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.