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.