Sunday, August 1, 2021

Motor City Nightmares

Today I took in Motor City Nightmares armed with three custom autograph cards.  Motor City Nightmares is like a comic-con, but completely horror genre themed.  This was the 12th iteration of the convention, but my first time partaking.

In looking at the guest list there were a some really cool attendees, a few of which I'd gotten autographs on custom cards in the past.  Two names stood out that I'd not yet gotten autographs from that I thought would be fun for custom cards.  Those two being Traci Lords and Thom Mathews.

For these I made autograph cards, that's to sat they're different from the vintage inspired designs my cards are usually done in.  I've been doing more of these lately just for my personal autograph collection.  I like the challenge of it being an original design of my own and figuring out how to best design a card around the anticipated autograph.  With a vintage inspired custom card the design stands on it's own and getting an autograph on them is a great bonus.  With an autograph card the signature is the centerpiece and the card is incomplete without it, so it's a different kind of approach to the design.  I also have to research those particular signatures to make sure that the way they sign their name will fit with how I design the card.

I'm a big fan of Traci Lords and B quality movies from the '80s/early '90s ... which Lords appeared in a number of.  The card to the far left is from the movie Shock 'Em Dead.  It's a movie that combines horror and heavy metal so I just adore it, lol.  The movie is very "of its time".  

I spent a lot of time on this card, mainly because it didn't turn out anything like I pictured in my mind.  The way I pictured it turned out to have a much too busy composition for my liking.  It just didn't flow nicely as I would have hoped.  What I ended up with was better than what I initially had in mind I feel.  One thing I really wanted to incorporate somehow was the double guitar that the demon used in the movie. I thought of a way to use a vectored version of it as the "K" in Shock with a custom movie text logo.  It's not something I'd normally do, but the movie really doesn't have a  recognizable signature font logo like a lot of movies do, so I was okay taking the liberty.  I think the way that element turned out is just as fun to look at as Traci herself, and the signature ties it all together.

The next two cards were done with a template I had made previously.  I tend to use this design for horror movie autographs.  It works best when the movie has a text logo and some sort of secondary logo or graphic image specific to the movie.  I did one for Not of This Earth because, c'mon, Traci Lords and one of Thom Mathews from Friday the 13th Part VI.  It's also worth noting I brought my own Sharpies to color coordinate the autographs to the cards for that extra little touch because, like I said, the autograph is the key to the design.

I also wanted to do cards of Thom from Return of the Living Dead and its sequel, but I ran out of time enough to make those.  I've had a lot going on outside the card thing lately.  I also wanted to get some VHS slip covers auto'd but resources are not unlimited and when it's a choice between those and cards, well, I'm a card guy first.  I did pick up an issue of Fangoria that I was looking for at a decent price, so that was an unexpected win.

As for the signers they were both pleasant.  I wish I could have chatted them up a little but, and I think I mentioned it before in other posts, I'm a pretty awkward/introverted person.  It would have come off about as well as Chris Farley interviewing Paul McCartney.  So, I just get the autographs say "thank you" and sort of fade away.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Phoebe Cates Gets Buckets

As many of the cards that I've made where I have the idea for the card already in my head are those where I come across an image and decide that it needs a custom card made out of it.  This card would be the latter.

I saw this card of an early '80s Phoebe Cates (from a catalog I believe?) and quickly knew it had to be a card.   Since Phoebe is dribbling a red, white and blue basketball that was synonymous with the now defunct ABA (Globetrotters too, I presume) I wanted to do a basketball card from the ABA's era, which was from 1967 to 1976.

I landed on a 1975-76 Topps basketball inspired design.  This was the first time I used this template.  I chose it because I felt it had the right vintage look plus it was generic enough to work when all I had to go on was an adorable Phoebe Cates dibbling a basketball.

1975-76 Topps

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Greg Focker

I've been sitting on this card for a little while now.  I've been having ongoing issues getting my cards produced.  It's been one thing after another.  Candidly, it has really bummed me out and stifled my creativity/enthusiasm for creating new cards.  I've met with a couple of new vendors so hopefully *fingers crossed* I'm approaching the other side of these challenges.

I don't like moving forward with unresolved issues hanging overhead, but I got to thinking that bringing out a fun new card might just need the right kind of therapy.

I make an effort not to be too hyperbolic.  If everything is the best, then nothing is really the best.  But then again I primarily just spend time making custom cards of things I really enjoy, so it makes sense that I put the card's subject on somewhat of a pedestal.  With that being said, I'm confident -without giving much thought to what the other four movies might be- that Meet the Parents is easily a "Top 5" funniest movie for me.  It's not just funny, it's downright hilarious.  I tend to find it very humorous when people are put in uncomfortable situations where in that moment they don't exactly know how to react to what's happening to them.  That's what Meet the Parents is to me.  Ben Stiller always plays the perfect put-upon guy.  I guess I can relate to that.  I tend to take things I shouldn't preferring not to rock the boat.  

