Saturday, April 6, 2024

Deadly Friend

Hi there.  Long time, no see.  I used to have a job that was let's say roughly about 90% downtime and it was just me there.  Now I work in a corporate office and the only time I get to exhale is on my lunch break.  It's not that my zest for making my cards has diminished, it's just that I have next to no time for it.  Well, lately I've put off other things to make time for it.  I've had the itch like a crackhead twitching for his fix.

So, for the first in what seems like decades, is a brand new PCb. card.  It's a one-off from the 1986 horror Deadly Friend starring a  17 year old Kristy Swanson.  I went in for a re-watch and it reminded me of a card I had an idea for long ago.  Deadly Friend is infamous for one scene in particular; the one in which Kristy's character explodes Mama Fratelli's head with a basketball.  If I knew how to make lenticular cards this would be the first one I'd make, but that's not my lane so I gave it the ol' split screen treatment.  

The template of course is the legendary 1986-87 Fleer basketball, famous for having the first mainstream Michael Jordan rookie (along with many other HOFers and legends).  This is a template that I wanted to use for quite some time, but it had to be a basketball related card because the design is so synonymous with basketball.

I had funny repurposing the "Fleer Premier" crown to something more Phantom Cardboard-centric.  I didn't go too crazy with the card back, just some basic cast info.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Hannah Scharf

This isn't a new card per se, but it's one I don't believe I've shown anywhere before.  I needed an excuse to update this site after a nearly 7 month hiatus. 

As for the card, I made this one in a, to date, failed attempt at an autograph.  Hannah Scharf is a Canadian collegiate gymnastics standout for the ASU Sun Devils   I've previously said it before, but the 1991-92 Skybox design is choice for autographs.  I collect autographs from the official basketball set.  The white negative space offers the perfect canvas for an autograph to really pop, and who doesn't love those futuristic -for the time at least- computer graphics?  I love making card using this design, but it does have to be among the most time consuming templates I work with.  This card also gave me a reason to use one of my absolute all-time favorite mascot sports logos; Sparky the Sun Devil.

As for me, lots of changes.  The biggest being a whole new career.  I took a chance on myself switching careers after 22 years in the same field, and thus far the move has paid off in many ways.  My old career offered me loads and loads of downtime while at work which allowed me lots of time to tinker with this custom card hobby of mine.  My new career doesn't offer that same flexibility.  

I've had a lot of fun adventures this summer with the family, so I really wasn't thinking too much about making cards.  But, summer is drawing to a close and the kids are going to school in the coming weeks.  It's got me thinking about trying to mix in a little more card time, because at the end of the day I really do love making my cards.  I'm currently setting up a little work space in my house to give me somewhere dedication to creating cards and I've got a few ideas for new cards I 'd like to make, plus ideas from others that I've gotten via email and DMs.  I don't yet know how much I'll be able to do, I just know it will be nothing in comparison to the volume that I was able to crank out for a number of years.  Like always, it's treated as a hobby, and I'm doing it as a fun creative outlet for myself.  

So there ya have it, I'm alive and doing fine and new cards are *hopefully* on their way. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Rachel Stuhlmann

Rachel Stuhlmann has been dubbed the world's #1 tennis influencer.  Rachel draws a lot of Paige Spiranac comparisons, which, in my opinion, is a great compliment.  Like Paige in golf, Rachel has played tennis at a high level.  She is getting more eye on the game through her social media while at the same time doing justice to the game of tennis with her knowledge and experience of the game. 

This card is done in the style of the 1992-93 Upper Deck basketball McDonald's set.  I like using this design, as well as other early 90's UD designs, for their clean simplicity and focus on image quality to carry the card.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

On The YouTubes

Recently I was contacted by a gentleman named Myles who had an interest in my cards.  It's always flattering to get messages that are complimentary about the cards I've made.  It's comforting to know that there's a good number of junk era wax kids out there like myself pretending to be adults.

During our email exchange Myles floated the idea of me opening up some card packs for his YouTube channel.  I've been approached in the past about guest interviews and things like that.  Typically, I shy away from that type of thing.  I'm pretty introverted, so I enjoy the anonymity of my cards.  My cards allow me to contribute to the nostalgic/artistic community without really promoting myself.  It's about the love of trading card and pop culture nostalgia.  I don't feel an urge to put myself out there as 'the guy behind the cards'.  But, with all that being said, I did figure I could have fun opening a pack of cards without it feeling like a "look at me" type of thing.  

