was crushed under the potent heat rays from the saucers... London was immobilized as the Martians stalked the streets, seeking new victims... Rome's historical structures were demolished by the invaders. The Martian leaders were pleased with what they saw and toasted the future success of the invasion."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #13 Watching From Mars

#14 Charred By Martians

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The young doctor was driving home after visiting a patient when he heard a humming noise overhead. Looking, up, the medic was terrified at the sight of a flying saucer tailing him. Curiously the Martians seemed to be studying him and his car. As the doctor pressed his foot down harder on the gas pedal, the speedometer pushed past the 70-mile-per-hour mark. The saucer kept a steady pace overhead. Trying to outrace the Martians was useless but the doctor further accelerated his speed to over 100 m.p.h. Powerful atomic beams flashed out of the saucer and glowed on the car. The rear of the auto burst into flames, and the car overturned into a ditch."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #14 Charred By Martians

#15 Saucers Invade China

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"No country on Earth was safe from the Martians’ devastating attack. The saucers always struck swiftly and without warning, crippling the manpower of the world. The four corners of the Earth were drenched in blood as the aliens tried to crush all of the Earth’s resistance to the invasion. In China, the people were terrorized by frightful weapons that not even their folklore foretold. Farmers who were nearly frightened to death by airplanes, found the flying saucers to be twice as awesome. Believing the attacking saucers were the will of angry gods, the Chinese peasants made little effort to escape the slaughter."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #15 Saucers Invade China

#16 Panic In Parliament

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"An emergency meeting of Parliament came to an abrupt end when Martian saucers attacked the famous hall. Ironically, the topic being discussed at the time was about military plans to beat back the space invaders. Burning a hole through the ceiling, England’s top government officials watched the aliens drop into the assembly hall. Falling debris injured many of the statesmen before they could flee for safety. The Martians set fire to the building and the flames soon crackled out of control. Several of the officials were burnt alive as they scrambled unsuccessfully for the exit doors. The usually reserved meeting hall was filled with screams of frightened men as the Martians entered."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #16 Panic In Parliament

#17 Beast And The Beauty

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Nothing seemed to be able to stop the menacing invaders as they conducted their vigil of terror throughout the world. No barrier was strong enough to withstand the Martians’ powerful weapons, which were slicing through concrete as if it were a slab of butter. Defenseless victims were whisked away during the night, leaving families without any idea of their loved ones’ fate. The aliens destroyed houses of worship, leaving the terrified population without any sanctuary to turn to. Fear and panic gripped the world, and civilization became paralyzed by the Martians’ reign of horror."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #17 Beast And The Beauty

#18 A Soldier Fights Back

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Army and Marine units were stationed in the countryside to try to protect frightened citizens that had evacuated the city. Families lived in caves, depending on nature for their food. The Martians, discovering this, sent warriors out to hunt them down. Watching the small backroads, the invaders destroyed all the humans they saw. A U. S. soldier was patrolling his sector when he saw several Martians wrecking automobiles. Unable to control his anger he darted out of his hiding place, determined to kill the hated enemy. Before the heroic soldier could strike, a ray from a Martian’s gun ended his life."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #18 A Solider Fights Back

#19 Burning Flesh

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The Martian invaders used atomic ray guns as they patrolled the streets of the city. Any unfortunate Earthman in the path of the aliens was easily destroyed. Human flesh and clothing was not able to withstand the heat of radiation from the ray guns. A group of young men banded together in a plot to cut the oxygen lines on the Martians’ spacesuits. Creeping up slowly behind them, the youths were poised to strike. Suddenly the spacemen whirled around, as if an inner sense had warned them of their peril. Firing their guns, the invaders quickly wiped out their attackers. The Martians continued on their way, leaving only the charred bones of the brave youths behind them."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #19 Burning Flesh

#20 Crushed To Death

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The terror caused by the flying saucers was endless. It seemed as if the Martians always had a new form of horror to inflict upon the people of Earth. Often the invaders would clear the streets of wreckages by ejecting a giant shovel from their spaceships. The giant shovels would sweep the streets clear by depositing the unwanted material in the river or in a vacant lot. Once the Martians amused themselves by trapping a number of men and women in the powerful steel shovels. The people were pushed through the city streets, receiving bruises and gashes despite their cries of pain. The unfortunates were finally crushed against the walls of brick buildings."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #20 Crushed To Death

