Marvel Trading Card Analysis – Super Heroes Part I


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 🙁

8 thoughts on “Marvel Trading Card Analysis – Super Heroes Part I

  1. I collected every marvel set i could get my hands on. I think I still have a set of the 1990 set floating around.

  2. The recently deceased Paul Ryan did a bunch of work for Marvel’s trading cards, although I think he did more in series 2 and 3 (where his signature is visible on a lot of the cards). Yellow Claw is exactly what you think, although he is also Jimmy Woo’s father, so he comes back as a villain of Agents of Atlas. The Venom symbiote escaped the Fantastic Four in 1985, and wouldn’t re-appear until the lead-up to Amazing Spider-Man 300 in 1988, but Spidey had a cloth version of the black costume that he wore off-and-on until Venom showed up.

  3. My little brother collected these, and I looked at them again over Christmas. I didn’t remember the first ones were kind of dopey, the layouts of later series were much cooler.

  4. Did a google search for Yellow Claw and wow. I don’t expect to be seeing that card in the villains card video. Great video by the way really liking it, and that end card beautiful.

  5. okay, yes. this is a good video series. this is a really good video experiment. I’m glad you guys did this and I’m looking forward to the next few in the series.

    I love those old cards, I remember sitting on my moms steps in front of the house with a bunch of kids from the surrounding neighborhoods and we’re all trading cards and I got a She Hulk card on the goofiest child level trade. I gave a guy a green popsicle for a She Hulk card. haha so awesome.

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