Friday, April 16, 2021

Charles Barkley

First off, I like Charles Barkley.  He's a huge personality.  I like that he speaks his mind.  I don't always agree with his views but I appreciate that he doesn't just parrot populous sound bites.  That's so rare these days with those in the public eye fearing the loss of their entertainment industry club card.  Plus, he may be one of the few people that's worse at golf than I am.

There's this infamous image of Charles Barkley thoroughly enjoying a Domino's pizza -we know it's Domino's because of the drink cup at his side.  I wanted to make a card out of this image, but I just couldn't figure out an angle for the card.  I was hoping to think of something more than the image just plugged into a random card template because, to the best of my knowledge, there weren't any pizza themed card sets in 1984.  

Then I thought of a way to make it make sense.  I'll just conceptualize a backstory for the card!  Okay, so follow along here.  Charles played college ball at 300 lbs.  The 76ers, who had the 5th overall pick in the 1984 draft, were planning on using their pick on Barkley if, as they told him, he could trim down to 285 lbs. before the draft.  Charles was able to get down to 283 lbs. and that's when his agent, Lance Luchnick, informed him that due to the league's hard salary cap back then the Sixers only had $75,000 a year to pay Barkley.  Obviously that was news to Charles as he recalls telling his agent:

“Dude, I didn’t leave college for $75,000. We have a problem.” 

So, Charles spends the next 48 hours eating as much food as possibly could to prevent Philadelphia from drafting him.  Charles managed to balloon to 302 lbs. in just two days, but the kicker was that the 76ers drafted him anyways.  *Whaa-whaaaaa*

Here's where my card concept kicks in ... 

Domino's has seen the pictures of Charles lustfully consuming their product.  When he turns pro in '84 they approach him with an lucrative endorsement deal.  Charles, still gripping over the thought of a paltry rookie contract with the Sixers, jumps at the chance to shill corporate pepperoni and cheese.  Now with Sir. Charles as the face of  "Team Domino's" the promotional marketing gears start to turn.  First up was a special collector's card offered as a purchase premium that was wildly popular and much more profitable than actually giving money off of pizza purchases!

As it turned out Philly loosened the purse strings and ended up giving Barkley a four-year, $2 million contract one month later, including a $150,000 signing bonus (that's actually true).  Barkley now has so much bank he has no need for his pizza money and stops taking Domino's calls for restaurant grand opening ribbon cutting ceremonies, leaving the trading card promotion as the only link between Barkley and the pizza chain's partnership as Barkley's lawyers were able to get him out of his Domino's contract due to an unusual loophole on the part of Domino's legal team.  The contract was not signed within 30 minutes or less making it null and void as per company policy.

Domino's was in shambles for a couple of years following "The Barkley Debacle" (as it came to be known in corporate pizza circles) until "The Noid" was concocted in 1986 allowing the Domino's franchise owners to once again hold their heads high at family gatherings and social functions.

There.  Now the card has an interesting backstory.  

Since the picture is from 1984 I went back to the '84 Topps baseball inspired well.  I've been on a bit of a roll with this design between the André the Giant card and the Revenge of the Nerds set.  In the same spirit of the André card, instead of using a headshot in the designated inset square I went with a cheesy (pun so intended) stock pizza image.  I thought that would be humorous.  

While I made up a story for the front of this card, the info on the reverse side is all true.

Get yours HERE.

Friday, April 9, 2021

The G.O.A.T: Hammered Trinity

I was quite honestly taken by surprise at the response of the first Tom Brady card I did.  All 12 copies were gone inside of 15 minutes.  The card was a pretty topical one, unlike a lot of the cards I do.  I limited the print run to 12 copies (Brady's jersey number) because I didn't want a bunch sitting in the store long past the "Tom was so wasted at the victory parade" moment was over.  Because it was such a swift sell out I fielded a number of messages from bummed collectors who wanted one but weren't able to get in on time.  That in turn bummed me out a bit.  I didn't limit the card to 12 copies to create a manufactured scarcity, like I said, I didn't anticipate the popularity.  *insert shrugging emoji here*

It was suggested a few times that I do another print run of that Brady card.  To me, that would take away a bit of what made that card special, even if the specialness happened a bit by accident.  My solution was to create another inebriated good time Tom Brady card.  But, my challenge was it had to be good and not just completely ringing out the first card.

When I was making the first card I wanted to somehow incorporate what turned out to be the infamous Lombardi Trophy toss during the Buccaneers boat parade.  I ran into a couple issues.  The first being that there aren't any really clear pictures of the trophy toss -- or at least none that I could find. The second being that even if I could find a decent image the main pic had to be of hammered Tom (Stop!  Hammerd Tom!  ...sorry), so where would the other pic go without changing the look of the 1987 Topps football inspired design since I was completely locked in on using that?

