Friday, August 16, 2019


I get why there was never a Commando trading card set back in 1985 with trading cards, especially movie sets, being marketed to kids and Commando having a high kill count and all, but I knew eventually it was something I'd put something together.  The movie kicks ass and it's Arnold Schwarzenegger.  (I know, that last sentence was kind of redundant.)   

This set is done in a 1985 Topps football inspired template.  For the second set in a row my each card has it's own unique back featuring a quote from the character on front.  And, for the first time this set is numbered.  There's nine cards, perfect for a binder sheet.  The nine cards are character cards, and I plan to eventually do a series two with nine action cards.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Just One Of The Guys

Just One of the Guys is an incredible movie that I personally feel sometimes unfairly gets overlooked because it was made in the '80s when so many other great movies came out.  Heck, in just 1985 alone -- the year the movie was released -- you had movies come out like Back To The Future, First Blood Part II, Teen Wolf, Commando, The Goonies and the list goes on-and-on.  For me though, Just One of the Guys is right up there with that list.  I can watch it anytime.  It's a charming movie that unfortunately I'm not so sure could be made in today's over-sensitive culture.  Joyce Hyser's Terry was an androgynous rock star plus Sherilyn Fenn and William Zabka are a couple of all-time favorites of mine.

As it usually goes I was inspired to do this set after a recent re-watching.  Since this movie, in my opinion, is so slept on I wanted to do something special as far as a custom card set goes.  I tried to visualize how cards would look in all of the different 1985 sport card templates from all the major companies and nothing looked in my mind like a home run.  Then, like the loser I am, I watched the movie again a couple of days later and the answer was right there in the dialogue:

Terry: "I'm a girl.  I'm a woman."
Rick: "Right, and I'm Cyndi Lauper."
Eureka!  In 1985 Topps put out a Cyndi Lauper trading card set! Perfect! I knew the pink paint splatter design would be a great throwback look for this set.
1985 Topps Cyndi Lauper

The Cyndi Lauper cards were not captioned on the front, they all just said "Cyndi Lauper" in that squiggly nameplate thingy.  I thought to use that same design for a caption would be a real pain in the ass.  So, what I did was I threw a Just One of the Guys movie logo in the upper left corner.  When I looked at that it felt like it needed something else.  The logo doesn't really pop so I decided to add something to the lower right corner to kind of even the card out for the eye.  I first thought of some sort of head shot cameo and started looking for the right image.  That's where I came across the overseas VHS cover art and got an idea to edit the image to do the half-and-half Terry you see on the cards.  I really think that's my favorite part of these cards.

Since I didn't have a caption on the front I decided to do something that has been requested but not done with my cards to this point ... each card has a unique back.  I studied a lot up on the movie so I could have a unique quote and fun fact on the reverse of each card.  I personally love that kind of nerd fanboy stuff.  That cameo head shot idea I was going to use for the front got incorporated onto the back design.  I'm not sure how often I'm going to make unique backings for future cards but, like I said, I wanted  to do something a little special for this set.

This mini-set consists of a title card plus nine cards all with unique quotes and facts on the back... plus a bonus card, shaking out to eleven total cards.  Get your set HERE.

I feel like I'd be neglectful if I didn't mention something about "the scene" in which Terry proves to Rick that she is indeed a she by revealing to him a couple of the most perfect breasts in cinematic history.  For a guy like me that is probably closest maturity-wise to the ever horny younger brother Buddy, that scene is everything.  As far as breasts scenes go I put it as 1b to Phoebe Cates' 1a in Fast Times, it's that spectacular.  In researching the movie it seems Joyce Hyser is a little uneasy about the whole thing all these years later especially when it's found on the internet out of context to the movie's plot.  I get that, and as respectfully as possible I would say to her she's got nothing to feel uneasy about.  I found it interesting when I read that she's said no one has ever asked her at a signing or convention to sign that particular scene.  I don't think I'd have the fortitude myself  to try and get that signed but I'd probably be picturing it in my head while she signed one of my PG-13 cards.  Sorry, Joyce.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Red Heat

I don't think there's an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that I don't like, especially from the '80s.  Red Heat is a cool buddy-cop type movie, but I would say, as far as Arny movies go, it would be like a tier-two movie, for me anyway.

I couldn't see myself doing a set from this movie but I did think a card of Arnold's "Ivan Danko" character in the style of the 1988 Topps baseball matching the year the movie was released.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Alyssa Milano

Any male who grew up watching Who's The Boss? at some point developed a thing for Alyssa Milano, I would think anyways.  She was always super cute and continued to blossom into a total knock-out as an adult. 

The picture used for this card was taken in 1987 during a (I believe) charity celebrity game at Dodger Stadium.  The card itself of course is done in the style of the 1987 Topps baseball.

