Aug 16, 2017

Creature Comfort Playing Cards

I love finding new playing cards on Kickstarter. The platform allows for people to make the things they want without business people getting in the way of things that might not sell at retail. This time around it's Creature Comfort playing cards designed by artist Don Moyer.

I knew I had to have this one once I started looking at the images on the Kickstarter page. It's got all kinds of weirdness going on. Click on the pic above to take a closer look at the card back design, it's pretty crazy! The deck was available with black or red backs. I like the black better because it looks like a bunch of bugs crawling around, even though most of the critters are something other than bugs.

In most decks of cards, you get repetition of design somewhere. Not here! Every card has a different being on it. That's pretty amazing to me because the artist had to design not only the pips but also came up with some face cards that wouldn't look out of place in an illustrated version of Alice in Wonderland.

Maybe it's a little easy to make that leap when one of the Kings is a walrus (goo-goo-goo-joob). The Kings are all enjoying their favorite Creature Comfort snack food. I kind of think the King of Spades looks a bit like Admiral Ackbar, don't you?

If you like this art, head over to Don's website and check out his other stuff, including some wild "Calamityware" dinner settings.

Aug 10, 2017

The Runaway Robot (1965)

Awhile back I got this book as a gift. It's been sitting in a pile of stuff I want to read and I finally decided to take it for a spin.

This is a Scholastic book from 1965. Let's stop and think about that for a second. The physical book that I have is over 50 years old! I bet the book itself has had quite a few adventures.

The cover right up there is the reason my stepdad picked this up for me in his travels. I mean, look at it. Retrofuturism at its best! There are quite a few versions of it that I'll scatter among the post but this is by far my favorite.

This isn't the blurb on my book but it's a better summary of the story:

The robot named Rex had been bought as a companion for Paul when the Simpsons decided to pioneer on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter...a rough, dangerous satellite where a small boy needed a strong, intelligent robot to protect him. By the time Paul is sixteen, they are inseparable. Robots, of course, have a personality leeway that gives each one a certain individuality within its pattered capacities - and Rex had a wonderful personality, with a logic quotient that allowed him to reason. But when the Simpson family is ordered back to Earth and Paul refuses to part with Rex, the robot plans to stow away on a spaceship to Earth - no easy feat, even for a robot with Rex's abilities. Thrilling chases in skimmers, through spaceports, and over the deserts of Mars are just the start of the problems for The Runaway Robot!

There is just something about 50s/60s scifi that's...I don't want to use words like quaint or simple. Maybe matter of fact? There's no techno-babble or long explanations about the hows or whys of the technology. The way everything is presented there's nothing flashy about it, it's all just this is how things are in everyday life and I love that about it.

In addition to the wonderful cover, there are a few chapter illustrations.

One of the things that makes this an interesting read is that the story is told completely from Rex's, the robot, point of view. He makes some interesting observations at times like that he knows things not because they were learned but because that's how he was programmed. One of the other things I really got a kick out of is the way he uses part names when talking about his eye or ears. Which of course makes total sense when you think about it. Over the course of his adventures with Paul, Rex becomes more than his programming and begins to understand what it's like to be human.

As you might guess, this is a story about friendship. I couldn't help but think that it was very much like a Lassie story. That is if Lassie were a humanoid, sentient robot.

Doing a bit of research on the book naturally lead me to Amazon to read reviews. Turns out, a lot of people read this when they were in grade school. For some it was their first chapter book or intro to science fiction and I think that's pretty cool. Because the book is over half a century old, I just presumed it was one of those random things that turn up at a flea market after someone cleaned out their attic and no one would remember it.

When I started the book I had no idea that I was going to be reading something that people have such fond memories of.

Also while poking around, I found just how much some people love the book in this great post where a fan of the book created this display piece. The post itself is worth checking out to read people's reactions/memories about the book.

If you're a fan of old sci-fi movies, it's worth checking out. While reading, I was picturing in my mind what the special effects would look like if it was a movie from the 60s. As cheesy as that may be, the story has some heart to it that I wouldn't necessarily expect.

You can sign up at for a virtual library card and check the book out online or, using Adobe Editions, get a pdf that's good for two weeks. If you want physical media, you can snag a used copy from Amazon for under $5.

Not a fan of this cover.