Myles actually sent me a few packs and I started to open them for a longer video but the problem with that is that I ran out of space on my phone.  You see, I horde stupid memes so I always have the right joke as a reply to a conversation and custom card screen capture inspiration.  So, I had to make a shorter video as opposed to actually cleaning up my camera roll -- please don't talk to me about cloud storage so I may stay blissfully ignorant.   

I was saving the Napoleon pack for last as it was the most intriguing to me.  I didn't even know these were a thing.  For a long time I've had an idea for a Napoleon Dynamite set.  That idea isn't totally scrapped because it would be a lot different presentation than these cards.  I love that movie.  I cannot tell you how many times I've seen it, but I'm confident I can annoy you by going line-by-line with the dialogue.  Plus, the Uncle Rico cards I made were really well received, so that's a very encouraging factor to still keep that idea around. 

As far as the video I think Myles did a great job.  I didn't think pack opening could be entertaining, but I have to admit I was eager to see which cards were next while remembering 11 year old me busting 1991 Topps.  I wouldn't mind doing something like that myself, but I have ZERO knowledge on video editing and, honestly, it overwhelms me to think about setting out to learn it because the last thing I need is a new obsession.

As an added bonus my 8 year old son now thinks I'm some sort pseudo celebrity because I'm on YouTube.  Kids these days place a lot of importance on that.  YouTube to him would've been like me at his age having an '86 Topps Bo Jackson rookie, so I get it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Paige Spiranac Card Dump

Although I haven't been posting them, I've been making Paige Spiranac cards and setting them aside over the last few years.  I'll save images and sort of use them as custom card practice.  I've decided to now post all of the Paige cards I've made so far.  The first two are inspired by the 1989 and 1991 Upper Deck baseball designs respectively.  
Inspired by: 1990 & 1992 UD baseball

Inspired by 1993-94 UD basketball / 1989-90 NBA Hoops

Inspired by 1991 UD football / 1988 Topps football

Inspired by: 1992-93 McDonald's UD basketball / 1991 UD football

Inspired by: 1985 Topps First Blood Part II / 1986 Topps baseball

I think this one, inspired by the 1991-92 Skybox basketball set, is my favorite of the lot.  It's such a clean look.  This is one I'd love to one day have signed.
Here's two bonus cards that I made early on and was able get signed.  The first is inspired by the 1987 Topps baseball design and the one on the right is just an autograph card design I came up with.  Paige was pretty good at signing through the mail but as her popularity has grown I'm assuming it's harder for her to keep up with it, which is understandable.


Thursday, November 3, 2022

Sig. Showcase: Rose Namajunas

With my cards, the bulk majority of what sparks my interest is creating cards that are vintage inspired.  The idea is creating cards that look like they could have existed back in time.  I don't go too far past the early '90s, when the companies really started to modernize in their card's presentation with newer technologies.  That was exciting, but for me the passion and artistry is in the older, more dated card designs.  It's all about the nostalgia.

Occasionally I do dabble with designs that are original and a tad more modern looking.  These cards are typically cards I'm making for myself in hopes of getting them autographed.  When doing so I typically draw inspiration from designs from Upper Deck or Topps, not so much Panini -- I find their cards, design-wise, to be bland, boring and redundant.  

I got an idea for a Rose Namajunas card.  I wouldn't consider myself an MMA "junkie", but I am a fan of "Thug Rose" and wanted to create a card in hopes of getting her autograph.  I love Rose's whole demeanor and humility.  I also really like how that humility and her appearance really belies her skill level.  She's an absolute warrior. 

So, I set out to make a card that would have a little more modern appeal as MMA didn't even exist in the time period that most of my cards are designed to emulate. I started by looking for an image that caught my eye.  I knew a good way to achieve and more modern look would be to have the image full-bleed, meaning no border framing the card.  I made the image black-and-white as it helps a would-be autograph "pop".  From there I added some subtle touches that helped identify it as an MMA card, but as to not distract from the image.  I really am happy with the end result and even happier to have it come back to me signed. 

Saturday, October 29, 2022


This 50 card set is the custom set I referenced as a "passion project" back in this post.  I began tinkering on this set at the end of June.  A combination of things; it being a 50 card set and a couple of printing setbacks, stretched this one out for months.  There was no rush because I make these for fun.  I didn't give myself a deadline, so the proximity to Halloween is a ghoulish coincidence.

