Thursday, May 23, 2019

Crime Is A Disease

If you've been me for while you'll know Sylvester Stallone is one of my favorites.  I don't know if there's a Stallone movie I don't enjoy.  Cobra is certainly not an exception.  It's a perfect example of an over-the-top 80's action movie, lots of violence with Stallone playing something of a renegade human terminator cop.  I remember as a kid the "Night Slasher" character really freaking me out.

This 4 card mini-set is done of the 1986 Topps baseball design as Cobra was released on this day in 1986.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Ace Ventura

Here's a card based on Ace Ventura's undercover persona, "Larry" he used to get into the Shady Acres Mental Hospital in order to get information on Ray Finkle.  Larry could probably best be described as suffering from PTSD from years of football head trauma.

For the card I wanted something kind of generic looking football card.  It couldn't include a logo and  I didn't want not having a last name to be too distracting.  I went with a 1974 Topps football inspired design.  I've only used this template one other time for a commission of an NFL football player to supplement the commission seeker's 1974 set.  I also liked this design for this card because the uprights clearly let you know it's a football design.

During the Larry scenes Jim Carrey pantomime's a number of different postions but he's a linebacker on this card because of Larry being in the three-point-stance.

This card also makes a really fun compliment to my Ray Finkle card.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Three For The Office

I was a little bummed that I couldn't have added Stanley "Secret Weapon" Hudson to my "Scanton Hoops" mini-set.  The orientation of the image just wouldn't work with the 1980-81 Topps basketball layout.  I still wanted to make a card for Stanley so I decided to put it into a 1989-90 Fleer basketball inspired template.  I chose that particular  basketball design because I liked the idea of putting "Secret Weapon" under the border curl.

While I was making this card a couple other fun trading card ideas for The Office came to mind.  I'm surprised it took me this long to make a "Prison Mike" card.  That one skit is probably my favorite of the entire series.  I've certainly watched those four-and-a-half minutes more than any other scene. For this card I went to maybe my favorite template to use, the 1984 Topps baseball inspired design.  I love the vertical lettering and the inset head shot in the corner.  Classic stuff.  Making this card, for whatever reason, also gave me an inspiration to make an Andy Bernard card.  He went to Cornell ya know, ever heard of it?  I chose again to use the same 1984 design as with the "Prison Mike" card.

Friday, May 3, 2019


This picture of the Beastie Boys was on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine back in 1998. I still had Rolling Stone subscription back then and I remember thinking it was a very cool cover. This was the August issue right after the release of Hello Nasty which was an absolute monster when I was in high school.

 The retro look of this shot gave me a chance to recreate a funky ‘70s Topps design. After a little debate I went with a 1976-77 inspired design. The one big difference is the size. This card measure the standard trading card size; 2 ½” x 3 ½”. Whereas the 1976-77 Topps basketball tipped the scale at 3 ⅛” x 4 ¼”. I think that’s the biggest season set Topps made for any sport. Why did they make then that big? Not sure, maybe being cheeky with the fact that most basketball players are tall? I made it standard size because whenever I had any kind of oversized card they’d always get dinged up as they stuck out when put with normal size cards in your card binder or it an box or stack of cards.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Cindy Crawford II

I was pretty certain that when I made my Anna Nicole Smith Dream Girl card I was eventually going to use that design again; all it would take was the right babe in a nice black and white photo.  The time to re-up has come much sooner than later.

I've written before about my infatuation with Cindy Crawford in a previous post.  I ran across this particular image and instantly recognized it from the first Playboy magazine I ever bought.  I was 18 and it was a special edition on Cindy herself ....or it might have even been a compilation of celebrities that had graced the pages of Playboy magazine, either way I remember the purchase's circumstances very vividly.  I remember that even though I was of age to buy a nudie magazine I was still pretty red faced and embarrassed putting it on the counter.  I spotted it the day before but didn't have the guts to buy it.  This is pre-internet and I couldn't get the prospect of the glory of what was between those pages out of my head, so I went back to the party store at the corner of my street the very next day.  I waited until I was the only one in there and I sheepishly put it on the counter and tried to avoid eye contact with the shady dude behind the counter that used to keep my younger brother's change when he'd buy candy telling him "we'll call it even, boss".  He did give me my change and I hurriedly walked out holding the book with the cover pressed against my chest.  Lame, I know.  I didn't have that issue for long.  It was lost although I'd pretty sure a friend of mine that I guess didn't have the fortitude that I did to buy a copy from that store "borrowed" it without my permission never to return it - shady as hell, but hard to blame the guy.