I though about trying one of the early '90s Fleer football sets since they featured smaller pictures on the card backs but none of those sets really had a classic enough look that I was wanting.  

Since I was limited on how I could use the trophy toss image this new card was still going to have hammered Tom as the main image, and I had already found and saved that particular picture.  

Then I got to thinking how the trophy toss moment would be equally as recognizable as a silhouette.  I couldn't think of any football card sets that that would lend to, but two classic '70s Topps baseball set immediately jumped to mind, the 1973 and 1976 designs! 

The really great thing about older baseball card designs is that they're so recognizable and that makes them very versatile when having fun with custom cards.  Even from a young age I took to basketball as a favorite sport, but as far as sports card collecting went, every sport took a back seat to baseball cards.  They were always the most accessible and collected cards to the point that a lot of times the term 'baseball cards' was used generically for any type of sports cards.  In short, they're as American as apple pie... kind of like Tom Brady.

Now that I had a a couple of designs in mind, I just had to choose out of the two.  I chose 1976.  I think the reason being was it enabled me to more prominently use the Bucs old creamsicle color combo, which I mentioned in the post about the first card how much I loved.  

For the back I went with a a layout inspired by the back of the 1976 "Traded" cards.  I love the way the newspaper headline presents and I get to have a lot of fun with the little write up.  I'm a big play-on-words type of guy so that gives me a shot at dad joking.

1976 Topps

So, I'm done right?  I've made a card I'm REALLY happy with and if a few more people who didn't get the first card are able to get this one it's a win-win.  But... something was nagging at me.  For shits nd giggles I wanted to at least see how a 1973 inspired look would go over.  That was a mistake of sorts.

I made the '73 mock up and LOVED it.  I made the card back with a bit more of a regular statistical back feel and loved the card even MORE.  Now for the dilemma that wasn't really a dilemma at all, which to chose?  Well, why make two, what I thought, were equally cool cards and only chose one?  Spoiler alert (as you can tell for this post's main pic), I went forward with both.  No point in having the digital rendering of either just sitting in my "custom cards" folder if I'm commensurately proud of both.
1973 Topps

For the back of the 1973 version I got to recreate a "did you know" style cartoon, which are so fun and so nostalgic.  The cartoon is an awesome way to make sport of the trophy toss.  Then, I got to do a little of Tom's biographical stats which are a staple of base card backs.  The '73 Topps' backs featured a large baseball graphic where the cards # went, so I switched that out for the football helmet that decorated the numbering of the 1973 Topps football design and it used it for the sequential hand numbering embellishment of my card.  (Oh, and I've doubled the print run +1* of both cards from V. 1.0.)  In the statistical portion I highlighted Tom's truly unbelievable career Super Bowl history.   

So, you've got all the musing behind the Hammered G.O.A.T. trilogy.  Get part II and III HERE. SOLD OUT

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Dream Girl, Kate Upton

Continuing in the "Dream Girl" series inspired by the 1991 Score baseball Dream Team subset is the newest addition, Kate Upton.

Kate, like a number of the other Dream Girls in this series, was able to use her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue stardom to springboard herself into household name status. 

Get your HERE.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Ellis "Red" Redding

I don't feel as if I have to spend too much time in this post waxing poetic about how good of a movie The Shawshank Redemption is. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman both gave brilliant performances in a movie that was nominated for seven Academy Awards. In the time since the movie's 1994 release The Shawshank Redemption has gone on to be considered one of the greatest movies ever made.  

It's kind of a fluke how this card came to be.  In 2018 I made a few card featuring film characters that used baseball bats, but not necessarily for playing baseball (see this, this, this and this).  There was a card I wanted to make in this theme but never could find an image good enough to use for the card; that character being Morgan Freeman as the tough baseball bat wielding principal Joe Clark in 1989's Lean On Me.  I'd still like to make that card so every now and again I'll do an image search from the movie looking for something I can make into a custom baseball card.  Most recently while searching a number of different baseball related keywords brought me to screen captures of Morgan Freeman playing catch in the prison yard towards the beginning of The Shawshank Redemption where Red has his first interaction with Andy Dufresne.  I guess sometimes the custom card inspiration just finds you?  

The Shawshank Redemption starts off in 1947 and goes on to span several decades.  I started off looking at what baseball cards were out in 1947.  (For reference, Topps didn't start producing baseball cards until 1951.)   There's not much to choose from as little was produced due to wartime restrictions on ink, cardboard and many supplies needed to make gum.

There's the 1947 Exhibit set made by the Exhibit Supply Co. of Chicago.  As far as for making a custom card there's not too much to go on with the '47 Exhibits.  They're black and white photos with blank backs.  

Next I took a look the 1948 Bowman set.  This was the first year Bowman got into cards, producing sets for baseball, football and basketball.  But, like the Exhibits, they're not much to design around.  Black and white photos on 2 1/16 x 2 1/2 pieces of cardboard.

