Sunday, December 30, 2018

Believe It Or Not

When I made the two Seinfeld baseball cards I was reminded that a while back I had saved a picture from a baseball themed episode of The Greatest American Hero.

1981 Fleer baseball
In “The Two-Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Fast Ball“, the first episode of the second season, Ralph Hinkley poses as a pitcher for the fictional California Stars baseball team to haphazardly saves the day in typical Ralph Hinkley fashion.

This episode originally aired in 1981 so I went with the Fleer baseball inspired design from the same year.  I’ve been wanting to use this style ever since first recreating it for my Freaks and Geeks set.  I chose to the California Angels color pallet because of the pro team in the episode being the California Stars.

While looking up a couple details on this episode I stumbled upon this blog that also makes custom cards.  He too had the idea to make some cards from this episode and much to my surprise I found while reading his write up he linked back to this blog!  He included a great write up on the episode unlike my lazy cliff notes.  Check out The Writer's Journey for tons of entertaining reads.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Freddie Mercury

The image used for this custom card is a pretty famous picture.  Without any fear of hyperbole I think I can say an image featuring Freddie Mercury riding the shoulders of Darth Vader while wearing and Flash Gordon shirt could be used a visible representation of the word epic.

With all the buzz around the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody I started to see this image pop up again and again until it finally dawned on me ... hey, what about a 1977 style Star Wars card?

I made Freddie's pumped right fist break the top border for a little more drama, which is something you didn't see Topps do, if I'm not mistaken, until the late '80s.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Understudy

Some of my favorite cards have come by way of suggestion.  Here's two such examples.

I was asked to do cards of George and Jerry from the Sixth Season episode of Seinfeld entitled "The Understudy" (1995).  Like most episodes of Seinfeld the episode is funny as hell and has a sports theme which is a bonus for me.

I was given carte blanche as to what design to use.  Any time I'm given half a reason to use the 1984 Topps baseball inspired design I go for it; it's one of my very favorites.  It's such a fun design to use with the two pictures and the vertical team name.  I also love custom cards of fictional sports teams.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


MacGyver is an eighties legend.  I miss that show, it was my dad's favorite.  He was a fixer upper
type of guy.  He had the whole collection of those Time Life "Fix-It-Yourself" books; which were basically the YouTube tutorials of the eighties.

I stumbled across the picture of Richard Dean Anderson in Blackhawks gear used in this card and that was all that was really needed to motivate me to make a MacGyver hockey card.

I chose a 1985 Topps hockey inspired design for a couple of key reasons; I've not used it before and 1985 was the year MacGyver's pilot episode debuted on ABC.

This set is probably most notable for being the set with Mario Lemiux's rookie card.  The design itself is pretty mehhh.  In thinking about it Topps' designs for hockey, baseball and football were all pretty simplistic in '85.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Spies Like Us

I know it may seem like I’m a mission to make trading cards from Chevy Chase’s complete movie library.  That is not the intention.  I’m not saying it won’t eventually come to pass, it’s just not the intention.  I guess I never knew what a big Chevy slappy I actually am.

The inspiration for a Spies Like Us card set came from a Throwback Thursday post Vanessa Angel shared on her Instagram feed recently.  It was a clip of the scene in the movie where Chevy, Dan Aykroyd, and Donna Dixon first stumble upon the Russian rocket crew and are spying on Vanessa as she steps out of her tent for a scantily clad stretch.  If you got a chance to read my last post that scene is one of those that I vividly remember seeing as a kid and just thinking “wowwwww”.  Back before the internet movie scenes like that were as good as it got for a young boy.

I wanted to make a card of that scene specifically, but I figured why stop at a card?  Why not a mini-set?  That meant I had to go back and rewatch the movie.  That’s one of the best parts of the cards I make; getting to rediscover movies I love but maybe haven’t seen in a number of years.  Spies Like Us, in my opinion, stands the test of time.  You really can’t put Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd together and not get an entertaining comedy.

For the cards I initially thought of a 1985 Fleer baseball inspired design.  While I was sourcing images for the cards I came across a scan of some German lobby cards from the movie.
German lobby card

Lobby cards are like mini posters (typically 11” x 14”) that promote a movie.  They were printed on card stock and were typically in sets of eight with each one displaying a different key movie scene and usually displayed in the lobby of a theater, or distributed to moviegoers.  Lobby cards are rarely if ever produced for movies these days.