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Monster Squad Redux

I've been messing with making cards from The Monster Squad for a little while now but never "officially" released them as one of my mini-sets.  I just get sidetracked sometimes.  There's a few movies I've made cards out of that should be a set by now but I get too excited to make new cards that I don't go and revisit those ones.

I got an extra urge to make this set when my son took an interest to the movie's VHS cover and wanted to watch it.  He literally watched it 4 times in a row.  Personally I was a little conflicted as to whether that made me an awesome dad because The Monster Squad rules or not so great because the language used by the Squad has aged like a glass a milk left in the hot summer sun.  I split the difference having a little chat about what things we were and were not allowed to repeat.  Hopefully he listens so I don't get taken aside by his teacher when picking him up from school.

After the movie marathon I decided to buckle down and get this mini-set done.  I switched it up a little bit from the original "prototype" cards I did, well they're prototypes now I guess.  Instead of the areas that are grey on the 1987-88 Fleer basketball I switched it up to a blue color drawing a little inspiration from the iconic Monster Squad movie poster.  I usually try to stick closely to the original design I'm using for the cards but I wanted these to have a little uniqueness knowing how beloved The Monster Squad is by my generation.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

1979 Stickball Champ

I thought about this particular card quite some time ago but held off due to a personal technicality.  I like to create cards of different pop culture type things that Topps or the other card brands didn't make cards for back-in-the-day.  Technically Topps did have a couple of cards of Sly playing stickball with the neighborhood kids in their 1979 Rocky II card set.

I really got an itch to make this card so I reasoned with myself that Topps' card is a movie scene card and mine would be specifically a stickball card, almost like Rocky was in a stickball league or something.  That was enough convincing for me and I figured there is room for both my card and card number #3 and #4 from Topps' Rocky II set.

Most of the design for this card is pretty self explanatory.  I used the 1979 Topps baseball inspired template and the colors that went with the Phillies' player's cards that year.  I replaced the baseball illustration with that of a stickball ball and retro'd the older Topps logo with PCb. mock up.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Branon Molale

A friend of Brandon Molales happens to follow my Instagram page and he let Brandon know about the Blazer card I did of him as a part of the Dodgeball mini-set I made.  Brandon in turn reached out to me about getting a couple of copies for himself for which he was happy to autograph a couple copies for my personal collection in return.

Brandon  made a suggestion for a card of his character “Kevin Ward” the New York Jets quarterback from Mr. Deeds.  I loved it and was all over that suggestion.  Right away I knew I wanted to use a 1988 Topps football inspired design.  I’d used the League Leaders subset design for my Step Brothers and Dumb and Dumber cards but I’d yet to use the set’s base card design.  The base card really requires it to be a football card with a helmet to best make use of the design which I now had in the Kevin Ward card.

There was also an idea for a card that combines both Blazer and Kevin Ward.  Since I used the ‘88 Topps football for the Kevin Ward card I thought why not use the League Leaders template for the custom card for the two characters.

Brandon loved the cards and the inscriptions he put on my autographed copies were really kick ass.  Along with the cards Brandon also gifted me with some custom guitar picks.  That’s his passion, collecting stage used guitar picks.  I thought that was a very cool inclusion.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Yvonne Romain

I saw that Yvonne Romain signed through the mail so I wanted to make a card from The Curse of the
Werewolf to have signed.  I thought briefly about using a 1961 Topps baseball inspired design which is the year that movie was released.  That particular design is kind of plain and I wanted to try something a bit different, more like a modern autograph card. 

I had a design in mind from a Star Trek card I had happened upon, but I never saved the image.  I went back on eBay to try to find it but I just couldn't seem to find it again so I recreated the basic look from memory.  I'm not claiming to be a trading card Rain Man, but I was pretty pleased when I ironically found a card from the set again a couple of days after designing mine.  If you're curious it's a Star Trek 50th Anniversary card made by Rittenhouse Archives.

