Even though there were toys, cartoons and other super hero merchandise in the 1980s, the whole idea of a cohesive “Marvel Universe” didn’t fully gel in my mind until this 1990 trading card set. Through its 160 cards I learned the detailed relationships and histories of heroes, villains, teams and even the issues that birthed them.
And I know I’m not alone! A whole generation was introduced to the wider MU through this set and its 1991, 1992 etc series that followed. So, we thought it’d be a right hoot to look back at this trading card set that more or less kickstarted Marvel’s 1990 merchandising push, one that eventually led to the X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Silver Surfer and Avengers animated series (plus their countless toys!)
It’s also a great time capsule of comics before the huge ’90s boom. Costumes and storylines are still tied to events of the 70s and 80s, while even the idea of “trading cards” is still based on baseball cards – so you get weird win/loss stats instead of like, strength, speed, stamina etc.
This is just part one, though. There’s 162 cards so even if we limited ourselves to one minute per card this would take nearly three hours to get through them all! Expect detailed talks about each hero, each battle and each, uh, other thing that concludes this paragraph.
And for our DC fans, we did just play the worst Batman game ever 🙁