Step inside folks, before you today we have oddities from the four corners of the trading card world...and below. You will see sights not for the faint of heart. Living Reptiles, undead horror movie hosts, hideous diseases and even the depths of Hell await you...if you dare enter!
Up first we have a cornucopia of herpetology, a reptile-lovers delight, Diamondback Trading Cards! Their first card set, a very limited edition, may be sold out by the time you read this. Reptiles is a unique trading card set; a treat for the natural history enthusiast of all ages. Diamondback's inaugural set contains fifty cards depicting snakes, lizards and turtles from around the world. The back of each card is filled with information including facts about habitat, conservation status, diet, and an additional full paragraph of species specific data. On most cards the actual geographic origin of the specimen on the face is listed. For captive bred animals the breeder is listed.
Each card's face depicts an actual living reptile in full-color with startling high-resolution photography. You'll feel like you can reach in and touch the animal depicted. But don't—they may bite! The card backs are color-coded so the budding herpetologist can distinguish between the many and varied reptile families. In addition to the base set, Diamondback has initiated the "SS-Alterna" eight-card chase series, which will feature specific examples of certain species, and will be randomly inserted into 25-card packs.
These cards are an exclusive glimpse into the world of the slimy, scaly and slithering denizens of the animal kingdom. Limited to approximately 1,050 sets, these informative non-sport cards can be found at select retailers, or ordered direct from the company. While Series One is endangered, Diamondback promises Series Two and a set featuring frogs and toads by the time you read this.
One of the most charming macabre treats from the golden age of television was the horror movie host. These characters (often portrayed by news or weather men doing double duty at local television stations) would introduce, lampoon, and liven up the old horror movies local broadcasters used for their "Chiller Theater." Horror Hosts Graveyard is a website dedicated to preserving the memories of this lost chapter in pop culture history. Chris De Gore started the site in August of 2008 as a central place to find out things about horror hosts, including videos, audio downloads, merchandise reviews and a guide to where to find horror hosts on the web. It was nominated this year for a Rondo Award (named after creepy character actor Rondo Hatton).
De gore tells us of the creation of this card set, "I had the idea to make the cards a while before I began the website. I had looked and there haven’t been any multi host card sets and very few host sets in general. The closest thing to this set was a series of promo cards given out in issues of Scary Monsters magazine, but they were just simple black & white pictures with a color border and text on the back. I started my website and after it built a following in the host & fan community I decided to attempt to make the set, after a chance meeting with a printer at a convention (most printing companies were not that easy nor willing to deal with a small print run). I worked with Nashville host Dr. Gangrene as an idea springboard and consultant; I finalized the design. After that I sent samples to various hosts until I had ten agree to be part of it. The hosts helped with providing the pictures, logos, and text for the cards."
This ten-card set features mostly current regional horror hosts Count Gore De Vol, Dr. Gangrene, Jebediah Buzzard, Karlos Borloff, Mr. Lobo, Ms. Monster, Penny Dreadful, Vlad & Creighton, Wolfman Mac, and the mysterious Zomboo.
The set, which debuted in April of 2009, contains 10 full color cards with UV coating. The front features a portrait of the host with information about their show and another picture on the back. There were a thousand of each card printed with the hosts each getting 500 copies of their card. The other 500 were put into the sets which are available from the website. The sets are packaged in a standard resealable trading card plastic sleeve with a full color picture of a wrapper printed on a paper insert. Cards autographed by some of the hosts will be randomly inserted into sets.
Our next set of unusual trading cards is Anthrax War! This set explores “the untold story of the 2001 anthrax attacks and the dark secrets of the shadowy world of modern day germ weapons research.” The set, based on the documentary of the same name by Bob Coen and Eric Nadler, focuses on the post 9/11 Anthrax scares and the journey Coen and Nadler took. The deeper the filmmakers looked the stranger things got. The path was littered with bodies of dead germ-warfare researchers, some from the post Cold War era in Russia, South Africa and Zimbabwe (Rhodesia).
The search for answers took the filmmakers around the world and led them into an underworld in which leading scientists working with germs die under mysterious circumstances. The film introduces us to the “international biological warfare mafia” and uncovers the development of terrifying new weapons: genetically mutated germs, some with the ability to target specific ethnic groups.
Anthrax War goes on to reveal how the 2001 Anthrax Attacks have spawned a $57 billion dollar “Bio-defense” boom in which germ weapons research is “Bio-Terrorism Military Industrial Complex.” This is some real-world horror for you.
A companion book, Dead Silence: Fear And Terror On The Anthrax Trail, was published in July. The documentary will be shown all over the world and on Canadian Television. A 24-card set was produced to promote the set and features color images on the fronts and backs showing scenes and sharing unsettling facts from the film. This card set was coordinated and designed by Todd Riley and Jame A. Riley, of Nostalgicards fame, and was primarily created to promote the film.
The card set is actually a handy tool to whip out if you’re telling someone about this whole mess, and they look like they’re measuring you for a tinfoil helmet. The set presents the key points from the film in a clear, well-illustrated and easy-to-understand form.
Hey, there’s scary, and then there’s SCARY! Complete sets of Anthrax War Trading Cards can be ordered for ten dollars each from the film's website, www.anthraxwar.com. Uncut sheets will also be offered up for sale on eBay.
We end our journey into the bizarre in the place no one wants to go...HELL. Actually, it's not so bad. Our host, Lucifer Jones, is not at all the unpleasant chap he's usually made out to be. Instead of nine circles, there are actually 42 plains. Azrael, rather than being a fearsome demonic avenger, is just a mild-mannered accountant. Beelzebub? That's him over there mowing the grass on plain 29. It seems Hell isn't quite the fiery pit it's cracked up to be.
At least it isn't according to Hell Trading Cards. This 45-card set (and related website) presents a vision of eternal damnation which doesn't really jibe with all the anti-Hell propaganda that's been churning for centuries. Lucifer isn't such a bad guy. Sure, he had a falling-out with the supreme being and was cast out of Heaven to reign in Hell for all eternity, but it wasn't really that big a deal. Rumor has it the whole dust-up was over a card game. The Hoary Host Of Hell is just a regular guy. He even has a blog.
Hell Trading Cards is here to set the record straight. Among the 45 cards you'll find subsets devoted to Lucifer and his minions, plus there are five cards dedicated to The Hell Of Fame. Another five cards shows us "Unlikely Burners" like Mr. Rogers and Ghandi. In some cards, you may even meet some of the sexier dwellers of the underworld. You'll also find cards that explore some of the 42 plains of Hell, and five cards are devoted to folks who are "Burning Soon."
In fact, as we go to press, the delivery date of this set is a little hazy. It seems the recent spate of celebrity deaths has bedeviled Hell Cards' creators, causing some last-minute changes, and it's played hell with their schedule. Still, for an unusual look down below, this set can't be beat. Look for it soon at Hot Topic, Spencer Gifts and other specialty stores.
Feature story by Rudy Panucci for Non-Sport Update; (c) 2009 Non-Sport Update; Posting of this article on other websites without permission is strictly prohibited.