This next card is an image I found while looking for pictures for the Curse of the Werewolf card.  I wanted to also make a card from it.  I messed around with editing the image a bit until I got something that I thought looked pretty cool.

Monday, April 8, 2019

You Douchebags Bring Your A-Game?

When I got the idea for this card I said "this is gonna kill", and laughed a bit to myself; I'm assuming the way a comedian might when he/she gets an epiphany for some new material.  The thought of this card is hilarious to me.

I'm a fan of Ben Stiller's put upon type of characters.  The kind of guy he plays in movies like Meet the Parents, The Heartbreak Kid, and the movie that inspired this card; Along Came Polly.  Just so it's clear I'm a fan of pretty much every one of Ben's characters, it's just the good intentioned tough luck ones I feel I can really relate to.

Let's be honest, Ben was great per usual but Philip Seymour Hoffman's "Sandy Lyle" character hijacked this movie.  The guy was a brilliant actor in any genre. He slays in every single scene he's in.  The basketball scene may be the funniest but even that's hard to say because he was just that good.

This is a newer movie, at least by my card's standards, so I picked my 1980-81 Topps basketball inspired design.  It would of been hilarious in any template in my opinion but the 3-paneled design was perfect for what I wanted to do.  Because of the Bird/Magic rookie it's an iconic set and the ability to use the three pictures makes it really fun to work with.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Batman 1989

Normally I do not make cards for something that already has a card set.  That's kind of the whole premise behind Phantom Cardboard, giving something a trading card that I wished would have had one.  Topps has an awesome Batman card set that we all collected back-in-the-day.  In 1989 there was not a single thing bigger than the Batman movie.  The hype surrounding it was insane.  Because of that the 1989 Batman movie has had a huge and lasting impression on me.  There's been a number of well done Batman movies released since then but, for me, there's one Batman... Michael Keaton.  And, one Joker... Jack Nicholson.

The reason I decided to do the two-card set is a very small one really, I wanted an excuse to use the Joker Gang logo on a card.  There was an avalanche of rad Batman merchandise that came out that year.  There were some legendary t-shirts and anyone who was a kid back then seems to remember the one(s) they had.  One of my favorite shirts I ever owned was the red Joker Gang logo t-shirt.  I wore that shirt until the dryer faded the screen print beyond recognition.  I loved that shirt.  I need to eventually find another at *hopefully* a reasonable price.  The Joker is a villain no doubt, but he's one of those "cool villains".

These two card also gave me a chance to again use the 1989 Fleer baseball inspired design that I had so much fun with for the Major League card set I did.  Unlike Topps in 1989, the '89 Fleer required a logo which is what I wanted for that bullseye Joker Gang emblem, not to mention the 1989 Batman logo.  Plus I found a couple of promo pics of Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson that worked out great.  So, while there is that nostalgic Batman movie card set that Topps got two series out of, these are more like Batman and Joker baseball cards.

In a happy little coincidence these two cards coincide the 1989 Tim Burton directed movie turning 30 this coming June and also the Batman character itself celebrating it's 80th anniversary just four days ago.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

'88 Finals Game 6

I've mentioned a few times that while the majority of my cards are done with designs inspired by older baseball card sets I'm a basketball guy at heart.  It's just that baseball cards are more nostalgic to me personally as they were more readily available than basketball cards were.  My hero growing up was Isiah Thomas.  My first born son is named Isiah.  It's that serious.

If I could go back in time and change things in the card collecting hobby one would definitely be Topps' hiatus from basketball basketball cards from 1982-83 through 1991-92.  If they hadn't there could have possibly been a card commemorating Isiah Thomas' heroic efforts in Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals when he scored 25 points in the game's third quarter on an ankle that would have probably seen many of today's stars airlifted right out of the arena.  It was one of the greatest things in sports I've ever witnessed.

This card is of course modeled after the 1988 Topps baseball Record Breakers subset.  For whatever reason I just love doing record breaker cards.  The photo used is actually one from that particular game.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Anna Nicole Smith

I was thirteen when I first became aware of the voluptuous model Anna Nicole Smith.  I have to believe that’s a very influential age for a boy when it comes to shaping what he finds attractive in a female because Anna Nicole became, for me, the prototype of the ultimate female form.  My “type” since then has always been the ultra curvy amazon type.

