I remember walking to this little store down the road in 1990 every couple of days to buy a pack or two of the Marvel Universe Series 1 cards (and Yo MTV Raps cards, too for some reason). I had read some comics and was familiar with the big names but these cards were filled with tons of characters I didn’t recognize and this was my introduction to alot of really cool comics.
The idea of these were sort of like sports cards. Series 1 had Rookie cards, MVC (Most Valuable Comics), and team cards as well as stats on the back giving details on the character(s) featured on the front side.
Single characters cards were divided into two categories; Super Heroes and Super Villains. The roster went fairly deep, at least as far as my 10 year old novice comic mind knew. There were so many characters and reading a bit about the ones I hadn’t heard of was really cool. I credit these cards for truly opening me up to comics as a kid. Now if I could just find a reason to get back into them again (Superior Spider-Man is tempting me).
Everything about these cards drew me in. The great art, the cool info and the huge diversity in characters.
These cards introduced me to so many new characters and stories that I ended up reading more and more comics.
Team pictures was another great part of the series. Multiple X-Men teams? With some of the same members! My 10 year old mind was blown and I just had to start reading the books to find out what was going on.
The Famous Battles cards really got me into buying more comics. These were brief glimpses into some of the cool stories in Marvels history (up until then at least).
Spider-Man presents featured the web slinger humorously interviewing several heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe. There weren’t a huge number of different Spider-Man Presents cards but there were some cool choices for the ones they did make. The Punisher, Dr Octopus and even one with Spider-Man talking about himself were among some of my favorites.
Some characters even received multiple cards. Wolverine and Spider-Man each had three cards featuring different costumes and the Punisher had one for himself and one for his van.
The stats on the back had such info as height and weight as well as cool tidbits like win/loss record and first appearance information. It was all a really cool idea.
The Rookie cards were another cool idea brought over from sports cards.
Marvel stayed in the trading card game for a while but none of the later cards hit me quite like the Series 1 cards. It was the perfect storm that my 10 year old mind craved.