Friday, May 29, 2020

Well, That's Redundant.

The idea behind Phantom Cardboard is the creation of cards that are modeled after vintage trading cards that didn't actually exist.  Well, when doing some scrolling recently on eBay I happen to come across the card pictured above.  Not only was an Ahmad Rashad card made for the preseason game in 1990 that he suited up for the Sixers, but it was made by the exact same card set I was looking to emulate -- the 1990-91 Skybox set.

It wasn't part of their regular set, it was a part of special broadcasters set Skybox put together.  I searched out and found that there's a total of four cards to this set.  Along with Ahmad there is Julie Moran, Bob Costas and Pat Riley (although I could only find images for Rashad and Moran).

Whoopsie.  Oh well. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Joan Jett

I come across this image of Joan Jett with a baseball bat on her shoulder a few times while bumping around the 'net but, for some reason, it never dawned on me to make a card using the picture until recently I saw it captioned with the year it was taken, which was 1977.  Light bulb moment, 1977 Topps baseball.

Upon doing a little research on Joan Jett I found out she's a huge Baltimore Orioles fan which is something I didn't know prior and lent well to the factoid area on the reverse on the '77 Topps card back design. 

Thursday, May 21, 2020


Another movie I've given a rewatch to in this time of quarantine is 1992's Juice.  Very entertaining movie and just more proof that Tupac was a very talented actor. 

Here's a custom card of Omar Epps' character, "Q", who was an aspiring DJ.  Something that's perfect for the 1991 Yo! MTV Raps inspired template.

Get your copy HERE:

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Princess Cheri

This past Star Wars Day fitness model Ana Cheri posted a great cosplay picture of herself in the Princess Leia slave bikini.  Obviously that had to become a custom '83 style Return of the Jedi card.

Friday, May 15, 2020

All Hale

If this is your first time seeing my custom card blog you should know I'm a big fan of Lzzy Hale.  If this is not your first time reading the blog you're most likely sick of reading that I'm a big fan of Lzzy Hale -- seeing as this will be the 4th time I've done an entry about cards I've made of her.

Why I love Lzzy is much is that not only is she a badass but she's also an awesome human being.  I've said for a long time that, to me, Dave Grohl is the coolest guy in rock 'n'roll and I am of the opinion Lzzy is the female Dave Grohl in the way that she's a cool person that just so happens to be a rock star.  Any interview I've read or watched, any fan interaction I've ever read about or seen she's truly a down-to-earth class act. So there's that, which is enough, but I also love the music she and her band Halestorm make and also let's not pretend she's not easy on the eyes.

I got it in my head that I wanted to make a Lzzy Hale mini-set.  I originally wanted to make it a 9 card set to display nicely in a 9 pocket card binder sheet.  The problem was I was able to narrow down my favorite 10 Lzzy pics but couldn't leave any one of the 10 off, so... it's 10 cards.

The set isn't a direct homage to a particular vintage card set but it does get some inspiration from the 1978 Donruss Kiss set both at the top of the frame and the font used for the "Lzzy Hale" design in the lower right.  I thought that font would be fitting because to me it resembles the lettering on Lzzy's guitar strap.  I wanted to incorporate Lzzy's signature Epiphone Explorer guitar into the design so I made it a part of the frame.  I was originally going to make all of the frames the same color but as a nod to Lzzy's championing of equality I used 5 different colors and tried to coordinate them to the 10 different photos.

The card back was just something I came up with that I thought would look cool.  It's meant to resemble be a rock show marquee.  I filled the marquees with a mix of facts and quotes about Lzzy and Halestorm.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Mamba Forever

When Kobe Bryant perished in a helicopter crash this past January I was affected by the news as much as any celebrity death in my lifetime.  I remember sitting on my sofa in shock not really believing it could be true.  "Not Kobe, anyone but Kobe!"  I kept expecting to see a breaking update that Kobe had actually survived having jumped out of the helicopter moments before it crashed in true "Mamba Mentality" fashion.

As I've written on here before basketball is my favorite sport.  I grew up with the Bad Boy Pistons, so I pretty much hated every other team and star players because there was this notion that they hated us.  I've carried that type of fandom throughout my life.  I don't like the hoops darlings that the NBA tries to sell.  I like guys that are gritty, win at all cost non-prima donna types.  Kobe was that in my eyes.  He wanted to be the best as opposed to teaming up with the best.  I also was drawn to him because he was a thinker who was always intensely studying the world around him.  Couple that to the fact that he always came off as a "real" dude.  So many superstars I feel are cliché spouting cornballs.

