Saturday, October 29, 2022


This 50 card set is the custom set I referenced as a "passion project" back in this post.  I began tinkering on this set at the end of June.  A combination of things; it being a 50 card set and a couple of printing setbacks, stretched this one out for months.  There was no rush because I make these for fun.  I didn't give myself a deadline, so the proximity to Halloween is a ghoulish coincidence.

At 50 cards (52 if you count the promo card and special "Dream Ghoul" card) this is the largest card set I've done.  I learned a lot, most specifically that I'll never do a set this large again. It's just too much for my one-man Mickey Mouse operation.

This set came to be thanks to my son and his repeated viewings of the Blu-ray, which eventually I had to hide.  I can't recall if I've mentioned it on other blog posts -probably not, I try to keep it about the cards- but, my son is on the spectrum.  He's non-verbal, so movies are a form of communication and bonding for he and I.  The only issue is that when he likes a movie he can't just watch it once, or even two or three times.  It's back-to-back-to-back for days or weeks or sometimes months.  He's done the same thing with Cliff Hanger, Total Recall, The Running Man, Return of the Living Dead Part 3, Suspiria,  among other movies.  He gravitates towards the intense action scenes.  

I decided to make a set from Frankenhooker because the more times I watched this quirky movie, the more I fell in love with it.  I've always been fond of the film, but I really started to deeply appreciate the performances, the aesthetic and story.  It's crazy to me that the idea for the movie was originally an on-the-spot ad lib by director Frank Henenlotter after another of his more thought-out movie concepts was shot down by his would-be producer.  

Another pseudo-factor in liking Frankenhooker is that it's an adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  It seems everyone has their favorite Marvel and DC characters (Incredible Hulk and Plastic-Man, respectively) but I'd also be interested to know other's favorite Universal Monster character.  Mine has always been Frankenstein.  

Horror movies (or horror comedies in this movie's case) are my favorite to make sets from.  I just really like the special effects visuals.  Monsters are just fun to create a vintage inspired custom cards out of.  That's also how this set ended up being 50 cards.  By the 87th -give or take- viewing I loved so much about the movie that I wanted to include as much of it as I possibly could.  I wanted the card set to follow the sequence of the movie and present nicely that way in a binder.

I considered a few different card sets looks from 1990, but I felt that a template inspired by the 1990 Topps baseball design would work out best to give these cards a look unique to the movie but still recognizable as a classic Topps design.  Plus, the '90 Topps frames was purple after all... "I'm looking for a tall purple girl.  She's got a black forearm and fresh stitches".  I also wanted a design that would lend well to using captions as is the case with non-sports card sets.  That might have been my favorite part, coming up with the double entendre puns.

The same approach was taken for the card backs.  I wanted them to resemble the '90 Topps with some Frankenhooker flair.  I watched the movie scene-by-scene pausing to get exact quotes for use on the card backs.  There's a few scenes that did not have dialog so those 4 (I believe) cards have movie trivia questions on them.  I also wanted to give each card a fun fact because I personally place great importance on that type of shit of zero consequence, rather than figure out how things like stocks or mortgages work.  It's not enough to like a movie.  I need to be able to annoy others with "did you know?" type information that they couldn't really care less about. 

Pretzels GOOOD

The set ended up being 48 cards, which with being that close to 50 didn't sit quite right with me.  So, I made two checklists which is ironic because I'm not planning on parting specific cards from the rest, so if you have the checklists, you have the rest of the set.  But, it gave me an excuse to use a couple cool behind-the-scenes shots that otherwise didn't have sequential story context.  Which begs the question of why didn't I just just cap the set with a couple of behind-the-scenes cards instead of checklists?  That is a pretty good question actually.  I don't know.  It's just what I did.  Consider it just a homage to set collecting where the checklist let you know which cards you needed to complete a set, like back in 1990.

The Dream "Ghoul" card is a play on the Dream Girl cards I do, which of course are a play on the Dream Team subset from the 1991 Score baseball set.  In the time it has taken to produce this set I've plugged upwards of 20 or more images into the Dream Girl template.  Patty Mullen was such a babe and a brilliant choice to play Elizabeth as she had a great look (1988 Penthouse Pet of the Year) and had the comedic chops to soften a character that is essentially a prostitute monstrosity. 

I also made a promo card for the hell of it.  In the early '90s I remember promo cards really coming into vouge, especially with non-sport card sets.  I totally marked out to those oddball type of cards.  They were the epitome of rare and special to me.  You couldn't get them in packs.  Sometimes they were dealer exclusives or sometimes they'd be a magazine premium.  Either way, I was in awe of them, so I thought it'd be cool to recreate that with this set. 

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