Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Jutta Leerdam

I recently became aware of Danish speed skated Jutta Leerdam through the magic of Instagram's explore tab.  Jutta is an accomplished speed skater with a great look.  I'm not sure if speed skaters ever get their own trading cards so I decided to pick up the slack.  Being that speed skating happens on ice I thought it would be most natural to get Jutta into a hockey design, bringing me to pair her with a 1990-91 Upper Deck inspired design. 

Get yourself a Jutta Leerdam card HERE.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sean Kanan

This is the third post in a row where I say I don't like going back to cards I've made in the past and modifying them and then showing off a modified version of one of my older cards.  Unless something comes up, this is the last one.  

As most of the readers know by now the Karate Kid trilogy is my shit.  I even heard rumors that there was a 4th installment and a remake, but I don't believe that.  The Cobra Kai series is pretty bitchin' though ;)  Back to the trilogy ... I love all three of those movies.  The 1984 original is my favorite, but I would have to say that I've seen the third one the most due to its heavy rotation in the early '90s HBO lineup.

You can imagine my excitement when I was asked by Sean Kanan - a.k.a "Karate's Bad Boy, Mike Barnes"- to provide some cards for an Instagram signing event he was doing for fans.  He had seen the Mike Barnes card I made back in 2016 based on the 1989 Topps baseball design and inquired about using it for the signing.  

I had paired that Mike Barnes card with John Kreese and Terry Silver cards and have been offering it as a 3 card mini-set.  I wanted to change the card somewhat to make it different from the card in that set.  The reason is I want to maintain the integrity of the Mike Barnes cards that are out there and sequentially numbered to 50.  I believe in that numbering and I want others to as well.  If I would have made up the remaining /50 inventory for Sean than that would have put an end to the mini-set.  So, I made slight changes to make it different.

I removed the "Karate's Bad Boy" sash that was in the upper left and I added a small PCb. logo.  The most significant change however came in the form of a card back that resembled the '89 Topps, instead of the stamped back you get with the 3 card mini-set.

The card was a hit with fans, and so at Sean's request I did a round 2.  He had a new image for me and I just simply swapped one Barnes pic for the next.  As a "thank you" Sean was kind enough to autograph a few copies for me to offer in my STORE.  

Friday, October 16, 2020

Whoooaaa Bundy II

Like I went into explaining in my last post, I like to leave cards alone once they're done... but, here is another exception to that rule.

I was contacted about doing an Al Bundy football card for a private signing.  Since I'd already made an Al Bundy football card some time back I suggested using that one.  That card was agreed upon but the requester wanted a card back.  Since the card was made in 2018 when I was just using my logo stamped back, it did not have its own unique reverse.  My philosophy was for the longest time that it was all about the card's front side.  That was especially true for the fact that I was originally making these cards exclusively for myself in an effort to see if I could get them autographed.  Once you've got the card autographed who the hell cares what's on back, right?  Well, I've come to see the error of my ways and I've realized that a custom card's back can nearly have a much charm as the card's front if given equal time and thought.  

So, I agreed to do a back for this card.  Just because, I looked to see if perhaps there were any usable Al Bundy football pics I might have missed the first time around.  I knew I was going to use the same 1966 Topps football inspired design (four touchdowns in the '66 championship game, baby!) but I was wanting to remix this card a bit for this requester's private signing.  Low and behold I found an image that I dare say is as good, if not better with this card.  

1966 Topps football

After completing the back I pretty much fell in love with this card.  I actually didn't want to put it out there because I didn't want to, in a sense, kill the original Al football card.  But, I guess they both have to exist because basically I just really like the way this came out.  I think that all of us that grew up with Al "Touchdown" Bundy can appreciate yet another custom of this legend. 

Get yours HERE

Monday, October 12, 2020

Jose Canseco Would Be Proud

I've always maintained that my cards are both entertainment and a creative outlet for myself, and that even if no one else dug them I'd still be goofing around with them for myself.  The fact that there's also a little audience of collectors that are into the same stuff as I am is something that is not lost on me for one second.  It's particularly exciting for me when occasionally a subject of my cards gives me an attaboy. That was the case when the legendary Gerald Okamura saw my Big Trouble in Little China cards on Instagram

I'm honored to say Mr. Okamura really got a kick out of the Big Trouble set.  He's a really, REALLY cool guy, and he has a really big soft spot for those in the fan community still carrying a torch for Big Trouble.  

