Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Masters of the Universe

Name of Card Set: Masters of the Universe
Production Company: Mattel, Inc.
Distribution Company:The Topps Company, Inc.
Year of Production: 1984
Pack Contents: 10 Cards, 1 sticker, 1 stick bubble gum


It’s barely longer than one minute, but to children who grew up in the 80’s, it is quite possibly the most recognizable one minute ever. Aside from the fact it is one of the best introductions to a show (ever!), it also captures the ‘feel’ of 80’s nostalgia better than almost any other piece of memorabilia. Just have a look:

Seriously…what kid wouldn’t get completely psyched at what was to come!!?? The show of course is He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Without a doubt, one of the best cartoons of the 80’s…based on one of the strongest and most collected toylines of the decade. Of course Topps released a card series to capitalize on the success…but sadly, it doesn’t quite hold up to the strength of the toys and television show.

At first glance, the set seems pretty strong. Topps used the familiar ‘multiple-wrappers’ strategy to draw in collectors (main image above). Also, the set was fairly large, consisting of 88 cards and 21 stickers…but once the initial ‘wow-factor’ wears off, the flaws in the production value begin to show through. The set is riddled with miscuts and lack of effort from the design team. Sure, all of the popular characters are captured in card-form, but aside from that there isn’t really anything to jump up and shout about.

The entire set tells a story…similar (if not identical) to one of the cartoon shows. The card fronts feature a picture of a particular scene, and the back contains a little synopsis…followed by a “continued on the next card…” message. The set is fairly plain – and sadly, one of the most unique features of the set is the interesting variation Topps took when it came to the checklist. Just take a look at how different it is from the typical checklist:

Don’t get me wrong…it’s still an incredibly cool set – but it just doesn’t come close to living up to how amazing the cartoon and toys were. That being said, a kick-butt non-sport card collection is NOT complete without a few samples from this undeniably-cool piece of the 80’s.

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