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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Review: 1994 Sugar Puffs LEGENDS OF BATMAN trading cards

As a youth, I LOVED all things DC comics (thanks, Super Powers Collection). As a youth, I also LOVED sugary cereal (thanks, aggressive Saturday morning marketing). So, combine the two and I was ALL OVER whatever DC comics-themed promotion some Saturday morning cereal was pushing. (Unless it was the cereal itself. I don't have an unopened box of Ralston 1989 Batman Breakfast cereal sitting in my storage locker waiting to be eaten -- that would be... unique.) If it was released between 1982 to 1993, I either owned it or currently own it now. 

Unless, of course, it wasn't available in Canada

Thanks to the power of the internet, I can now purchase said items and show you what we both missed out on. Case in point: these 1994 LEGENDS OF BATMAN trading cards that were only available in boxes of Quaker OatsSugar Puffs cereal in the United Kingdom (UK).

Sugar Puffs was not a brand of cereal I was familiar with. Apparently, it tasted very much like Kellogg's Honey Smacks -- which I probably would've enjoyed. 

After a bit of internet sleuthing, I determined that the front of the cereal box would've looked something like this:

Discarded box of Quaker Oats' Sugar Puffs cereal from the UK.


..and the back would look like this:

Reverse of the Quaker OatsSugar Puffs cereal box. Image from http://cerealoffers.com/


Upon further inspection, it looks like Quaker Oats' Sugar Puffs cereal was all about about cross-marketing in the 90s, since they had promotions for X-Men, Spider-Man, Judge Dredd and that awful live-action Flintstones movie starring John Goodman as Fred Flintstone.


As per the cereal box's sales pitch, you got 5 random trading cards (wrapped in cellophane) per box of cereal.

So... what did these trading cards look like? Glad you asked:


There were 9 cards to collect in all -- the ninth card (not pictured) was of the Joker, which -- if you found in your pack of 5 cards -- could be redeemed at your local toy store for a LEGENDS OF BATMAN action figure based on whatever symbol appears on the Joker's card. (Remember: I mentioned this was a cross-promotion; the goal here was to get kids interested in these LEGENDS OF BATMAN action figures.) I believe that all these cards were based on figures from the first wave of the LEGENDS OF BATMAN toyline -- except for the Gameboy card, of course. (FYI: That would've been the card you wanted -- get a Joker with a Gameboy symbol and you got to redeem it for a Nintendo Gameboy AND a copy of the Batman: The Animated Series game. Otherwise, depending on the symbol on his card, the Joker allowed you to redeem his card for one of the fig figures or two vehicles above -- if you were lucky enough to get a Joker.)

Okay, so this 'contest' expired back in July 31, 1996. From a collector's point of view, are they worth tracking down?


Let's take a close look at these cards:


To call these 'trading cards' is a very generous description. They are printed on VERY flimsy cardstock, maybe one step up from those firm sheets you use in dividers to separate your papers. They measure 10cm x 7cm, and -- while they look like they may be lenticular [aka: shifting the card slightly changes the card art] -- they are NOT. They are deceptive like that.



The back of the card isn't much better; black print on cheapish cardboard, a running sentence promoting Future Batman, no mention of which comic he appears in, and no credit to the artist. Most of the card is devoted to the contest rules and a promotion about the new LEGENDS OF BATMAN toys (which I suppose was the goal of these cards).

Six of these cards (and I'm including the Joker card, here) feature the same art as the far-superior LEGENDS OF BATMAN trading cards released by Skybox in 1995. The only card art exclusive to this set where the Batcycle, the Batmobile and the GAMEBOY screenshot cards. The Skybox cards were included with the LEGENDS OF BATMAN action figure you purchased, and I promise we'll get around to reviewing these someday since I have a bunch in my 'junk drawer'.

LEFT: Sugar Puffs 1994 LEGENDS OF BATMAN trading card
RIGHT: Kenner 1995 LEGENDS OF BATMAN trading card by Skybox

Noticeable difference between the two cards:

  • The Skybox card has a denser cardstock -- like a real trading card you'd purchase in a pack of trading cards.
  • The Skybox card is slightly larger than the Sugar Puffs card.
  • The Sugar Puffs card has a thin white border, and included the 'Sugar Puffs' logo on the front of the card.


Is it worth it?

Only if:

  • You're a die-hard Batman fan, and NEED to own every piece of media he's ever been featured on (this includes international cereal promotions)
  • You're a die-hard collector of all things Sugar Puffs or Quaker Oats.
  • You can pick up the entire 8-card set for under $10 USD. The Joker card is going to cost you extra; it was pretty scarce since they would've been redeemed by kids wanting their free prize, and then probably destroyed by the toy store.

Otherwise, I'd watch for the Kenner LEGENDS OF BATMAN Skybox trading cards. They will cost a bit more, but you can see the difference in quality immediately.  

The bottom line is that these Sugar Puffs cards have no 'WOW factor' -- you'll get the set, look at them for a while, and then shove them in a drawer and never look at them again. As a DC comics or Batman fan, there's nothing here that will really blow you away.

Addendum:

Apparently some sort of LEGENDS OF BATMAN poster was available, but I'm not sure if it was randomly included in boxes, a mail-away, or an in-store promotion. What I DO have is a nice scan of the poster thanks to cerealoffers.com:



-Justin   

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Update:

A few people have sent us e-mails asking if we can post some sort of checklist (who knew?), so -- in order to oblige our loyal fans -- here we go:

#1 Future Batman
#2 Cyborg Batman
#3 Catwoman
#4 Power Guardian Batman
#5 Nightwing
#6 Batmobile
#7 Batcycle
#8 NINTENDO GAME BOY
Bonus: Joker (there are 8 variants -- all with different prizes on the front of the card)

(PLEASE NOTE: Checking these boxes won't actually save them to the webpage and you won't see them next time you log in. Either record the cards you're missing, or print this checklist.)



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