I drew parallels with myself and Kobe Bryant. We're the same age and are both fathers of four.  From all accounts he was every bit the dad as he was the basketball player, if not more, and that devastated me to think about his three girls that lost their superhero of a father and a sister that was also on that ill-fated helicopter ride.

I made a Kobe card back in 2017 when I was plugging in celebrity ceremonial first pitchers in a 1986 Topps inspired design.  I've improved on my cards since then so I revisited that card and gave it new life with some touch ups and a card back commemorating his ceremonial pitch for the Dodgers back in the year 2000.

When Kobe passed away I was asked if I was going to do a card of him.  I didn't rule it out, but to just hurry up and do a card because he died seemed like bad form to me.  It had to be the 'right' card if I were to make one at all.

I've expressed my love for the 1991 Score subsets on here before.  One that I've always wanted to recreate was the Master Blaster subset -- there was also the K-Man and Rifleman subsets which were essentially the same thing with a different color laser burst background.  Like my reservation on a new Kobe card, it had to be the right Master Blaster card and not just any ol' picture thrown in there.  I finally came across some images that satisfied the prerequisites of being the 'right' fit.  The pictures, I assume, are media day pictures and probably for a cross marketing promotion done between the Lakers and Dodgers.
1991 Score

The two cards work in tandem to pay tribute to both Kobe's #8 and #24 eras.  I spent a lot of time on these particular cards and am satisfied that they're fitting tributes to a legend taken far too soon. 

Get your copies HERE.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Froggy Fresh

Back in 2012 Froggy Fresh (then known as Krispy Kreme) and his pahtna, Money Make Mike, took the internet by storm with the video to the song "The Baddest".  I guess you could call it comedy rap?  They then followed that up with video after video that expanded the Froggy Fresh universe.  I was hooked from day 1.  The Froggy Fresh character is so well done that it had a lot of people wondering if was actually a character or not.  The musical value is well produced and the story telling draws you in and keeps you entertained.

Unfortunately the guy behind Froggy Fresh has since retired the alter ego.  Fortunately, he still puts out music on YouTube under his actual name, Tyler Cassidy.  His newer stuff is still as funny but the genre has changed into a more soulful crooning style of music.  No elaborate videos either.  Just Tyler at a piano.  But it's still just as good.

I did two cards for Froggy and Mike.  Of course I had to pay tribute to the video that started it all and that went into the 1991 ProSet Yo! MTV Raps inspired design.

I also made a card from my personal favorite from the Froggy Fresh catalog which is his song "Dunked On" using the 1980-81 Topps basketball inspired design.  This design is one of my favorites to use.  I really like making cards that feature multiple pictures on them.

Get your two card set HERE.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Herman Munster

As I've written about in the past it seems like nearly every television series that was worth its salt had a baseball episode.  The newest card comes from one such episode from the 1960's monster sitcom The Munsters.  Although the original air dates were a bit before my time I got to see my fair share of episodes with the show staying in syndication for a good long time.

The design inspiration for this card is the 1987 Hygrade All-Time Greats set.  I remember getting this set as a gift as a kid.  I don't remember which relative got me it but I do seem to recall they came in a blister pack.  I really liked these cards when I got them.  I actually thought I had cards of guys like Mickey Mantle, Yogi Bear and Jackie Robinson.  I wasn't wise enough to realize that they were just reprints.
1987 Hygrade All-Time Greats

All of the cards listed the players playing years.  For Herman I chose 1964 - 1966 because it's the years that The Munsters originally aired.  The backs of the '87 Hygrade's would summarize the baseball legend's career.  For Herman's card I give give you the plot line of the episode, the baseball portion at least. 

I don't like making up information so I research as much as I can about all the cards I do.  It's said that Herman is 150 years old, the episode aired in 1965 ("Herman The Rookie") so when you take 150 from that you get a birth year of 1815.  Fred Gwynne is 6'5" -which helped him get the role as Herman Munster- and in the show his boots had a 4" rise bringing Herman up to a height of 6'9".  Gwynne weighed 220 lbs. and his Herman getup added 50 lbs., that's where I got the weight of 270 lbs.

