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Mars Attacks!

Again? Hell, we thought Curiosity killed those cats.
Wayne Alan Brenner, 8:29am, Tue. Oct. 2, 2012
ANG-ANG-ANG-ANG-ANG-ANG-ANG!
Of course, that neighborly red planet ain't doing a thing but quietly circling the same G-type star we do.

But you, reader, you know what "Mars Attacks!" means. You're likely to recall the Tim Burton spectacle of cinematic overreaching in which, for instance, the U.S. president played by Jack Nicholson was incinerated at the raygun-wielding hands of an abominable creature from Mars. Remember that awful sound the brain-headed beings made? Like, ang-ang-ang-ang-ang?

You're probably old enough to remember that, right? You may even be old enough to remember, or remember hearing about, the original series of Topps bubble-gum trading cards that in the portentous year 1962 debuted those remorseless alien monstrosities into our pop-cult zeitgeist.

Or maybe you enjoyed the hell out of IDW's recent comic-book rebooting of the garishly illustrated alien assaults on this big blue marble? Hard to miss at least a bit of the fanfare here, as series creator Len Brown now calls Austin his home and was at Austin Books and Comics this past July to sign the Topps re-issue of the series.

If only, we can almost hear you yearning, if only there were some sort of book of the whole Mars Attacks! phenomenon, a small, handsome volume featuring full-color photos of all the cards as they were originally issued (and including a section that details the differences between the truly horrific test-marketed versions and the swiftly bowdlerized follow-ups). It'd be good, you'd think, if there were an introduction and additional commentary by that very Len Brown himself; but what'd be best – or what would help the volume achieve its place in the pantheon of coffee-table-book bestness – is if the book were wrapped in a jacket made from paper not unlike the slick and translucent wax paper that once transported the cardboard-based Grand Guignol hijinks to happily twisted youth across these United States.

Well, hey: Abrams has released exactly that book for the card series' 50th anniversary.

It's like a mini-museum of alien grotesquerie between two solid covers, depicting all the iterations of the series, with further treatments by modern illustrators, and sketchbook reproductions, and names, dates, and times. Oh, and? And there are four bonus trading cards included with each copy of this graphic and texty artifact.

Boy howdy, that's something, ain't it?
Enough to make a fellow go ang-ang-ang-ang-ang-ang.

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