#21 Prize Captive

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The hideous Martians walked through the cities, exploring the deserted buildings with curiosity. Often the aliens would rummage through vacant apartments, fascinated by the belongings of the Earthmen. The Martians seemed very intrigued by the dresses and suits left in the closets of the frightened inhabitants. In one closet, an Earth girl that had not fled the city cowered in fear behind one of her dresses as a Martian looked over her belongings. Spying the hidden woman, the creature snatched her in his arms. The girl kicked and screamed at the touch of the alien. The Martian was so startled by the woman’s antics, that he released her. Taking the opportunity, the girl fled."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #21 Prize Captive

#22 Burning Cattle

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"By attacking the food supply of the world, the Martians hoped that they would be able to bring the Earth to its knees. The leaders of the invasion ordered the saucers to destroy all of the animals and farm land that existed. Sweeping over the nations of the world, the saucers destroyed acre after acre of wheat land. Animals were burnt to death by the searing heat rays that the Martians fired. Farmers stood by watching helplessly as cows, horses and chickens were destroyed. Trying to save as much of the livestock as possible, farmers hid the animals in shelters and barns. Some of the animals were kept in the family's own living quarters to keep them safe from the attacks."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #22 Burning Cattle

#23 The Frost Ray

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Martian saucers constantly flew over the large cities scouting for signs of life. People rarely walked through the streets during the daytime, unless it was a matter of great importance. A group of emergency volunteers were on their way to a city hospital when a saucer spied them. Seemingly taunting the frightened people the ship flew close to them as they walked swiftly through the back streets and side alleys. The hospital was just two blocks away and the group tried to run to it for shelter. It was then that the invaders revealed a new chilling horror. A ray released from the flying saucer froze the volunteers into icemen. The rays of the sun had no thawing effect at all."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #23 The Frost Ray

#24 The Shrinking Ray

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Two soldiers crouched behind some debris, watching the flying saucer land. Stepping out from behind a sliding panel of the saucer was a sinister alien. The Martian moved in the direction of his observers, although he wasn’t aware of their presence. One of the soldiers became so incensed at the sight of the enemy, that he charged the Martian without thinking of its consequences. His companion tried to hold him back, but it was too late. Alerted to the danger, the Martian pulled out a gun. A ray hit the enraged Earthman and instantly the soldier started to shrink. His buddy watched horrified as the six-foot-tall man was reduced to inches, before vanishing from sight."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #24 The Shrinking Ray

#25 Capturing A Martian

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The Martians never let any soldiers get close to them, blasting any approaching Earthmen with their death rays. However one of the aliens was so interested in watching a burning building that he never noticed a group of soldiers sneaking up behind him, until it was too late Carrying a huge fishing net, a couple of the Earth fighters wrapped it over the surprised victim. The spaceman lashed out at the soldiers, trying to grab one through the net. A quick jab with a bayonet quieted the alien and he was carried off to Earth's military headquarters. There, trained specialists would attempt to break the language barrier and communicate with the captured Martian."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #25 Capturing A Martian

#26 The Tidal Wave

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The flying saucers’ powers seemed unlimited. Able to destroy any building or human with a blast from its death rays, the Martian ships now turned their terror to the sea. Rays flashed over the oceans of world and calm waters suddenly became turbulent. Waves crashed against the shores, building in momentum and size under the strange Martian power. Finally reaching mammoth proportions, immense tidal waves crashed furiously into shore cities. Sea vessels were tossed through the city streets by the powerful waves. Huge buildings toppled under the pressure of the erupting waters, and the streets vanished under the twisting sea."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #26 The Tidal Wave

#27 The Giant Flies

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"As if the Martian death rays hadn’t caused enough destruction and tumult to the people of Earth, a new horror was suddenly released on them. Saucers flew over heavily populated cities, releasing huge insects to destroy property and lives. The Martians had gathered insect specimens from Earth, enlarging them with their scientific equipment to 500 times their regular size. The normally annoying pests were now transformed into deadly menaces, attacking any slow-footed human around. The new peril made Earth citizens more helpless than before, for at any time one of the winged terrors might swoop out of the sky to claim another victim."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #27 The Giant Flies