Aug 7, 2017

Galactic Empire Invades Boston

Not so long ago in this very galaxy, there was a Kickstarter by some crazy guys calling themselves Galactic Empire. They play heavy metal versions of Star Wars themes while dressed as the bad guys. They sounded awesome and although I thought they'd get shutdown for legal reasons, I backed the project. I was pleasantly surprised when the project finished and I got the CD. Now, they are on the road, bringing their music to the masses.

There were three other bands that opened for them. The first two were local: Quick Machine (80s style rock and my fave of the three) and Without Warning (metal with a bit of prog mixed in, they covered Iron Maiden's The Trooper). The third band has been on the road with Empire and they're called Dangerkids. I think the term for their style is metalcore and while it's not something I'd seek out, they put on a hell of a show. It was a cross between what I always imagined an 80s punk show would be and 90s metal.

And then it was time to witness the power of a fully armed and operational metal station! I thought it would be fun to do a FB live video of their first song, the Main Title. FB Live was not designed for shooting in dimly lit clubs while on wifi apparently. Not only that, but it turned my landscape into portrait view during the feed which made me a little embarrassed. The video quality is not great but the audio is decent if you want to check it out.

The band was amazing. I have never yelled so much at a show where there were no lyrics to be sung. You may notice that their outfits kinda sorta look like the characters but are different. They did their own takes on the characters, not only to avoid legal trouble, but to make it easier to perform in them.

A Rebel spy is brought on stage and dealt with
 They did a couple bits during the set that were fun but mostly they played all the songs from their album. Dark Vader prefaced "Across the Stars", the love theme from Attack of the Clones, by saying "This song is very personal to me. It's about my love for Padme and my hatred of sand!"

This guy, Bass Commander, was my favorite. 
He had an incredible energy throughout the set and was constantly in motion.

During the show, a couple guys dressed as Jawas were moving through the crowd and rocking out. I'm pretty sure they weren't even with the band!

This video I shot with my camera and it came out much better than the live stream.

After the show, the guys came out (sans costumes) to meet people and I got them to sign my poster. I had to follow another guy around because I had no idea what they looked like out of costume! They were genuinely cool dudes who appreciated the fans.

The tour has wrapped but I highly recommend checking them out. Head over to their Facebook page to keep up with news and buy stuff. The album is totally worth it! I can only hope there is another.

There's a few more pics on Flickr if you're interested.

2017.08.05 - Galactic Empire

Aug 1, 2017

Monthly Movie Recap - July 2017

Last month I discovered a new streaming service thanks to my Tivo. It's called TubiTV (yes, there's an app for that!). They have free to watch movies and TV shows with ads. I think in this day and age, we forget there was a time when we had to sit through commercials to watch TV. Or maybe I'm just old!

Despicable Me 3 (2017)
Definite fun for all ages! While the kids will enjoy the animated antics, the grown-ups will enjoy the 80s soundtrack. Trey Parker is great as the former child star turned villain, Balthazar Bratt.

Cool: More Minion craziness
Lame: Why would you use a Madonna song for the final dance fight?

Rating: 7/10

XX (2017, Netflix)
A horror anthology with all four segments directed by women. Like any anthology, there's not much time to develop characters and you're sometimes left with more questions but overall I really enjoyed it. None of the shorts are like another subject-wise and most have an almost artsy style to them which is an interesting change in horror.

Cool: The first short, The Box, is amazing
Lame: The final story has very brief animal violence

Rating: 7/10

Arachnicide (2016, Amazon Prime and TubiTV)
Imagine the worst SyFy movie you've ever seen and somehow make it even more terrible. The movie's called Arachnicide but you have to sit through 50 minutes of military BS before you even see a spider! Once they do start fighting, there is about a 5 minute (feels longer) badly lit scene of soldiers shooting giant spiders.

Cool: The only possible redeeming thing about this would be some MST3K style fun if you start watching at the 51 minute mark
Lame: Horrible English dubbing, reusing same shots during a fight, awful day-for-night scenes

Rating: 2/10

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
If John Hughes made a teen superhero movie, it would probably be very similar to Homecoming. I can't say if it's my favorite, I'd have to go back and watch the first two McGuire movies, but I will say it's the most fun version of Spider-Man we've gotten.

Cool: I wasn't sure how I felt about the Stark tech suit but I love it and it totally makes sense in the MCU
Lame: I got nothin!

Rating: 8/10

Trolls (2016, Netflix) 
Further proof that if it's got Anna Kendrick singing and it's not Pitch Perfect, I"m probably going to be bored. Take the Smurfs, add music, replace Gargamel with a race of creatures that want to eat Trolls and you've just about got it. Yeah, there's some life lesson stuff along the way about being who you are and all that but it just wasn't for me. Kids will likely enjoy it though.