From start to finish Meet the Parents is genius.  The pool scene in particular is a masterpiece in my opinion.  From Greg having to wear Pam's ex-boyfriend's bikini trunks in his pool that's in his immaculate home to the multiple nurse/pot-head jabs from Jack and Dr. Larry, to Pam's mom jumping into the pool fully clothed to aid her daughter whose nose was just broken by a viscous Greg Focker spike.  The whole scene culminating in the volleyball net creating a physical divide between Greg and the rest of Byrnes clan.  Just brilliant.  You know Greg must really love Pam because most people would have just been like "this is not going to work, I'm out" long before that.

Meet the Parents came out in 2000.  Well past the time period I usually do custom cards in.  So, in picking a template I wanted something that had at least a tiny bit of a modern look to it.  It also had to be a versatile design seeing as there's no real preset 'look' that a water volleyball card should have.  I thought for those reason a 1990 Upper Deck baseball inspired design would get the job done.

I had to reorient the template into a horizontal layout.  There may be some cards from that set that are flipped horizontally but I didn't take the time to seek them out, I just sort of eyeballed the border ratios from one of the horizontal layout.  This was necessary because the screen shot I found of Greg mid-kill shot was totally lost in the vertical mockup.  Of course there were no team logos so rather than leave that element out I went with a generic volleyball to keep more of that 1990 U.D. aesthetic alive.

On the back is an ultra uncomfortable Greg aka "G-Man" aka "Glen" aka "Florence Nightingale" aka "Panama Red" in Kevin's bathing skivvies.  God, just put yourself in that situation!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Jennifer Connelly

In at lucky number 13 in the ongoing Dream Girl series is the beuatiful and talented Jennifer Connelly.  The really neat thing about about Jennifer Connelly for an '80s kid is that we got to mature (debatable for me) with her film roles.  I really feel like Jennifer Connelly "one of ours" and should be, if not already, be considered a treasure for our generation.  

Many us of were introduced to her in 1986 as Sarah in the fantasy tale Labyrinth.  From there it was on to fun roles like in Career Opportunities and The Rocketeer, both 1991.  The turn of the century saw Jennifer really come into her own with career defining performances in movies like Requiem for a Dream and A Beautiful Mind for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Introducing PCb. Big 'Uns!

Here's a new way to spruce up your space!  What man cave couldn't use a large-sized vintage inspired custom pop-culture trading card??

These are vinyl wall decal versions of some of Phantom Cardboard's most popular custom cards.   They measure approximately 12.5" x 9".

I've chosen 5 designs to start out with and if these are something that does well I'll surely add more.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Charles Barkley

First off, I like Charles Barkley.  He's a huge personality.  I like that he speaks his mind.  I don't always agree with his views but I appreciate that he doesn't just parrot populous sound bites.  That's so rare these days with those in the public eye fearing the loss of their entertainment industry club card.  Plus, he may be one of the few people that's worse at golf than I am.

There's this infamous image of Charles Barkley thoroughly enjoying a Domino's pizza -we know it's Domino's because of the drink cup at his side.  I wanted to make a card out of this image, but I just couldn't figure out an angle for the card.  I was hoping to think of something more than the image just plugged into a random card template because, to the best of my knowledge, there weren't any pizza themed card sets in 1984.  

Then I thought of a way to make it make sense.  I'll just conceptualize a backstory for the card!  Okay, so follow along here.  Charles played college ball at 300 lbs.  The 76ers, who had the 5th overall pick in the 1984 draft, were planning on using their pick on Barkley if, as they told him, he could trim down to 285 lbs. before the draft.  Charles was able to get down to 283 lbs. and that's when his agent, Lance Luchnick, informed him that due to the league's hard salary cap back then the Sixers only had $75,000 a year to pay Barkley.  Obviously that was news to Charles as he recalls telling his agent:

“Dude, I didn’t leave college for $75,000. We have a problem.” 

So, Charles spends the next 48 hours eating as much food as possibly could to prevent Philadelphia from drafting him.  Charles managed to balloon to 302 lbs. in just two days, but the kicker was that the 76ers drafted him anyways.  *Whaa-whaaaaa*

Here's where my card concept kicks in ... 

Domino's has seen the pictures of Charles lustfully consuming their product.  When he turns pro in '84 they approach him with an lucrative endorsement deal.  Charles, still gripping over the thought of a paltry rookie contract with the Sixers, jumps at the chance to shill corporate pepperoni and cheese.  Now with Sir. Charles as the face of  "Team Domino's" the promotional marketing gears start to turn.  First up was a special collector's card offered as a purchase premium that was wildly popular and much more profitable than actually giving money off of pizza purchases!

As it turned out Philly loosened the purse strings and ended up giving Barkley a four-year, $2 million contract one month later, including a $150,000 signing bonus (that's actually true).  Barkley now has so much bank he has no need for his pizza money and stops taking Domino's calls for restaurant grand opening ribbon cutting ceremonies, leaving the trading card promotion as the only link between Barkley and the pizza chain's partnership as Barkley's lawyers were able to get him out of his Domino's contract due to an unusual loophole on the part of Domino's legal team.  The contract was not signed within 30 minutes or less making it null and void as per company policy.

