Monday, March 1, 2021

Mookie Blaylock

I think it's pretty well known fun fact amongst fans of Pearl Jam that the band briefly went by the name Mookie Blaylock after the NBA guard.  They played a 10-show tour with Alice In Chains under the name before changing it in early 1991.

There's different stories out there about how they ended up with the name Mookie Blaylock, but I'm inclined to go with the story guitarist Jeff Ament gave -that involved basketball cards- to The Missoulan in 2008: 

"When we were recording our first record, we had a per diem of about $10. So when we got lunch at the store across the street, we'd always buy a pack of basketball cards. When we turned in our tape, we didn't have a name for the band yet so we put a Mookie Blaylock card in the case. We were about to go on a tour and still didn't have a name and needed one quickly. We were told it didn't need to be the name that we were going to use forever, just something for the tour. Someone saw the Mookie Blaylock card and said, ‘How about Mookie Blaylock?' We decided to go with it and did a 10-show tour with Alice in Chains as Mookie Blaylock. Mookie was cool about it, too—he didn't sue us. I actually got to meet him later on and shoot around a little bit. We also made a Pearl Jam T-shirt with a picture of him on it. I guess we owe Mookie a lot."

I read that it was revealed on Bill Simmons' podcast that the card that was the inspiration was actually the the 1991-92 Skybox, where I chose the 1990-91 design.  The reason being is finding quality images from that period was, well, they probably didn't know that one day some guy would want to make a custom basketball card and needed quality pics to do so.  Let's just say that.  I really like the image of Vedder and Ament on this card, but it didn't work well in my opinion with the 1991-92 design, but I thought it looked stellar inside of the 1990-91 confines.  

UPDATE: I believe I've determined that the card that was the inspiration for the band originally being called Mookie Blaylock actually could not have been the 1991-92 Skybox.  On 3/10/91 the band went on Seattle's KISW and formally announced the name Pearl Jam.  The 1991-92 Skybox was not even out at that time, let alone months before when they started calling themselves Mookie Blaylock.

There's stories that Mookie Blaylock (the person) threatened to sue over the unauthorized use of his name, but I've also read that that may not be true.  What is true though is that for Mookie it's better that he be a trivia question to the history of one of the most successful rock bands ever than to have totally lost his individualism had they kept his name.  Of course we didn't know then how we'd access information and media these days wit the internet, but imagine Mookie wanting to show his kids or nieces/nephews his highlights and having to sift through all the Pearl Jam stuff.  It would totally suck.

I've read that Pearl Jam's first album being named Ten was a nod to Mookie Blaylock being that it was his jersey number.  So, I gave this card the #10 as an Easter egg to that.  In the space where the team logo is on the front of the card I created a modified version of the Super Sonics logo that was in use in 1991 with the Seattle skyline, with Pearl Jam being synonymous to Seattle's grunge rock scene that exploded onto popular culture in the early '90s.

Personal Fun Fact: Every once in awhile when I'm feeling the prod of life's existential ponderings I end up listening to Pearl Jam for three or four days in a row.  

I just want to scream HELLOOO!
My God it's been so long
Never dreamed you'd return
But now here you are and here I am.

Personal Fun Fact #2: The best dog I ever had was named Mookie. 

Get your copy HERE.



Friday, February 26, 2021

The G.O.A.T.

In terms of internet timing, I'm way late on this card, but I had a few other things to get done before I was able to complete this one.  

I've been a fan of Tom Brady since his days at the University of Michigan.  I remember complaining about him having to split time with Drew Henson.  I thought Brady was the better of the two quarterbacks, but Henson was hyped to the moon, and unfortunately for U of M, he didn't quite pan out- opting to pursue baseball.  This was back when being a Michigan fan wasn't something shameful.