Big Trouble is such a visual treat of a movie, so it was really fun making a custom card set for it.  If the movie was handled by the studio correctly in 1986 I believe it would have had an official card release.  Luckily, for me anyways, they dropped the ball on marketing this film.  

I wanted to be as inclusive as I could with this card set and it ended making the set massive by PCb. standards.  The card set ended up being 38 cards.  I decided to split the cards into Series 1 and 2 in an effort not to overwhelm fans of the movie.  

The first message from Mr. Okamura was him inquiring about his cards in the set.  I was eager to send him the image of the card/cards featuring him in the set.  To my surprise (and embarrassment) I didn't have anything of his Wing Kong "Golden Six Shooters" character, nor any Wing Kong cards for that matter.  Now, I don't normally go back to a card set and add to or improve on it.  There's a couple reasons for that.  The first reason is that my cards have been ever evolving since I started doing this in 2015.  I look at them as time capsules to where I was artistically at that point in time.  So, the Big Trouble set  was the best of me in June of 2019.  If I were making the set today each card would have its own unique card back like my cards do now.  The second reason is that I don't think it would be fair to anyone who has added these cards to their personal collection to have me, in theory, "improve" on something and they still have the 1.0 version and anyone who purchases it after gets the 2.0.  But, even with that reasoning I just couldn't let this glaring omission stand.

I wanted to gift Mr. Okamura with a complete set that included a card with his character.  I got a cool Wing Kong image that includes Mr. Okamura and another henchman favorite, Al Leong. I kept everything the same so this card could slide in nicely to the Series 1 set. 

Photo courtesy of Gerald Okamura
Photo courtesy of Gerald Okamura

Mr. Okamura also came up with something a little extra special for Big Trouble fans.  I made up a special autograph card that will be a gift to anyone who adds both Series 1 and 2 to their collection.

When talking to Mr. Okamura about the cards I mentioned to him that they're designed to take after the 1986 Donruss baseball cards to coincide with the release year of the movie.  Just kind of explaining why the cards look the way they do.  Without missing a beat Mr. Okamura replied "Jose Canseco would be proud".  That blew me away.  I guess I just didn't expect him to comeback with that card knowledge.  For anyone that didn't grow up trading card obsessed, the 1986 Donruss set is most notable for the extremely sought after short-printed Jose Canseco rookie card that saw the future 40/40 man rocking what can most accurately be described as a "dirt 'stache".  I was so tickled by Mr. Okamura's compliment that I asked him to autograph my personal copy of the card with that inscription, which he so graciously obliged.  That card will never leave my collection.  I might even request to be buried with it ;)

Now, I honestly don't think many read my blog posts.  Not that that's a bad thing.  I just do a little write up with new cards to give a little insight to my thoughts when deciding how the cards will look.  But, in the event that you're reading this and you've added Series 1 to your collection, don't worry, I've got you covered and your card is on the way.  If you've picked up Series 1 and 2 then you've got the new card and the special Gerald Okamura auto card coming your way.  Thirdly, if you've got Series 1 already and add Series 2 at any point the Gerald Okamura card will be included.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Karate Kid Halloween

It's been awhile since I've done a Karate Kid card, so I was kind of jones'n. I've also been thinking all year about doing some limited Halloween themed cards.  The problem with that is that I procrastinated thinking month-by-month that "ahh, I've got plenty of time".  Well, here we are in October.  Oh, well.  Maybe next year.

The Halloween dance scene is a favorite of mine and many Karate Kid fans alike.  Johnny and the Cobra Kai's skeleton costumes are a pretty bad ass look and you've got the clever shower costume engineered by Mr. Miyagi at the last moment.  The part where Johnny and the Cobra Kai catch up to Daniel is really important as it brings Mr. Miyagi into the conflict.

This card is based on the 1984 Topps baseball set with some obvious liberties taken to achieve a more Halloweenish look.  

1984 Topps

The timing of this card is pretty good as well with the trailer for the third season of Cobra Kai have just been released that will surely keep all of us fans buzzing until January when it finally comes out.

This card is a special limited release.  I've dialed the print run back to 31 from the normal 50 and it will be retired at midnight on October 31st.

Get yours HERE.