There wasn’t the internet back then and at thirteen you can’t just go into the party store and buy a Playboy so I clearly recall scouring all of the different magazines we had in the house hoping to run across an Anna Nicole Guess Jeans advertisement.  Even National Geographic got a page-by-page examination.  Guess did a great job with  Anna and the sultry black-and-white ad campaign which had a sexy old Hollywood bombshell vibe to it.  As the years went by my preference for the “Anna Nicole Smith type” was cemented but my attraction to the actual person waned with all the bizarre happenings in her life from her marrying the geriatric billionaire to her weird reality show and ultimately her untimely and pretty sad death.  This card is a tribute to the best Anna, the one who’s look and natural charisma captivated so many like myself.

I thought one of the pictures from the Guess campaign would be perfect to retrofit into a 1991 Score baseball “Dream Team” inspired design.  1991 Score’s base set to me is real bland but no other set can touches that year’s subsets.  That years was loaded with a number of attractive and creative subsets.

“Dream Team” was a 13 card subset that featured baseball’s best in artistic black-and-white studio style photographs.  It’s pretty easy to see why I chose to match Anna’s photo to this set with one slight variation turning the word 'Team' into 'Girl' because for a period in time Anna Nicole Smith was most certainly my “dream girl”.  I’ve actually been wanting to make a card for her for a little while now but I wanted it to be something that was special and made sense from the design standpoint.  I think this card achieved both. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

High Quality H2O

I'm really excited to share this mini-set.  It ranks right up there with my Bloodsport and Major League as far as it's comprehensiveness both to the movie and the card set used for it.

I actually started this set back in 2016 with the Coach Klein card.  That was when I was making one offs in hopes of getting my cards autographed through the mail and Henry Winkler is great at signing for fans.  Since The Waterboy came out in 1998 (I wasn't collecting cards then, no nostalgia) I went with the 1984 Topps football inspired design.  The main reason I chose that year was I wanted a design that used the team logo so I could feature the Mud Dogs logo. Then came the Bobby card that was going to get signed through a connection but that never materialized.  Just recently I added the Vicki Valencourt card for a private signing she was doing that I sent the card into.  Getting that card signed really inspired me to make this thing official. 

My favorite part of doing mini-set is after the base cards are done looking for applicable ways to use a certain design's subsets.  The subsets are my favorite.  It's the trading card junkie in me that loves the uniqueness of re-purposing the subsets to fit the movie .  Especially record breakers.  Record breakers are my absolute favorite to do.  Knowing Bobby shattered the single game sack record in The Waterboy I knew I'd have a lot of fun with that card.  I usually make mention of the record that was broken on the front of the card whereas the actual cards went into that information on the reverse side.  I borrowed something similar to the "Topps Super Rookie" tag found in the 1988 Topps football set.  It's definitely my favorite card of the set.  Very happy how it came out as well as the rest of the set.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Have Cap, Will Custom

Tiffani Theissen and Barry Gibb don't have anything in common (to the best of my knowledge) outside of the fact that I recently seen a photo of each of them wearing a hat of a professional baseball team.  That's about all it takes for me to want to make a card.

I didn't have a year of significance for either picture so I used two templates that I just thought would compliment the picture.  Tiffani Theissen White Sox with the 1990 Topps baseball inspired design and Barry Gibb Indians with the 1981 Topps.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


The passing of Luke Perry was one of those celebrity deaths that hit just a little harder.  One because he far too young at 52 and also you could tell by the outpouring of support by his peers that he was a genuinely good guy by the stories they shared of their interactions with him.  I was surprised to hear he had a stroke and shocked when he did not recover.

Sometimes you hear of a celebrity passing and you think that it's too bad but we just kind of go on.  Luke's passing has stuck with me.  I really hadn't thought about Beverly Hills 90210 in awhile but with Luke's passing I remembered just how huge of a fan I was of that show while growing up.  Every Thursday for years and years starting with the very first episode that aired on October 4, 1990 I spent with that group from West Beverly High.  I'm not ashamed to admit it, I was hooked.  I even collected the 90210 trading cards Topps put out in 1991 for a short while.

