Saturday, April 28, 2018

George "The Animal" Steele

I saw this picture posted on Instagram by one of the old school wrestling pages I follow on there. Obviously I had to make a card out of it.

I'm not a fan of wrestling these days, but boy was I ever as a kid. Everyone loved George "The Animal" Steele. Steele (real name Jim Myers) was a true character, something, in my opinion, that professional wrestling sorely lacks these days. Myers was also a high school phys. ed teacher and football coach here in Michigan, which was a non-kayfabe factoid that all us kids seemed to know somehow.

I wasn't sure what year this photo was taken so I just went with a favorite, the 1984 Topps baseball inspired design. It's a good pick for this card because of the use of two images plus it's the last year the Detroit Tigers won the World Series.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Body Slam (Updated)

Since Body Slam is one of my favorites so I decided to go back and re-up this card and get a mini-set out of it. I would love to make it more than four cards -it deserves it- but there's very few quality images available for this 1987 gem.

Body Slam is one of those movies, while not very popular, is one of my personal favorites.  I remember it coming on quite often on HBO in the early '90s, and I must have caught it most every time.

If you've never seen it, Dirk Benedict plays M. Harry Smilac, a smarmy scheming music producer that is scraping the bottom of the barrel.  He inadvertently stumbles into managing  the wrestling tag team of Quick Rick Roberts (Roddy Piper) and Tonga Tom (Sam Fatu).  He barnstorms the duo in a cross-country tour double billing them with his last remaining musical act, Kick, as rock and wrestling two-for-one, the whole time running from creditors and wrestling adversaries.  It's a fun watch, no doubt.  Plus, Tonya Roberts is very easy on the eyes.

I modeled this after the 1987 Topps WWF set, which I collected the crap out of as a kid.  I loved wrestling back then.  Now, nottt so much.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Brad Pitt

Chances are if you’ve bumped around online enough you’ve come across the photo of a 14 year old bowl-cut Brad Pitt in basketball jersey that reads “Rejects” holding a little trophy that surfaced some years back. Well, there’s a pretty fun backstory to that image. Brad didn’t make the cut for his Springfield, MO eighth grade basketball team in 1977 so he banded together five other kids that also failed to make the Cherokee Middle School team and they started their own team with Brad’s dad coaching them. Brad came up with the tongue-in-cheek name Cherokee Rejects. It wasn’t so much that he was disgruntled about not making the school team, young Brad just wanted to hoop. The team would practice at a church the Pitts attended and played their games at the local Boys Club. I couldn’t find any recollection as to what the little trophies were for.

Persistence paid because I read that Brad did make his high school team, and then went on to do other stuff in life too.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Stuck On You

Once again the Farrelly Brothers have given me great custom card material. I watched Stuck On You maybe six months ago. It's a goofy but heart warming movie about conjoined twins who have different aspirations which of course can lend to some funny situations. It's one I would call "an easy watch".

The other week it just dawned on me that there were some sports scenes in Stuck On You, sort of the way you're trying to remember something but can't and then it just pops in your head out of no where the next day. I literally got a smile on my face thinking about a single card for conjoined twins. It's a custom card two'fer!

Stuck On You was released in 2003. Hard to believe that was 15 years ago, but not quite old enough to match it to a card design of the same year. So, it was another case of designers choice.

First was the high school baseball card. I chose a 1984 Topps baseball inspired design. I thought it would be funny to widen the head shot box to be able to get both twins in there. Since Bob and Walt are from Martha's Vineyard I decided to use the Red Sox color scheme from the '84 Topps. (Martha's Vineyard is a island in Massachusetts for the geography fans).

