In 1959, Topps trading cards released a set of monster trading cards, illustrated by the great EC horror comics/MAD magazine artist Jack Davis, called “You’ll Die Laughing.” From the informative page about the set on the PSA Card website:
Showcasing creatures from the imagination of Jack Davis, of EC Comics and MAD magazine fame, these pasteboards sparked controversy upon initial release. Worried that the card images would traumatize their children, a group of mothers in Racine, Wis., reportedly protested against Topps and its advertisers.
“The art on the cards was really in the tradition of MAD magazine,” explained Bill Bengen, who owns the top set on the PSA Set Registry, “and I remember my mother’s reaction to MAD magazine, she wouldn’t let me buy it. She said, ‘You can buy Superman, but you can’t buy MAD.’ Today this set wouldn’t even get a reaction. They would probably call it mild.”
With this series, however, Topps discovered that negative publicity could be good for business. Fueled by their parents’ disapproval, kids hoarded these cards and packs sold out across the country.
“The idea of the forbidden, the taboo, that definitely enhanced the sales,” said Bengen.
More monster madness from Jack Davis after the jump…