The next year Bowman started to spice things up.  The cards again 2 1/16 x 2 1/2, but this time the black and white images had the players uniforms colorized against solid color backgrounds.  The early numbered cards in the series did not feature the player's name on front until Bowman added them starting at card #109.  It should be noted that Leaf also produced a similar looking set of cards with a little more flair at the bottom with a bold black (or sometimes red) block for the player's name that are dated 1948-49.  I chose Bowman just because the name itself is a little more iconic to me personally.

I think pairing the design to this movie makes great sense as the The Shawshank Redemption is significant the motion picture industry for it's impact and the same could be said about the 1949 Bowman to the trading card world.

This card front took a little more work.  Usually it's the card's template design that takes all the work and then it's just popping in the picture.  The template for 1949 Bowman is really just a rectangle frame.  For this card front I needed to crop Red from the background, age the image and then go back and recolor it.

The back of the '49 Bowman featured biographical information at the top and and advertisement for a baseball related product on the lower half of the card. As you can see, this is where the real fun began.

The top portion is some basic information about the "Red" character's time in Shawshank up to this point in time.  The bottom sales ad portion is where I was able to work in a number of Easter eggs from the movie.

Get your copy HERE. SOLD OUT

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Taylor Pischke

Taylor Pischke is a Canadian volleyball player who is very accomplished at the sport both indoors and on the beach.

Taylor is being featured here on a 1990 Upper Deck baseball style custom card design.  She is like other female athletes I've done a card of that, to my knowledge, did not have any cards of her out there.  

I like using the early Upper Deck inspired designs because they're pretty versatile as far as being able to have the design lend to other sports with minor changes.  They're a bit different from my other cards the same way UD set themselves apart in the sports card hobby world at the time.  They're on a bright white stock and are able to utilize higher quality photos.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Def Leppard

When I started making custom cards for my own personal amusement 6 years ago I didn't really know if it was "a thing" and if there were others like me putzing around with it as well.  Fast forward to now and there's a number of creative types I see online adding different flavors to the custom trading card stew.  

I particularly appreciate those that are making their own lane and making cards that speak to their particular interests.  One of my favorites is Joe who creates his Pop Art Sports Cards --formally Big Number 59.  I find Joe has a similar approach to me in the way that he truly cares about the details in the cards he makes.  You can tell he too has a deep appreciation for vintage card designs that is equaled by his passion for music.  We share an enthusiasm for matching a card's subject image accurately to a trading card design from the same time frame.  Where my cards are usually lined with humor, Joe takes chronicling musical acts and telling their story meticulously through cards very seriously.

My favorite part of his card is the ingenious way he transforms a card back's statistical form into a musician's record of chart performance.  I think that's an awesome touch!

Awhile back I purchased a Def Leppard VHS tape called Historia.  It basically takes you on a music video tour through the band's first 4 albums.  The tape from front to back is a banger-- head banger that is.  Whether you consider them hair metal, pop rock or anything in between, Def Leppard made some of the greatest rock music of the decade.  We've actually near worn this tape out.  Even though I love the videos it's more so my son.  He's on the spectrum and when he likes something he tends to like it in a back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back fashion.  Suffice to say he likes Def Leppard.

All those times of the tape playing either in front of me or in the background as I'm doing other stuff and he's enjoying the hell out of it got me to remembering how much I loved Def Lepp as a kid.  Def Leppard was my older cousin's favorite.  When you're a young kid that didn't have an older sibling an older cousin can be pretty God-like.  So, of course I had to love Def Leppard if the cousin that I idolized was into them!

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned in a posting in the past that 1988 was my favorite year as a kid.  I don't know why but 1988 seemed like it spanned 3 years.  Everything particular to that year seems so vivid and the best.  I don't know if it was my coming-of-age year or what.  My Pistons were GREAT and *should have* been the world champs.  My collecting of baseball cards was at it's purest point for  opening packs and wide eyedly shuffling through them in hopes of a Tiger or superstar.  And then there are a few songs that are just burnt in my memory as anthems for that year.  "Pour Some Sugar on Me" is certainly right at the top of the heap.  The video might be THE 1988 video for me.  That video (the American version) with it being comprised of concert footage, provided a visual to me of the energy of live rock 'n' roll music.

Def Leppard, all-in-all, was a band packaged with killer visuals.  Both in their music videos and album art.  They always had some of the more intriguing album cover art to me.  It invoked feelings that ranged from provocative pop-art to a digital video game like aesthetic. 