Get your copy HERE.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Stalegum SLU

If you collected sports cards during the "junk wax era" then the chances are that you probably had a few of Kenner's Starting Lineup figures on top of your dresser as well.  Like the cards from that era, these nearly actionless figures didn't exactly prove to be the sound investments us ten year olds might have hoped for.

I had a few myself.  I even tried to play with them even though you're pretty locked into the player's one pose.  The head could turn side-to-side and the arms could move up and down at the shoulder and that was apparently all of the articulation Kenner thought would make us mini-consumers happy.

Along with your SLU figure Kenner would also include a card in the toy's blister pack to collect (sometimes also a coin or folded up poster).

To pay homage to the 4" tall plastic sports heroes I teamed with the talented artist Dave Houle to create the brand's third Jackie Stalegum card.

The illustration is molded after the 1989 Don Mattingly figurine, while the card is representative of the cards that came in the inaugural baseball set in 1988.

I put together a little Phan Pack for this card.  It'll include:

  • An autographed card by Dave Houle #'d/10 and in a 55 pt. Ultra Pro one touch case
  • a standard version of the card
  • a sticker pack as seen below

Get your Stalegum SLU Phan Pack HERE.

FUN FACT: Pat McInally, a former NFL player for the Bengals, came up with the idea for creating the figures.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Chloe Cluchey

Chloe Cluchey is a gymnast for the University of West Virginia.  This card continues a theme of highlighting accomplished female athletes that are, or most certainly could be, fitness models using early Upper Deck inspired designs.  This one happens to be reminiscent of the 1990 UD baseball design.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Cool As Ice

Here's another gem I got reacquainted with during the stay-at-home order we're currently under here in Michigan.

Here's a little admission, I was a huge H-U-G-E Vanilla Ice fan back in the day.  I remember getting the To The Extreme cassette tape in December of 1990.  I bought it for myself while Christmas shopping for others.  Not only did I know every word to every song I also know how those songs sounded when the batteries to my Walkman were about to die, which usually happened to and from school on the bus.  I had posters up and I even read his, what I know was highly fabricated, biography from a book I got from the Scholastic book order.  Easy to say I was the perfect demographic mark for the Ice Man.

Here's some nice things I'll say about Cool As Ice.  It does a pretty good job of encapsulating some totally early 90's fashions.  Let's see, it features Michael Gross (dad from Family Ties) and Kristin Minter (older cousin from Home Alone).  It's quotable.  There's three nice things for ya.

But, this is a bad movie.  I like bad movies though, so I do legitimately like Cool As Ice.  It's overtly obvious that this movie was simply thrown together to cash in on Vanilla Ice's rocket ship like ascension to the top of popular music --  To the Extreme spent 16 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200, and sold 15 million copies worldwide.  But, the movie made zero sense to the point it's comical.  It cost $6 million to make but only had a box office gross of $1.2 million.  Ironically, after being on top of the world a year prior, Vanilla's run was pretty much over by this time as a paradigm shift to grunge music took the place of Ice's sequined and airbrushed pop-rap.  It's kind of a shame too because Vanilla is a pretty charismatic guy (as evidenced by all the reality TV he's been a part of over the years).  As good as the timing was for his music career, this movie's timing was equally as bad for his acting career.  I would be genuinely interested in seeing him in a movie role where he wasn't just playing a caricature of his rap caricature.

As for the card, this is of course inspired by ProSet's 1991 Yo! MTV Raps card set.  I think, like Cool As Ice, these cards are an example of the cash in on the card boom of the early '90s, or, as it's come to known as, the "junk wax era".
ProSet's 1991 Yo! MTV Raps

I've done a number of cards in cards in the past.  They all, sans the B-Rabbit card, have fun with the gentrification of rap music.  This card is obviously not an exception.  What does set this one apart though is that I've gone little deeper into the design, giving the card a little more flava with a full bleed card back complete with a Johnny Van Owen Yo! Fact!

Get your copy HERE.

Thursday, April 16, 2020


Here is the second card birthed out of my quarantine watch list.

I remember as an eleven year old kid the impactfulness of Boyz n the Hood.  This around a time where urban culture was really gaining steam in becoming popular culture.  Up until that point most of it was fun Kid 'n Play type stuff, but director John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood was a more raw look into gang culture.  It certainly wasn't the first movie to venture there, but it is, in my mind, the best and most significant.

