In the early 90s, if there was anything I loved as much as comic books, it was the trading card series that accompanied them. Specifically, the Marvel Universe line (DC’s were kinda lame and they didn’t take a serious stab at it until the mid-90s).
There were so many great artists used for this set like Jim Lee, Art Adams, Ron Lim, Erik Larsen (before he went indie, became jack-of-all-trades on his own title and got really, really sloppy) and John Romita Sr. I really dig the border used for this series as well.
Another nice touch to the series was the introduction of the power ratings, which 1990’s Series I did not feature. For years, I considered Series II to be the ultimate guide to the strengths and weaknesses to Marvel’s heroes & villains. There were even cards that described the powers levels, which I thought was really cool.
Other cards spotlighted weapons (Wolverine’s claws, Mandarin’s rings, etc.), rookies (recently introduced characters Rage, Darkhawk, Sleepwalker, etc.) and legends (featuring deceased characters like Dark Phoenix, Kraven and Captain Marvel). It was the Bucky legends card that actually got me into this set (I later bought Series I at a comic book store) because some kid at the summer YMCA program brought his cards in one day and told me Bucky was worth $20. Once I heard that, dollars bills were seen in my pupils just like in the cartoons. Not that I wanted to get the card and sell it for profit, I just wanted to have something valuable.
I own a complete set of 1993’s Series IV, and I’m probably only 15-20 cards short of owning complete sets of Series I-III. I’m not looking at my card collection right now, but I’m pretty sure I have some Series V, but I remember not being very impressed with them. It was the last set from this version of the Marvel Universe cards.
Anyway, I was always mesmerized by this particular ad. There’s a lot of charm there in imagining swapping cards with Dr. Doom, Spider-Man and um… I dunno– is that supposed to be Ulik and Sauron?
If you wanna see how awesome these cards are for yourself, follow this link… Marvel’s been nice enough to upload scans for us!