Whenever I'm indulging in nostalgia these days my mind automatically is trying to find a trading card angle.  Remembering 1988 to me is to remember Donruss' abstract baseball card border.  Today I view it as mad charming, but I'll say it probably confused my eye back then not knowing what I was supposed to be seeing.  Remembering this lead me to thinking about the Hysteria cover art.  I was always been turned on by this album's cover art.  To me it felt like there was a lot going on it that space and a lot to take in.  The sort of thing that you could just stare at and try to reconcile an interpretation for yourself.  

I got to thinking that the color pallets for both the album and the 1988 Donruss shared similarities.  I believed I could swap the pipes (or whatever they are) for Hysteria's sort of sci-fi neon light grid and not lose the spirit of the original cards, which is what I did, and I think that holds true.

After the border was done the rest of the front of the card was pretty straight forward.  Then I got to thinking about the back and how much I'd like to emulate what Joe from PASC does with his card backs.  I got to thinking why not see if I could bring him in on the project?  I had a concept in mind where, if he chose to, he could go half on the design and use them in his collection too.  My editions would have a PCb. logo on the front and his could have a PASC logo on the front and we could share the credit line on the back.  I pictured it being like a Topps/O-Pee-Cee partnership, or better yet Donruss/Leaf where these cards are concerned.  I'm happy to say Joe was down to collaborate and I think we turned out a pretty cool card set that played to both of our strengths.   

Get your 5 card set HERE.

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Eighth Wonder Of The World

Since his passing in 1993 at the age of 46, André the Giant's legend has just continued to grow.  I truly believe André to be one of the most unique humans to ever have walked the earth.  

At the end of January Gummy Arts posted a wrestling card collage to his Instagram page.  Gummy Arts does these really fun hand drawn cartoon-like custom trading cards set to vintage card designs.  Within that collage I noticed an André the Giant card done inside of a 1977 Topps baseball style design.  The catch on that cards was it had André as a member of the Giants.  I loved that concept.  I had done something really similar for my Twins card.  I messaged Gummy Arts and asked if he would mind me using that basic idea just with putting my PCb. spin on it.  Thankfully he was totally cool with it and gave his blessing.

I wanted to incorporate the iconic 1981 S.I. photo of André's catcher's mitt of a hand absolutely dwarfing a 12 oz. can of Molson Canadian onto the card somehow.  My idea was to use it as an inset picture, so that left me down to two card designs; the 1983 and 1984 Topps.  I chose 1984 just because of it being a personal favorite.  The vertical team name text and the cropped out inset picture just give it a really unique and fun vintage look.  

Get a copy HERE.

1984 Topps

Friday, March 12, 2021

Lamar Lattrell

While making the Revenge of the Nerds set I had two cards in mind for the bonus card.  I ultimately chose to go with the Lewis Star Wars card as the bonus card as I thought this Lamar Lattrell 1991 ProSet Yo! MTV Raps style card could work better as a stand alone card.

The Musical Show and Skit Competition was one of the highlights of Revenge of the Nerds.  Lamar killed it.  Now that scene has its own custom card!

"Clap your hands everybody, and everybody clap your hands..."

Get a copy HERE.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Incredible Hulk Football

I've mentioned in previous posts how any television show in from the '70s on through to the '90s that was worth its salt had a baseball episode -- which is great for me because those make for fun cards.  Not only did The Incredible Hulk have the prerequisite baseball episode, but there was a football episode too!  That's right, the big green guy was the original Bo Jackon.  

The football episode actually came before the baseball episode.  In a Season Two episode entitled "Killer Instinct" David 'Bunett' is working as an ankle wrapper to the fictional Los Angeles Cougars professional football team.  The episode utilizes old footage of Chicago Bears games with the "C" on the helmet doubling for Cougars.  David needs to get help for a Cougar star linebacker who seems to be suffering from CTE which manifests itself on the gridiron in the form out hyper aggression.  

Since this episode came out in 1978 I framed the card in a 1978 Topps football Highlights subset inspired design.  I thought this would be a great fit as an extraordinary event card rather than making a player card since the Hulk wasn't a member of any certain team.  I also liked that the border was green.  Definite bonus for an Incredible Hulk card.

Get a copy HERE.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Dream Girl Alex

I wanted to add a more modern entry to what has turned into an ongoing series of "Dream Girls" cards (inspired by the 1991 Score Dream Team subset).

The beautiful Alexandra Daddario is the newest in this card series.  While I like to keep things nostalgic around here, I see no harm in Alex joining the team.  This card also serves to help balance the set a bit between actresses and super models.

Get your copy HERE.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Mookie Blaylock

I think it's pretty well known fun fact amongst fans of Pearl Jam that the band briefly went by the name Mookie Blaylock after the NBA guard.  They played a 10-show tour with Alice In Chains under the name before changing it in early 1991.

