Saturday, December 5, 2015

Book Review: Abrams Topps Star Wars

This is my first Book Review on Cardboard History, but not the first I've written. I read a lot, and at one point I attempted to create a history book review page on Facebook, but nobody was interested...

But this is a book about cards so it fits on here.

The cover

This is a great book for Star Wars fans and card collectors, and especially Star Wars card collectors. Published by Abrams, it chronicles every single card, front and back, from the original Topps Star Wars series. Some cards, most in the first series, some in later, have insider insight from Gary Gerani, who was the driving force behind this set.

It also includes the Wonder Bread cards, which were not produced by Topps, but are included anyway. (It's one of the few sets I've completed in 2015, as an aside). The book is thick and dense, nearly 400 pages. The backs of the cards with text are given full page reproductions, but the cards with puzzle pieces are condensed in size so that the entire puzzle fits on one page. All 330 cards from all 5 series, and all the stickers from each series are documented in the book. Interestingly, some of the cards chosen to be reproduced are not in perfect shape- in a couple of them I found that my copy was actually better than the published version. One thing that might have been improved on is that the book does not tell you which card back goes to which front. The backs of the cards were not in any particular order and they are arranged here in order of the text on them, not card number order.

Here is a sample of what the book looks like inside.
Overall, it took me only about an hour and a half to read the entire book, including the Foreward, afterward, captions and the card back text, some of which was new to me as I have not completed the original series yet. This is not a complaint, I am a fast reader and I already have about 75% of the cards in the set, if not more, so it wasn't like I had to study much that was new to me in the card images.

The dust jacket is made from a thin material that closely resembles original pack material. I took it off to read the book, it was easier that way. It's somewhat flimsy and it was getting bent, and sliding off, as I tried to read the book with it on. I was rewarded by humorous images on the front and back cover- a stick of gum on the cover, a shattered stick of same on the back. This printed version couldn't cut glass, unlike the original!

It also includes 4 bonus cards, as noted on the cover. Two of the cards are simply reprints of two of the stickers (non-sticker in this form, and the stickers are also included in the book as well), while one of them is a reproduction of the Series 1 pack and another is a reproduction of the Series 1 box.
Here are the two that do not reproduce stickers.

All 4 bonus cards feature a white border. They don't have the lines on them- my scanner has some issues with certain cards sometimes.

Overall, I would rate this book highly worthy of a purchase from any Star Wars fan/collector. I've been collecting Star Wars cards since 1988 and my earliest memory of anything is of watching Star Wars- there is literally no time in my life that Star Wars has not been a part of it- and I still learned quite a bit from the book. It's labeled as Volume 1 so I am very hopeful for an edition for Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi will follow.


  1. HEY!!! I was too interested in your history book reviews...and am waiting for more.

  2. I know very little about Facebook, but I don't imagine a lot of people use it for any sort of educational purpose, especially when it pertains to history. Maybe your just a trendsetter and no one realizes it yet.

    1. There's a dedicated group of people who post in history related groups but these days it's mostly used to whine about politics- which I have no interest in. More time to write blog posts!