Friday, December 3, 2021

Techno Viking

I remember sharing the Techno Viking video with a co-worker back in 2007 when it went viral.  We worked a job that had a whole lot of down time and we'd message humorous internet links back-and-forth to pass the time.  I honestly don't recall if back then we talked about videos being "viral" material, but there was definitely a sense that Techno Viking belonged on a short list of epic internet videos.
Other than what transpired on the 4-minute video, nothing more ever really came of the Techno Viking.  Usually there'll be interviews of viral video stars as they're stretching out their 15-minutes of fame.  Typically they give their account or some additional context as to what was going on in the video.  We get closure and move on to the next viral video.  To my knowledge no one ever tracked down Techno Viking.  I guess it helped that the video caught fire some seven years after it was filmed during the 2000 German "Fuck Parade".

It turns out that the Techno Viking prefers to stay anonymous.  So much so that he sued the original uploader of the video for the unauthorized profit he made off of his image... but somehow remained to still stay anonymous.  

Some some reason I had a random memory recall of this video.  Maybe something else pinged my brain that triggered the mythical dancing Viking-looking man to come back to the top of mind?  Either way, an idea for a custom parody card was subsequently birthed.

The idea was to make a football card where the Minnesota Vikings team name was played upon.  Kind of like was done with the Rangers on this card, and the Giants on this one.  I considered a couple of templates but I landed on the old trusty 1987 Topps football inspired design.  Basically, I just thought that the way that the Vikings team name was displayed would end up working better than some of the other '80s templates I was considering.  

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Commemorative Thanksgiving Custom Cards

Last year when I made this commemorative Halloween 1984 card I wanted to follow it up with a Thanksgiving card, but I guess I ran out of time.

The Dutch Dooley card is the card I had in mind.  It's a hockey card playing on the scene where Ed O'Neill brings Ethan Embry out of his boarding school gagged and bound to a hockey stock.  

My only intention was to make the Dutch card.  But, it didn't feel right to stop there.  You see our family's tradition is to watch BOTH Dutch and Planes, Trains And Automobiles on Thanksgiving.  Put it this way, if I don't watch them both might as well not even have the turkey.  It would be like leaving the house with one shoe on, it just wouldn't feel right.

I year matched both movies with the card designs.  So, Dutch in 1991-92 Upper Deck hockey inspired frame (a PCb. first) and PT&A in a 1987 Topps inspired design.

My goal with the Planes, Trains card was a design where I could put both Del and Neal on the same card.  So for them I went with the league leaders design that I also used for the Over the Top card.  They're both deserving of their own cards but I wanted to keep it to two commemorative Thanksgiving cards total.  Plains, Trains is actually deserving of it's own custom set and PCb. could use more John Candy representation.  Maybe a future project?

Friday, November 5, 2021

Jorge González

I remember Giant González during his brief WWF stint both for his size and his ridiculous furry airbrushed muscle body suit.  I don't remember his in-ring work in any great detail because my interest was beginning to wane away from pro wrestling by this time in 1993.  I do remember marveling at the enormity of this human being.  At 7'7" Giant González was actually 3" taller than André the Giant.  But unfortunately, unlike André, there doesn't seem to have ever been a time when Jorge was nimble in his own frame even relative to giant standards.

When you're as tall as Jorge González was it's pretty much inevitable that someone is going to put a basketball in your hands, even if your height is the result of a genetic defect.  Jorge got a spot on the Argentinian national team and eventually NBA scouts came around and saw him, well, being really tall.  

When your head is that close to the rim the odds are that someone in the NBA is going to take a chance on you.  That someone was the Atlanta Hawks.  The Hawks selected Jorge in the 3rd round (54th overall pick) of the 1988 NBA Draft making him the first ever Argentine ever drafted by the league.  It took very little time to determine that González's body was not going to hold up to the rigors of NBA play.  Not one to pass up on a marketable asset Hawk's owner Ted Turner hard pivoted Jorge's career path to that of a professional wrestler in the WCW, which he also owned.  Jorge debuted for Turner's World Championship Wrestling in 1990 and would wrestle for the promotion until 1992 when health problems forced him back home for treatment.  González resurfaced in 1993 in the Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation, but was only with the company for about 10 months.

