Monday, 11 October 2010

Sonic Topps Trading Cards: The Best and the Weirdest Stickers

Back in 1993 when Sonic ruled the merchandising world, a major trading card company called Topps joined in the fun and released a sixty-six card set of Sonic cards. While I only just recently picked up a complete set off eBay, I remember vividly buying as many packs as I could when the cards released. Sadly, I was only able to obtain half the set and since then the little case holding the cards was lost in the shuffle of growing up. However the cards do still exist somewhere in my parents house, perhaps in the same box that contains my Sonic 1 and 2 strategy guides and official Sonic Archie comics art. But enough crying about my misplaced SEGA treasures, lets take a look at the cards!

The set was split into two sub-sets of thirty-three cards. One half were plain cards focusing on zones, with game tips and badniks on the reverse side. The other half were stickers with the story of Sonic 1&2 and a flip book image on the reverse. When I read all that I realize just how much they crammed into this set.

 The above photo is the number one reason why I collected these. Not for that silly blue hedgehog but for the awesome badnik Rogue's Gallery complete with art and bios. Who knew that Buzz Bombers favorite past time was "taking shots at Sonic"? If only Topps replaced the silly in-game screens on the front of the card with a full badnik image. Badniks rule and they deserved to rule this set.

 As the article title states, I'll be looking at the best and the weirdest stickers of the set. Above are my most favorite of all the stickers. I've always found the Sonic 2 shot from behind to be an awesome piece of art, easily trumping the more popular front facing shot. It almost reminds me of a behind the scenes shot, as though somebody was taking an off set photo of the official photo shoot. Plus it totally reads as "Sonic's BACK". The middle two Robotnik stickers are awesome simply because seeing Japanese Eggman art was so rare back in the day. Usually merch would feature a SatAM or AoStH Robotnik. The "Way Cool Dude" sticker  is at the top my my list just for the sunglasses. Nothing screams 90's nostalgia like the words "cool" and "dude" combined with sunglasses. Some 90's characters used shades as an accessory (Sonic, the Ninja Turtles, The Terminator) while others had them glued to their face (California Raisins, Cool Spot, Chester Cheeto), but whether they were permanent or not they made ANY character 100 times more awesome. The two badniks cards are awesome just for having badniks, though the Caterkiller card is beyond crazy. There is no way that is stock art. I love that card just for the fact that some lucky shmo working at Topps was tapped to draw this insane card.

Let's move on to the weirdest! I say "weird" because the word "worst" can never apply to these cards. Things get crazy before a package of the cards are even opened. Just look at that derpy tails! It's as if the Sonic image was official, but Topps staff had to squeeze in a Tails behind him to sell the fact that these were Sonic 1 and 2 cards. Also, is his head half the size of Sonic's? "Derp derp" indeed.

Above are the weirdest of the stickers. While the Sonic in the upper left may not seem too odd, consider how black he is compared to the other pieces of art. Could that be an early concept drawing of Shadow? "Dude with a 'Tude" is awesome, I'll admit, however what the hell is up with Sonic's fat puffy eye? Did a buzzer badnik sting it? Sonic lifting weights in the upper right asks us if we are "up 2 it", but I have to ask Sonic why he is working out his arm muscles when clearly he should be using a vertical leg press to work out his calf muscles. Rotten Egg joins the list as it is the only time when SatAM Robotnik appears. Way to confuse 9 year-old me, Topps! "Sonic Sneakers!" is an odd one as they simply cropped a larger piece of art at the ankles and gave a piece of clothing its own card. Where is the "Sonic Gloves!" card?

These stickers aren't weird on their own, but together it becomes clear that Topps was out of ideas at this point. Three cards in a row with the same concept of Eggman laughing.

The backs of the stickers feature a loosely connected running story of the characters origins. The story is based around the early Kintobor story, so most of it is defunct now. However there are a few very interesting pieces of info such as the one seen above. "Boo!" on you Robotnik for hating the environment!

While I've always known Eggman was named as such due to his egg shape, I never knew that he ate raw eggs! With his hands no less! "Ugh!"

While I can agree with Sonic not taking drugs, I'm going to have to disagree with the rest. Sonic has sworn numerous times in animes and he destroys boulders and rock formations to reach items and springs. For shame Sonic!

Joking aside, this is a great set packed with 90's Sonic nostalgia. If you ever come across one, pick it up! Check out the whole set at Sonic Gear


Stacey Wheeler said...

Downs Syndrome Tails!

kim said...

i have some of thoes if you want to buy email me