When I saw the lobby cards it shifted my thinking from the 1985 Fleer baseball to a mash-up of the lobby card design and the 1985 Star Co. basketball design which I felt would work better since they already shared some design similarities.

At 20 cards this set is about a quarter of the number of cards usually used by Topps for a movie card set.  With that being said, it’s not nearly as scene-by-scene comprehensive as an 80+ card set would be but I feel like I included some of the more memorable scenes of the movie in sequence.  One of the funnest parts of this labor of love, as with my other larger mini-sets (oxymoron much?) was not just watching the movie but studying it for the correct verbiage that I felt a any big fan of the movie would appreciate. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Despite Barbarella's dated 1968 view of the future and the fact that I'm not particularly a sci-fi fan I can watch this movie from beginning to end no problem for one particular reason ... Jane Fonda.  When I first watched this movie I experienced that stop-me-in-my-tracks, "who is THAT!?" moment that I've only experienced only a few other times.  If you're wondering the others were Joy Harmon in Cool Hand Luke, Julie Newmar in the "Of Late I Think Of Cliffordville" episode of The Twilight Zone, and Vanessa Angel in Spies Like Us (remember this last one for a in the near future reference).

This card is done in a style inspired by the 1968 Topps football set.  I first considered Topps' 1968 baseball offering but decided it just didn't fit very well.
1968 Topps football

Monday, December 10, 2018

Are You Serious, Clark?

If it isn't obvious I'm a Clark Griswold fan, and really just a Chevy Chase fan in general.  I couldn't let the season go by without adding a couple more custom "Sparky" cards to the portfolio.

I chose two of Christmas Vacation's funniest scenes to honor with a couple of vintage inspired custom trading cards.

The first card is inspired by the 1989 Topps baseball Record Breakers subset.  I always get a kick out of making theses record breaks cards and since, until we hear otherwise, we'll assume Clark did indeed shatter the Amateur Recreational Saucer Sled Land Speed Record.

The second card is modeled after the 1989 Topps hockey All-Star subset. 
"Bend over and I'll show ya"

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Stevie Janowski

The number of newer shows I've watch in the last 10 years or so can probably be counted on one hand and still have some digits to spare.  Of those very select few, Eastbound and Down, is the easily the funniest.  I really dig Danny McBride's sense of humor.  He nails the man-child character, which Kenny Powers certainly is.  Danny and a sports theme is what got me on board and I was hooked from episode number one.

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving the quote "we're gonna have a lot of fixins'?" by Kenny's right hand man, Stevie Janowski, popped in my head when thinking about the grub I'd be consuming.  I'm hesitant to call Stevie a sidekick because in most scenes he was just as funny as Kenny, just in his own naive lispy way.  The dialog throughout that show's entire run was genius for both Kenny and Stevie.

It got me thinking, I've done a couple of Kenny cards but none of Stevie.  That shit ain't right.  If I was going to make a Stevie card it would have to be a tribute to the sexy baked potato mall kiosk venture from Season 4.

This card is done in the style of the 1992 Topps baseball set.  I chose that one just because it's been a awhile since I've used it and I thought it would go pretty well with the picture.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Mr. Baseball

This Mr. Baseball is another set that came as a suggest/commission from the very same friend of the site that recommended the Sidd Finch card.

1984 Calbee
These cards are done in the style of a Japanese Calbee brand baseball card set.  Apropos choice for a movie about an American ball player that went overseas to Japan to play ball, right?

Calbees are the most collected Japanese baseball cards.  Unlike Topps, Donruss, or any other major American cards that are distributed in packs, starting in 1973 the Calbee cards came as a premium in Calbee brand snack foods, which makes putting together a complete set quite an undertaking.

These, as requested, were done in in the style of the 1984 Calbee set.  Despite Mr. Baseball having been released in 1992 I chose to keep this design as the PCb  Mr. Baseball set going forward.  For one, the 1984 set, design wise, has a bit more going on.  In a way they resemble the 1981 Topps baseball set.  For two, I thought the size was unique, measuring 2" x 2 5/8" as compared to the normal 2.5" x 3.5" of the standard size American sports card.  For the 1992 set the Calbee cards were the same size as phone cards complete with rounded corners, which I know would have given me fits as I strived for authenticity.