For the hockey card I went with a design I've not yet use up to this point, the 1981 Topps hockey design. The main thing I was looking for was a card design that had a large enough area to fit "Quikee Burger", and although I had to stack it, the '81 design allowed for that. For the same reason as stated with the baseball card, I went with the Bruins color scheme for this card.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Failure To Communicate

Cool Hand Luke is a little older than most of the things I focus on with my cards but it's an absolute classic and made for a fun custom card set project. I remember the first time I saw Cool Hand Luke on TV. I was stopped in place as a preteen seeing Joy Harmon aka "Lucille" washing her car. It was the kind of experience where everything stops and you sort of disengage from your environment. What a body! The times I've watched it as an adult I've always sort like there is a deeper meaning to the Paul Newman's Luke character that I must be missing. To me he's sort of a nonconformist that has a problem with authority and just does things for a lack of something better to do. I've read some interpret symbolism from Luke as a Jesus type of character with the different hardships he endures throughout the movie. I guess I could see that, but mainly it's just timeless award winning performances ... and Joy Harmon tantalizingly rubbing her sudsy body on that 1941 DeSoto.

This set started out as a one-off with the "Lucille" card that became a personal treasure having been signed through the mail by Miss Harmon. Then I expanded it having turned my focus to making phantom mini-sets. This one got nine cards which is always something I like when it works out that way because they can display nicely in a nine-pocket card sheet.

Cool hand Luke was released in 1967 so I went with a 1967 Topps baseball inspired template. Nothing too complicated but it really fits the cards and time period perfectly.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Kick His Ass, Sea Bass!

Here's another entry into category of athletes in movies that played characters that I did a four card post on last week. Again, the concept is mashing the movie character with one of the athlete's real trading cards.

I may not be the biggest hockey fan residing in "Hockey Town", but I do know who Can Neely is. Despite that I didn't know until recently that the 2005 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee was the guy who played "Sea Bass" in 1994's Farrelly Brother's classic Dumb and Dumber. I, like I'll assume everyone with a pulse, loves Dumb and Dumber. I guess I just never stopped to look at the credits to see who so brilliantly portrayed Mr. Bass. For the little time Neely was in the movie he has a couple of the most memorable scenes, in my opinion.

1990-91 ProSet
Growing up I didn't collect many hockey cards so most of the designs hold very little personal meaning to me like the other three major sports do. That's not to say I don't love using the designs for my cards, it's just not quite the same as remembering busting open packs of cards that look like the ones I recreate for my custom cards. The only two hockey sets I ever remember buying were both the 1990-91 Topps and ProSet. The reason being is that one of the party stores close to my house at the time had them and I collected any type of trading cards... any. I remember getting a lot more of the ProSet than the Topps. If I remember correctly they were on a slightly thinner, slightly glossier and more vibrant stock than Topps.

I've used the 1990 Topps inspired design a couple of times so I switched it up a bit and tried the ProSet on for size. I like the way this turned out a lot. It is unmistakably 1990 ProSet hockey. The one and only thing I would change if I could would to have a clearer shot of Sea Bass' "Wine 'em, Dine 'em, Sixty-nine 'em" trucker cap.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Lzzy Hale

I got such a kick out of the Ultimate Warrior card I did using the 1991 SuperStars MusiCards design that I decided to revive the ProSet inspired design for another custom card, this time it's of my favorite rock star Lzzy Hale of Halestorm.

I've seen Halestorm a couple of times in concert and each time I was left in awe of Lzzy's performance and stage presence. The best description I could use to describe her would be a take-no-prisoners total badass. She gives me faith that actual rock 'n' roll music is still being made and should be played loud as hell.

As is with the Warrior card, the design itself is nothing all that special, but the nostalgia and instant recognizability of the Pro MusiCards that make these so cool to me.

Update: This is always really cool!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Air Arny

Ever since I did the White Men Can't Jump cards I've been dying to use the 1992-93 Skybox inspired theme again. I finally came across a picture that I thought would would great in that style. It needed to be an image with a basketball so you can do the whole Skybox glowing trail thing.

This image of Arnold looks to be a a Planet Hollywood event of some sort. Otherwise I have no context. Not that that matters a great deal. It freakin' Schwarzenegger in a loud shirt holding a basketball. That's enough for me.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Bo Knows

In my mind Bo Jackson is without question the greatest athlete of my generation. Nike did a great job capitalizing on this as well with all their "Bo Knows" marketing.

The image in this card I believe is from a horizontal Nike poster picture multiple Bo Jacksons dressed up for different sports and it's set inside a 1990 Topps hockey inspired template.