#28 Helpless Victim

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Without any warning except for the thunderous flapping of their huge wings, the giant insects would sail down out of the sky. Always hunting new prey, the creatures terrified the people even more than the Martians had. Huge colonies of giant insects sprang up on the outskirts of the city and the bugs would conduct nightly raids looking for food and human victims. Often the creatures would carry back humans to their camp, where the poor souls would be helpless. The powerful insects were strong enough to carry 200 pound men through the air. Nobody was safe, when the bugs were flying in search of food."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #28 Helpless Victim

#29 Death In The Shelter

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The emergency shelters that were set up by the government were supplied with enough food to last 100 people at least a month. Well disguised, the shelters were rarely discovered by the Martians as they flew over them in their saucers. However, when the bugs were released, the danger of discovery was greatly increased. The flying creatures would sense the presence of food and with their appetite increased as greatly as their size, the insects would crash into the shelters. The defenseless people were left at the mercy of the hungry bugs, when the beasts managed to enter a shelter."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #29 Death In The Shelter

#30 Trapped!!

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The huge spiders were perhaps the ugliest and most frightening of all the giant insects. The spiders would often spin a web from one side of the street to the other. Automobiles would become hopelessly entangled in the mesh and their owners would have to abandon them. In the country, a spider would often spin a web from one tree to another, manufacturing a net inescapable to any victim trapped within it. On a dark night people didn’t see the web and they’d stumble into it blindly. If no one arrived to cut the person out of the web, the victim might die of starvation. If the spider were to return, the helpless victim would be at the mercy of the spider’s whims."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #30 Trapped!!

#31 The Monster Reaches In

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Although the entire city had fled to the countryside to hide, a soldier remained to help a lady scientist gather valuable information about the Martians. The couple were so intent on their work that they failed to notice a long tentacle reach into the room, until it had grabbed the woman. Crying out hysterically, the woman was pulled toward the window by the giant creature. The soldier charged the bug with his bayonet and jabbed through the thick skin, again and again. Badly hurt, the insect released the woman and she slumped unconsciously to the floor. Even after their hair-raising escapade, the brave duo remained to finish their work."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #31 The Monster Reaches In

#32 Robot Terror

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The sound of metal vibrating through the city streets became an announcement of impending disaster during the Martian invasion. Giant robots stalked the streets, destroying everything in its path. Moving slowly, with a Martian working the controls, the steel monster reached down and plucked terrified people off the sidewalks. Its huge pincers held any captive in a death-like grip until the Martian decided to apply the final squeeze. Powerful melting beams seared the buildings and left only rubble in their place. The robot, capable of crashing through brick walls, was made of an alloy unknown on Earth. Military weapons had no effect on the metal monsters."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #32 Robot Terror

#33 Removing The Victims

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The Martians landed and inspected the damage that they had done. Streets were beyond recognition and mighty cities had been all but leveled. Bodies lay on the streets, unfortunate victims of the Martian destruction. By some means the aliens had found a way to communicate with the giant insects that they had created. The bugs followed any instructions given to them from the spacemen. The Martians ordered the creatures to remove the bodies from the streets. Flying insects flew off with several bodies in their claws at a time. The aliens wanted all the streets clear before the people of Mars were brought to Earth to establish a new Martian domain."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #33 Removing The Victims

#34 Terror In The Railroad

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The engineer was ready to pull out of the train station when he looked out at the dark tunnel ahead. At first he couldn’t believe his eyes, but after blinking and rubbing them, he was sure. A giant insect was extending a huge claw towards the train. The bug touched the first car, tightening a grip around it. Amused by the little people running around inside, the bug lifted the car and shook it. Screaming men and women risked death on the third rail as they leaped out onto the tracks for safety. The entire station was thrown into a panic as they watched the fascinated insect crush several cars the way a child might crush a toy he had grown tired of."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #34 Terror In The Railroad

#35 The Flame Throwers

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Soldiers were given powerful flame throwers with which they were to fight off the giant insects. A patrol of soldiers were marching along the countryside when they came upon a colony of the bugs. The creatures noticed the intruders immediately and moved menacingly toward them. The commanding officer gave the order to use the flame throwers and the men quickly responded. Searing streams of fire burst forth and lashed out at the on-coming insects. The creatures shrieked in pain as the flames struck on target. The hot fire consumed the bugs, but their deafening inhuman screams continued to ring through the valley. At last the soldiers could cope with the monsters."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #35 The Flame Throwers