When Drew Bledsoe got injured and Tom took over at QB for New England it was perfect timing for me as my disgust for the Detroit Lions organization had peaked and I was ready to swear off any allegiance for good.  I'm not claiming I thought Tom Brady would turn out to be the greatest of all time, or even good for that matter, but it gave me a reason to be hopeful, which I hadn't had for a few years to that point following Barry Sanders' abrupt retirement.  Lo and behold Tom led the Pats to the Super Bowl that very season and eight more times in New England.  As a fan I'd say I hit the jackpot.

When Tom signed with the Buccaneers in the offseason I hoped he'd do well but I didn't think he, at 43, would be leading them to the big one.  I expected they would be a respectable football team.  I wanted those who claimed Brady was a "system quarterback" to shut their big yappers.  But, I cannot claim I expected a Super Bowl birth.  

On top of everything else the Bucs were the first team to play on their home field in a Super Bowl!  That's something, looking back, I'm really glad that happened as it was definitely an edge for the Bucs.  The only downside to rooting for Brady and the Pats is they never won in the trouncing fashion as these Bucs did over K.C.  Every Super Bowl win was a down-to-the-wire nail biting affair.  I hated that stomach-in-knots, not over over until the final play type of game.  I guess it would be great if there wasn't the vested interest, but I wasn't a casual fan.  I was always all-in.

Maybe just as satisfying as Tom getting his SEVENTH Super Bowl ring was him being completely sloshed during the victory parade.  That's a side of Tom Brady that has never been seen before.  A large part of his greatness comes from his 365 day discipline to his regimen.  So, to see him let up a bit and show that, as most were saying, he's "human" after all was pretty cool.

If you've made it this far than you get I'm a Tom Brady fan.  But, I've never even considered making a Tom Brady card to this point.  It wouldn't really fit with the cards I make just to do a straight forward football card.  There's plenty of Tom Brady cards out there so I wouldn't, in my mind, be adding something for a collector.  Although the designs I use are mostly sports card designs, the overwhelming majority of cards I've done with actual professional athletes have a tinge of humor to them.  Tom Brady being so drunk he needed assistance walking in a straight line provided the perfect tinge to add a PCb. card of The G.O.A.T. to the universe. 

'87 Topps

I think it's easy to see I have an affinity for card designs from the heart of the junk wax era, the 1980s.  I started shuffling in my mind how this Tom Brady card would look inside of the various football sets that Topps put out in the '80s.  I chose to go with a design inspired by Topps' 1987 design.  For whatever reason I think it's my favorite football design from the '80s, plus it's significant since Tom has been in the league for practically that long.  I was eager to use the colors from the Buccaneers creamsicle days.  Even though those teams pretty much all sucked, I loved those uniforms.  Red and orange are actually two of my favorite colors.

In the area where Topps would designate a player as a "Topps All Pro" I took the opportunity to give Brady a G.O.A.T. call out.  The Super Bowl MVP highlight in the lower right is just something I was playing around with that I thought looked cool so I went with it.  Trophies on cards have always been big for me since the days of getting excited over the "All-Star Rookie" trophy on Topps baseball cards.

I wanted to make the back have more of a special tribute card feel rather than a statistical style back look.  I recycled the back I created for the Over The Top card.  My other cards all get print runs of 50 where as this one is limited to only 12 in tribute to Brady and I wanted to hopefully be out of this card before the hype of the next NFL season sets in.

Get your copy HERE. SOLD OUT.

 


Monday, February 22, 2021

Revenge Of The Nerds

Revenge of the Nerds is a movie that a lot of us loved, but maybe hasn't aged so well.  There's the cultural stereotypes, the "toxic masculinity" from the bullying Alpha Betas and that problematic err-ummm love scene? between Betty and Lewis on the moonwalk.  But, my '80s kid eyes prefer not to view it as the un-P.C. cluster-bleep it would be by todays standards, but as the underdog sex-comedy it was before our childhood's became so cancellable.  

