I recently found out about a rather unusual genre of Civil War art which I just had to share with as many people as possible.
As a young tyke I was an avid collector of the “Dinosaurs Attack!” bubble gum cards issued by the Topps trading card company. They were similar to the Mars Attacks cards from the ’60’s that inspired Tim Burton’s movie. The front of each card featured a painting of some poor sap—or group of saps—meeting a gory end at the hands of a prehistoric reptile. On the back was a newspaper story describing the scene depicted on the card. If you were a dinosaur-obsessed kid back in the 1980’s, this was just about the most fun you could have for twenty-five cents.
Feeling nostalgic, I decided to get online and take a stroll down memory lane, when I discovered another super-violent card series that Topps cranked out in the ’60’s. It was, after all, the centennial, and the good people at Topps knew that the best way to get kids interested in history is to crank up the blood and guts. And thus the Civil War News card series was born. Check out Bob Heffner’s website to see them for yourself.
The Port Republic card is my personal favorite, but “Death Barges In” and “The Cannon’s Victim” both deserve honorable mention. Alas, these cards were before my time; otherwise I wouldn’t have had to wait until college to discover the joys of history. Kunstler and Troiani, eat your hearts out.