Friday, October 2, 2020

License To Drive

When you talk about quintessentially '80s movies I have to believe License to Drive makes the short lists, especially when talking about teen comedies. It's got everything you need.  The look, the music and the Coreys at the height of "Corey Mania".  

In doing my research for the card set I watched a number of interviews both from when the movie was released and years later that had the actors looking back on the experience.  It made me a bit sad because it really did seem like Corey Haim was a sweet person who was chewed up and spit out but the dark side of Hollywood.  License to Drive was Heather Graham's first big movie and Corey Feldman, thankfully, was able to resist doing Michael Jackson dance moves in the film.

I've had this movie in mind as a card set for awhile but couldn't quite pair it to a vintage inspired trading card design that I thought would lend well to it.  The reason I like to use trading card designs that match the year of the movie's release is it gives you a mental place marker for when the movie was out.  License to Drive SHOULD have had a proper trading card release, but it didn't.  So, rather than guess at what a 1988 design for a License to Drive trading card set *might* have looked like I framed it in a card design that *did* come out that year.  I just feel it adds a bit more of a authenticity to the set. 

1988-89 Fleer

The design I landed on was 1988-89 Fleer basketball.  It's really nostalgic for me personally because I was heavy into basketball cards at the time. There are some baseball set that, while they may be more recognizable, didn't give me the same creative "fit" as I pictured with this Fleer design.  

Once I settled on a design it was almost overwhelming with all the possibilities that I was thinking could be with an automotive theme.  Eventually I pictured something that could marry the '88-'89's design while incorporating some automotive elements and at the same time not going overboard.

For the card front I incorporated some of the colors that are found on the movies' logo.  Just as a side note, I noticed that the License to Drive logo used the same color pallet as the classic MTV logo.  That's a genius subliminal.  A correlation to MTV, especially in 1988 when it was still a music video channel the way our forefathers intended, would be a perfect marketing fit for this movie's target audience.  Even though the font style of the '88-'89 Fleer is pretty irregular I kept it for the card's captions to really give the eye something to volley the set's original look to this movie adaptation look.  The tire tracks in place of the gradient that was on the side of the Fleer is another attempt to give the cards a License to Drive theme while maintaining the spirit of the original design.  

Some of the images I was finding just wouldn't work well put into a vertical layout , you'd lose a lot, so I went ahead and also made a horizontal template too.  It was a bit of a pain because at that point I was eager to get on with the fun part of making the actual cards, but it was something that I felt needed to be done.  It's a little extra that was definitely worth it. 

The card backs is where I started to freestyle.  I just couldn't see it being a fun card back with mimicking the backs of the original cards.  I had a bunch of different ideas but then it sort of hit me that a license plate would be an absolutely perfect creative complement. It's a California plate, the same style plate that was used on Les' Grandpa's Cadillac.  The tabs were perfect for use as the sequential numbering spot and card numbers.  In addition, the font is a license plate style lettering. 


This set ended up being 22 total cards.  For the backs I was thinking of doing some storyboard synopsis to the scene on the front, but then I reasoned someone who would want this set is going to be familiar with the movie.  Stuff like quotes and little known facts and trivia are the type of stuff I'm into, so that's what you get on the backs of this set.  The first card in the set is a title card, so it's got the cast listed on the card back.  Then you've got 4 character profile backs, 1 quote back, 14 film fact backs and 3 trivia backs.

Awhile back I made a movie accurate Les Anderson driver's license.  I wanted to incorporate it somehow.  What I came up with is a die cut sticker (approx. 3" x 2.5") that comes with the set.  I also had magnet made (approx. 3.5" x 2.25") that I've packaged with an alternate color version of the sticker.

Get your License to Drive set HERE.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Salma Hayek

The newest addition to the ongoing 1991 Score Dream Team inspired Dream Girl set is none other than Salma Hayek.  

There was a a good long time that Salma topped my celebrity crush list.  I'm pretty sure it started with her snake dancing scene in from Dusk till Dawn.   At 54 Salma looks better than most whom are half her age.

Get your Salma card HERE.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

2Pac, 1991

Tupac had a rather meteoric rise to superstardom before his untimely murder, but in 1991 when ProSet released their Yo! MTV Raps rapper trading card set, Tupac was still a relative new-comer to most of the established artists in the set.  This card has a little fun imagining "what if" Tupac had made it into that card set.