Cool/Lame: I was more interested in some of the supporting characters than the main characters

Rating: 4/10

Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets (2017, RealD 3D)
Since seeing the first trailer, I wanted to love this movie. I wanted to be able to put it with Star Wars and Guardians as a place to get lost in. On some level, it does that for me. I want to go there, I just want to hang out with anyone other than the main characters. I'll be checking out the comics this is based on because right now, the first issue is free on Kindle.

Cool: Visually, the movie is gorgeous. Lots of cool sci-fi stuff. I want to explore this universe.
Lame: The main characters aren't that interesting to me. Not only do they have little chemistry but I think they look like they could be related which makes the will they/won't they even more awkward.

Rating: 6/10 (8 for the world, 5 for the main characters/plot)

The Void (2016, Netflix, Amazon Prime)
I'd been seeing lots of people rave about this one so I checked it out not knowing anything about it other than some people hole up in a hospital and fight off cultists. It's a great 80s weird horror throwback that wouldn't feel out of place on VHS. If you like Lovecraft, Barker, and/or Carpenter, check this out!

Cool: Plenty of gooey bits. Love the weirdness of it all.
Lame: Some aren't a fan of how strange the ending gets but I think it just makes it better

Rating: 7.5/10,  a great non-Lovecraft Lovecraft flick

What have you seen recently that's worth checking out?

Month Total
 New: 7  Rewatch: 0

Year Total
 New: 36  Rewatch:3

Jul 26, 2017

Creeping Flesh Trading Cards

I was so thrilled to see this project on Kickstarter a few months ago. I've been a fan of Dan Brereton for a long time now after discovering his comic series The Nocturnals. It's not only gorgeous to look at but the atmosphere is what I can only call Halloween Noir. Image Comics recently made The Nocturnals available digitally so if you want to check it out, go here. If you prefer having it in hand, you can probably find them at a local comic shop or Amazon.

But enough about the comic, I'm here to talk trading cards! Creeping Flesh is a set of 19 monster girl trading cards and 1 sticker. It's presented as a wax pack of trading cards straight out of the 80s, but instead of having to buy a ton of packs, you get the whole set in one shot. They did an incredible job with the presentation.

For a few bucks more, you could add on this display box to hold the pack of cards. Anyone that remembers buying cards back in the day may get a nostalgia flashback.

Just like the store boxes, the top folds back with a cut out image. That's the pack of cards inside it to give you an idea of the size of the box. They come in a wax wrapper too. The only thing missing is a stick of gum which is probably for the better.

In addition to the wax pack the cards come in, they sent a flat wrapper. Something they didn't have to do but it's a nice bonus. The left side has a checklist of the card set.
Also included is a promo card for the set.

Here are just a few of the 19 cards. The one with the white border is the sticker card. The regular cards are either orange or purple bordered giving the set even more of a Halloween vibe. As you can see, Brereton has a wonderfully spooky art style.

If you want to snap up a set of these wicked women, they have about 60 sets left. There are also add-ons you can get like the display box, signed cards (why didn't I order one of those?), or even a collector's set with each card autographed!

Drag yourself over to Sidekick's site to order.

Jul 19, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Hot Wheels - Milano

After months of scouring the pegs, the Milano has finally landed!

I don't know if everyone else finally got one or if I got lucky and walked in shortly after a fresh case was put out, but I counted at least three of these. I snagged two of them so I could keep one carded. I knew if I only got one, I'd regret opening it and ruining the card art and for a buck each? Why not.

It comes with a little clear plastic stand so the ship can be displayed in flight. The paint job is pretty good. You can't see from this angle but they did skimp a little on the underside along the nose by leaving out the orange, but hey, for a buck I'll live with it! Something pretty cool that I didn't notice until looking at the pics: the name of the ship on the left wing! Or maybe it's port. Am I supposed to use port when referring to a spaceship?

The flaps (I don't know what they're actually called) are done in plastic but the rest of the body is die cast. The particular color of plastic used is a little off to me, I think it's the almost pearlescent sheen. But again, for a dollar it looks pretty great on display.

Side note: my spell check didn't have pearlescent as a word, what up with that?