I popped in this VHS and watched this movie for the first time in a long time.  The movie has held up and still worthy of all the praise it gets.  It's not just for the story the movie tells, but the cinematic excellence for which it was told.  Boyz n the Hood has a masterful aesthetic appeal and the acting put names like Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lawrence Fishburne, Ice Cube and Nia Long on the map.

While watching I couldn't ignore the Old English D on "Doughboy's" Tigers' cap that Cube wore throughout the movie.  I'm sure I noticed it as a kid from the metro Detroit area, but it has a new significance now that I've been channeling my creative angst into retro inspired trading cards.  Now it's like of course there needs to be a Darrin "Doughboy" Baker Detroit Tigers baseball card!

In 1991 when Boyz n the Hood came out there was a must have baseball card that would be sure to make you a rich man in the future... the '91 Score Chipper Jones #1 Draft Pick card.  Like I've stated in the past about the 1991 Score set, it's a pretty forgettable looking base card, but the subsets are some of the best ever in my opinion.  I remembering pulling the Chipper Jones from a pack and really liking the looking of the card.  The sunset looking orange-to-yellow gradient fade gives the card a sweltering look, perfect for a "hot" rookie card.
1991 Score

As a side note, if you're familiar with the '91 score set the "Rifleman" or "Master Blaster" subsets might come to mind as a missed opportunity for this card.  But, I went with #1 Draft Pick inspired template for two reasons; for one, because of the Chipper Jones card it's just way more iconic and two there wasn't really any great images of Doughboy with his piece to complete the tongue-in-cheek reference the card would be making.

Get your Doughboy card HERE.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Private School

Suffice to say the quarantine sees me with extra time to watch movies.  With that being said I'll be rolling out some cards I've made from movies on my 'quarantine watch list'.

First up is this card from 1983's Private School.  Sex comedies from the 1980's are pure gold, and this one is no exception.  This was actually a first time watch for me.  This movie has a classic 80's cast.  Phoebe Cates, Betsy Russell, Matthew Modine and Ray Walston are among those starring in this one.  

While I wanted to make cards of the movie I could really see a mini-set coming out of it.  I mainly want to make cards of Phoebe Cates and get a Betsy Russell card into the PCb. catalog.  I don't know this for a fact but I'd be willing to say that this movie was a vehicle for Phoebe Cates, being it comes out on the heels of Fast Times,  but, for me at least, Betsy Russell hijacked this one.  While Phoebe was her adorable self it was Betsy Russell's presence that commanded the most attention.

I decided on 1983 Topps baseball for a design inspiration.  While originally I thought about a card each for Phoebe and Betsy I decided to instead have them share a card in a recreation of the '83 set's team leader cards.

Get your copy HERE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Cindy Crawford (Yet Again)

The Super Bowl is viewed just as much for commercials as the actual game.  Let's be honest, most times the commercials are more entertaining anyways.  When thinking about the most memorable commercials over the years there'll always be one that rockets to the forefront of my mind ... Cindy Crawford's 1992 Pepsi commercial.

I vividly remember 12-year-old me being stopped in my tracks upon seeing Cindy climbing out of that red Lamborghini.  I pretty much had the same reaction as the two young boys in the commercial, but for me it had nothing to do with the look of Pepsi's new can.  Even today if I go on YouTube and watch it I'd still have the starry eyed "Wowww" look on my face.  Cindy Crawford is all-time, I tell ya. All. Time.

I've been on an early Upper Deck kick as of late, so I decided to go right back to that well and use the 1991 football inspired design that I repurposed for my Britney Spears halftime card.  Why not 1992 you ask?  I'm just not big on it.  Although I always try to whenever possible match the year of the card design to the year of the card subject I just thought the 1991 design looked better for what I was using it for.  Plus, I could add more cards to the the two I've made already and it could turn into something like a "Super Bowl Memories" mini-set.  We'll see.

Get your copy HERE.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Lzzy Hale (Yet Again)

Lzzy Hale is someone I only need half a reason to make  custom card of,  not even a whole reason, just half of one.  Ever since seeing her and Halestorm open for Shinedown years back, she melted my face off and has been on the list of my favorite things ever since.

1990-91 UD hockey
My half a reason this time was the picture of Lzzy holding up the custom jersey the Syracuse Crunch presented to her when she sang the National Anthem for them a couple of years ago.  It reminded my of rookie hockey card where the draftee is holding up his new team's sweater.