In 1991 Tupac --then going by the stage name 2Pac-- was a roadie/back-up dancer in the rap group Digital Underground.  He had a cameo with the group in the movie Nothing But Trouble performing the song "Same Song", which also was featured on the film's soundtrack.  Later that year Tupac released his debut album 2Pacalypse Now.

Get your 2Pac card HERE.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Uncle Rico II



"Back in '82, I used to be able to throw a pigskin a quarter mile."

I've been wanting to do a second Uncle Rico card for a little while now.  My first Uncle Rico card is pretty special as it was the first card I did that sold out all 50 copies.  Napoleon Dynamite is such an offbeat cult favorite.  I personally love it.  Part of what makes that movie so unforgettable is Jon Gries' Uncle Rico character.  For me he did such a great job of playing this unique (30 something?) character that nearly peaked in high school, but he didn't even get that because the coach didn't put him in in the big game.  Rico is a could-have-been.   Even as a stuck in the past smarmy door-to-door hustler I wanted Rico to finally get his win, which thankfully the bonus footage leads you to believe he just might as he catches the eye of a attractive young lady.

Another motivating factor in making an additional Rico Dynamite card was knowing how appreciative Jon Gries is of his fans, so I'm sure there be some copies of this card that get signed.

I've kept my eye out for good ideas for a Rico card and recently an idea I loved hit me.  Starting in 1986 (I think) Topps had a 1,000 Yard Club insert set highlighting players who had amassed 1,000 yard either rushing or receiving.  Well, I wanted to spin that and make a "Quarter Mile Club" for which Rico was the charter and only member of via his claim to be able to be able to throw a football that far back in 1982.  For reference, the world record for a football throw is a little better than 54 yards, a quarter mile is 440 yards.

I chose the 1000 Yard template from 1986 just because it's the one I liked the best.  Rico was straight money and I wanted this card to reflect that. 

Get your copy HERE.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Fast Times Series II

With the succession of Fast Times cast member's birthdays that are in July and August as well as the 38th anniversary of the film's release that just passed on August 13th it got me thinking of the movie which happens to be in my top 5 favorite movies.  The 20 card Fast Times mini-set I made back in 2018 is still one of my favorites.  I love the look of the 1982 Topps baseball inspired design and Fast Times at Ridgemont High is just soooo good, especially for anyone with a fondness for the 1980s.  

Being in the Fast Times mood that I was in I decided to pop in my copy of the movie and enjoy it for the umpteen-millionth time.  I've always enjoyed the movie from the awkward coming-of-age comedic aspect of things, but this time I was watching it a little differently.  The movie is so well done from the standpoint of really feeling like you lived this high school year with these characters.  You had some just coming into high school trying to figure it out, some in the hazy middle years and others at the end of their journey with "real life" about to bear down on them.  The casting is so crazy when you are able to look at how all of these unknowns, at the time, went on to be important players in Hollywood for years to come.  There's not another movie cast that can boast the same level of career success.  It really is a special movie for so many reasons.

While my first Fast Times mini-set focused on making character cards that spanned that unforgettable cast, I had a thought about making a follow-up set highlighting some of the most classic scenes in a 1982 Topps kind of way.  

I guess you could consider the first set the "base cards" and this second set the special "subset" cards.  I took my ques from the "In Action", "Future Stars", "All-Star" and "Team Leaders" cards from the set.  

The 7 card "In Action" design highlights some of the film's most classic scenes.  The "Future Stars" design I had fun with grouping together some of the film's special interests that came in threes.  

I made the Spirit Bunnies card for two main reasons, one, I wanted to use the Ridgemont Wolf logo on a card, and that was my chance as that's the only cards that had team logos in Topps' 1982 baseball offering.  Two, I wanted to get Pamela Springsteen on a card.  She's The Bosses sister and also she's notable for her role in the '80s slasher classics Sleepaway Camp II & Sleepaway Camp III.

Rounding out the 14 card follow-up set is a Brad Hamilton "Manager" card in the style of the "All-Star" subset.  Brad is the character I related to the most in the film.  I spent my high school career focused on working and having a cool car.  Looking back I would have done it differently and not let the parade pass my by.  Hindsight...there's plenty of time to be old, but not enough time to be young.  

If I hadn't already done a Spicoli surfing card I would have also put it into the All-Star template as well.  But, I feel Spicoli's greatness is represented pretty well in this set.

