Oddball Monster District 17!
By Kurt Kuersteiner ©2009 Monsterwax Monster Trading Cards for The Wrapper Magazine
It seems Halloween keeps arriving earlier and earlier. This year, Walmart rolled out their spooky decorations before Labor Day (scandalous!). At this rate, it won't be long before one can avoid buying Freddy Krueger costumes and instead use Peter Rabbit! But let's stick with something that never changes--the printing of the annual Oddball Monster Card article. Welcome to installment #17!
This year's card hunt begins with an oddball item indeed. Ever hear of Pizza Monsters? They're exactly what they sound like, monsters made out of pizza. ("Careful men! Aim for the anchovies!") These cheesy cards were produced in 2000 by the Grande Cheeze Company. There are only five cards in the set, but finding a complete set is no easy task. The distribution was likely very regional. The fronts have the cartoonish images of the featured pizza monster, and the backs contain the text. The titles are Phantom Feast, Mummy Melt, Moniterella, Cheeselda, and Frankenslice. I haven't seen enough sell to hazard a guess at their value, but hopefully, it isn't too much dough.
Another interesting Oddball item is something called Monster Mazes. The manufacture and date of these cards is uncertain, but it is believed to have come out in the 1980s. Collectors were expected to accumulate all 37 different cards, and then deface them by tracing a path through the patterns on the monster's clothes. Like most oddball monster sets, this one is "worth" whatever you and the seller agree to, but it's probably a low supply and low demand item.
Remember the United States Postal Service issue of Universal Monster stamps, and the cards they sold to go along with them? The eleven card set was called Classic Movie Monster Stamper cards and is pretty well known, but their sister series of stickers are not. The sticker series was called Get The Creeps (USPS, 1997) and came on an 8 x 11" sheet. The characters featured included Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein's monster, the Phantom, and The Mummy. Say what you will about the post office and its famous big government inefficiencies, but there is no denying they did a great job with all the various monster related items. I also enjoyed collecting their monster pencils, erasers, magnets, mouse pads, and several different promotional flyers. (One can never have too much junk.)
One of the more recent oddball items is the Horror Host Graveyard trading card set, produced by Horror Host Graveyard.com. Like the website, the cards profile various TV horror hosts. There's only ten in the set, so to really capture the wide assortment of horror hosts out there, this series will need many more installments. Horror hosts are one of TV's more enjoyable legacies, with many of them wearing very outlandish costumes (or "show drag"). It's neat that someone is putting together a collection of them. Let's hope the series continues long enough to include everyone. The set retails for $5 on their website.
Another recent oddball monster item is the Norman Saunders trading card set released in conjunction with the book about the same artist (written by his son, David Saunders). I mentioned this series earlier in the year when writing about Norm's long career painting pulp covers and doing art card images for Topps (like Civil War News and Mars Attacks), It's worth mentioning again here for anyone who likes monster related items since there's so many cool monster images in the set. Only 1,000 of the 54 card factory sets were made and I understand they are almost sold out.
And now for this year's ultra-oddball monster series: (The envelope please!) And the winner is... Alphabet Monster cards from Ward Baking Company, Inc. They were sold in packages of Tip Top Snack Cakes sometime in the 1960s. These little dandies are odd sized also, measuring 2.5 x 5 inches, and are blank backed to boot! There are 26 in the set, although the letter "E" was double printed.
Well, that's it for this year's oddball monster musings. Have a happy and safe Halloween, and remember, don't take any candy from strangers, unless of course, it wrapped inside wax wrappers with cards!
For a giant index of all known monster cards, visit: www.Monstercards.org
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