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Tabletop Game / Dinosaurs Attack!

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Hey, we're still in The '80s: Deinonychus here, not that pipsqueak Velociraptor!

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 time-travel experiment has 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 its 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 eventually republished that issue and had four new issues made to finish the series.


Note: The images in the cards aren't necessarily Not Safe for Work, but they can get very, very gory, to the point where it's hard to believe they're from a kids' series. You will get odd looks if you view them at work.

This card series contains examples of:
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Everywhere. This was probably deliberate, though, since the whole point of the cards was to be a throwback to B-movies of the 1950s, most of which were similarly inaccurate.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: All of the herbivores, except for Trachodon.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: The backs of the stickers contained "The TRUTH about" a given species of dinosaur, with accurate facts (well, accurate for the time, anyway) to contrast with its portrayal on the cards.
    • That said, they still contain some information that was erroneous even for the time (namely calling Dimetrodon a dinosaur, and Trachodon was already a dubious genus by the eighties).
  • Anyone Can Die: And how...
  • A Wizard Did It: It's strongly implied that The Supreme Monstrosity is the one responsible for the dinosaurs' unnaturally violent behavior and for giving all of them a taste for human flesh.
  • 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 comic adaptation 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."
  • Blatant Lies: The card showing the Soviet army battling a giant Dimetrodon is accompanied by a newspaper article that's clearly meant to be false Soviet propaganda rather than a "truthful" account of what happened.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: If you can believe it, the comics are actually even more violent than the cards!
  • Chronoscope: The dinosaurs were originally brought to the present day by a malfunctioning "time-scanner" experiment.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: As stated in the heading, a three-issue miniseries was originally planned by Eclipse Comics back in 1991, but was canceled after only the first issue was published. In 2013, IDW Publishing republished the single issue of the Eclipse Comics run and made four new issues to finally finish the story.
  • 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."
  • Death of a Child: Not even children are spared of the carnage wrought by the dinosaurs.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons and Prehistoric Monster: Like whoa. 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).
  • Dumb Dinos: A reptilian alien describes the dinosaurs as violent, evil, and stupid beasts who lack human souls and reason. Their behavior doesn't exactly prove him wrong.
  • Eats Babies: The Parasaurolophus are especially fond of this.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The "Supreme Monstrosity." A satanic entity who first appears merely as a glowing pair of eyes, and later as a massive demonic dinosaur, and is implied to be the one controlling all the dinosaurs attacking present-day Earth, he is quite possibly the most horrifying character ever created for a line of children's cards.
  • Eyeball-Plucking Birds: A monumental variant. One card shows pterodactyls swarming over Mount Rushmore, with one poking out George Washington's eyes.
  • 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.