Jorge was able to get a couple more years as a wrestling attraction by going overseas before retiring in 1995.  He passed away in 2010 at the age of 44 due to complications from diabetes and severe heart issues.

I recently came across the photo used for this card showing Jorge dwarfing then Hawk's coach Mike Fratello in Atlanta's Omni Arena and thought it would make for a cool custom card.  If there was any foresight back then to Jorge González's eventual pop-culture status there may very well have been a card made of him, so hopefully this card fills someone's 'cards that never were' gap.

Being as Atlanta took Jorge in the 1988 Draft the card gets a 1988-89 Fleer style framing.  Surprisingly I was able to find some stats from Jorge's  final two seasons in Argentina with gave the card back a big boost in my opinion.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Ozzy Osbourne

There was that one time in 1984 in when Ozzy Osbourne was so bombed on Memphis' Beale Street that was taken into custody so he could sober up.  Oh, and he just happened to be wearing a rad St. Louis Blues jersey shirt in his mugshot.  

Beale Street is a party street so most people are three sheets to the wind while on Beale. Plus it's Ozzy freaking Osbourne in the mid '80s when, I'd hazard a guess, his baseline was inebriation.  So, that begs the question as to how much alcohol was in his system to result in him being arrested for public intoxication??  

There 's no better way, in my opinion, to commemorate a mildly sports-related mugshot than a custom trading car.  

It was a obvious choice to go with the '84 Topps hockey inspired design.  It's quite perfect that the design calls for two images so both front and side view of Ozzy's booking photo could be utilized.  The back sees the event detailed in the matching '84 style.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Arnold's In The Outfield

It's plain to see that this image of Arnold Schwarzenegger and long time California Angel Brian Downing needed a custom card made out of it.  It's ripe.  The only issue I ran into was finding nearly no context for where this photo came from.  The only thing I found was that it was suggested it was circa 1986.  That would fit from the stand point of Downing being with the Angels throughout the '80s.

With not much to go on but idea that this would look great as a 1987 Topps style 'Team Leaders' card.  The '87 Topps woodgrain is always a crowd pleaser.

If anyone can shed some light on what this picture was for be sure to leave that info in the comments.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Sig. Showcase: King Vidiot

Lately I've been making custom autograph cards and the throwback custom card sets have taken a bit of a backseat.  The thing I really like about these types of cards (outside of the prospect of completing the card with an autograph) is creating designs of my own.  This card, for example, is an original design of my own and not a recreation of a classic card design.  I admit that the look of the card is influenced by early '00s Upper Deck but the design itself is not a retrofit of any particular template.

If you're unfamiliar with Joysticks (1983) I would categorize it as an early '80s sex comedy centered around 1980s arcade culture.  Movies with malls or arcades as a central theme I tend to look upon with great affection.  These days if you want to make yourself seen you spam your social accounts, whereas back then you had to get up and get your ass down to one of the aforementioned locations.  Arcades are a dodo bird and I think the conversation of "how long will the remaining shopping malls be a thing?" has been a topic between most Gen-Xers.  It's just kind of wild to put yourself in your own mind all those years back and think about these veritable temples culture and commerce would be relics in the not-too-distant future.  I think it would be like being told that we'll someday look at Amazon as this quaint way we used to shop.  It sometimes seems that unfathomable, but I guess for every Titanic there's an iceberg waiting for a dark and fateful night.

Okay, back to the card. 

This is a design that I've come up with and used, and refined, a number of times over the years.  It's the type of thing I go to when I'd like an autograph of something in particular but not up to committing the time required to cultivate an entire, albeit "mini", custom card set.  Joysticks is cool and fun but I don't know that a card set is necessity at this time.  That could change the more times I watch the movie, but as of today one or two character auto cards will do.

The set up for this design is three part.  The top is for the main image.  Of course a crisp, larger image is preferable.  An autograph panel separates the top and bottom.  The bottom is used for a secondary image and usually a logo of some sort.  Depending on the images I want to use I can alter the space allocation of the top third and bottom third by moving the autograph panel up and down.

