Thursday, January 6, 2022

Idle Hands

I recall renting Idle Hands back when it was a new release 20-some odd years ago.  This is back when I actually made an effort to keep up with things that were current.  I recall labeling the movie, in my mind at least, an 'instant classic'.  I'm a big fan of horror/comedy movies.   Idle Hands was just a really fun watch with a great young cast.

Making cards for Idle Hands has been on my radar for quite some time.  There's a difference between me wanting make cards of a certain something and having the right look for the cards in mind to motivate me to spend the time to make the cards.  I don't want to "cheat" the cards.  

Back in October I wanted to make something spooky-themed.  That brought back to mind my desire to make something out of Idle Hands.  I was trying to picture something "cool" in my mind.  The one thing I knew is that I wanted to accomplish was to have a PCb. set with a green border, but other than that I was still stumped on what would make the "perfect" look for an Idle Hands custom trading card set.

For some inspiration I took a look at my DVD cover of the movie.  The cover features a hand ripping part of the cover revealing the movie's text logo.  Basically "The Hand" reeking havoc on the cover like in the movie.  That got me thinking about how the 1985 Topps Rambo: First Blood Part II (an all-time favorite non-sports card set of mine) has a jagged torn looking border.  Right then and there I was able to picture the perfect look for these cards.  

1985 Topps Rambo: First Blood Part II

Then, like I do when I set out to make cards, I started watching and studying the movie.  I knew it would be a fun set to do with the horror-zombie imagery, drawing the same exuberance as my Night of the Creeps set.  When I started sourcing images I began to realize this set was going to be as comprehensive as probably any set I've done.  I was finding lots of great images and was seeing that I could make a set that followed the sequences of the film pretty well.  Plus, I had a good time coming up with caption puns.

I ended up with 39 cards, but that was just a weird number to leave it at.  I didn't feel like there was any scenes that I "needed" so I decided to finish the set off with checklist to round it out to a nice even 40 cards.  I really wanted to post this set up in October but I decided to take my time and not rush to get it done so I chipped away at it for a little while.

For the card backs I designed somewhat of a hybrid of the Rambo cards and the Idle Hands DVD cover.  The card backs are very information rich with a combination of character profiles, scene descriptions, trivia and movie factoids.  I'm really happy with the end result and feel this could be the most "perfect" custom card set I've done to date. 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Techno Viking

I remember sharing the Techno Viking video with a co-worker back in 2007 when it went viral.  We worked a job that had a whole lot of down time and we'd message humorous internet links back-and-forth to pass the time.  I honestly don't recall if back then we talked about videos being "viral" material, but there was definitely a sense that Techno Viking belonged on a short list of epic internet videos.
Other than what transpired on the 4-minute video, nothing more ever really came of the Techno Viking.  Usually there'll be interviews of viral video stars as they're stretching out their 15-minutes of fame.  Typically they give their account or some additional context as to what was going on in the video.  We get closure and move on to the next viral video.  To my knowledge no one ever tracked down Techno Viking.  I guess it helped that the video caught fire some seven years after it was filmed during the 2000 German "Fuck Parade".

It turns out that the Techno Viking prefers to stay anonymous.  So much so that he sued the original uploader of the video for the unauthorized profit he made off of his image... but somehow remained to still stay anonymous.  

Some some reason I had a random memory recall of this video.  Maybe something else pinged my brain that triggered the mythical dancing Viking-looking man to come back to the top of mind?  Either way, an idea for a custom parody card was subsequently birthed.

The idea was to make a football card where the Minnesota Vikings team name was played upon.  Kind of like was done with the Rangers on this card, and the Giants on this one.  I considered a couple of templates but I landed on the old trusty 1987 Topps football inspired design.  Basically, I just thought that the way that the Vikings team name was displayed would end up working better than some of the other '80s templates I was considering.  

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.