There's different stories out there about how they ended up with the name Mookie Blaylock, but I'm inclined to go with the story guitarist Jeff Ament gave -that involved basketball cards- to The Missoulan in 2008: 

"When we were recording our first record, we had a per diem of about $10. So when we got lunch at the store across the street, we'd always buy a pack of basketball cards. When we turned in our tape, we didn't have a name for the band yet so we put a Mookie Blaylock card in the case. We were about to go on a tour and still didn't have a name and needed one quickly. We were told it didn't need to be the name that we were going to use forever, just something for the tour. Someone saw the Mookie Blaylock card and said, ‘How about Mookie Blaylock?' We decided to go with it and did a 10-show tour with Alice in Chains as Mookie Blaylock. Mookie was cool about it, too—he didn't sue us. I actually got to meet him later on and shoot around a little bit. We also made a Pearl Jam T-shirt with a picture of him on it. I guess we owe Mookie a lot."

I read that it was revealed on Bill Simmons' podcast that the card that was the inspiration was actually the the 1991-92 Skybox, where I chose the 1990-91 design.  The reason being is finding quality images from that period was, well, they probably didn't know that one day some guy would want to make a custom basketball card and needed quality pics to do so.  Let's just say that.  I really like the image of Vedder and Ament on this card, but it didn't work well in my opinion with the 1991-92 design, but I thought it looked stellar inside of the 1990-91 confines.  

UPDATE: I believe I've determined that the card that was the inspiration for the band originally being called Mookie Blaylock actually could not have been the 1991-92 Skybox.  On 3/10/91 the band went on Seattle's KISW and formally announced the name Pearl Jam.  The 1991-92 Skybox was not even out at that time, let alone months before when they started calling themselves Mookie Blaylock.

There's stories that Mookie Blaylock (the person) threatened to sue over the unauthorized use of his name, but I've also read that that may not be true.  What is true though is that for Mookie it's better that he be a trivia question to the history of one of the most successful rock bands ever than to have totally lost his individualism had they kept his name.  Of course we didn't know then how we'd access information and media these days wit the internet, but imagine Mookie wanting to show his kids or nieces/nephews his highlights and having to sift through all the Pearl Jam stuff.  It would totally suck.

I've read that Pearl Jam's first album being named Ten was a nod to Mookie Blaylock being that it was his jersey number.  So, I gave this card the #10 as an Easter egg to that.  In the space where the team logo is on the front of the card I created a modified version of the Super Sonics logo that was in use in 1991 with the Seattle skyline, with Pearl Jam being synonymous to Seattle's grunge rock scene that exploded onto popular culture in the early '90s.

Personal Fun Fact: Every once in awhile when I'm feeling the prod of life's existential ponderings I end up listening to Pearl Jam for three or four days in a row.  

I just want to scream HELLOOO!
My God it's been so long
Never dreamed you'd return
But now here you are and here I am.

Personal Fun Fact #2: The best dog I ever had was named Mookie. 

Get your copy HERE.

Friday, February 26, 2021

The G.O.A.T.

In terms of internet timing, I'm way late on this card, but I had a few other things to get done before I was able to complete this one.  

I've been a fan of Tom Brady since his days at the University of Michigan.  I remember complaining about him having to split time with Drew Henson.  I thought Brady was the better of the two quarterbacks, but Henson was hyped to the moon, and unfortunately for U of M, he didn't quite pan out- opting to pursue baseball.  This was back when being a Michigan fan wasn't something shameful.

When Drew Bledsoe got injured and Tom took over at QB for New England it was perfect timing for me as my disgust for the Detroit Lions organization had peaked and I was ready to swear off any allegiance for good.  I'm not claiming I thought Tom Brady would turn out to be the greatest of all time, or even good for that matter, but it gave me a reason to be hopeful, which I hadn't had for a few years to that point following Barry Sanders' abrupt retirement.  Lo and behold Tom led the Pats to the Super Bowl that very season and eight more times in New England.  As a fan I'd say I hit the jackpot.

When Tom signed with the Buccaneers in the offseason I hoped he'd do well but I didn't think he, at 43, would be leading them to the big one.  I expected they would be a respectable football team.  I wanted those who claimed Brady was a "system quarterback" to shut their big yappers.  But, I cannot claim I expected a Super Bowl birth.  

On top of everything else the Bucs were the first team to play on their home field in a Super Bowl!  That's something, looking back, I'm really glad that happened as it was definitely an edge for the Bucs.  The only downside to rooting for Brady and the Pats is they never won in the trouncing fashion as these Bucs did over K.C.  Every Super Bowl win was a down-to-the-wire nail biting affair.  I hated that stomach-in-knots, not over over until the final play type of game.  I guess it would be great if there wasn't the vested interest, but I wasn't a casual fan.  I was always all-in.

Maybe just as satisfying as Tom getting his SEVENTH Super Bowl ring was him being completely sloshed during the victory parade.  That's a side of Tom Brady that has never been seen before.  A large part of his greatness comes from his 365 day discipline to his regimen.  So, to see him let up a bit and show that, as most were saying, he's "human" after all was pretty cool.