If you've never seen the ESPN 30-For-30 documentary You Don't Know Bo, then I would highly recommend checking it out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Inglorious Basterds

Quentin Taratino is a great filmmaker. The guy makes movies that are pretty much instant classics. Inglorious Basterds is certainly not an exception having been nominated for eight Academy Awards. Like most movies of his that I’ve seen I was instantly drawn in the first time I watched it, and I’ve re-watched it several times since. I like that Inglorious Basterds is set during WWII but still has a stylish modern feel to it. I can’t say enough  about the casting and I dig all the all of the moments of dark humor that perfectly balance the wartime subject matter.

I started this set as just a one carder. I was thinking of characters that used baseball bats but not for the purpose of playing baseball, two of which (Al Capone and Negan) I posted about recently. Another that quickly came to mind was Sgt. Donny Donowitz aka “The Bear Jew”. I was so happy with that card I immediately knew I was going to make his Basterds teammates.

Since Inglorious Basterds is a newer film I gave myself carte blanche when it came to the design. For one reason or another I thought a 1990 Topps baseball inspired design would work out well, and I wasn’t disappointed with the results. There were a couple other members of the Basterds that were present during the first Nazi massacre scene, but that was about it and they didn't have any significant lines or moments otherwise so I didn’t make cards of them, but the rest of team is accounted for.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ultimate Warrior MusiCard

In 1991 SuperStars MusiCards by ProSet were everywhere and seemingly every kid had hundreds of them. Who didn't love pop music as a kid? And, these cards spanned all genres of popular music. ProSet must have printed roughly a bazillion of these cards as you can still find them at any flee
market or even pick up and unopened box on eBay for around $10.

This image of The Ultimate Warrior is the best image of him there is, in my humble opinion. I even put it ahead of Warrior fellating Hulk Hogan at Wrestle Mania VI. It just doesn't get any better than a face-painted, tassled, heavy metal haired Warrior shredding on The Honky Tonk Man's guitar. I'd like to imagine he's strumming his "Unstable" ring entrance music.

I was a big fan of The Ultimate Warrior as a kid and always felt conflicted when it came to choosing between he and "The Immortal" Hulk Hogan. Anymore I realize that his actual in-ring work was lacking -to be nice, and his promos were really bizarre, even if oddly entertaining. But, as a kid all that mattered was that the guy was a jacked florescent maniac and what's not to love about that??

Recreating the ProSet design itself is nothing to puff my chest out over, but laying it over this image is something I'm glad I thought of. Even with the omission of the MusiCards logo the two elongated 90° lime green and pink mirroring triangles are instantly recognizable for anyone who's ever ripped open one of those plastic ProSet pack.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Jeff Capel x Tupac

When you think of Duke basketball you probably don't also think of hip hop culture, except for that iconic photo of Tupac rocking former Dukie guard Jeff Capel's #5 jersey back in the mid '90s (1996, I believe). I was thumbing through for images on Instagram and was reminded of the picture and knew it would make for a really dope custom basketball card.
1993-94 Skybox

I chose the 1993-94 Skybox basketball design for this card. The template is a bit of the departure from the '80s era framed-in Topps designs I enjoy recreating, but I think it works perfectly. I was collecting a lot of basketball cards this season due to it being Chris Webber's rookie season. I've always thought, even more so in later years that this is one of the classiest looking card sets ever.

As a sidebar, the vertical white banner makes for a beuatiful spot for an autograph which is exactly where I hope do get Jeff Capel to sign this, Tupac too if it's ever revealed where he's been hiding.

Fun fact: Jeff Capel, now a college basketball head coach, has said that he once used the photo in a recruiting effort for a player who is friends with a popular rapper.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Seattle Harry

I'm a fan of the Harry and the Hendersons movie, but I have to be honest, I totally forgot that they made a television series out of it that ran for three seasons starting in 1991.

The sixth episode of the first season  entitled "The Father-Son Game" featured both Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. I can't tell you too much about the episode other than regurgitating its IMDb page, but I can tell you I think it makes for a pretty cool Harry custom baseball card.