#36 Destroying A Dog

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The Martians not only attacked the big cities, but also struck at the less populated sections of the country. Frightened citizens had to flee into the woods for safety or be burned with their homes. The invaders would leave their saucers and search small caves, looking for signs of the hiding families. In one cave, a Martian found a group of six people huddled together in fear. Before the invader could use his death weapon, a dog leaped up at the alien. The startled spaceman ran out of the cave, followed by the animal and its young owner. The invader then turned his deadly ray on the barking dog, destroying it as the young boy cried out in horror."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #36 Destroying A Dog

#37 Creeping Menace

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"People had fled the cities in a mass exodus to escape the terror of the merciless Martians. They didn't know at the time that they would not be any safer in the country or in wooded areas. The giant insects sought the hills and farm areas for food. Crossing grassy areas, the creatures often unwittingly crushed fleeing humans under their huge legs. There wasn’t an obstacle that could stop the monsters. Homes were smashed to bits if they lay in the path of the on-rushing beasts. The inhabitants’ only warning of peril was the crash of heavy foot-steps as the creatures approached. Their only hope for survival was to hide before the insects detected them."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #37 Creeping Menace

#38 Victims Of The Bug

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Riding along a bumpy country road in their jeep, three soldiers looked up in time to see a huge flying insect heading in their direction. “Let's jump for that ditch,” cried the driver as he jammed on the brakes. The men leaped out of the vehicle as the bug crashed headlong into it. Seeing that the soldiers had escaped, the monster lashed out after them into the ditch. One of the men fell under the mighty blow. The other two soldiers fought side by side, trying to overpower their assaulter. The powerful creature continued his attack, not flying from the area till it had won the battle."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #38 Victims Of The Bug

#39 Army Of Giant Insects

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Under the direction of their Martian commanders, a troop of giant insects united on a hilltop overlooking a U. S. Army camp. The weird cries of the bugs attracted the attention of the soldiers in the camp and the men quickly prepared themselves for a battle. An immense line of creatures advanced toward the military establishment. Closer and closer the insects came, until the commanding officer gave the order to open fire. Rifle and machine-gun fire crackled through the air and bullets blazed a trail of death to the insects. The towering monsters fell in their tracks as the hard-fighting soldiers won the battle."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #39 Army Of Giant Insects

#40 High Voltage Execution

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"With military units unable to combat every giant bug around, citizens were left defenseless and at the mercy of the destructive brutes. One giant bug marched across the Texas plains, destroying a fortune in livestock and ranch homes. Planes attacked the bug, but failed to stop it as the monster plodded forward. Just on the outskirts of one of Texas’ largest cities, was a hydro-electric dam which supplied most of the state’s electric power. High voltage electric wires surrounded the dam. The giant bug headed straight into the death-charged wires. Sparks were shot off in every direction as the bug became entangled in the lines. The electricity destroyed the monster."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #40 High Voltage Execution

#41 Horror In Paris

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The streets of Paris were in an uproar. People screamed hysterically, running in every direction, trying to escape the monsters of destruction. Parisians watched in wide-eyed horror as gigantic insects, released from the flying saucers, twisted through the famous avenues. A huge caterpillar, more than a thousand feet long, weaved itself around the base of the famed Eiffel Tower. Slowly it writhed its way up the steel structure, intent on reaching the top of the 987 ft site. The metal beams, which had withstood vicious hurricanes in the past, had never before been put to such a test of strength. The tower swayed to & fro, until the strain snapped it in two."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #41 Horror In Paris

#42 Hairy Fiend

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The President of the United States called a special emergency meeting with his top military generals and strategists. The group gathered in a wooded hut outside a demolished Washington, D.C. Mid-way through the discussion of the plans of the counter invasion, an Army lookout dashed into the hut. “We’ll have to clear the area at once. Scouts report a giant spider approaching in our direction.” The President and his advisers immediately boarded helicopters and watched the soldiers fight the spider from the air. Lives were lost as the brave men tried to destroy the insect. Without the proper weapons to combat the bug, the surviving soldiers were forced to flee."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #42 Hairy Fiend

#43 Blasting The Bug

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Helicopters cruised over wooded areas, always on the lookout for giant bugs. When one was spotted, word was flashed back to the military forts giving the exact location of the insect. The fort immediately dispatched enough artillery and men to fight the menace. One monster was spotted a mile south of Fort Bragg in North Carolina. U.S. tanks surrounded the giant bug, blocking any possible escape path. A steady barrage of ammunition ripped into the insect, pushing it backwards into one of the tanks. Soldiers hurled hand-grenades at the weakened creature and they exploded the bug’s heavy shell. The attack continued until the men were sure they’d destroyed the insect."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #43 Blasting The Bug