With just a little bumping around the internet I found out that to this day Alyssa is still a huge Dodgers fan.  I think she's actually a really big sports fan just in general.  She's got her own line of official team apparel for female sports fans.  Even more reason to stay crushing on her, eh?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Bert Hearts To Fart

I came across this infamous photo of Bert Blyleven and knew it had to have a card of it's own.

I was having a difficult time chasing down the exact year of this image so I put in an email to a pretty resourceful friend of the site and he was able to find that the picture was taken in 1984 in the locker room of the Cleveland's Municipal Stadium where Blyleven spent the '84 season as a member of the Cleveland Indians' rotation.

Bert has all the statistical criteria needed to be enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it took him 13 years before he finally got in in 2011.  Perhaps that can be attributed his casual attitude about busting heat on reporters during post-game interviews?  I have to imagine that's not really going to endear you to any of the writers that vote on who gets in.  To Bert's credit he's never hid his high regard for a good ass blast as he told Big League Stew in a 2008 interview:
"That’s why I wore it. I love to fart. I do. When the time is right, I do it. I’m not going to hide it."
I first made this card in the 1984 Topps  baseball inspired template but I just wasn't 100% happy with the final card so I went with my original idea to make it in the style of Topps' long running Turn Back The Clock subset.  Like, "hey, remember that time when Bert Blyleven was photographed in that I love to fart t-shirt?".

The Turn Back The Clock cards remained very similar for a number of years with just the background color changing.  I chose the blue of the 1989 edition to put a couple years between the that and the year that the fateful pic was snapped.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Claudia Schiffer

While doing some mindless scrolling the likes of which most humans engage in now on a daily basis I happened upon this image of the German born goddess Claudia Schiffer used for this card.  I want to say it comes from a Guess? Jeans campaign. 

Claudia Schiffer, like Cindy Crawford or Christie Brinkley, is one of those names that put the "super" in super model.  Those women's names for any of us guys growing up in the '80s or '90s immediately conjure up the vision of feminine beauty that almost didn't even seen real, too perfect.  Like if you were to mention the name "Claudia Schiffer" it was probably in jest of her incomparable good looks, like "yea, but she's no Claudia Schiffer".

Seeing that this image is black and white it's makes are great addition to the other two Dream Girl card's I've made that are patterned after the 1991 Score baseball Dream Team subset. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Vision Quest

I really, really like the movie Vision Quest.  It's one of those movies where if I'm staring at my VHS collection wanting to watch a movie but nothing is really jumping out to me I could always watch Vision Quest.

I would call Vision Quest a quintessential 80's movie, complete with training montage and kick ass soundtrack.  Any time I watch it I really feel inspired by Matthew Modine's portrayal of Louden Swain.  It's not only for the character's determination but also Louden seems like a genuinely good person, an all-american kid who is still naive and yet to be hardened by pressures and experiences that come with adulthood.

When I started messing around with making cards Louden Swain was one of the very first cards I did.  It was natural because I love the movie so much and since it came out in 1985 which was the first template I recreated for custom cards.  Upon a recent viewing I was inspired to revisit my admiration for the movie and add a Brian Shute card.  At first I was just going to add a card to the Louden I'd already made in the '85 Topps baseball design but I decided to do go a different direction and make two new cards.

I went with a Star Co. basketball inspired design.  For me it has a classic trading card frame and it's also a bit of a cheat since Star used the same exact template for their cards from 1983 through 1986, they would just switch the color of the card's frame for the different NBA teams.  The Star design allowed me to add the the weight class where the player's position would normally go.  That's an important detail of the movie with Louden pushing himself to his physical brink in an effort to test his mettle against the reigning state champ in the toughest weight division.

Fun facts: The actor who played Brian Shute, Frank Jasper, had wrestled but leading up to the movie was doing body building, was closer in 190 lbs ... Jasper literally had to out wrestle the other guy  vying for the part of Shute ...

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Big Trouble In Little China

I’ve been wanting to do a Big Trouble in Little China set for quite some time now but I kept putting it off and putting it off.  The reason why is that I knew it would be time consuming.  I knew it would just be a couple of cards because I wanted to do the movie cardboard justice.  I try to make to make the best cards possible not only for my personal satisfaction in a job well done but anyone who may be a fan of the card’s subject.  All of my cards take time to make, but this set a little longer due to the size.   Big Trouble may not have been a box office smash -- grossing about half of what it took to make the movie -- but it’s garnered as big of a cult following as most any 80’s cult classic, especially after being released on VHS in 1996.  I added three new complete revolutions on my tape’s spools while making this set just so I could get down more of what I would call fan-accurate details.