This one is in the style of the 1991 Topps baseball set. I had actually done this design previously with a few football cards from the movie Necessary Roughness that I have yet to post. Topps used basically the same design for baseball, hockey and football in 1991. It's a fairly simple and clean design but I do recall it taking a lot of time to recreate due to all the line work in it.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe

Another character I thought of right away when I thought about movie - in this case tv - characters that used baseball bats Negan with his trusty "Lucille" from The Walking Dead.

Personally I'm just lukewarm on The Walking Dead. It seems to draw me in with an exciting episode and then there'll be 2 to 3 episodes in a row where it's a bit of a snooze fest. I really liked the Negan character when he was introduced. I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan is super charismatic. But, after a while the he seemed to be doing a parody of the character with all his various mannerisms. And that's my little Walking Dead rant.

The Walking Dead of course is a modern show. So for the card I was just chose what design I thought would be the funnest to use. I chose the 1984 Topps baseball inspired design. I like all the Topps designs that call for a main photo and then the smaller head shot, no pun intended. The '84 takes a little more time with having to crop out the head picture but the end result is always a great vintage look. I also wanted a design that would prominently feature the team name so I could have fun with "Saviors" as the team name. I also wanted a design that featured a player position on the front of the card so I could add the "DH" designation for the same dark humor reason as with the Al Capone card in the last post.

I'm pretty sure this is the only Walking Dead card I'm going to do. I just thought it would be fun to make a Negan baseball card. I'm not really wanting to make a Walking Dead set, those already exist. Plus, the show has been running for so many years and features a lot of different characters and I wouldn't be able to trust myself to keep the number of cards under control.

Thursday, April 5, 2018


I started thinking of movie characters that used a bat, but not necessarily for baseball. Robert De Niro as Al Capone in Untouchables immediately came to mind with maybe the most memorable scene of the movie being where Capone beats a crime associate of his to death with a baseball bat at a dinner gathering. The crazy thing is that actually happened in 1928 after Capone found out he was being plotted on.

Untouchable came out in 1987 so I chose the ‘87 Donruss baseball as the design inspiration. I utilized the “Rated Rookie” logo in place of a team logo. I listed Capone as a designated hitter as a tongue-in-cheek reference to him bashing brains in.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Tony Micelli

If you're like me then growing up you've seen most, if not all, of the Who's The Boss? episodes. The show had near an eight year run and stayed in syndication forever.

A former major leaguer and widower forced to retire with a bum shoulder takes a job as a live-in house keeper to a divorcee ad agency executive in an effort to give his daughter better surroundings to grow up in a move -as seen in shows opening credits via Tony's Amber Alert beater van- that sees Tony and Samantha going from Brooklyn to a haughty part of Connecticut. A tale as old as time.

I remember two things specifically about Who's The Boss? One, Alyssa Milano going from a cute kid to a super hot babe at just the right time for my hormones. Second, I was always pretty amused with how Tony pronounced Angelar all New York-like.

It was established that Tony was a second basemen with the St. Louis Cardinals. If the show premiered in 1984 I figured a card with the 1980 Topps inspired design gave Tony a chance to wash out of the bigs and run through all of his funds. Any chance I get to use the 1980 template I'm taking.

The image I found was the second. The first was pretty poor quality. Not only did I luck up on a cleaner image but Danza's in a red baseball pants and looking young as can be. Total score.


I was reminded in the Instagram post I did of this card by @hamfx that there was an episode of Who's The Boss? where Angela is trying to track down a baseball card of Tony's baseball card as a sentimental Christmas gift for him. It's the 11th episode of the 3rd season entitled "The Christmas Card", (1986). I seemed to have remembered that the card was never actually shown on the episode, but @hamfx was thinking it was. I looked on Netflix and Hulu but the series isn't showing on either. @hamfx not only found it on DailyMotion, but he also grabbed a screen capture!

From the look of it it looks the card used in the episode may have been loosely inspired by the 1981 Donruss set, judge for yourself. And, if you're on Insta give @hamfx a follow.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Sig. Showcase: Sophia Loren

This is a card I did a couple of years ago. It's one of of a handful of cards that I've created that do not have a vintage inspired trading card design. It's something simple I whipped up in an effort to get the legendary Miss Loren's autograph on a trading card.