If you grew up spending your piggy bank change for packs of Topps’ Star Wars trading cards, I have some reading material to suggest!
Published through Abrams’ ComicArts imprint, Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series is a multi-volume set that gathers each and every card from all of the vintage collections. Here’s the breakdown:
There’s even a “sister” book tackling Topps’ Star Wars Galaxy trading card set from the early ‘90s, pictured above.
When I first heard about these, I assumed them to be no more than cute little coffee table books, loaded with style but light on substance. WRONG. Each is packed with all sorts of trivia bits, covering everything from the films themselves to stories about how the trading card sets were conceived and executed.
Each book was an obvious labor of love, but I don’t want to undervalue their collective main draw: Big, beautiful scans of each and every Star Wars trading card — and I mean the fronts and the backs, with every possible extra from the card wrappers to the wax boxes, and even guides to how all of those old “sticker-back posters” actually looked once you collected the sets.
Some of you may be thinking, “Well, they sound cool, but I can find images of the cards online.” Here’s the thing: Yes, you can find many fan-supplied scans of the cards, but they won’t be nearly as high quality, nor even remotely as organized. These books aren’t merely “as good” as having all of the original Star Wars trading card sets. You could make a pretty good argument that they’re even better.
The authors/curators left no stones unturned, so to say that the books just reprint the old Star Wars cards is really saying too little. They certainly do that, of course, but there’s a real historian’s touch in play. There are so many little morsels that the everyday fan would never even think to ask for, and the best compliment I can pay the book team is that they could’ve gotten away with doing a whole lot less.
Oh, and here’s a neat touch: Each of the books (yes, even the one for Star Wars Galaxy) comes with a few real trading cards, bagged and taped to the back cover. While resembling the original Topps cards, each book’s cards are both custom and — to my knowledge — exclusive.
Every book in the series starts with a robust commentary from Gary Gerani, the original editor of the Star Wars Topps series. There’s a serious effort to educate, here. You’ll finish the books not just full from the eye candy, but with a better understanding and appreciation for what goes into making a trading card set.
The only things missing are sticks of stale gum!