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029a-jets rockets spacemen cards phobos
029b-jets rockets spacemen cards phobos

Bowman produced these beautifully painted trading cards beginning in 1951: Jets, Rockets, and Spacemen! The “jets” cards merely showed normal airplanes with informative text on the back, but the rest of the series told a story about a fantastic space adventure, with each card as a chapter.

Though I only heard about these cards this year, the series is clearly a direct ancestor of the Meteor Mags stories. Its conception of space involves pirates, cats, octopuses, and dinosaurs (flying reptiles, actually: pteranodons). That’s my kind of space adventure!

054a-jets rockets spacemen cards octopus
Octopuses in space!
058a-jets rockets spacemen cards polar cat
Vicious cats on other planets!
067a-jets rockets spacemen cards pirates
Space pirates!
051a-jets rockets spacemen cards pteranodon
Interplanetary Dinosaurs!

The gallery below features some of my favorites.

I love keeping up with current developments in space exploration, but I guarantee you that interplanetary travel will never kick as much ass as it did in 1951! Tragically, this series stopped before the complete story was told. You can read more about its production and why it was never finished at https://www.psacard.com/articles/articleview/6976/psa-set-registry-1951-bowman-jets-rockets-spacemen-trading-card-thats-blasting-off-popularity