At 50 cards (52 if you count the promo card and special "Dream Ghoul" card) this is the largest card set I've done.  I learned a lot, most specifically that I'll never do a set this large again. It's just too much for my one-man Mickey Mouse operation.

This set came to be thanks to my son and his repeated viewings of the Blu-ray, which eventually I had to hide.  I can't recall if I've mentioned it on other blog posts -probably not, I try to keep it about the cards- but, my son is on the spectrum.  He's non-verbal, so movies are a form of communication and bonding for he and I.  The only issue is that when he likes a movie he can't just watch it once, or even two or three times.  It's back-to-back-to-back for days or weeks or sometimes months.  He's done the same thing with Cliff Hanger, Total Recall, The Running Man, Return of the Living Dead Part 3, Suspiria,  among other movies.  He gravitates towards the intense action scenes.  

I decided to make a set from Frankenhooker because the more times I watched this quirky movie, the more I fell in love with it.  I've always been fond of the film, but I really started to deeply appreciate the performances, the aesthetic and story.  It's crazy to me that the idea for the movie was originally an on-the-spot ad lib by director Frank Henenlotter after another of his more thought-out movie concepts was shot down by his would-be producer.  

Another pseudo-factor in liking Frankenhooker is that it's an adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  It seems everyone has their favorite Marvel and DC characters (Incredible Hulk and Plastic-Man, respectively) but I'd also be interested to know other's favorite Universal Monster character.  Mine has always been Frankenstein.  

Horror movies (or horror comedies in this movie's case) are my favorite to make sets from.  I just really like the special effects visuals.  Monsters are just fun to create a vintage inspired custom cards out of.  That's also how this set ended up being 50 cards.  By the 87th -give or take- viewing I loved so much about the movie that I wanted to include as much of it as I possibly could.  I wanted the card set to follow the sequence of the movie and present nicely that way in a binder.

I considered a few different card sets looks from 1990, but I felt that a template inspired by the 1990 Topps baseball design would work out best to give these cards a look unique to the movie but still recognizable as a classic Topps design.  Plus, the '90 Topps frames was purple after all... "I'm looking for a tall purple girl.  She's got a black forearm and fresh stitches".  I also wanted a design that would lend well to using captions as is the case with non-sports card sets.  That might have been my favorite part, coming up with the double entendre puns.

The same approach was taken for the card backs.  I wanted them to resemble the '90 Topps with some Frankenhooker flair.  I watched the movie scene-by-scene pausing to get exact quotes for use on the card backs.  There's a few scenes that did not have dialog so those 4 (I believe) cards have movie trivia questions on them.  I also wanted to give each card a fun fact because I personally place great importance on that type of shit of zero consequence, rather than figure out how things like stocks or mortgages work.  It's not enough to like a movie.  I need to be able to annoy others with "did you know?" type information that they couldn't really care less about. 

Pretzels GOOOD

The set ended up being 48 cards, which with being that close to 50 didn't sit quite right with me.  So, I made two checklists which is ironic because I'm not planning on parting specific cards from the rest, so if you have the checklists, you have the rest of the set.  But, it gave me an excuse to use a couple cool behind-the-scenes shots that otherwise didn't have sequential story context.  Which begs the question of why didn't I just just cap the set with a couple of behind-the-scenes cards instead of checklists?  That is a pretty good question actually.  I don't know.  It's just what I did.  Consider it just a homage to set collecting where the checklist let you know which cards you needed to complete a set, like back in 1990.

The Dream "Ghoul" card is a play on the Dream Girl cards I do, which of course are a play on the Dream Team subset from the 1991 Score baseball set.  In the time it has taken to produce this set I've plugged upwards of 20 or more images into the Dream Girl template.  Patty Mullen was such a babe and a brilliant choice to play Elizabeth as she had a great look (1988 Penthouse Pet of the Year) and had the comedic chops to soften a character that is essentially a prostitute monstrosity. 

I also made a promo card for the hell of it.  In the early '90s I remember promo cards really coming into vouge, especially with non-sport card sets.  I totally marked out to those oddball type of cards.  They were the epitome of rare and special to me.  You couldn't get them in packs.  Sometimes they were dealer exclusives or sometimes they'd be a magazine premium.  Either way, I was in awe of them, so I thought it'd be cool to recreate that with this set.