This is a set I've had the back burner for a long time now.  If you're new to the site I started making custom cards in hopes of sending them off in the mail for autographs 6 or so years ago.  I had made 5 or 6 cards from this movie with no intention of making a mini-set out of it.  Those were just the cards I thought I might stand a halfway decent chance of getting autographs on.  There's a lot of cards from my earlier days that I'd like to expand to a set.  Picture and industrial sized stove with back burners as far as the eye can see, something like that.

I finally decided to buckle down and put this baby to bed.  The cards I had made previously were tightened up since I've got new operating standards that I didn't have then.  I just needed to fill in the blanks character-wise and then design a card back to what ended up being a 14 card mini-set.

For the Lamda's (and one Omega Mu) I used a card front inspired by the  1984 Topps baseball design, a personal favorite of mine.  For the Beta/Pi faction I went with a design inspired by the 1984 Topps football design, which to me just makes perfect sense as the Betas were the football jocks at Adams College.


The cards all got the same card back design to give the set more continuity since the card fronts varied between the heroes and antagonists.  The back design is derivative mostly to '84 Topps baseball set but with some liberties taken to give them the right amount of nerd flare.  

I had a lot of fun packing the card backs with info.  Each card has a "Transcript" section which basically serves as a listing of some of the character's prominent characteristics. Each character also has a quote attributed to them and their frat/sorority affiliation.  There's a "Nerd Factoid" on each just because I'm into that DYK? kind of shit.  The card back finishes off with quiz question so you can test your RotN fanhood.

A number of the sets I've made recently somewhat storyboard a movie so I like to keep those cards together and not offer them with the PCb. card shop's "You Pick Single" option.  This one (all though I would prefer collector's get the entire 14 card set) because they're all character cards and I get that there's some that just might want certain characters, so I'm leaving it open to the Y.P.S. option.  But, as an incentive, I've created a bonus card *only* available with the purchase of the complete set.  

Not that I wanted to highlight the sorta rapey love scene, but it's just that the card makes tons of sense.  What I mean is Lewis was wearing some sort of Storm Trooper/gorilla/Darth Vader hybrid costume and the 1977 Star Wars set is so iconic, and not to mention how the Star Wars franchise is known for their almost cult-like nerd fanboy following.  It just all comes together too perfectly not to make the card.  And hey, *spoiler alert* Lewis and Betty end up married in the sequels so it's sort of  the beginning of a meant-to-be nearly consensual love story!

Get your set HERE.


Friday, February 19, 2021

Absolutely Perfect!

I found out through some research when making this card that Curt Hennig actually had a run with the WWF in 1981 through 1983.  I was too young to have known about him then.  But, by the time he returned in 1988 I was full blown obsessed with wrestling.  Back then my whole week revolved around Sunday -I believe it was- when Superstars of Wrestling would come on right after Pee-Wee's Playhouse.  And, by the same token, my whole week would be ruined every so often when it was preempted for something else.  I didn't care that most of the superstars were just wrestling blue Speedo jobbers.  It was still pro-wrestling, and I loved pro-wrestling.  "Hulkamaniac" was the religion with which I identified.  *Please note the past tense of love because you simply couldn't pay me to watch it these days.

The WWF did a masterful job building up anticipation for Mr. Perfect with a series of vignettes showing Mr. Perfect as the perfect athletic specimen in any sport he chose to partake in.  Whether it was catching a touchdown pass that he himself threw or bowling the perfect game... everything Curt did was "absolutely perfect".  They say the best wrestling gimmicks are an amplification of the wrestlers personality, which is why the "Mr. Perfect" such a great fit for Curt Hennig because it's said that he really was a hell of an athlete.  Even though Mr. Perfect was a heel wrestler, you had to love him because he was so damn entertaining.  He was a completely sound technician, but I think my favorite part is how he sold for his opponent.  He could wrestle circles around anyone, but also make them look like a world beater.  I don't think anyone sells anything in wrestling these days.  They just get back up and continue their overly-choreographed acrobatics. 

