Tabletop Game: Dinosaurs Attack!
is a trading card series by Topps, released in 1988, and containing 55 cards and 11 sticker cards. The card series was created as a follow-up to the successful trading card series, Mars Attacks!
, and was similarly intended as an homage and a parody of 1950s B-movies.
The "story arc" of the card series is that a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong
, transporting dinosaurs of many varieties from their prehistoric world to modern times. The dinosaurs immediately wreak havoc upon mankind and chaos reigns as the scientists work to reverse the time-travel
effect. In the end, the Supreme Monstrosity
, patron deity of the dinosaurs (nicknamed "Dinosaur Satan" by some fans; just look at him!
) intervenes, trying to stop the scientists. The lead scientist, Elias Thorne, sacrifices himself to the Supreme Monstrosity so his wife, Helen, can succeed and send the dinosaurs back to their own time, tearing the animals apart in the process.
The series is best known for it's incredibly violent content
and blood-spattered artwork
. Scientific accuracy is, needless to say, not to be seen here
. The old Dinosaurs Are Dragons
and Prehistoric Monster
tropes are brought out in full force and in a more extreme way than ever before. The whole series was very clearly going for Refuge in Audacity writ large
Despite the company's hopes, Dinosaurs Attack!
did not achieve commercial success. Tim Burton was planning on making a movie
, but dismissed it when a slightly less obscure dinosaur movie
was released. Instead he made Mars Attacks!!
Eclipse Comics intended to release a three-part miniseries based on the cards, but ended up only releasing the first issue; IDW recently republished that issue and had four new issues commissioned to finish the series.Note
: The images in the cards aren't necessarily not safe for work
, but they can get very, very gory. You will get odd looks if you view them at work.
This card series contains examples of:
- Ascended To Carnivorism: All of the herbivores. Well, except Trachodon.
- Anyone Can Die: And how...
- A Wizard Did It: You'd be forgiven if you ended up assuming that Dinosaur Satan was the one who decided to turn all the plant-eaters into meat-eaters.
- Big Bad: The Supreme Monstrosity, as he's the one who caused the attacks to begin with.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Manhattan has become a prehistoric swamp where giant prehistoric dragonflies shred women's scalps because they are attracted to hairspray. Also trilobites are deadly, fleshing eating monstrosities.
- Black Comedy: Oh Hell yeah.
- Refuge in Audacity: The authors of the reboot comic even compare it to RoboCop (1987), in that "the violence depicted is so preposterous that it can't help but be funny, which is part of the satiric message."
- Deadline News: One of the cards displays the anchors who have been framing some of the action being attacked. The back of the card is "technical difficulties, please stand by."
- Dinosaurs Are Dragons and Prehistoric Monster: Like woah. Every species, regardless of diet and mannerisms in Real Life, has come to the present to Kill All Humans. And they are going to do this in the most horrifically violent ways imaginable. And of course, eventually the series involves what can only be described as Dinosaur Satan (see immediately below).
- Perhaps the monstrous behaviour of the dinosaurs is justified, if one assumes that they were simply possessed into destroying all humanity by the "Supreme Monstrosity".
- Eats Babies/Would Hurt a Child: The Parasaurolophus are especially fond of this.
- Eldritch Abomination: The "Supreme Monstrosity."
- Fate Worse Than Death: We get to see what happens when a time-traveling dinosaur suddenly occupies the same space as a modern human. Also, the eventual fate of all the dinosaurs.
- Gorn: Lots of it
- Heroic Sacrifice: Poor Elias.
- Her Heart Will Go On: Helen, as a direct result of the above.
- Hope Spot: There were a couple cards where the humans won.
- Hot Scientist: Elias' wife, Helen.
- Infant Immortality: Oh, Lord, is this ever subverted.
- Just Before the End: Dinosaurs are attacking all over, and yet still the trains are running on time, people are going to work, and the newsroom is still reporting.
- Monumental Damage: Oh yeah! Between battling dinosaurs destroying the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Big Ben being pummeled by some giant lizard, pterodactyls pecking the eyes out of Mount Rushmore and a plesiosaur constricting the Statue of Liberty with its neck, it seems no monument is safe from the dinosaurs!
- Ptero Soarer: Pteranodons apparently really love destroying anything patriotic for some reason. For reference, they eat the president and his first lady, and then go on to nest in Mount Rushmore and feed tourists to their babies.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: It's nice and subtle about it too. Once more, with feeling: Dinosaur Satan. Also, around the middle of the storyline, an alien appears in the dreams of the lead scientist and helpfully informs him that Humans Are Special and have souls while dinosaurs merely get by on being "savage," "wicked and terrifying." No, seriously.
- Science Marches On: Possibly the IDW reboot;if this image is any indication: , the dinosaurs will be more realistic in appearance at least.
- Shout-Out: One can see references to Gorgo, Reptilicus and Rhedosaurus among the depicted creatures.
- Stable Time Loop: "Elias and I hoped to learn why the dinosaurs were wiped out of existence 65 million years ago. Well, we've finally discovered what annihilated them... We did."
- Technical Pacifist: One hadrosaur. It is correctly portrayed as a plant eater and, additionally, is the only dinosaur that isn't killing a human on its sticker.
- Too bad Trachodon is an obscure genus.
- Tele-Frag: One poor guy had the misfortune of being in the same spot as a manifesting tyrannosaur and as fused into its belly as it materialized.