I have fond memories of these cards. I remember being obsessed with drawing "monsters" - imaginary creatures with goggle eyes on long stalks! I don't know if these cards came before this phase, and were an inspiration, or if they came after - and you can see how they would have appealed to me!
They came out in packets of "Weeties" and "SpoonSize Vita-Brits", around late 1970, and are die-cut around the top half of the picture. This way, the white background portion can fold back and down to allow the cards to stand up on their own.
Here are a couple of examples, shown about full size (if you have a screen resolution of 1024 x 768)...
Go to the Monster Gallery to see all the cards.
These pictures also appeared as the first 24 in a series of 40 cards, called "Mad Moon Monsters", that were distributed in Sunicrust bread. These cards were about half the size of the cereal version (and not cut). The pictures on the cards after number 24 were obviously drawn by a different artist (and are, in my opinion, of a lesser quality).
I would be grateful if anyone can supply me with any more information on this series. Does anyone have a picture of the back panel of the cereal box? I have a vague memory that the picture had a fence you could cut out to make a cage to hold your monsters!
My thanks to Craig Hall who gave me some info on this series, and Peter Markmann who supplied me with the one card (#17) that I didn't have in either the cereal version or the bread version at the time. Thanks to ebay, I now have a full set!
September 2002 update: Thanks to Scott M. who has provided the name of this series, and the following recollection;
"...The back panel was way cool. It had cut out fences like a cage you could join up to stop the monsters getting out and causing havoc in our cities.... it also had rocks and plants too... and a small illustration that showed what the Monster Menagerie (actual series name) could look like. The small pics were really loose. For instance i remember the One Eyed Rock Hopper looked like a striped sausage with a one eyed flower for a head - very cool."
February 2004 update: Thanks to Alan S. who has found me a reference which lists this series! The "Cartophilic Reference Book - No 30 , The Australian & New Zealand Index", published in 1983, has the following entry in the Nabisco section;
Creepy Monsters (A). 115 x 75. Subjects die-cut at top, for standing up.
Back with brief descriptive text, continuous wording at top "Weeties"
and "Spoon Size Vita-Brits",... Brand issue, 1970.
Great to find some documented information at last. This confirms 1970 as the year of issue (I can't believe that I have kept some of these cards from when I was six!), and that the title used by Nabisco was "Creepy Monsters".
I wonder if Scott's recollection of "Monster Menagerie" (see above) was from wording on the cereal box back panel. We can be fairly sure that the panels had fences to cut out to make cages for the Monsters, so a reference to a "menagerie" would make sense...