Big Trouble would have been ripe for a card set.  There’s all of it’s colorful characters and scenes that just plain look great as cards.  Director John Carpenter has gone onto say that Twentieth Century Fox never got behind the movie not really knowing what they had with Big Trouble in Little China.  I think a card set could have gone a long way to help capture the imagination of kids who would have bugged their parents to take them to see the movie.

I knew I would be doing more of a storyboard type set than just a principal characters set with Big Trouble.  There’s so many great scenes in the movie that I wanted to include but I kind of had to take what the internet would give me, which fortunately was the majority of what I wanted to include.

This set ended up being 39 cards that is split evenly into a series one and two, but it could have easily been double had I come across more images.

When I thought about how I wanted the set to look there really was only one template I seriously considered, the 1986 Donruss design.  I was so pleased with how the design complimented my Wraith and Thrashin’ sets that it really was an easy decision to use it once more, just this time in an all too fitting jade green colored border.

This set features a couple of firsts for a Phantom Cardboard set.  For the first time I finished a set off with a checklist.  The second first is a 6-card puzzle back of the Lo Pan’s catacomb monster.  The puzzle is complete with three cards from the first series and three from the second.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Sir Elton

With the Elton John biopic Rocketman being released last month I began to see pictures of Elton John in his sequin Dodgers’ outfit from his 1975 concert held at Dodger Stadium.  On October 25th and 26th, 1975 Elton played two sellout stadium shows that were attended by over 100,00 people.  I thought a blinged-out Sir Elton at the height of his popularity was just right for a custom card.

This is a 1975 Topps inspired card.  I’ve used this template before but this one has a unique addition that the other cards I’ve made using this template did not, a facsimile autograph.  Up until 1982 (I believe) Topps often incorporated preprinted facsimile autographs as part of their card’s designs.  Most of my cards I make are of fictional characters and I wouldn’t presume to make up an autograph for the character so I would just omit that part, but for this one I found a pretty good example of Elton’s sig and added it to this card for that little extra touch.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Danny Zuko

When I was younger I didn’t care for the movie Grease.  The reason I that didn’t was kinda stupid really, I thought it was a “girl movie” since practically every girl claimed to just love Grease.  I mean, after all, it is a musical rom-com.  But, now that I’m older I’m secure enough to admit that it’s pretty damn entertaining.  There’s also no denying that John Travolta is one charismatic son of a bitch with Danny Zuko being a prime example of said charisma. 

These two cards are similar to the Rocky Balboa stickball card I did in the sense that Topps made cards in the context of their movie set, but these are more of a fictional sports card of the character.  These two cards are from the scenes where Danny, with the help of Coach Calhoun, is trying to show Sandy that Tom Chisum has nothing on his own athletic prowess.

I’ve used the 1978-79 Topps basketball inspired design for my Tony Gwynn college basketball card, but this was my first with using the ‘78 Topps baseball inspired design.  This particular design has always felt a little early ‘80s Donrussy to me, kind of uninspired.  Even with that being said I really like the vintage look it gives this card.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Jackie Stalegum Lives!

I’m a sucker for mascots, logos and graphic design in general.  There’s a few nostalgia clothing brands I follow online that I've really been influenced by with their character branding.  I wanted to do something like that with my card brand.  I wanted to establish a cool logo / mascot that could be instantly associated with Phantom Cardboard.

I came up with my first logo when I started to realize that making custom cards wasn't a passing fancy, but rather a passion to create and connect to childhood loves.  I love branding and wanted to make something symbolic of my cards.  My first attempt at this was a little cute ghost character.  It kinda looked like a cross between that video game character Kirby and the ghosts found in the Mario Bros. castles.  I sent that image to friends to get their takes on it.  The response was just okay, and I wanted something better than that.
I was originally going to spell it Fantom Cardboard

I went back to the drawing board and took a bit of a more literal approach.  A Phantom of the Opera style mask wearing a baseball hat was the new direction I took.
Version 1.0

Not too long after creating my logo I saw that Matthew Skiff had some openings for commissions.  Matthew is a prolific graphic designer and has done some of the coolest nostalgia pieces that you can find on the internet.  His stuff is epic and I’ve admired his talent for years, so I jumped at the chance to have him design something for the PCb. brand.  This was back in September of 2017.

Basically I was looking to have my basic concept polished and refined by Matthew’s skill.  He took and executed my ideas flawlessly, and was a pleasure to work with with each and every one of my little tweak requests.  Needless to say I couldn’t have been happier with the results.  He translated the vision I had perfectly.

He did an updated and cleaner version of my text logo and my Phantom head logo.  There’s the standard version of the logo and one blowing a bubblegum bubble paying homage to the “stale gum” we all loved in our wax packs. 

