Those gruesome/adorable Mars Attacks! cards from the ’60s just got another resurrection: Topps and IDW will team for a comics series next year, just in time for the iconic card set’s 50th anniversary. And the door looks wide open for more branded entertainment.

A perfect distillation of the ’50s obsession with little green men mixed with EC’s gleeful gore, the cards were the work of artist Norman Saunders and inspired the 1996 Tim Burton film. PR below.

Leading into the Long Beach Comic and Horror Con, IDW Publishing and Topps today announced a long-term partnership to offer new comics based on the fan-favorite Mars Attacks. Created in 1962, Mars Attacks will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2012 with major product launches throughout the year. IDW’s new comic series, as well as high-quality reprints of existing material, will be a cornerstone of that effort.

“We are excited to be partnering with Topps on this classic brand. Mars Attacks has always been a favorite of the comics creator community, and fans can look forward to top talent bringing their visions to fruition,” said Greg Goldstein, IDW’s Chief Operating Officer. “I know we will definitely bring the comics to the next level.”

Originally developed as a series of trading cards, Mars Attacks was created by Len Brown and Woody Gelman, after Brown was inspired by the Wally Wood cover to Weird Science #16 (EC Comics). The cards went on to achieve cult status for their then-shocking imagery, fully painted by pulp legend Norm Saunders, and remains a staple of pop culture. Topps revived the franchise in the mid 1990s with a second card set, comic book series and toy line. The story was also adapted into the 1996 feature film, Mars Attacks!, directed by Tim Burton.

“When looking for a comics partner for Mars Attacks, we wanted a publisher with the right creative sensibilities and an appreciation of our brand’s fifty-year legacy,” said Ira Friedman, Topps/VP, Global Licensing. “There’s no doubt that IDW will provide a great home for us. We’re looking forward to Mars Attacks complementing their existing stable of powerhouse franchises.”

Debuting in summer 2012, IDW’s comic series will offer the first stories of an all-new Mars Attacks universe, bringing the brand’s outrageous action and dark humor to a new set of tales.


  1. Here’s hoping the comic book plotline mirrors the original 1962 card set and not the horrible train wreck that was the 1996 Tim Burton film.

    Below is a link to my personal homage of the card set, drawn in 1998. I think I drew it as a form of therapy to heal the then still fresh mental pain of the Burton fiasco.


    By the way, as I suggested in an e-mail to Topps executives a year or so ago, the original Mars Attacks concept is a perfect — and I mean PERFECT — vehicle for a first-/second-/third-person-shooter video game.

    Heck, it would be awesome! Millions of ruthless, fascist-like Martian bad guys; giant bugs; giant robots; military gear and exotic weapons of every imagineable type; cities aroound the world, and on Mars, at risk; a battle of planets. It can’t miss — unless, of course, it’s done, like Burton’s movie, half-assed and campy.

  2. Proper Credit Dept: Mars Attacks was created by Len Brown, Wally Wood and Woody Gelman. Not only was the concept inspired by a Wood EC cover but, as soon as Topps green-lighted a budget, Wood was hired for development work. Wood’s drawings became the foundation of the entire property including the final published pieces painted by Saunders. Brown is interviewed directly on the subject in The Wally Wood Sketchbook.