Good pal Ms. Macha just returned from living in Japan for a while and brought over some menko that she picked up at a flea market over there. I had never heard of these before; they are like baseball cards or pogs, but were apparently designed expressly for the purpose of playing the flip-and-keep type games that kids play with this stuff. These particular cards are supposedly pretty old and rare:
I don't know if there was much cross-pollination between menko and manga; looking at Wikipedia and a few other sites, it doesn't appear so. There is interesting art on some of the cards, but just as many display photographs, and it seems that all sorts of genres are represented.
These got me to thinking about collectible cards and comics. Other than the cards that came out during the Batman TV show in the sixties, I've never had any of those superhero cards (or any other comics-realted cards), and I wondered what kids did with them. Were there flip games with superhero cards, or were the cards so integral to the collector/speculator mentality that they were only put in little plastic cases and kept locked away forever? Was the interest in the cards really limited to acquisition only? (There's something called a chaser card, isn't there - and you have to buy lots of packs to get one?) I'm sure that no one ever attached these cards to the fork of their bike with a clothespin to get the br-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-k noise as it flapped against the spokes, but did anyone ever do anything with them?