In 1991 DC Comics (in association with Impel/Skybox International) jumped into the non-sports card market with the DC Cosmic Cards set. Superman was well represented in that set. Over the course of the next few months I’ll be somewhat randomly posting the Man of Steel related cards. First up…Lex Luthor.
“Wait a second!” none of you are yelling. “Shouldn’t you start with the cards featuring Superman?” Part of me thinks I should. Part of me thinks I should break things up a bit and that is the part that won out. So I am starting with Lex but never fear, faithful Fortress follower, I will get to the Superman cards in due course.
DC Comics Cards were, in many ways, a response to the wildly popular first series of Marvel Universe trading cards that came out in 1990. I remember that first series being hard to find and worth some money after a fashion. The second series wasn’t. Marvel Universe Series II cards were everywhere. I bought an entire box of them at a grocery store during the summer of 1991. So it made sense that DC would want to follow suit and while the two sets had aspects in common (listings of the heroes, the villains, major events, etc.) Impel/Skybox used the Cosmic Cards to showcase the fact that there were different versions of certain DC characters. So instead of having one entry for Superman (and other characters like Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and so on) they had three; one for the Golden Age, one for the Silver Age and one for the modern era. This not only served as a hook for the start of the set but it was also perfect for those that put their trading cards in the little nine card sleeves that protected them from the elements. It was kind of brilliant actually. This is one of the many reasons I think this set is under appreciated. Sure the art is spotty in places and Skybox/Impel didn’t have the rights to use the Batman characters yet but they were able to do quite a bit with the DC set, holograms and all.
There were two Superman related villains in the Villains Heritage section of the series which is probably two more than he would receive today if I can sound like a bitter old man for a moment. Lex Luthor was first, which shouldn’t surprise anyone.
As much as I love this set I will admit that I chuckle when I see the Identikit photos on the back of the cards. Most of them remind me of bad workplace ID photos. The Silver and Modern Age Luthors look like they should either be working for IBM in the seventies or selling insurance. The Golden Age Luthor looks like he should be cleaning the toilets at IBM in the seventies or at the place the latter two Luthor sell the previously mentioned Insurance. All kidding aside the cards give you the essentials of the villains’ back stories and the art, with the exception of the modern Luthor, looks pretty cool.
Part of me misses the Super Powers era Power Armor Lex. It really does
More to follow…