If you've made it this far than you get I'm a Tom Brady fan.  But, I've never even considered making a Tom Brady card to this point.  It wouldn't really fit with the cards I make just to do a straight forward football card.  There's plenty of Tom Brady cards out there so I wouldn't, in my mind, be adding something for a collector.  Although the designs I use are mostly sports card designs, the overwhelming majority of cards I've done with actual professional athletes have a tinge of humor to them.  Tom Brady being so drunk he needed assistance walking in a straight line provided the perfect tinge to add a PCb. card of The G.O.A.T. to the universe. 

'87 Topps

I think it's easy to see I have an affinity for card designs from the heart of the junk wax era, the 1980s.  I started shuffling in my mind how this Tom Brady card would look inside of the various football sets that Topps put out in the '80s.  I chose to go with a design inspired by Topps' 1987 design.  For whatever reason I think it's my favorite football design from the '80s, plus it's significant since Tom has been in the league for practically that long.  I was eager to use the colors from the Buccaneers creamsicle days.  Even though those teams pretty much all sucked, I loved those uniforms.  Red and orange are actually two of my favorite colors.

In the area where Topps would designate a player as a "Topps All Pro" I took the opportunity to give Brady a G.O.A.T. call out.  The Super Bowl MVP highlight in the lower right is just something I was playing around with that I thought looked cool so I went with it.  Trophies on cards have always been big for me since the days of getting excited over the "All-Star Rookie" trophy on Topps baseball cards.

I wanted to make the back have more of a special tribute card feel rather than a statistical style back look.  I recycled the back I created for the Over The Top card.  My other cards all get print runs of 50 where as this one is limited to only 12 in tribute to Brady and I wanted to hopefully be out of this card before the hype of the next NFL season sets in.

Get your copy HERE. SOLD OUT.


Monday, February 22, 2021

Revenge Of The Nerds

Revenge of the Nerds is a movie that a lot of us loved, but maybe hasn't aged so well.  There's the cultural stereotypes, the "toxic masculinity" from the bullying Alpha Betas and that problematic err-ummm love scene? between Betty and Lewis on the moonwalk.  But, my '80s kid eyes prefer not to view it as the un-P.C. cluster-bleep it would be by todays standards, but as the underdog sex-comedy it was before our childhood's became so cancellable.  

This is a set I've had the back burner for a long time now.  If you're new to the site I started making custom cards in hopes of sending them off in the mail for autographs 6 or so years ago.  I had made 5 or 6 cards from this movie with no intention of making a mini-set out of it.  Those were just the cards I thought I might stand a halfway decent chance of getting autographs on.  There's a lot of cards from my earlier days that I'd like to expand to a set.  Picture and industrial sized stove with back burners as far as the eye can see, something like that.

I finally decided to buckle down and put this baby to bed.  The cards I had made previously were tightened up since I've got new operating standards that I didn't have then.  I just needed to fill in the blanks character-wise and then design a card back to what ended up being a 14 card mini-set.

For the Lamda's (and one Omega Mu) I used a card front inspired by the  1984 Topps baseball design, a personal favorite of mine.  For the Beta/Pi faction I went with a design inspired by the 1984 Topps football design, which to me just makes perfect sense as the Betas were the football jocks at Adams College.

The cards all got the same card back design to give the set more continuity since the card fronts varied between the heroes and antagonists.  The back design is derivative mostly to '84 Topps baseball set but with some liberties taken to give them the right amount of nerd flare.  

I had a lot of fun packing the card backs with info.  Each card has a "Transcript" section which basically serves as a listing of some of the character's prominent characteristics. Each character also has a quote attributed to them and their frat/sorority affiliation.  There's a "Nerd Factoid" on each just because I'm into that DYK? kind of shit.  The card back finishes off with quiz question so you can test your RotN fanhood.

A number of the sets I've made recently somewhat storyboard a movie so I like to keep those cards together and not offer them with the PCb. card shop's "You Pick Single" option.  This one (all though I would prefer collector's get the entire 14 card set) because they're all character cards and I get that there's some that just might want certain characters, so I'm leaving it open to the Y.P.S. option.  But, as an incentive, I've created a bonus card *only* available with the purchase of the complete set.  

Not that I wanted to highlight the sorta rapey love scene, but it's just that the card makes tons of sense.  What I mean is Lewis was wearing some sort of Storm Trooper/gorilla/Darth Vader hybrid costume and the 1977 Star Wars set is so iconic, and not to mention how the Star Wars franchise is known for their almost cult-like nerd fanboy following.  It just all comes together too perfectly not to make the card.  And hey, *spoiler alert* Lewis and Betty end up married in the sequels so it's sort of  the beginning of a meant-to-be nearly consensual love story!

