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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 (Film), 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 (Film)!
Eclipse Comics intended to release a three-part miniseries based on the cards, but ended up only releasing the first issue.
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:
- Dead Baby Comedy: Oh Hell yeah.
- Dead Line 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Refuge in Audacity: And old lady being threatened by a giant monster: not funny. An old lady watching in horror as her cats are messily devoured by a giant monster: big time, not funny. An old lady pulling out a rifle and blasting the face of a giant monster who was threatening her and her cats into Ludicrous Gibs? Comedy gold.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: (Yes we know, but remember, this was in 1988.) 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 where dinosaurs merely get by on being "savage" and "wicked and terrifying". No, seriously.
- 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.