Mars Attacks: 50th Anniversary Collection REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW Bubblegum bloodbath

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Half a century ago, bubblegum manufacturers Topps thrilled kids with a set of 55 lurid cards depicting an invasion by big-brained Martians. Tim Burton was a fan, and went on to adapt them into a hit-and-miss 1996 film. This neat little hardback reproduces them all, front and back. The art’s been taken from the original transparencies, while the text on the back’s been scanned from an archive set.

As well as the original cards, there’s bonus material aplenty, including further cards released in the ‘90s (these are even more gruesome, featuring vivisection and decapitation), alternate designs featuring toned-down levels of violence (drawn up when Topps was considering reworking the cards after complaints – in the end they pulled them from the market altogether), concept designs and development sketches. There’s also a touching remembrance of the artist by his daughter, and an introduction by co-creator Len Brown. Finally, tucked away at the back in a plastic pouch is a reproduction card.

Sure to delight any fan of ‘50s SF, Burton’s movies, or the grotesque in general, this is a great little stocking filler that represents good value for money - especially when you consider that a full set of cards in mint condition would now set you back around $25,000!

Ian Berriman

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Deputy Editor, SFX

Ian Berriman has been working for SFX – the world's leading sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – since March 2002. He also writes for Total Film, Electronic Sound and Retro Pop; other publications he's contributed to include Horrorville, When Saturday Comes and What DVD. A life-long Doctor Who fan, he's also a supporter of Hull City, and live-tweets along to BBC Four's Top Of The Pops repeats from his @TOTPFacts account.