I matched the "D" on the card to match the "D" on the Chunichi Dragons cap as seen in the movie and the set's requester helped me wit the Japanese characters for the player names.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


I wanted to get in one last horror mini-set before everything is all joy this and twinkly lights that.

A Nightmare on Elm Street was released in 1984 so that gave me another chance to use one of my favorite design templates, the 1984 Topps hockey inspired design.  For this mini-set I gave the frame a little Freddy sweater touch.

With this set I've officially completed the 80's horror hat-trick; Voorhees, Myers, and Krueger.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Nothing Burps Better Than Bacon

On Thanksgiving I have a little tradition of watching both Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Dutch.  If I don’t we just had a really big dinner.  Thanksgiving must not have happened.  This custom card is a homage to that latter of the two movies, Dutch.

Dutch was released in 1991 and like most movies around this time I most likely first saw it on HBO.  I loved it the first time I saw it and every time since.  For me it’s a perfect holiday movie.

Because of Married… With Children I was a big Ed O’Neill fan.  The Dutch Dooley character, to me, is only a slightly more refined version of Al Bundy.  As the years have gone by I’ve found myself relating somewhere in between the two characters being somewhat of a working stiff from midwest that has had a number of bumps in the road, both self-inflicted and not.

Since Dutch was released in 1991 I thought it would be funny to drop Dutch and Dobsy Dale Doyle into a 1991 Impel Marvel Universe Series II ‘Arch-Enemies’ subset inspired design.

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Curious Custom Of Sidd Finch

This card came by request by a very good friend to the Phantom Cardboard brand.  Everytime I seem to be running short on card ideas or inspirations something great like this is thrown my way.

Hayden “Sidd” Finch is part of modern age baseball lore.  I was familiar with the story but until this friend reminded me with his request for a card I had totally forgotten about Sidd, if not I would have totally done this card a long time ago.

For any readers out there who may be unaware of Sidd Finch, he is a fictional pitching savant crafted by journalist George Plimpton for Sports Illustrated

Seeing that the publishing day for Sports Illustrated fell on April 1st -- April Fool’s Day -- in 1985 SI’s managing editor tasked Plimpton with doing a write up about April Fool’s jokes in the sporting world throughout the years.  Not able to find enough good material to put a story together George Plimpton was given the go ahead to create his own April Fool’s leg pull on the SI readership. 

Plimpton’s imagination conjured up a story of a highly eccentric guy  who learned the art of the perfect pitch while studying yoga in Tibet.  “Sidd” (a nickname short for Siddhartha) could throw a baseball a blistering record 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy obliterating the previous top recorded speed by 65 mph.  He did this while wearing a clunky boot on one foot and his other foot was bare.

To level up the elaborate nature of the hoax Sports Illustrated photographer Lane Stewart enlisted his friend, a gangly 6’4” Illinois junior high art teacher, Joe Berton, to take pictures as the phenom Finch at the Mets training camp in St. Petersburg, FL with the Mets players and staff playing along.  The story went that Finch was there deciding whether he was going to play professional baseball or pursue the simpler endeavor of playing French horn for which his prowess for equaled that of his pitch.

Despite the publication date, the first letters of the article’s sub headline spelling out “Happy April Fool’s Day”, or one of the definitions in the the English Oxford Dictionary for ‘Finch’ being “a small lie” the article caused quite an uproar.  Remember, this is quite a long time before the age of internet sleuthing.  Reactions ranged from beat writers from New York being butt-hurt with the Mets for allowing Sports Illustrated to have the scoop on such a huge story to unnamed team general managers calling the league’s office with concern for their player’s safety stepping into the batting box with a guy throwing 168 mph heat.

The next week SI ran a small article announcing Finch’s retirement from baseball and then finally in the subsequent week after that they let the readers in on the joke.  George Plimpton went on to write a Sidd Finch novel where Sidd reconsiders a career as a professional ball player that was first published in 1987.

1985 Topps
The request  was for a 1984 Topps style card.  The PCb reader loves the style, as do I.  It’s always fun to get to use two different images on the same card.  That card was a crowd pleaser to both him and I.

