Thursday, November 11, 2021

Commemorative Thanksgiving Custom Cards

Last year when I made this commemorative Halloween 1984 card I wanted to follow it up with a Thanksgiving card, but I guess I ran out of time.

The Dutch Dooley card is the card I had in mind.  It's a hockey card playing on the scene where Ed O'Neill brings Ethan Embry out of his boarding school gagged and bound to a hockey stock.  

My only intention was to make the Dutch card.  But, it didn't feel right to stop there.  You see our family's tradition is to watch BOTH Dutch and Planes, Trains And Automobiles on Thanksgiving.  Put it this way, if I don't watch them both might as well not even have the turkey.  It would be like leaving the house with one shoe on, it just wouldn't feel right.

I year matched both movies with the card designs.  So, Dutch in 1991-92 Upper Deck hockey inspired frame (a PCb. first) and PT&A in a 1987 Topps inspired design.

My goal with the Planes, Trains card was a design where I could put both Del and Neal on the same card.  So for them I went with the league leaders design that I also used for the Over the Top card.  They're both deserving of their own cards but I wanted to keep it to two commemorative Thanksgiving cards total.  Plains, Trains is actually deserving of it's own custom set and PCb. could use more John Candy representation.  Maybe a future project?

Friday, November 5, 2021

Jorge González

I remember Giant González during his brief WWF stint both for his size and his ridiculous furry airbrushed muscle body suit.  I don't remember his in-ring work in any great detail because my interest was beginning to wane away from pro wrestling by this time in 1993.  I do remember marveling at the enormity of this human being.  At 7'7" Giant González was actually 3" taller than André the Giant.  But unfortunately, unlike André, there doesn't seem to have ever been a time when Jorge was nimble in his own frame even relative to giant standards.

When you're as tall as Jorge González was it's pretty much inevitable that someone is going to put a basketball in your hands, even if your height is the result of a genetic defect.  Jorge got a spot on the Argentinian national team and eventually NBA scouts came around and saw him, well, being really tall.  

When your head is that close to the rim the odds are that someone in the NBA is going to take a chance on you.  That someone was the Atlanta Hawks.  The Hawks selected Jorge in the 3rd round (54th overall pick) of the 1988 NBA Draft making him the first ever Argentine ever drafted by the league.  It took very little time to determine that González's body was not going to hold up to the rigors of NBA play.  Not one to pass up on a marketable asset Hawk's owner Ted Turner hard pivoted Jorge's career path to that of a professional wrestler in the WCW, which he also owned.  Jorge debuted for Turner's World Championship Wrestling in 1990 and would wrestle for the promotion until 1992 when health problems forced him back home for treatment.  González resurfaced in 1993 in the Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation, but was only with the company for about 10 months.

Jorge was able to get a couple more years as a wrestling attraction by going overseas before retiring in 1995.  He passed away in 2010 at the age of 44 due to complications from diabetes and severe heart issues.

I recently came across the photo used for this card showing Jorge dwarfing then Hawk's coach Mike Fratello in Atlanta's Omni Arena and thought it would make for a cool custom card.  If there was any foresight back then to Jorge González's eventual pop-culture status there may very well have been a card made of him, so hopefully this card fills someone's 'cards that never were' gap.

Being as Atlanta took Jorge in the 1988 Draft the card gets a 1988-89 Fleer style framing.  Surprisingly I was able to find some stats from Jorge's  final two seasons in Argentina with gave the card back a big boost in my opinion.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Ozzy Osbourne

There was that one time in 1984 in when Ozzy Osbourne was so bombed on Memphis' Beale Street that was taken into custody so he could sober up.  Oh, and he just happened to be wearing a rad St. Louis Blues jersey shirt in his mugshot.  

Beale Street is a party street so most people are three sheets to the wind while on Beale. Plus it's Ozzy freaking Osbourne in the mid '80s when, I'd hazard a guess, his baseline was inebriation.  So, that begs the question as to how much alcohol was in his system to result in him being arrested for public intoxication??  

There 's no better way, in my opinion, to commemorate a mildly sports-related mugshot than a custom trading car.  

It was a obvious choice to go with the '84 Topps hockey inspired design.  It's quite perfect that the design calls for two images so both front and side view of Ozzy's booking photo could be utilized.  The back sees the event detailed in the matching '84 style.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Arnold's In The Outfield

It's plain to see that this image of Arnold Schwarzenegger and long time California Angel Brian Downing needed a custom card made out of it.  It's ripe.  The only issue I ran into was finding nearly no context for where this photo came from.  The only thing I found was that it was suggested it was circa 1986.  That would fit from the stand point of Downing being with the Angels throughout the '80s.

With not much to go on but idea that this would look great as a 1987 Topps style 'Team Leaders' card.  The '87 Topps woodgrain is always a crowd pleaser.

If anyone can shed some light on what this picture was for be sure to leave that info in the comments.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Sig. Showcase: King Vidiot

Lately I've been making custom autograph cards and the throwback custom card sets have taken a bit of a backseat.  The thing I really like about these types of cards (outside of the prospect of completing the card with an autograph) is creating designs of my own.  This card, for example, is an original design of my own and not a recreation of a classic card design.  I admit that the look of the card is influenced by early '00s Upper Deck but the design itself is not a retrofit of any particular template.