#44 Battle In The Air

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Giant winged insects flew through the skies of Earth, often grabbing terrified people off the streets and flying away with them. Huge and powerful, the monsters could crash into fleeing automobiles and overturn them without any damage to themselves. The only means of combating the flying menaces was with helicopters. Crack shots were sent up with guns and ammunition with orders to bring down the winged terrors. Battles in the sky were common over city streets as the insects dodged the bullets to survive, and at the same time tried to ram into the helicopters. The brave men in the ’copters were in constant peril, but gallantly continued their fight."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #44 Battle In The Air

#45 Fighting Giant Insects

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"A jet bomber on a mission across the country saw a giant bug moving close to a populated village. The pilot flew as close to the ground as he could and released several bombs. Off target, the bombs didn’t kill the bug but badly wounded it. The insect bellowed loudly in pain, terrifying the inhabitants in the near-by village. Soldiers quickly arrived on the scene and battled the crazed insect. Maddened by its wounds, the monster lashed out viciously at any moving objects near it. Bazooka shells were fired at close range, inflicting further damage to the insect. With one last furious cry, the monster turned over on its back and died."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #45 Fighting Giant Insects

#46 Blast Off For Mars

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Military units from all over the world reported to their nearest rocket bases, which had been quickly set up by the newly formed “Space Committee.” Governments from every country on Earth worked hand in hand to fight the menace from Mars. Tanks, guns, rocket-planes and soldiers were loaded into space-ships, ready to continue the vicious war with the Martians on Mars. Men from the ages of 16 to 45 were given quick physical examinations and enlisted into the Earth Army. Volunteers flooded into the recruiting centers, as brave citizens showed they were eager to fight the worst peril that had ever threatened civilization."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #46 Blast Off For Mars

#47 Earth Bombs Mars

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The Earth spaceships were close to Mars. Hypnotized by the beauty of the planet, the soldiers were snapped back to reality by the sharpness of the commanding general’s voice over the communication system. “In five minutes we will begin dropping atom bombs on Mars. We hope that these bombs will cripple any Martian resistance that we might otherwise expect.” The general signed off and the soldiers rapidly reported to their assigned positions. Soon the communication system clicked on and the general spoke again. “The Martians have set up a force field. The bombs are exploding in mid-air, before they reach the ground. Our men will have to land and fight.”"

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #47 Earth Bombs Mars

#48 Earthmen Land On Mars

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The rocketships that brought the counterattack circled Mars, looking for a safe place to land. All the tanks and heavy artillery that would be needed to fight the Martians were aboard the spaceships. Several scouts were sent down ahead of the ships by using parachutes or rocket-packs on their backs. Hoping to land secretly, the soldiers were startled to see several Martians wandering in the desert. Opening fire, the Earthmen blasted the Martians before they could spread an alert back to their domed cities. The Earth fighters wanted a chance to mobilize fully before the space war continued on Mars’ soil. For this battle, the Earthmen wanted to make sure they were well-prepared."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #48 Earthmen Land On Mars

#49 The Earthmen Charge

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The Earth soldiers stormed out of their space-ships, eager to repay the Martians for the damage done to their home planet. High in spirits, the men spoke hopefully of a swift victory over the enemy. Crossing a large sand dune, the troop of soldiers suddenly stopped and stared in wonder. Sprawled across the desert sands was a magnificent domed city. The sight was breath-taking. It was evident that the Martian builders were years ahead of Earth’s architects. The earthmen paused briefly, inspecting the spectacular city from the distance. The leader of the troop gave his orders and the soldiers continued toward the dome, with revenge in their hearts."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #49 The Earthmen Charge

#50 Smashing The Enemy

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The Earthmen fought the Martians in hand to hand combat on the outskirts of the domed city. Puny in size, the Martians weren't any match in a test of physical strength with the powerful soldiers. The Earth fighters often lifted one of the aliens over their heads and hurled them through the air. Continually pouring forward and attacking the soldiers with knives and blunt instruments, the Martians hoped to destroy their oxygen tanks. The superior fighting force won out, as the Martians were pushed further and further back into the domed city. The Earthmen knew that somewhere within the city was the Martians’ power source. Their aim was to destroy the power center."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #50 Smashing The Enemy