Because the Sidd Finch events are synonymous with that 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated I wanted to also do a card in a 1985 specific design.  With Sidd’s record shattering 168 mph fastball being such a central detail to his lore the thought of a card inspired by the ‘Record Breaker’ subset gave me a smile not unlike the one The Grinch gets when thinking of doing Grinchy deeds.  I used the same iconic photo for both cards of a bare footed Finch in a big wind up on that white sand Florida beach.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


Like many I went and seen the newest resurrection of Halloween.  Overall I was pleased with the newest chapter of the franchise, especially seeing Jamie Lee Curtis back in the fold.  A couple of days later it had me popping in my VHS copy of John Carpenter's original 1978 Halloween.  Revisiting the classic inspired me to give the original masterpiece some cardboard love.

Originally I figured I would use a 1978 Topps baseball inspired design especially seeing as I've not yet used it for anything.  Just to cover my bases I refreshed my memory on a what the 1978 Topps football set looked like and I knew within a split second that a '78 Topps baseball inspired design would just have to wait.

I know I've said it before but I'm always a fan of using designs that have rounded frames.  Rounded frames just instantly gives the design a cool retro look.  The colors were easy.  Gotta be orange and black.  The Steelers scheme on the '78 cards actually worked perfect with the light blue name color fill adding a nice contrast for the eye.

I finished the cards with a white border but decided
to also get a look at them with a black border for a spookier vibe and absolutely loved that tweak.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

My First Cut Card

Despite a number of requests for cut card design I've, until now, shied away from making them.

A cut card is a trading card that has a window cut out of it to incorporate an autograph that has been trimmed out of another previously signed item.  it can be a stylish way to present an autograph was was obtained on a magazine page or a note card.  It's also a way to have an autographed trading card from a deceased celebrity.  The cut card I was commissioned to do, I suspect, was a combination of both of those two scenarios.

Matthew, the gentleman who commissioned this card, is a big fan of Jurassic Park and he was looking to have a cut card made from an autograph he had of Bob Peck who played Robert Muldoon in the blockbuster movie.  Matthew collects autographs on trading cards through the mail like myself.  Unfortunately the world lost Peck to cancer in 1999.

I had made a few custom Jaws cards for Matthew in the past and he was successful in getting some great looking signature on the 1975 Topps baseball inspired designed I did those ones in.  He wanted this card to be vintage inspired as well.  I immediately thought of Topps' 1988 Dinosaurs Attack set for the obvious dinosaur connection.

The challenge with this card was the exact reason I've declined the offer to do make any up until giving this one a try... the autograph window cut out.  Like all of my cards, I wanted this one to have as professional of  a look as I could accomplish.  I decided I could make this card happen by cutting the window with an X-acto knife and a straight edge ruler.  I anticipated a couple of tries but I was well north of a dozen before I had a rectangle that was clean and straight in my eyes.

There was a little bit of anxiety about bonding the front and back of the card with the cut autograph in the middle because it's pretty much a one time shot and I didn't want to ruin this guy's autograph as it obviously was one of significance to have sought me out and entrusting me with it to make this card for him.  I treated it with the utmost care and I think it turned out pretty good.  I delighted in the fact that when turned to the side there was no visible seam where the card was bonded.

Based on this experience I'm going to attempt one for my personal collection.  I've acquired an autographed picture for the signature and I have a card I've made in the past that I'll add the window to.  This time however I'm sure there has to be a tool out there that can make my life a bit easier when it comes to the cut.  Maybe something that is used in cutting out matting for framed pictures.  It's something I'm still researching but I'll be sure to do a little write up when the card is done.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Cindy Crawford

I was going to save this card for the 4th of July or Flag Day, something super cliché like that.  But, I decided I'm much too impatient for that.  Maybe call it an early Columbus Day post?

1988 Topps baseball
The image used for this card is one of my favorite things ever.  I had this poster when I was 14, so did my two best friends, well, at least one of them did for sure.  Not in a super pervey way but 14 year old me studied every curve of this mega babe.  Cindy Crawford in that U.S.A. bikini was my dream girl for sure.  I thought she was absolutely perfect.  I wasn't alone either.  Back around that time -early '90s- Cindy was THE it girl.

This is in the design of the the 1988 Topps baseball cards.  This is a set that if you've been following this blog this past year you've seen I'm quite fond of.  Topps in the their "Traded" update set featured members of the U.S.A. baseball team that competed as a demonstration sport in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


This card comes with some good timing with the start of the new NBA season right around the corner.  Donovan Mitchell’s nickname “Spida” is one of the coolest nicknames in the league (also, shout out the OG “Spider”, John Salley).