One thing Series II has over the first Series is dedicated card backs.  I wasn't doing those two years ago.  My goal with the card backs was to stay honest to the '82 Topps baseball but tweaked in slight ways to lend tie-ins to Fast Times.

Although the first 20 card mini-set was not numbered, this set picks up at #21 just to make it feel like a true follow-up to the first set.

Get your Series II 14 card mini-set HERE.

1982 Topps 

Friday, August 14, 2020


This image of Prince rollerskating with a 1989 Batman logo tank top on was too good not to become a custom card.

The summer of 1989 was aptly dubbed "The Summer of Batman".  I don't recall a movie more hyped (although Titanic was close) than Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film, and this is decades before the superhero movie craze.  The movie lived up to the hype.  Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson were both brilliant and helped make Batman the hottest property on the planet.

For those who maybe don't know or don't remember, the entire Batman soundtrack was done by Prince.  The album was #1 on the Billboard 200 for six consecutive weeks and helped give Prince's career a commercial revival.

I was eager to finally use a 1989 Topps Batman inspired design.  I was one of the millions of kids who wanted anything they were slapping a Batman logo on, especially trading cards.  The movie was big enough to support a series one and two card set.  Series One had a white border, and is probably the more recognizable of the two series.  I chose, however, to use the yellow frame of the second series as it was more of a behind-the-scenes card series, which this card would fit in better with.

Get your copy HERE.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Tiffani Thiessen


Next in the running Dream Girl series that was inspired by the 1991 Score Dream Team subset is none other than Miss Kelly Kapowski herself, Tiffani Thiessen.  

Get yours HERE.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Dream Girl Kathy Ireland

This custom card is probably long overdue.  I've made a few of these "Dream Girl" cards from a 1991 Score baseball "Dream Team" inspired design.  When you're talking about dream girls for Gen X'ers, Kathy has to be on the shortest of shortlists.  Hopefully, this card makes up for her absence to date.

Get one HERE

Thursday, July 16, 2020

John Goodman

This image is a pretty internet famous image, but it's usually the photoshopped version of it where John is wearing a Black Flag band shirt.  I figured the original image where Goodman is wearing a shirt of his beloved LSU Fighting Tigers would make for a pretty fun card because who isn't a John Goodman fan?  He's been a lot of great stuff which includes several sports-themed roles.

I'm not 100% sure what year the image was taken but I'm fairly sure it's from the '80s.  Usually, I'm a stickler researching so I can match the year to the card design but I knew from the outset that I only wanted to put the image in a 1984 Topps football inspired design.  It's the only football design from the 80's that incorporates a logo (not counting the on-helmet logos '82 & '88 designs), and I really wanted to use the logo LSU used as their primary logo throughout the 1980s.  That logo, to me, looks so generic and dated, therefore it has the type of charm I dig.

I've used the '84 design quite a few times in the past but this is the first time I added a card back.  I was unfamiliar with the back of these cards.  I had to check several sources to make sure I was indeed looking at the back of the right cards because it looks so dated, even more so than 1984.  It looks more like it would befit a football card from the 1970s, or even older.

Get a copy HERE.
1984 Topps football 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Joe Dirt

Joe Dirt is one of those late '90s / early '00s comedies that I didn't realize how much I liked.  Also, I never remember taking note of what a good message the movie has --while being cloaked in lowbrow humor.

If you've read this blog in the past you might remember that my affinity for trading card design, for the most part, comes to a halt in the early '90s.  Joe Dirt came out in 2001 and I have no idea what trading cards looked like by then.  I know they were shinier with foil stamping, but that's about all I know.  So I had to choose a vintage-inspired design that I thought would be a good fit for the movie. 

In looking at the movie's poster I noticed the Joe Dirt type logo has something of an orange gradient fade coloring which made me think of the 1988 Topps football design with its gradient color fades that coordinated with the different NFL teams.  I chose to color the frame the same as that movie poster font logo.  I did that for the 6 character cards in the mini-set and then made 3 "Classic Scene" cards with a blue gradient fade coloring to set them apart as a subset.
1988 Topps football

The card backs are inspired by the '88 Topps football card backs, but not a 1:1 match.  I freestyled a bit to pack as much into the back of these cards as possible. 

Get your mini-set HERE.

I also did an additional David Spade card as a bonus card to the set.