#51 Crushing The Martians

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"Across the sands of Mars rolled the powerful tanks from Earth. The tanks crashed their way into the dome city and rolled through the streets. Several Martians charged the steel vehicles with death guns aimed in their hands. Before the Martians could fire, a blast from the tank dropped them in their tracks. The tanks rolled forward, crushing anything in their path, and always heading toward the huge power source in the middle of the dome city. The Martian scientists saw the tanks coming, but there was little they could do to protect themselves. A parade of Earthmen streamed into the power center after the tanks, smashing the equipment."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #51 Crushing The Martians

#52 Giant Robot

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"The soldiers marched through the city, looking around at the magnificent Martian buildings with respect. The closer they inspected the structures, the more wondrous the alien technology appeared. Suddenly heavy metal footsteps echoed through the streets. Looking upward, the Earthmen saw a 50 ft. metal man rapidly stalking toward them. Without hesitating, the soldiers quickly prepared to battle the machine. Powered by remote control, the Martian monster reached down and plucked one of the fighters in its steel claws. A barrage of grenades struck the robot, sending it spinning backwards. An Army bazooka hit its mark, and the robot crumbled disabled to the ground."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #52 Giant Robot

#53 Martian City In Ruins

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $275

Story on the back:

"All across the planet of Mars, the domed cities lay in ruins. Martian victims were sprawled across the desert sands, many badly wounded and others beyond repair. The advanced civilization had been beaten into the dust under the force of Earth’s violent counterattack. The Martian buildings and mono-rails, which had taken years to build, were all gone. Sinister vibrations and rumbles were continually registered from the interior of the planet. The dangerous atomic pressures were rapidly building up to the climactic point and it was now only hours before the explosion which would destroy Mars. The Earth Army piled into their spaceships and left the doomed planet."

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #53 Martian City In Ruins

#54 Mars Explodes

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $650

Story on the back:

"The once-magnificent cities of Mars lay in burnt destruction. Earth’s counterattack had completely shattered all civilization on the hostile planet. The triumphant Earthmen returned to their rocketships and took off for home. With the Martians already badly battered, the worst was yet to come. Atomic pressures in the interior of Mars, having reached a dangerous level, suddenly erupted with terrific force. The shock waves from the immense explosion rocked the space ships as they traveled back toward Earth. Before the pilot's very eyes, they watched Mars blow up into millions of tiny asteroids. THE END"

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #54 Mars Explodes

#55 A Short Synopsis Of The Story

Estimated PSA NM-MT Value: $2,500

The back of the last card features a checklist for the entire set. Many of the checklists were marked on making these very difficult to find in high grade.

1962 Topps Mars Attacks Card #55 A Short Synopsis Of The Story

The Set's Legacy

Originally sold in five-cent wax packs, the Mars Attacks cards weren't in circulation that long before being pulled.

That makes finding them today in high grade extremely difficult.

And it's nearly impossible to find an actual unopened pack that survived but here's one that was sold by Robert Edward Auctions.

Unopened Five Cent Wax Pack of 1962 Topps Mars Attacks Cards

And here's a look at one of the display boxes (also sold by Robert Edward Auctions) in which the packs were sold.

Opened Original Box of 1962 Topps Mars Attacks Cards

Len Brown and Woody Gelman are credited with coming up with the idea and story behind this iconic non-sports card set.

To bring it to life, they employed sketch artists Wally Wood and Bob Powell to outline the imagery of each card while Norman Saunders worked on painting them by hand.

Many collectors believe the artwork to be quite beautiful.

But pretty much everyone agrees that they were strongly violent.

The funny thing is, Topps actually produced a set that same year called the "Civil War News" set that was arguably just as violent.

You can imagine the death and destruction of the Civil War that appeared on that set.

But parents didn't object to that set nearly as harshly since it was based on history and they felt kids could actually learn from them.

Seems odd but kind of makes sense I guess...

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Ross Uitts
 

Ross is the founder of Old Sports Cards and has been collecting sports cards for over 30 years. He also loves to write about the hobby and has written for Beckett, Topps, SABR and of course, this website. Need help buying or selling cards or have a general question about the hobby? Contact him at [email protected]

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