I thought putting the Spida man on a 1991 Impel Marvel Universe inspired card would be pretty damn cool.  Back in 1991 I LOVED these cards.  When these cards first came out, for a time, shifted my whole collecting focus to comic cards and really got me, primarily a sports card kid, into the whole comic book universe.  I could have had one million of these cards and I would have still bought more packs.

This card I thought really hinged on finding the right superhero-esque action shot, and I found exactly what I was hoping for.  I think even Stan Lee would give it the thumbs up.  It actually looks like Donovan is in mid web-swing on his way to the hoop. I added a little more drama to the card by having Spida’s left foot break the card frame.

Donovan Mitchell is one of the players I’m most excited to see for the 2018-19 season.  He had that breakout rookie year and I think he’s going to be even better this year now that’s it’s more than established that he’s the guy in Utah, and he’ll now be expected to do big things for that team to compete at the level that they did last season.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

What SHOULD Have Been

The motivation behind my cards, outside of being a creative outlet for me, is to create tangible vintage inspired trading cards for different movies, TV shows and miscellaneous pieces of popular culture that never got trading card immortalization.  I try to make cards that, if they had existed, I would have spent my hard earned allowance or bottle deposit collection money (it’s an MI thing) at the counter of the closest party store for as many packs as I could afford.  These are cards that I would have wanted to own, to collect, flip through and organize in my childhood bedroom.

The above card I not only would have loved to have owned as a kid… I should have owned as a kid.  I should have feverishly shuffled through packs of 1991-92 NBA Hoops Series 2 in hopes of pulling this card.  Years later I should have been able to seek out PSA 10 Gem Mint graded copies as well as autographed copies of this card for my collection.  Not only this NBA Hoops card, but versions of this card from all of the other brands of basketball cards.  Not to mention the other cool merchandise like posters, jerseys, t-shirts, cereal boxes, Starting Line-Up figures, magazine covers and the list goes on.  You see, Isiah Thomas was my boyhood idol.  I’ve been collecting everything and anything related to him nonstop since 1988.  At this point I could basically curate a museum of Isiah Thomas memorabilia.

There are a lot of really cool custom cards out there for sports cards that didn't get made for one reason or another.  This card is a bit different.  It's not a late season trade, an unheralded rookie or a guy who didn't see much playing time and could hardly justify making a card for.  This is a card of a guy who was never on a historic team but had every right in the world to be.

In 1988 the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team took bronze in the Summer Olympics is Seoul.  Up and through that Olympic Games the U.S. team was comprised of amateurs while other countries were using professionals.  Starting with the 1992 Barcelona games USA Basketball has since sent NBA pros to represent them every four years in the Summer Olympic.

The team that went to Barcelona, Spain in 1992 was dubbed "The Dream Team".  It's without a shadow of a doubt the greatest team ever assembled and anyone who says any different is just being a contrarian.  Eleven individuals of this twelve man roster are in the basketball Hall of Fame, all except Christian Laettner, the lone collegiate. Three of the four coaches have been elected to the Hall of Fame as individuals, and the team as a whole was enshrined in 2017.

As legendary as that team is for whom was a part of it it's as infamous for the one man that was not.  You simply cannot entertain a Dream Team discussion of any depth without talking about the blackballing of Isiah Thomas.  In 1991 when the team was selected you could say there were only three players to have more of a claim to be on that team than Isiah Thomas.  There was Magic Johnson and Larry Bird who had led the Lakers and Celtics respectively to eight of the ten championship in the previous decade.  Then there was Michael Jordan who was arguably the most recognizable athlete in the world at the time.  As much as the '92 Olympics were about restoring U.S. basketball pride they were equally as instrumental in marketing the National Basketball Association on a global stage.  Michael Jordan was a marketing machine.  The team needed him.  The problem was he refused to participate if Isiah was a part of the team due to their intense professional rivalry.  As deserving as Isiah was of the honor of being named to that team, with that type of ultimatum it's pretty hard to go against "His Airnesses" wishes.

The bottom line is that it's criminal that cooler heads couldn't have prevailed.  I get that Isiah didn't do himself any favors in his quest to keep Michael Jordan and the Bulls down as long as possible, much like the Celtics had done to Detroit all those years before.  The walk off in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals was most likely the final nail in Isiah's Olympic coffin.  Isiah has said looking back that he regretted leading the Pistons off of the floor without congratulating the Bulls in the closing seconds of Game 4 of the ECF, but to play devil's advocate, I can understand how it went down with that Bad Boys team being a prideful group and through the media Michael and his guys were basically shitting on what took the Pistons years of blood, sweat and tears to accomplish.  What makes the 1992 snub even more of a sour story is when you consider that Isiah also missed out on an Olympic medal in 1980 when the U.S. boycotted the summer games that were being hosted in Moscow due to the Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan.