Some of my favorite cards I've made recently are the ones modeled after early Upper Deck designs so I wanted to do another of those.  I love the distinctive clean early UD look. 

I ended up choosing the 1990-91 Upper Deck design, UD's first hockey set.  I used the color scheme from the Toronto Maple Leaf's as it most closely resembled the Syracuse Crunch.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Fletch (Yet Again)

With all the craziness that is the world we're currently all living in I just haven't been able to focus on my custom trading card making hobby.  That's a shame because at the start of the new year I had 1,001 ideas for cards and different things for the PCb. brand, but ... here we are.

Most of my ideas are on the back burner save for this one that came via email from a collector of the cards I make.  It was one I just really didn't want to put off.  Unbeknownst to me there were some sports themed scenes from Fletch that didn't make the final film.  One of those was of Fletch posing as a relief pitcher for the Dodgers.  I thought eventually I'd be doing another card or two starring Chevy Chase but I thought I didn't think it'd be another I.M. Fletcher card.  But... there could be one last Fletch card yet to be made.  There's also a deleted scene of Fletch as a goalie for the L.A. Kings and if a decent quality picture of it ever surfaces I'll be all over it.

The card is in the style of Topps' 1985 baseball design.  Get your copy HERE.

Hopefully we, as a world community, collectively kick some coronavirus ass so we can all resume our normal lives.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Britney Spears

Right before Super Bowl LIV I was listening to podcast and they made a reference to an article that ranked the best halftime performances of all-time for the big game.  Ranked pretty high on that list was the 2001 show with Aersomith, Britney Spears, N' Sync, et al.  I remember that well because of how smoking hot Britney was during that performance.  Never the biggest Britney guy, but I can't deny I took notice of her at least for that show.

This card is done in the style of the 1991 Upper Deck football set, which was UD's inaugural pigskin offering.

Get you copy HERE.
1991 Upper Deck football

Thursday, February 13, 2020


With Eminem's meme-inspiring performance of his Academy Award winning "Lose Yourself" at this years Oscars just a mere 17 years after winning for Best Original Song in a film it got me to thinking that adding a Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith, Jr. card to my 1991 ProSet Yo! MTV Raps inspired cards would be pretty phat-with a "ph".

Get a copy HERE.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Little House On The Prairie

I'm not sure how it is these days because I don't watch any new television shows, but if you made a television series anytime in, let's say, the seventies up through the nineties and you didn't have a baseball episode ... was it even a t.v. show?

I've done a few cards from that familiar television trope.  Anything from The Incredible Hulk, The Greatest American Hero, Freaks and Geeks, Married... With Children, Seinfeld, and the list goes on.  Needless to say television baseball episodes have been great source material for my custom cards.

Well, not all that long ago I was alerted via Instagram DM by a helpful user about a baseball episode that had escaped my radar... Little House on the Prairie.  Who didn't enjoy an early afternoon with the Ingalls family?  Anytime I watched an episode of Little House as a kid I felt like I had just eaten a big warm bowl of oatmeal.  It was that wholesome.

1975 Topps
So, I found the episode in question on YouTube and gave it a watch.  That's my "method" if you will.  I like to have a fresh recollection of details of anything I make a card of just so I can give it the attention it deserves.  I knew right away that I'd be making a card from this particular episode.  If you're wanting to give it a watch yourself it's a Season 2 episode entitled "In the Big Inning" -- which is a clever as hell title.

Little House on the Prairie was set in the late 1800's, so I wasn't exactly going to be able to match the card design to that time frame.  Instead I went with a 1975 Topps baseball inspired design to coincide with the year the episode originally aired.

I switched it up on the card back a little bit.  Instead of going with a design that mirrored a base card backing I thought it would be cool to use the news headline style back of the Highlights subset which gave me a chance to give a synopsis of the episode. Get your copy HERE.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Red Hot Chili Peppers

I came across this pic of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and thought it would make a fun custom football card.  The photo itself (c. 2011) is the band playing tribute to The Who’s 1974 out-takes album “Odds And Sods” album cover.

I did this one in the style of a 1988 Topps football team card.  I just like the design for nostalgia reasons, 1988 was the year that I probably busted the most football packs.

Get your copy HERE.
1988 Topps football