I'm a VHS collector and I'd recently ponied up for a copy of Joysticks.  This is a tape that has had residency on my wantlist for quite some time because it usually commands a bit of a premium as it's a cult classic these days.  Well, I was finally tired of not having it in my physically media library.  

I remember seeing this movie a loooong time ago (probably on cable).  I didn't remember much about it other than it took place in an arcade.  I knew Jon Gries -a PCb. favorite- was in the movie but I didn't quite recall that he, as "King Vidiot", pretty much owned the movie.  Jon is such a great character actor.  To me a number of his character performances enhance their movie to the point where I start to think of them as 'starring' roles because of how memorable and integral he was.

I was pretty excited about the final look of this card.  Obviously it had to have an old-school video game feel to the design and I think it really does.  Joysticks doesn't really seem to have a prominent font logo so I made a custom one that fit in with the colors and old digital looking font on the artwork for the movie poster and VHS cover.  Speaking of that artwork I had an uncompromising commitment to using the two girls at the game art somewhere on the card.  It took awhile but I finally settled on a way to incorporate it that I thought complimented the overall look of the card.

One thing I really love is the '80s punk rocker aesthetic.  I do realize that it's a highly commercialized version of how punkers really looked as most coifed themselves in simple black and white.  But, as for me, I love the idea of using all that color for an edgy counter-culture image.  There's also a sentimental component for me.  It's kind to say that I come from a lower middle class upbringing.  When I was younger, specifically of elementary school age, there was not a lot of money for non-necessities.  Halloween costumes fell under that heading.  For maybe three or four straight years my sister and I were punk rockers for Halloween.  The only real expense was the colored hair spray.  Once we had that an older cousin would supply a beat-up old leather jacket, add to that some ripped up old clothing and safety pins for good measure and violà, you've got an adolescent rock neerdowell.  

All that was left was the signature.  Most times that's a crap-shoot.  But, Jon Gries is very gracious and good to his fans so I knew there was a better than average chance of this card coming back with a great looking autograph on it.  For that reason I make it a point to always support any projects Jon is involved with and would implore you to do the same.  Great guy.

Friday, October 15, 2021


I recently did a re-watch of  Zapped!  I don't know how long it's been since I'd seen this movie, but we're easily talking decades.  I believe Zapped! is in the same category as Revenge of the Nerds in the way it was made as a lighthearted teen comedy by '80s standards, but doesn't adhere to today's social conscience. 

I was watching it just to watch a zany '80s movie with no intentions of making any trading cards from it.  What spurred my interest in making cards was the brief baseball scene.  Plus the fact that the film was released in 1982 which gave me a chance to revisit some of the 1982 Topps baseball inspired templates I created for the Ridgemont Series II set.  

I didn't have the urge to do an overly comprehensive custom set, and I'll admit you don't get a great feel for what the movie was actually about with just these 3 cards.  I was originally just going to do a play on the baseball scene of the movie but I also wanted to get the Bernadette and Jane characters on a card somehow.  The "Senior Prom" card came about because I really just wanted an excuse to use the Emerson High Penguins logo which was made possible by using 'team leader' card design from the '82 Topps set.  

This set may get a few more cards using the 'in action' subset from the '82 Topps so it's a little better represented.  I didn't do them this time around just because my enthusiasm for the project was only about an 8 of 10 and I moved onto some autograph card designs I wanted to try.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Mikayla Demaiter

Mikayla Demaiter is former hockey goalie turned model.  If that doesn't scream Phantom Cardboard card then I don't know what does.  Custom trading cards are a visual medium and Mikayla is quite a vision.  

I've had Mikayla on my custom card radar for quite some time now.  Back when I first became aware of Mikayla I couldn't find much info on her to be able to fill up the bio portion of the car back.  Recently I checked back and there's more of that kind of information available on the interwebs.  So, it was finally card time.

For this card I went with a design inspired by the 1990-91 Upper Deck hockey set.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Happy Birthday Lzzy!