Most of my cards have an air of comedic parody to them, like a Michael Scott basketball card for example.  Not this one.  I was serious when making this card.  I wanted to bring justice to Isiah's Olympic snub the best and only way I really could.  This card is in total homage of what should have been.

The picture is from a photo shoot for the 1994 FIBA World Championships which saw a team dubbed "Dream Team II" win the tournaments gold medal.  Isiah was named to this team but, as if cursed, he didn't get to compete due to an Achilles Tendon tear in the last month of the 1993-94 NBA season, Isiah's last season before he retired from playing.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Crab Cakes And Football

I caught Wedding Crashers on one of the cable channels and was reminded of the hilarious touch football game near the beginning of the movie.  From Bradley Cooper going HAM over what was supposed to be a friendly game of touch football to Carson Elrod’s hilarious taunts that I read were actually all ad lib.

1979 Topps football
Wedding Crashers was released in 2005, so in other words no matching it up with its 80’s equivalent football card set.  My aim was to use a design I had not previously and I also wanted to be a bit older.  I landed on a 1979 Topps football inspired design.  It had the older look I was going for and I like the positioning of the player position on the football giving me a prominent spot for “Crabcakes & Football” and the other in-jokes from the movie.

Okay, so now that you’ve seen the cards there’s one plot hole that never made sense to me… how did Sack’s friend get the scoop on John and Jeremy Ryan is he only knew them be there fake last name?  Plus, they weren’t really brothers either.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Thrashin' Drops In

If you’ve never seen it, Thrashin’ is ninety-two minutes of 80’s awesomeness.  I think if I was teaching a course on 80’s cinema it would be on the required watching list.

For my money Thrashin’ is the Citizen Kane of skateboarding movies.  But, I guess a movie that has a similar story as my all-time favorite movie, The Karate Kid, would create some bias in my eyes.  Corey Webster (Josh Brolin) is the new kid in town who quickly finds himself the annoyance of a rival gang and the only way to settle things is a big competition for Southern California skate scene supremacy.  There's also that idea of a class struggle, although in this movie the protagonist is on the Valley end of things.  Mix that with shades of Romeo and Juliet with Corey’s love interest Chrissy (Pamela Gidley) being the younger sister of Hook (Robert Rusler), the leader of the punker skater faction “Daggers”, sworn enemy of the Corey and his “Ramp Locals” buddies.  If you're a fan of fine 80’s cheese this flick is Havarti. Mmmmm.

If that little write up isn’t enough to make you shell out the bucks to get your very own VHS copy then maybe this line will seal the deal:
Chrissy: "Well, what do you thrash?"
Corey: "What do ya got?"
1986 Donruss
And if your STILL not convinced there's lots of rad skate scenes and cameos by the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers,  pro skaters Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, and Eddie Reategui.  Plus, it was the film debut of Lost Boys' vampire Brooke McCarter.

Alright, now for the card mini-set.  This was the second time I used the 1986 Donruss baseball inspired design, the first was with my set for The Wraith (also with Sherilyn Fenn).  Although this time I took a couple of gnarly creative liberties. I changed the color of the frame to pink.  It's a color that's used in the movie's logo plus it's a predominant color of the 80's fashions worn in Thrashin'.

On the veritcally oriented cards I moved the Thrashin' logo to the upper left of the card.  I just thought it looked better.  On the horizontal cards I put it back in the lower left of the image where the team logo would be for the '86 Donruss.  I also added a 1986 Donruss-esque Phantom Cardboard logo which I thought fits nicely with the overall design.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

SNL MusiCards

I made this Lazy Scanton card in the style of the 1991 Yo! MTV Raps cards and posted it on Instagram.  If you're unfamiliar, the "Lazy Scranton" rap from The Office is a parody of the 2005 "Lazy Sunday" Saturday Night Live skit by Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell.  Well, a follower to the Phantom Cardboard Instagram suggested a card for the original SNL skit.  Why didn't I think of that? 