Get your set HERE.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Absolutely Perfect!

I found out through some research when making this card that Curt Hennig actually had a run with the WWF in 1981 through 1983.  I was too young to have known about him then.  But, by the time he returned in 1988 I was full blown obsessed with wrestling.  Back then my whole week revolved around Sunday -I believe it was- when Superstars of Wrestling would come on right after Pee-Wee's Playhouse.  And, by the same token, my whole week would be ruined every so often when it was preempted for something else.  I didn't care that most of the superstars were just wrestling blue Speedo jobbers.  It was still pro-wrestling, and I loved pro-wrestling.  "Hulkamaniac" was the religion with which I identified.  *Please note the past tense of love because you simply couldn't pay me to watch it these days.

The WWF did a masterful job building up anticipation for Mr. Perfect with a series of vignettes showing Mr. Perfect as the perfect athletic specimen in any sport he chose to partake in.  Whether it was catching a touchdown pass that he himself threw or bowling the perfect game... everything Curt did was "absolutely perfect".  They say the best wrestling gimmicks are an amplification of the wrestlers personality, which is why the "Mr. Perfect" such a great fit for Curt Hennig because it's said that he really was a hell of an athlete.  Even though Mr. Perfect was a heel wrestler, you had to love him because he was so damn entertaining.  He was a completely sound technician, but I think my favorite part is how he sold for his opponent.  He could wrestle circles around anyone, but also make them look like a world beater.  I don't think anyone sells anything in wrestling these days.  They just get back up and continue their overly-choreographed acrobatics. 

And, if you're wondering, yes... I was one of those kids that would try to slap my gum after spitting it out because of Mr. Perfect.  Unfortunately Curt Hennig is one the scores of pro-wrestling legends from my childhood who is no longer with us, passing away at only 44 years old.

I saw this photo of Curt holding a basketball, so of course I knew I had to get right on a custom basketball card.  I can only assume the picture is from one of those famed vignettes.

The template was easy to choose because there was only one widely distributed basketball card in 1988, which was the 1988-89 Fleer set.

For the border I chose two colors inspired by one of Mr. Perfect's signature singlets.  I had some fun with the back of the card.  It's Mr. Perfect, so of course he didn't miss a field goal attempt nor a free throw.  In the other statistical categories I gave Curt exactly one more in each category than what is the single season record.  Absolutely perfect.

Get your copy HERE.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Happy Birthday, Michael Ironside

Happy 71st birthday to the prolific character actor, Michael Ironside.  

Pictured here in custom cards from the movies The Turbo Kid and Total Recall.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Sig. Showcase: Danny McBride

Eastbound and Down is easily one of the funniest shows I've ever watched and that's in largest part due to Danny McBride.  He's just a naturally funny guy.  The show's writing and how Danny delivered the Kenny Powers character as a ridiculous man-child was masterful.  The character does and says some messed up things, but it's hard to dislike him being that he's the type of person that never had to deal with maturation and accountability due to his ability to throw a baseball "faster than f*ck". 

Not that long ago I had about ten or so signed cards that I had doubles of certified and encased by Beckett to be able to offer them to collectors.  The double of the card pictured by far and away garnered the most activity.  This one though stays in my personal collection forever. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Emma Watson

Awhile back I was approached with a request to do a commissioned card of Emma Watson.  The subject line just read "Emma Watson card?".  My first thought was Harry Potter, and I really wasn't feeling like I'd be the right for that custom card.  I know nothing about Harry Potter.  Never read the books or seen the movies and I have no intention of doing either.  On top of that, I knew Harry Potter already had licensed cards produced.

Fortunately it wasn't a request for an Emma Watson Harry Potter custom card.  What the request was for was a card of Emma Watson from the 2013 movie she starred in called The Bling Ring, which I was equally unfamiliar with.  I explained this and how I didn't think I could do the card justice not knowing anything about the proposed card's subject.  When I make cards I prefer to be at least somewhat familiar with the card's subject and from there dive in-depth for details that make the card as good as I can make it.  For me, I feel better if the final result "makes sense" and isn't a picture plugged into a template.  I end up spending a lot of time on the cards I create, so it's important to me that they have an integrity to them.

Explaining this in a roundabout way left the requester unmoved.  For him, it was more about the image and he was leaving it up to me to make something that "looked cool".  Usually, that's something I hate honestly.  I know what looks cool to *me* but if it's a card for someone else I like some art direction as to what *they* envision and we can collaborate some ideas from there.

Although I was totally unfamiliar with The Bling Ring I was familiar with the image that the requester wanted used.  I'd seen the .gif of Emma Watson dancing provocatively hundreds of times.  Okay... I'll make the card.