One of the best things for a trading card nerd like myself making his own cards is that I get to make cards of the things that interest me.  That's very appealing seeing as not everything gets an official trading card these days.  If you've been a reader of this site for awhile you'll know that Lzzy Hale is my favorite musician.  I've written about it before, but the cliff notes are as follows; she's an ultra talented rock 'n' roll badass.

I'd done a few Lzzy Hale card singles but back in May of 2020 I did a mini-set devoted to her.  The set design is of course inspired by the look of vintage trading cards but it is my own original design that I am very proud of.  In my eyes it really has the look of a trading card set that could have been produced in the late '70s / early '80s.  

With anything that's a "favorite" of mine I never hesitate to 'right-click --> save-as' when I see an image that turns on my creativity and love for card making.  Since making that first "All Hale" set I've accumulated a folder full of rad Lzzy images.  

In honor of Elizabeth Mae Hale's 38th trip around the sun I'm busting out "All Hale Series 2", complete with a puzzle back!  

I've decided this'll be an ongoing project.  I already have a Series 3 ready to print and a Series 4 in the works.


Friday, October 8, 2021

Stone Cold

To this point I've made custom cards of most of the things I wanted cards to exist for.  So anymore I rely on stumbling upon images that inspire me to make cards.  That's the setup for this particular card, seeing the image of a fair-haired Texas Rattlesnake as a high school football stud.

The exact year of the image I couldn't find with any degree of certainty but through a little research though I did find out that Steve Austin (née Williams) graduated from Edna High School in 1983, so I went with a 1983 Topps football inspired design.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Mike Damone

I recently picked up the Fast Times at Ridgemont High Criterion Blu-Ray and it reignited my love for the movie.  Currently it's one of the movies in a four-way tie for my "favorite" movie.  If you haven't picked up the Criterion Blu-Ray I'd HIGHLY recommend it.  It includes the TV edit of the film which basically feels like a whole nother movie with all the alternate and unused footage used in that cut.  They also put Damone's dong (if you're into that kind of thing) back in the pool house undressing scene that was originally omitted back then to avoid an X rating.  And of course there's the special feature commentary type stuff.

There's certain things I'll always be on the look out for ideas to make more cards of and anything from Fast Times certainly is one of them.  But, it's gotta be something that makes sense and not a generic 'just because' type of reason.

"No, I don't have any Blue Oyster Cult.  I ate 34 pairs last time around.  Where were you?  I was that close to working at 7-11, ya know?"

While watching the movie for the upteenth time I thought up a conceptual card, kind of like I did with the Charles Barkley Pizza Hut card.  During the credits they give some updates on a few of the main characters as to what they went on to do shortly after the time of when the movie leaves off.  Mike Damone ends up working at 7-11 after being busted for scalping Ozzy Osbourne concert tickets - a fate which Mike foreshadowed earlier in the movie (see quote above).  That gave me a fun idea for a with-purchase promotional card from 7-11 for Mike Damone.

During the "junk wax era" there was no shortage of special card tie-ins with brands and products.  Along with commemorative Slurpee cups, 7-11 would also come to offer several card tie-ins over this time period.  So, I decided to conceptualize a 1983 promotion where 7-11 highlighted some of their employees in special edition trading cards.  A totally ridiculous concept, but it gave me another Fast Times card so I went with it.

For the card I went with a template inspired by the design of the manager cards within the 1983 Topps baseball set and decked it out in 7-11 colors.

On the back I included that Damone was originally from Philadelphia.  This is no mention of this factoid in the film, but it is a character background detail revealed during an interview by Robert Romanus.   

Friday, September 17, 2021

Walker, Texas Ranger

I thought this would be a fun custom to do.  I mean, who doesn't love a good Chuck Norris meme or custom trading card?

Although I've landed on Walker, Texas Ranger while channel surfing, I'm pretty sure I've never actually watched an episode.  That's okay.  I feel I've watched enough Chuck Norris movies to say I've paid my fan dues.  Plus, I love the Karate Kommandos cartoon from the mid '80s -- even if it was only a 5 episode mini-series in order to sell the action figures.

