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.