While he was at it I also had him expand the logo into a full mascot character.  He got that 100% how I requested too.  Thus Jackie Stalegum was born.  "Jackie" a tribute to Jackie Robinson with the last name being a homage to Topps’ pink brittle premium at the bottom of a wax pack.  I think Jackie has a fun Scooby-Doo villain vibe to him.  I got the idea to add a cape to the presentation from an old Batman card.
1966 Topps Batman B Series

Matthew ran a few color schemes past me.  The one I went with was the one that closely matched my vision mixed with his suggestion for the cape’s outer color.  The color’s a little more towards teal where I had it a dark green which came off a bit Christmasy.

This rookie card was always one thing I wanted to do with the design.  I also want to eventually use it clothing items but that’s something I’m really quite ignorant about so it’s on the back burner until I do a little more fact finding.  So, why did this card take two years?  Basically, I have not been able to take my attention away from the custom cards I make to devote time to creating this particular PCb. brand card.

Finally I just decided I’ve been sitting on this illustration for long enough and I wanted to make this a card.

my little slugger
I considered a number of different templates but decided to go with the one that started it all for me, the 1985 Topps baseball inspired design.  In 2015 I was just messing around with my daughter’s little league pictures trying to make her a custom baseball card.   That came out decent so I did it again this time with my other daughter’s cheerleading picture.  I don't have a formal graphic design background but I’ve always been a creative type and these cards give me a great outlet for that side of me.  From my daughters’ two cards it has snowballed into, hell, I don’t even know how many custom cards I’ve made to date.  As when I collected cards growing up, I never stopped to count, just always wanted more.  Trading cards have been a constant in my life as far back as I can remember.  They’re something I’m sure I’ll always have a love for because I can use them at markers to simpler times.  So many great memories for me can be tied to collecting cards.

At first I was just recycling the ‘85 design and using it to make cards of all the things I wish had been made into trading cards when I was growing up. The design was easily customizable.  I would sometimes leave the team name nameplate blank because I thought it would make for a cool autograph box when I sent my customs out in hopes of getting them signed by celeb types.  From there I would experiment with other designs wanting to match the year of what I was making a card for to a card design produced from the same year.  I just like tying those two things together.  It makes the cards more “real” to me.

Jackie’s card originally had "Phantom Cardboard" inside of the team name nameplate, but then it dawned on me that that rectangle kind of resembles a wax pack gum stick.  That is my favorite part of the card.  Well, that and of course Matthew’s gnarly design.

After making my daughter’s cards my sole reason for making my custom cards initially was to see if I could get them autographed through-the-mail.  It became a fun little nerdy hobby for me.  So I thought what about this Stalegum card coming full circle with that 1985 design and an autograph?  While corresponding back and forth with Matthew about another project I asked if he’d mind signing a few of these cards for me to offer in a Jackie Stalegum RC Phan Pack to which he graciously obliged.

Now I that I had the Phan Pack’s centerpiece I wanted to surround it by some rad Jackie Stalegum swag.

So, without further long-windedness here’s what’s included in the aforementioned Phan Pack:

  • Jackie Stalegum autographed rookie card.  This card has a glossier “Tiffany” finish and is sealed in a 55 pt. Ultra Pro one-touch case.  The backside is signed by Matthew Skiff in Stalegum Pink and limited to 12 hand-numbered copies.
  • Jackie Stalegum regular rookie card.  Standard vintage finish, limited to 50 hand-numbered copies.

  • 1.5" vintage yellow pin
  • 2.25" Trapper Keeper Jackie pin

  • Holographic bubble sticker
  • 2” mini sticker
  • 2” mini magnet

  • Stalegum Pink PCb. school store pencil 

You can pick up your Jackie Stalegum RC Phan Pack here in the PCb. card Shop.  They’re limited to 12 complete Phan Packs.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Happy Memorial Day

On April 25th, 1976 during the fourth inning of a game between the Dodgers and the Cubs two protesters jumped the left-field fence and ran onto the Dodger Stadium outfield.  Their intention was to burn the American flag right there in the outfield.  They got as far as dousing it with lighter fluid and striking two matches, the first blowing out in the wind.  The second was being stuck as Cubs’ center fielder Rick Monday, a former Marine Reserve, ran by and scooped up the flag.  Major League Baseball is a historic American institution and that series of events is one of the game’s most significant moments.

Rick Monday played 19 season in the majors.  He was a two-time all-star and member of the Dodgers 1981 World Series championship team.  Despite that, this one act is what he’s most remembered for but in interviews he’s done through the years he always says he’s totally fine with that.

This card of course is in the style of the 1976 Topps set.  This particular design in the Topps set was used as a part of their traded set.  I thought the newspaper headline motif would lend itself great to this card commemorating a very newsworthy event.

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 pantomimes a number of different positions 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.