Domino's was in shambles for a couple of years following "The Barkley Debacle" (as it came to be known in corporate pizza circles) until "The Noid" was concocted in 1986 allowing the Domino's franchise owners to once again hold their heads high at family gatherings and social functions.

There.  Now the card has an interesting backstory.  

Since the picture is from 1984 I went back to the '84 Topps baseball inspired well.  I've been on a bit of a roll with this design between the André the Giant card and the Revenge of the Nerds set.  In the same spirit of the André card, instead of using a headshot in the designated inset square I went with a cheesy (pun so intended) stock pizza image.  I thought that would be humorous.  

While I made up a story for the front of this card, the info on the reverse side is all true.

Friday, April 9, 2021

The G.O.A.T: Hammered Trinity

I was quite honestly taken by surprise at the response of the first Tom Brady card I did.  All 12 copies were gone inside of 15 minutes.  The card was a pretty topical one, unlike a lot of the cards I do.  I limited the print run to 12 copies (Brady's jersey number) because I didn't want a bunch sitting in the store long past the "Tom was so wasted at the victory parade" moment was over.  Because it was such a swift sell out I fielded a number of messages from bummed collectors who wanted one but weren't able to get in on time.  That in turn bummed me out a bit.  I didn't limit the card to 12 copies to create a manufactured scarcity, like I said, I didn't anticipate the popularity.  *insert shrugging emoji here*

It was suggested a few times that I do another print run of that Brady card.  To me, that would take away a bit of what made that card special, even if the specialness happened a bit by accident.  My solution was to create another inebriated good time Tom Brady card.  But, my challenge was it had to be good and not just completely ringing out the first card.

When I was making the first card I wanted to somehow incorporate what turned out to be the infamous Lombardi Trophy toss during the Buccaneers boat parade.  I ran into a couple issues.  The first being that there aren't any really clear pictures of the trophy toss -- or at least none that I could find. The second being that even if I could find a decent image the main pic had to be of hammered Tom (Stop!  Hammerd Tom!  ...sorry), so where would the other pic go without changing the look of the 1987 Topps football inspired design since I was completely locked in on using that?

I though about trying one of the early '90s Fleer football sets since they featured smaller pictures on the card backs but none of those sets really had a classic enough look that I was wanting.  

Since I was limited on how I could use the trophy toss image this new card was still going to have hammered Tom as the main image, and I had already found and saved that particular picture.  

Then I got to thinking how the trophy toss moment would be equally as recognizable as a silhouette.  I couldn't think of any football card sets that that would lend to, but two classic '70s Topps baseball set immediately jumped to mind, the 1973 and 1976 designs! 

The really great thing about older baseball card designs is that they're so recognizable and that makes them very versatile when having fun with custom cards.  Even from a young age I took to basketball as a favorite sport, but as far as sports card collecting went, every sport took a back seat to baseball cards.  They were always the most accessible and collected cards to the point that a lot of times the term 'baseball cards' was used generically for any type of sports cards.  In short, they're as American as apple pie... kind of like Tom Brady.

Now that I had a a couple of designs in mind, I just had to choose out of the two.  I chose 1976.  I think the reason being was it enabled me to more prominently use the Bucs old creamsicle color combo, which I mentioned in the post about the first card how much I loved.  

For the back I went with a a layout inspired by the back of the 1976 "Traded" cards.  I love the way the newspaper headline presents and I get to have a lot of fun with the little write up.  I'm a big play-on-words type of guy so that gives me a shot at dad joking.

1976 Topps

So, I'm done right?  I've made a card I'm REALLY happy with and if a few more people who didn't get the first card are able to get this one it's a win-win.  But... something was nagging at me.  For shits nd giggles I wanted to at least see how a 1973 inspired look would go over.  That was a mistake of sorts.

I made the '73 mock up and LOVED it.  I made the card back with a bit more of a regular statistical back feel and loved the card even MORE.  Now for the dilemma that wasn't really a dilemma at all, which to chose?  Well, why make two, what I thought, were equally cool cards and only chose one?  Spoiler alert (as you can tell for this post's main pic), I went forward with both.  No point in having the digital rendering of either just sitting in my "custom cards" folder if I'm commensurately proud of both.
1973 Topps

For the back of the 1973 version I got to recreate a "did you know" style cartoon, which are so fun and so nostalgic.  The cartoon is an awesome way to make sport of the trophy toss.  Then, I got to do a little of Tom's biographical stats which are a staple of base card backs.  The '73 Topps' backs featured a large baseball graphic where the cards # went, so I switched that out for the football helmet that decorated the numbering of the 1973 Topps football design and it used it for the sequential hand numbering embellishment of my card.  (Oh, and I've doubled the print run +1* of both cards from V. 1.0.)  In the statistical portion I highlighted Tom's truly unbelievable career Super Bowl history.