This card is a play on the baseball Rangers team name in the very same spirit as the  André the Giant card I did, and the Schwarzenegger/DeVito Twins before that. 

In choosing an template to emulate I gave myself two prerequisites; one, it had to be an '80s Topps inspired design and it had to be a year that featured a team logo because I wanted to use a Texas Ranger badge as said logo.  That leaves ya with 1985 and 1987.  I mocked them both up and decided to go with '85.  The reason why might seem counterintuitive, but I felt like the '87 design looked too much like it could be an actual Walker, Texas Ranger  trading card and kind of lost, for me, the 'repurposed baseball card' feel.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Motor City Nightmares

Today I took in Motor City Nightmares armed with three custom autograph cards.  Motor City Nightmares is like a comic-con, but completely horror genre themed.  This was the 12th iteration of the convention, but my first time partaking.

In looking at the guest list there were a some really cool attendees, a few of which I'd gotten autographs on custom cards in the past.  Two names stood out that I'd not yet gotten autographs from that I thought would be fun for custom cards.  Those two being Traci Lords and Thom Mathews.

For these I made autograph cards, that's to sat they're different from the vintage inspired designs my cards are usually done in.  I've been doing more of these lately just for my personal autograph collection.  I like the challenge of it being an original design of my own and figuring out how to best design a card around the anticipated autograph.  With a vintage inspired custom card the design stands on it's own and getting an autograph on them is a great bonus.  With an autograph card the signature is the centerpiece and the card is incomplete without it, so it's a different kind of approach to the design.  I also have to research those particular signatures to make sure that the way they sign their name will fit with how I design the card.

I'm a big fan of Traci Lords and B quality movies from the '80s/early '90s ... which Lords appeared in a number of.  The card to the far left is from the movie Shock 'Em Dead.  It's a movie that combines horror and heavy metal so I just adore it, lol.  The movie is very "of its time".  

I spent a lot of time on this card, mainly because it didn't turn out anything like I pictured in my mind.  The way I pictured it turned out to have a much too busy composition for my liking.  It just didn't flow nicely as I would have hoped.  What I ended up with was better than what I initially had in mind I feel.  One thing I really wanted to incorporate somehow was the double guitar that the demon used in the movie. I thought of a way to use a vectored version of it as the "K" in Shock with a custom movie text logo.  It's not something I'd normally do, but the movie really doesn't have a  recognizable signature font logo like a lot of movies do, so I was okay taking the liberty.  I think the way that element turned out is just as fun to look at as Traci herself, and the signature ties it all together.

The next two cards were done with a template I had made previously.  I tend to use this design for horror movie autographs.  It works best when the movie has a text logo and some sort of secondary logo or graphic image specific to the movie.  I did one for Not of This Earth because, c'mon, Traci Lords and one of Thom Mathews from Friday the 13th Part VI.  It's also worth noting I brought my own Sharpies to color coordinate the autographs to the cards for that extra little touch because, like I said, the autograph is the key to the design.

I also wanted to do cards of Thom from Return of the Living Dead and its sequel, but I ran out of time enough to make those.  I've had a lot going on outside the card thing lately.  I also wanted to get some VHS slip covers auto'd but resources are not unlimited and when it's a choice between those and cards, well, I'm a card guy first.  I did pick up an issue of Fangoria that I was looking for at a decent price, so that was an unexpected win.

As for the signers they were both pleasant.  I wish I could have chatted them up a little but, and I think I mentioned it before in other posts, I'm a pretty awkward/introverted person.  It would have come off about as well as Chris Farley interviewing Paul McCartney.  So, I just get the autographs say "thank you" and sort of fade away.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Phoebe Cates Gets Buckets

As many of the cards that I've made where I have the idea for the card already in my head are those where I come across an image and decide that it needs a custom card made out of it.  This card would be the latter.

I saw this card of an early '80s Phoebe Cates (from a catalog I believe?) and quickly knew it had to be a card.   Since Phoebe is dribbling a red, white and blue basketball that was synonymous with the now defunct ABA (Globetrotters too, I presume) I wanted to do a basketball card from the ABA's era, which was from 1967 to 1976.