While making the "Lazy Sunday" card it dawned on me that there's another SNL musical short that would make a great card ... "Dick in a Box"!  This one is done in the more fitting R&B/pop friendly 1991 ProSet MusiCards inspired design.

Monday, September 10, 2018

High Praise From The SD Chicken

I made a card of Ted Giannoulas aka The Famous San Diego Chicken for my 80's Icons set that I've been tinkering with.  Not only did Mr. Giannoulas graciously lend his great looking signature to my card he also included a small note on his stationary with some really nice approbation for my custom card.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Freaks And Geeks

I’ve maintained that The White Shadow is my favorite show ever since discovering it on ESPN Classic in the early 2000s.  Then would come Freaks and Geeks.  Well, after a re-binge of the show on Netflix with my nine year old daughter I think it’s become a 1a / 1b situation between the two shows.

I've decided that if a person could watch the pilot episode of Freaks and Geeks and not be hooked then said person and myself probably don’t have much in common.  I like it that much.

I appreciate that Freaks and Geeks, set during the 1980-81 school year, feels authentic to the times.  There’s a show that I believe is pretty popular called The Goldbergs.  I tried watching it once and I just couldn’t get into it because in my estimation I was spoiled by Freaks and GeeksThe Goldbergs is set in the '80s, but it doesn’t feel like it.  If anything it just seems like it aims to parody 80's clichés.  I believe I even caught a year continuity issue the one time I tried to watch The Goldbergs, although I don’t remember exactly what it was.  For someone like myself that revels in minutiae that is a deal breaker.  I’m not sure why I’m burying The Goldbergs other than it’s supposed to be set in the same era as Freaks and Geeks.

Freaks and Geeks, on the other hand, does nail the details -- and don’t think I wasn’t Googling different factoids that for most would be trivial and not stop them from enjoying the show.  Well, there was one Bill Laimbeer reference that didn’t really fit … but, besides that everything lined up.

As someone who hails from suburban Detroit I love that show is set in Michigan.  Freaks and Geeks is the brainchild of Michigan native Paul Feig.  Paul attended Chippewa Valley High School in Clinton Township - a suburb of Detroit.  That’s where the show’s fictional suburban city Chippewa, MI gets its name.  My only home state nitpick was that I don’t recall (unless I’m having amnesia) any snow scenes which you’re always going to get in the course of a school year in The Mitten State.

If you’ve ever read either of Paul’s memoirs “Kick Me” or “Superstud” you’ll recognize that many of the situations are adaptations of some of Paul’s hilarious adolescent experiences.  While reading those two books you’ll come to realize the Sam Weir character is probably based on Paul’s awkward youth.  I highly recommend reading both.  They’re two books that had me talking to myself while reading often saying something like “oh, nooo, no” and setting down the book to laugh.

Then there’s the cast.  What a collection of talent.  Freaks and Geeks was the springboard for megastars such as James Franco, Linda Cardellini and Seth Rogen.  Then there’s early guest roles for the likes of Joanna Garcia, Rashida Jones, Shia LeBeouf and Ben Foster.  Those are just the tip of the iceberg.  Seriously, go watch it if you never have, or rewatch it if it’s been a while.  The series seems to have a permanent home on Netflix.

While watching the episode “The Diary” I was inspired to make a custom card of the geek's P.E. softball triumph.  At first I thought to do three individual card but then thought it’d be much cooler to throw Sam, Bill and Neal into a 1981 Topps baseball Future Stars inspired design.

1981 Fleer baseball
The next card I did was from the “Tricks and Treats” episode.  That particular episode is one of my favorites.  I did a Lindsay Weir card in the style of the 1981 Fleer baseball design.  This card is along the same lines as the cards I’ve done with the theme of characters using baseball bats for something other than playing baseball with Lindsay and the gang playing mailbox baseball during the episode.  Set on Halloween this would have taken place in 1980, but I still decided to use the 1981 Fleer baseball inspired design.  I already had the idea of making a Freaks and Geeks set that consisted of multiple sports card designs all from the same year.