Luke's Dylan character was one of those "every girl wanted to be with him and every guy wanted to be him" types.  His demeanor was just so cool.  He was often called our generations James Dean.  Sure, he and a few of the cast members seemed a little old to be playing high school characters; I mean the West Beverly gang was nothing like my friend's older siblings that were in high school, but I didn't care, it was good TV.  I specifically remember trying to mimic Dylan McKay's low cool voice when I was talking to girls.  I thought I sounded cool and mysterious but I probably sounded like a major tool.  I also remember wanting a scar in my eyebrow like he had.

I was feeling nostalgic about the show so I started binge watching it from the first episode.  I got to episode #20 entitled "Spring Training", a baseball episode.  I really don't watch many television shows so I'm not sure if it's still the case but back in the day every series it seemed had a baseball episode.

This episode was one of those underdog feel good stories.  Brandon and Steve help Brandon's dad -who's laid up with a back injury- coach an overly privileged West Beverly team.  Brandon's frustration with the team's rotten behavior comes to a head when they scrimmage a team from the other side of the tracks coached by Brandon's Peach Pit boss, Nat.  Dylan is recruited to help coach up Nat's misfits for a second scrimmage, and they're also aided by a girl ringer that Andrea brings in.  Lessons in humility and sportsmanship are learned by all.  Admittedly a little cheesy, but I enjoyed watching it again after all these years.

Naturally I had a strong urge to make cards from this episode.  Both in homage to Luke Perry and a show I forgot I loved so much.

The episode debuted in 1991 but I chose to go with a 1988 Topps inspired design.  There wasn't a lot of decent pictures available online so the one picture with Brandon, Mr. Walsh and Steve Sanders I thought would be perfect for a Team Leaders card, which wasn't a subset in the 1991 set.  If I'm correct Topps did that subset from 1986 through 1989.  Since I was doing that card in the 1988 style I also kept Dylan McKay's coach card in the same design.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Dumb And Dumber

I've been wanting to make a Dumb and Dumber card so I started thinking about the movie’s different scenes and I decided I needed to make a card with of Lloyd and Harry in their orange and baby blue charity ball tuxedos.  I found the image above and knew it’d do great in the 1988 Topps football league leaders design I made for Step Brothers.

Dumb and Dumber is one of those movies I’ve seen more times than I can count.  Dumber and Dumber came out when I was in eighth grade so of course I loved it with humor that is tailor made for a middle school kid.  A buddy of mine had the VHS tape and we damn near wore that thing out.  He also had the movie’s soundtrack which is chock full of 90’s goodies. 

Lloyd Christmas is probably neck-and-neck with The Grinch as my favorite Jim Carrey roles.  I also think Jeff Daniels is an altogether brilliant actor and I love the fact that he’s a Michigan guy that stayed home even after making it big. 

This is the second card I’ve made from Dumber and Dumber, here’s the first.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


When you think of great hockey movies the first couple that come to mind are probably Slap Shot and Miracle.  Those are excellent choices, but there's another movie that needs to be mentioned in the same breath... 1986's Youngblood.  It's a true eighties cult classic with a solid young cast.  Just the kind of movie I love making cards for.

These four cards have a design inspired by the 1986 Topps hockey set.  I used the Red Wing color pallete for the Mustangs and the Penguins colors for the Carl Racki Bombers card both based on the look being close to the respective team uniforms to that of the Wings and Pens. 

Even though Keanu Reeves didn't have much screen time in the movie --not even enough to warrant a first name I guess-- I still chose to make him a card because, well, it's Keanu.  It's a pretty early role for him but even back then he was making his classic Keanu faces.  I read Keanue, a Canadian, was actually a pretty decent goalie in real life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Lzzy, Again

I freaking love Lzzy Hale.  She's such a bad ass and Halestorm's newest album, Vicious, rocked.  She and the band make me believe that rock 'n' roll music is very much alive and well.

I made this Lzzy card and have been wanting to make another, but I wanted it to be cool and not just make one for the sake of crushing on her. 

I've been wanting to use one of the designs from the 1978 Donruss Kiss set.  But, same line of thinking, I wanted it to be cool and no just throw any old thing into the template.  I was bumping around Instagram like I do when I should be doing something productive and came across the pic I used for this card.  I thought the picture sort of hard a vintage rock look and would go great in the design and I was not disappointed. 

Lzzy is right up there at the top of custom cards I'd love to get signed.  One day, fingers crossed.