If you're unfamiliar with Joysticks (1983) I would categorize it as an early '80s sex comedy centered around 1980s arcade culture.  Movies with malls or arcades as a central theme I tend to look upon with great affection.  These days if you want to make yourself seen you spam your social accounts, whereas back then you had to get up and get your ass down to one of the aforementioned locations.  Arcades are a dodo bird and I think the conversation of "how long will the remaining shopping malls be a thing?" has been a topic between most Gen-Xers.  It's just kind of wild to put yourself in your own mind all those years back and think about these veritable temples culture and commerce would be relics in the not-too-distant future.  I think it would be like being told that we'll someday look at Amazon as this quaint way we used to shop.  It sometimes seems that unfathomable, but I guess for every Titanic there's an iceberg waiting for a dark and fateful night.

Okay, back to the card. 

This is a design that I've come up with and used, and refined, a number of times over the years.  It's the type of thing I go to when I'd like an autograph of something in particular but not up to committing the time required to cultivate an entire, albeit "mini", custom card set.  Joysticks is cool and fun but I don't know that a card set is necessity at this time.  That could change the more times I watch the movie, but as of today one or two character auto cards will do.

The set up for this design is three part.  The top is for the main image.  Of course a crisp, larger image is preferable.  An autograph panel separates the top and bottom.  The bottom is used for a secondary image and usually a logo of some sort.  Depending on the images I want to use I can alter the space allocation of the top third and bottom third by moving the autograph panel up and down.

I'm a VHS collector and I'd recently ponied up for a copy of Joysticks.  This is a tape that has had residency on my wantlist for quite some time because it usually commands a bit of a premium as it's a cult classic these days.  Well, I was finally tired of not having it in my physically media library.  

I remember seeing this movie a loooong time ago (probably on cable).  I didn't remember much about it other than it took place in an arcade.  I knew Jon Gries -a PCb. favorite- was in the movie but I didn't quite recall that he, as "King Vidiot", pretty much owned the movie.  Jon is such a great character actor.  To me a number of his character performances enhance their movie to the point where I start to think of them as 'starring' roles because of how memorable and integral he was.

I was pretty excited about the final look of this card.  Obviously it had to have an old-school video game feel to the design and I think it really does.  Joysticks doesn't really seem to have a prominent font logo so I made a custom one that fit in with the colors and old digital looking font on the artwork for the movie poster and VHS cover.  Speaking of that artwork I had an uncompromising commitment to using the two girls at the game art somewhere on the card.  It took awhile but I finally settled on a way to incorporate it that I thought complimented the overall look of the card.

One thing I really love is the '80s punk rocker aesthetic.  I do realize that it's a highly commercialized version of how punkers really looked as most coifed themselves in simple black and white.  But, as for me, I love the idea of using all that color for an edgy counter-culture image.  There's also a sentimental component for me.  It's kind to say that I come from a lower middle class upbringing.  When I was younger, specifically of elementary school age, there was not a lot of money for non-necessities.  Halloween costumes fell under that heading.  For maybe three or four straight years my sister and I were punk rockers for Halloween.  The only real expense was the colored hair spray.  Once we had that an older cousin would supply a beat-up old leather jacket, add to that some ripped up old clothing and safety pins for good measure and violà, you've got an adolescent rock neerdowell.  

All that was left was the signature.  Most times that's a crap-shoot.  But, Jon Gries is very gracious and good to his fans so I knew there was a better than average chance of this card coming back with a great looking autograph on it.  For that reason I make it a point to always support any projects Jon is involved with and would implore you to do the same.  Great guy.

Friday, October 15, 2021


I recently did a re-watch of  Zapped!  I don't know how long it's been since I'd seen this movie, but we're easily talking decades.  I believe Zapped! is in the same category as Revenge of the Nerds in the way it was made as a lighthearted teen comedy by '80s standards, but doesn't adhere to today's social conscience. 

I was watching it just to watch a zany '80s movie with no intentions of making any trading cards from it.  What spurred my interest in making cards was the brief baseball scene.  Plus the fact that the film was released in 1982 which gave me a chance to revisit some of the 1982 Topps baseball inspired templates I created for the Ridgemont Series II set.  

I didn't have the urge to do an overly comprehensive custom set, and I'll admit you don't get a great feel for what the movie was actually about with just these 3 cards.  I was originally just going to do a play on the baseball scene of the movie but I also wanted to get the Bernadette and Jane characters on a card somehow.  The "Senior Prom" card came about because I really just wanted an excuse to use the Emerson High Penguins logo which was made possible by using 'team leader' card design from the '82 Topps set.  

This set may get a few more cards using the 'in action' subset from the '82 Topps so it's a little better represented.  I didn't do them this time around just because my enthusiasm for the project was only about an 8 of 10 and I moved onto some autograph card designs I wanted to try.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Mikayla Demaiter

Mikayla Demaiter is former hockey goalie turned model.  If that doesn't scream Phantom Cardboard card then I don't know what does.  Custom trading cards are a visual medium and Mikayla is quite a vision.  

I've had Mikayla on my custom card radar for quite some time now.  Back when I first became aware of Mikayla I couldn't find much info on her to be able to fill up the bio portion of the car back.  Recently I checked back and there's more of that kind of information available on the interwebs.  So, it was finally card time.

For this card I went with a design inspired by the 1990-91 Upper Deck hockey set.