After numerous legal battles over the years Fleer finally broke Topps’ stranglehold on the sports card market and in 1981 both Fleer and Donruss both rolled out their respective inaugural baseball card sets.  I’ve included that little piece of trading card history to explain how 1981 offered my set a couple more design options that were not available the previous year.  I later found a pic of Nick (Jason Segel) looking like a mad man getting his mailbox baseball at-bat.  Both the Lindsay and the Nick photos fit perfect with the 1981 Fleer design as they have a hazy look to them.  It seemed that the photos on the 1981 Fleer cards look like they were taken with a Polaroid camera or something.  I specifically remember as a kid picking up a 1981 Fleer Kirk Gibson at a garage sale and thinking the picture they used was so old looking.  With that being said I’ll point out that these two cards use the Detroit Tigers color scheme from that set for the Michigan connection.

After making the first two cards, the Lindsay and Geeks Future Stars cards, I decided to show them on Instagram hoping I’d find others to nerd out over Freaks and Geeks with me.  I tagged all four actors on the cards and to my swooning surprise not only did the show’s co-main star Linda Cardellini like it but she shared it on her own page and it got a like by Paul Feig!  The plan was already in place to add cards to make it a mini-set but that recognition put an extra turbo boost in my creative fire.

This set turned out to be my largest to date.  At 41 cards I’m wondering if it’s still okay to refer to it as a mini-set?  I wanted to make the set fun and comprehensive and I think I accomplished both of those goals.  I made cards of every character I wanted to get in the set.  There was a couple of fringe characters but the lack of good images in my searches sealed their cardless fates.

What I’ll refer to as the “base set” consists of character cards done in the style of the 1981 Topps hockey cards.  This was the only set I’d used previously.  Well, technically I’ve used the 1981 Topps baseball set for my Incredible Hulk cards but I still had to make the Future Stars card from scratch with the two cards in the Hulk set being modeled after the 1981 Topps baseball base card design.  

1981 Topps Hockey
I framed the base cards in McKinley High Norseman Green and also added the actors name after deciding that just using the character name made it look like to me that there was something missing.  For these cards I also added a Phantom Cardboard logo much like the style of Topps’ branding on their 1981 hockey cards, just mine being a little smaller.  In the past I’ve been content to take credit by just stamping my text logo on the card’s back.  I started playing around with initials on the front of these cards.  I was still on the fence so I threw up a with / without picture poll on my Instagram story and ‘with’ won out by a 3-to-1 margin.  So going forward I will probably add a signature to the front of cards when applicable; granted it has to fit in with the original spirit of the design and not distract from the card overall.

Next up is a design inspired by the 1981 Topps basketball set.  There’s an episode “We’ve Got Spirit”  where there’s a little basketball action.  I was looking forward to doing these cards just because I’m a basketball guy first and foremost.  I did cards of McKinley’s star player and Sam’s crush’s crush, Todd Schellinger.  Coach Fredricks gets a card too, you may also recognize him as Biff Tannen.  Tom Wilson is fantastic in Freaks and Geeks.  Then my favorite of the three, a Norseman mascot card featuring the three kids that were the McKinley High mascot in the “We’ve Got Spirit” episode.  This one is a parody of the Team Leaders card found in the ‘81 Topps basketball set.
1981 Topps basketball

1981 Donruss baseball
Lastly I did a few cards in the style of the 1981 Donruss baseball set bringing the total of vintage inspired card designs to five.  The cards are some of my favorites of the set.  With this design I paid homage to some of the McKinley High School groups.  Overall the 1981 Donruss design was not difficult to replicate but I might have spent more time on these cards with all tedious work it took to give the text in the lower right that two-dimensional look.

There’s the McKinley Cheer team from the “We’ve Got Spirit” episode, the Dungeons and Dragons loving AV Club and the Mathletes from “Looks and Books”.

Then, and I’m not sure where the inspiration for this idea came from, but I made a sort of two part puzzle card with the Freaks and the Geeks cliques.  The way this card lays out Ken gets cut pretty much in half.  Originally I had a similar image that split perfectly between the two groups, the only issue was that Kim Kelly, for whatever reason, was not in the picture and I just could justify leaving her out.  It’s not like she was introduced midway through the series.  The O.G. Kim K. was a core member of the Freaks and appeared in all 18 episodes.  The card HAD to have Kim.  The other thing is that with Seth Rogen spliced in half it’s a great visual cue that this card has a second part to it so I figure all’s well that ends well.

Fun fact: During the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival where Paul Feig was promoting the A&E Freaks and Geeks documentary he told of how NBC really wanted a small part, such as a waitress, written in for Britney Spears seeing as back in 1999-2000 she was about as popular as a person could get.