Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series – Book Review

Image courtesy of the Topps Company and Abrams Comicarts.

Image courtesy of the Topps Company and Abrams Comicarts.

With their upcoming new book entitled “Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series” the Topps Company and Abrams ComicArts have teamed up once again to bring us fans of pop culture and collectible cards a rare treat.

Due to hit store shelves on September 24, 2013 the new book collects all of the 1976 run of the Topps card produced series, which feature the front and back for all eighty-eight Star Trek trading cards as well as the twenty-two sticker cards that were originally offered one per pack of cards. Plus you get a very nice bonus of four limited-edition trading cards of your very own!

The idea of the Star Trek trading card series actually began back in 1966 when Len Brown (Mars Attacks, Dinosaurs Attack!), then creative director for the Topps Company was blown away when the NBC network aired the first episode in a screening room to see if they had any interest in merchandising cards for the new sci-fi series. As explained in the book Brown was worried that kids might not get the show and they decided to pass on the rights to produce cards which then Leaf trading cards picked up. With rather interesting results…
Star Trek - Leaf Cards
…the Leaf produced set was produced in limited quantities and quickly vanished from store shelves.

Thankfully for Star Trek fans when 1976 rolled around and due to the continuing syndication of the classic television show it seemed that the time was right for a full-color Star Trek trading card set. In the book Gary Gerani (The writer of 1988’s Pumpkinhead!) goes into greater detail on the stumbling blocks of getting the necessary images needed for the card series and how the set was designed and written not just for kids but was aimed at the legions of fans of Star Trek. This especially is evident by the photos used in the series, they aren’t just random shots of the crew but each is a captivating framing for the forty-one episodes presented by the card set. As explained in the book by Gerani sometimes Topps had to go and capture the image from a thirty-five-millimeter-film clip to get the image they needed like they did with card #28, “Spock Loses Control”.

The second card of the series is of course for Captain James T. Kirk but what image was used for the first card? The U.S.S. Enterprise naturally!

The second card of the series is of course for Captain James T. Kirk but what image was used for the first card? The U.S.S. Enterprise naturally!

While the Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series book preserves the few little factual errors on the back of the cards that will make Star Trek fans chuckle, book authors Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann have rightfully decided to fix something that stands out in the trading card series! For some reason Lieutenant Sulu did not appear in the 1976 card set and as the authors point out the reason “is shrouded in mystery and speculation.” but thankfully they include the dashing helmsman in two of the bonus trading cards in the back of the book.

Just like the Bazooka Joe and His Gang 60th Anniversary book this volume also features a wax-wrapper jacket just like you would have found protecting your cards and piece of Bazooka Joe gum if you would have picked up one of the 1976 Star Trek card packs back in the day.

The authors of the book by the way know just a little about Star Trek themselves as Paula M. Block worked on the Star Trek franchise at Paramount Pictures and CBS for 19 years and with motion picture publicist Terry J. Erdmann, has written Star Trek: The Original Series 365, Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, and Star Trek 101.

You can pre-order this wonderful collection of Star Trek trading cards over the Abrams Books site or The Topps Company and Abrams ComicsArts have delivered three spectacular trading card book collections with Mars Attacks, Bazooka Joe, and now Star Trek. I look forward to seeing what else they might have in store for us retro fans in the near future!


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

Never Miss an Episode

Stay up-to-date on the latest from the Retroist Podcast. Sign up and receive email notifications when there's a new episode of the Retroist Podcast or when we launch new podcasts.
* indicates required

One thought on “Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series – Book Review

  1. Why have they not done a Star Wars book like this? You’d think it’s be a no-brainer and they could do one for every series, not just every movie.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.