Out of the Toy Box is back today with something a little different. As you can see from the image above, the subject of this post isn’t technically a toy, it is instead a set of trading cards. A set of Toxic Crusaders trading cards to be exact.
I’m including theses cards within the ‘Toy Box’ banner, because I feel that trading cards have a strong association with toys. A number of action figures of the past (specifically Toy Biz action figures) included free trading cards and I’d wager that many a trading card found its way into a toy box or two during the ’80s and ’90s.
So, today’s focus is on Toxic Crusaders trading cards – a trading card set which accompanied the cartoon and toy line of the same name from the 1990s. The cards were produced by Topps, released in 1991 and comprised 88 base cards, along with a collection of hologram and character cards.
The cards themselves were pretty pedestrian, with the vast majority (i.e. the base cards) simply featuring shots taken directly from the short-lived cartoon. However, the ten character cards were more interesting as they including comic book-style imagery on the front and action figure head shots on the reverse.
The inclusion of the action figure head shots is intriguing as Playmates produced the toys for Toxic Crusaders, yet nowhere on the cards or the packaging is there a reference to Playmates. What’s perhaps even more bizarre is that Playmates didn’t do a deal with Topps to randomly insert these cards with their figures, as an added extra for consumers. Did they miss a trick or what?
The real beauty in the Toxic Crusaders trading card set were the ‘environmentally friendly’ comments that were included on the base cards. Saving the planet was a big topic during the 1990s and many properties (TMNT, Toxic Crusaders, Captain Planet etc) tried to highlight this throughout their respective toy lines and cartoons.
On the reverse of each base card was one of 88 ‘Toxie’s Tips’ – a series of short, witty comments to get card collectors thinking about the environment. Well, sort of. Comments included: ‘Fight air pollution, keep old sneakers in your closet’; ‘Conserve water, hang house plants around your neck when you shower’; and ‘Save paper, don’t do your homework’. That last comment no doubt stayed with many kids who were keen to ignore their latest geography assignment.
As for the packaging, the the reverse of each packet of cards included information on how to contact ‘Kids Against Pollution’ (KAP). There was also a nice little image of Toxie – leader of the Toxic Crusaders – throwing litter into the trash can, accompanied by the phrase ‘Don’t litter’. Of course, there’s no mention of whether or not the cards were produced on recycled card, so there is the feeling that some of this information was superficial at best, but hey it was a start, right? Erm…
Anyway, should you want a set of these cards for yourself you can usually pick them up on eBay for a pretty reasonable price. Individual packs can be found for a couple of quid, or boxes do the rounds for about £15 (or less). They may be more than 25 years’ old, but you can still buy them as fresh as the day they were produced.