I landed on a 1975-76 Topps basketball inspired design.  This was the first time I used this template.  I chose it because I felt it had the right vintage look plus it was generic enough to work when all I had to go on was an adorable Phoebe Cates dibbling a basketball.

1975-76 Topps

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Greg Focker

I've been sitting on this card for a little while now.  I've been having ongoing issues getting my cards produced.  It's been one thing after another.  Candidly, it has really bummed me out and stifled my creativity/enthusiasm for creating new cards.  I've met with a couple of new vendors so hopefully *fingers crossed* I'm approaching the other side of these challenges.

I don't like moving forward with unresolved issues hanging overhead, but I got to thinking that bringing out a fun new card might just need the right kind of therapy.

I make an effort not to be too hyperbolic.  If everything is the best, then nothing is really the best.  But then again I primarily just spend time making custom cards of things I really enjoy, so it makes sense that I put the card's subject on somewhat of a pedestal.  With that being said, I'm confident -without giving much thought to what the other four movies might be- that Meet the Parents is easily a "Top 5" funniest movie for me.  It's not just funny, it's downright hilarious.  I tend to find it very humorous when people are put in uncomfortable situations where in that moment they don't exactly know how to react to what's happening to them.  That's what Meet the Parents is to me.  Ben Stiller always plays the perfect put-upon guy.  I guess I can relate to that.  I tend to take things I shouldn't preferring not to rock the boat.  

From start to finish Meet the Parents is genius.  The pool scene in particular is a masterpiece in my opinion.  From Greg having to wear Pam's ex-boyfriend's bikini trunks in his pool that's in his immaculate home to the multiple nurse/pot-head jabs from Jack and Dr. Larry, to Pam's mom jumping into the pool fully clothed to aid her daughter whose nose was just broken by a viscous Greg Focker spike.  The whole scene culminating in the volleyball net creating a physical divide between Greg and the rest of Byrnes clan.  Just brilliant.  You know Greg must really love Pam because most people would have just been like "this is not going to work, I'm out" long before that.

Meet the Parents came out in 2000.  Well past the time period I usually do custom cards in.  So, in picking a template I wanted something that had at least a tiny bit of a modern look to it.  It also had to be a versatile design seeing as there's no real preset 'look' that a water volleyball card should have.  I thought for those reason a 1990 Upper Deck baseball inspired design would get the job done.

I had to reorient the template into a horizontal layout.  There may be some cards from that set that are flipped horizontally but I didn't take the time to seek them out, I just sort of eyeballed the border ratios from one of the horizontal layout.  This was necessary because the screen shot I found of Greg mid-kill shot was totally lost in the vertical mockup.  Of course there were no team logos so rather than leave that element out I went with a generic volleyball to keep more of that 1990 U.D. aesthetic alive.

On the back is an ultra uncomfortable Greg aka "G-Man" aka "Glen" aka "Florence Nightingale" aka "Panama Red" in Kevin's bathing skivvies.  God, just put yourself in that situation!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Jennifer Connelly

In at lucky number 13 in the ongoing Dream Girl series is the beuatiful and talented Jennifer Connelly.  The really neat thing about about Jennifer Connelly for an '80s kid is that we got to mature (debatable for me) with her film roles.  I really feel like Jennifer Connelly "one of ours" and should be, if not already, be considered a treasure for our generation.  

Many us of were introduced to her in 1986 as Sarah in the fantasy tale Labyrinth.  From there it was on to fun roles like in Career Opportunities and The Rocketeer, both 1991.  The turn of the century saw Jennifer really come into her own with career defining performances in movies like Requiem for a Dream and A Beautiful Mind for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Introducing PCb. Big 'Uns!

Here's a new way to spruce up your space!  What man cave couldn't use a large-sized vintage inspired custom pop-culture trading card??

These are vinyl wall decal versions of some of Phantom Cardboard's most popular custom cards.   They measure approximately 12.5" x 9".

I've chosen 5 designs to start out with and if these are something that does well I'll surely add more.

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.

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.   

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. 

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.

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.