And, if you're wondering, yes... I was one of those kids that would try to slap my gum after spitting it out because of Mr. Perfect.  Unfortunately Curt Hennig is one the scores of pro-wrestling legends from my childhood who is no longer with us, passing away at only 44 years old.

I saw this photo of Curt holding a basketball, so of course I knew I had to get right on a custom basketball card.  I can only assume the picture is from one of those famed vignettes.

The template was easy to choose because there was only one widely distributed basketball card in 1988, which was the 1988-89 Fleer set.

For the border I chose two colors inspired by one of Mr. Perfect's signature singlets.  I had some fun with the back of the card.  It's Mr. Perfect, so of course he didn't miss a field goal attempt nor a free throw.  In the other statistical categories I gave Curt exactly one more in each category than what is the single season record.  Absolutely perfect.

Get your copy HERE.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Happy Birthday, Michael Ironside



Happy 71st birthday to the prolific character actor, Michael Ironside.  

Pictured here in custom cards from the movies The Turbo Kid and Total Recall.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Sig. Showcase: Danny McBride



Eastbound and Down is easily one of the funniest shows I've ever watched and that's in largest part due to Danny McBride.  He's just a naturally funny guy.  The show's writing and how Danny delivered the Kenny Powers character as a ridiculous man-child was masterful.  The character does and says some messed up things, but it's hard to dislike him being that he's the type of person that never had to deal with maturation and accountability due to his ability to throw a baseball "faster than f*ck". 

Not that long ago I had about ten or so signed cards that I had doubles of certified and encased by Beckett to be able to offer them to collectors.  The double of the card pictured by far and away garnered the most activity.  This one though stays in my personal collection forever. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Emma Watson

Awhile back I was approached with a request to do a commissioned card of Emma Watson.  The subject line just read "Emma Watson card?".  My first thought was Harry Potter, and I really wasn't feeling like I'd be the right for that custom card.  I know nothing about Harry Potter.  Never read the books or seen the movies and I have no intention of doing either.  On top of that, I knew Harry Potter already had licensed cards produced.

Fortunately it wasn't a request for an Emma Watson Harry Potter custom card.  What the request was for was a card of Emma Watson from the 2013 movie she starred in called The Bling Ring, which I was equally unfamiliar with.  I explained this and how I didn't think I could do the card justice not knowing anything about the proposed card's subject.  When I make cards I prefer to be at least somewhat familiar with the card's subject and from there dive in-depth for details that make the card as good as I can make it.  For me, I feel better if the final result "makes sense" and isn't a picture plugged into a template.  I end up spending a lot of time on the cards I create, so it's important to me that they have an integrity to them.

Explaining this in a roundabout way left the requester unmoved.  For him, it was more about the image and he was leaving it up to me to make something that "looked cool".  Usually, that's something I hate honestly.  I know what looks cool to *me* but if it's a card for someone else I like some art direction as to what *they* envision and we can collaborate some ideas from there.

Although I was totally unfamiliar with The Bling Ring I was familiar with the image that the requester wanted used.  I'd seen the .gif of Emma Watson dancing provocatively hundreds of times.  Okay... I'll make the card.

The movie came out in 2013 and even though that's 8 years ago, relative to the timeframe of the vast majority of my cards emulate, 2013 is "ultra-modern"... to me anyways.  I just couldn't see this making sense on anything I'd done previously, and especially on a vintage cardboard stock.  So, I set out to step outside of my box a bit.  

I took this as opportunity to test my creativity.  What I came up with I think could best be described as  Topps' Allen & Ginter card in league with a Panini National Treasures' overall aesthetic. The card is the normal 3.5" height, but I thought it would be fun to bring in the width (approx. 2.09") which I thought worked better to highlight the image.  The back I think is pretty simple, but stylish enough to compliment the front.  

In the end the new owner was thrilled with the final result.  Based on his approval I got to thinking that maybe others might like this card as well?  I know that Emma Watson has a pretty big following, so I've decided to offer this card in my store and see what kind of reception it garners.  

Get a copy HERE