The movie came out in 2013 and even though that's 8 years ago, relative to the timeframe of the vast majority of my cards emulate, 2013 is "ultra-modern"... to me anyways.  I just couldn't see this making sense on anything I'd done previously, and especially on a vintage cardboard stock.  So, I set out to step outside of my box a bit.  

I took this as opportunity to test my creativity.  What I came up with I think could best be described as  Topps' Allen & Ginter card in league with a Panini National Treasures' overall aesthetic. The card is the normal 3.5" height, but I thought it would be fun to bring in the width (approx. 2.09") which I thought worked better to highlight the image.  The back I think is pretty simple, but stylish enough to compliment the front.  

In the end the new owner was thrilled with the final result.  Based on his approval I got to thinking that maybe others might like this card as well?  I know that Emma Watson has a pretty big following, so I've decided to offer this card in my store and see what kind of reception it garners.  

Get a copy HERE

Friday, January 22, 2021

Princess Leia

While making the Luke Skyywalker card I decided that I'd like to add another Slave Leia card to the collection.  I used the same Rolling Stone beach photoshoot image already on a faux 1983 Return of the Jedi inspired sticker, but it's such a fun image of such an iconic character that I wanted to give it the complete card treatment.  

On the card back I did a little background on the origin of the photo for anyone unfamiliar with it since it's obviously not a scene from the movie.

Get a copy HERE

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Christie Brinkley

Christie Brinkley being added to the ongoing collection of 1991 Score baseball inspired  "Dream Girl" cards was not an if, but when.  Christie, like a majority of the women in the Dream Girl set, gained notoriety by becoming a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl.  In fact, Christie is the only model to appear on 3 consecutive covers, starting in 1979.  In the '80s S.I. Swimsuit Issue cover girls were the apex of what you'd consider a "Dream Girl', to me anyways.

Of course Christie also permeated the fantasy girl realm for some many of us as  "The girl in the red Ferrari" in National Lampoon's Vacation.  Beverly D'Angelo and Christie Brinkley??  Clark, you lucky dog.

Get this card HERE.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Luke Skyywalker

This custom card is pretty straight forward.  It was a "duh" moment when I came across my 2 Live Crew As Nasty As They Wanna Be cassette tape while going through some of my old "junk boxes".  I guess the reason I hadn't thought of this as a custom card until now is that Luther Campbell hasn't used the moniker "SkyYwalker" since 1990 when Star Wars creator George Lucas filed suit against him for copyright infringement.  

An older cousin of mine bought me -with my allowance money- the dirty version of As Nasty As They Wanna Be on cassette, and boy did I think I was a hard-ass for listening to it.  The double platinum album was super explicit for its time being the first album ever to be deemed "legally obscene".  I would have to believe some 32 years later, with a song like "WAP" reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, that any track on As Nasty As They Wanna Be would be looked at as par for where music is these days.

This card is of course done in the style of the 1983 Topps Return of the Jedi set. 

Get a copy HERE.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

PCb. Collector's Binder

Growing up in the junk wax era it was imperative that once you amassed a decent card collection you needed a way to display and organize your cardboard treasures.  Sure, there's top loaders and screw-downs for the cards that would one day make you a millionaire,  but for for viewing your cards as a collection -and not to mention being able to take your cards on the go for those all important trading sessions with your friends- you needed a good sturdy binder!  

Well, now those of you that have amassed a decent collection of Phantom Cardboard trading cards there's a binder to view all those vintage inspired cards that never were!

This binder is modeled after those binders we all had.  What could be better for vintage inspired trading cards than a vintage inspired binder?  That kind of generic looking marbled design.  Mine were either brown or blue, but I also remember friends having dark red colored ones.  

The binder features a direct to vinyl printed design with padding throughout.  There's a Jackie Stalegum action pose on the front cover and the Jackie Stalegum logo and Phantom Cardboard text logo on the spine.  This is a 2" binder D-Ring binder, so plenty of space for 9-pocket card pages.

The binders will come with 10 9-pocket Ultra-Pro Platinum.  The Platinum pages are the best, heaviest gauge pages that Ultra-Pro offers.

Also included is an exclusive Casey Cardbinder trading card.  Casey joins Jackie Stalegum as the newest member of the Phantom lineup.

How will you organize your vintage inspired custom trading cards??

Get your binder HERE!


A little more about Casey Cardbinder...

I wanted to give Jackie Stalegum a teammate.  I once more teamed up with Matthew Skiff to bring this phantom to life.  I gave Matthew my concept and he executed it masterfully.

Anyone that grew up in the '80s-'90s will instantly recognize the super-human inspiration for Casey's bat breaking exploits... the great Bo Jackson!  I also wanted to give Casey a skeleton ghoul type of look.  Growing up I always thought skeletons were the epitome of badassery.  So, I supplied Matthew with a couple images and he, pun intended, knocked it out of the park.  Basically, take this and this and coif it in Team PCb. duds.