I don't imagine we'll be getting Hot Wheels of any other ships but there is a new set of Volume 2 character cars out there featuring Yondu, Nebula, Mantis, and a new Groot go-kart. They also re-released the originals on Volume 2 cards. As far as I've seen, Rocket is the only one that is different from the original release with a repaint in blue to match his new outfit.

Aside from the TRU exclusive Rocket/Groot 2-pack, these have been difficult to find in my local stores. I have managed to grab Groot and Yondu and am still on the hunt for the rest.

Jul 17, 2017

Box O Stuff Winner!!

Drum roll please...

Was it you?

Well, unless your name is Kevin of, nope!

Congrats to Kevin and thank you everyone that stopped in for the contest.

Jul 12, 2017

6th Blogiversary & Box O Stuff Giveaway

July 13th marks the sixth year this ol blog has been...uh, blogging? I totally forgot about it last year which is too bad because as a society we're obsessed with nice round numbers. You hit a five year anniversary it's all cake and fireworks. Six years? Eh, let me know when it's 10.

Astute readers will not it is not yet July 13th. This is going up a day early because tomorrow night I will be rocking out to Boston and Joan Jett!

Since I missed the big 5-iversary, I'm doing a giveaway to thank the readers. But we'll get to that in a bit, or you can just skip down. First, I want to share some totally meaningless stats.

Here are the most viewed posts over the last six years.

Shockingly, Andy Gibb has dropped to the second spot! 
For the longest time, that was the most viewed post.

Here are the most searched terms that lead people here.

People love Andy Gibb!

Now on to the good stuff.


What am I giving away?
A box o stuff!

Can you be more specific?
It will contain items from Loot Crate and other things.

How do I know I'll like the stuff?
A: It's free
B: You can throw me a couple of keywords and I will try to put related stuff in the box.

How do I enter the giveaway?
Leave a comment below with your keywords. It's as easy as that. Leaving congratulatory words and/or well wishes will not increase your chances of winning neither is it discouraged.

If you're into horror movies and/or random geeky t-shirts that are Men's XL (never worn, don't worry!) mention that as well.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: make sure I have a way to contact you from your comment. If your email is linked to your commenting account, you're good. Otherwise, include an email, Twitter, or GPS co-ordinates in your comment.

Also, and I'm sorry to say, contest open only to US residents.
Unless you want to pay shipping for a box o stuff, then join in!

Winner to be determined on Monday, July 17th.

Jul 10, 2017

Supaidaman (Japanese Spider-Man)

As a kid of the 70s, I got a lot of exposure to Spider-Man. He appeared in segments on The Electric Company, reruns of the 60s cartoon (the one with that catchy theme song), and then there was the live action incarnation on TV.

But what kid-me had no way of knowing for decades was that there was another 70s live action version going on around the world in Japan called Supaidaman!

Prepare yourself for awesome and check out the show's intro. Although the lyrics are in Japanese, the song is ridiculously catchy. You've been warned!

As you can see, Japan put their own twist on the spider story we're all know. Supaidaman would actually become the basis for the Super Sentai hero series which evolved into Power Rangers. The origin of this version of Spider-Man is completely different than the one we're used to. Takuya Yamashiro finds a dying alien from planet Spider who injects him with his blood (giving him spider powers) and bestows on him the bracelet that holds the costume, shoots webs, and controls the giant robot Leopardon. You didn't think you'd get a Japanese hero show without a giant robot, did you?

Supaidaman frequently had a monster of the week which would start off man-sized and then grow to a Godzilla-size for the big showdown, which is when Leopardon would be summoned to battle the giant menace.

As a kid, I spent many a Saturday afternoon glued to the TV watching Creature Double Feature on WLVI 56. In addition to featuring horror and scifi from the 50s-70s it was a good bet at least one of the movies would be something in the Godzilla realm. And that's probably why I love Supaidaman as much as I do. From the guys in giant monster suit fights to the sound effects, every bit of this show takes me back to being a kid. Oddly enough, I have never seen a complete episode of Power Rangers. had posted the episodes years ago but sadly they've since been removed. Clips are easy to find but not so much full episodes. I did manage to find them on the web (ha!) elsewhere and have watched a little more than half of the 41 episodes. I can't recommend this show enough! If you can find it, watch a couple of episodes to get a feel for it.

In the recent Spider-Verse mega-event, Supaidaman finally made his way into Marvel canon from a different universe. It was a great treat for me, as it was right out of the show.

For whatever reason, the whole "emissary from hell" thing is one of my favorite bits from the show. Maybe because it's just so not Spider-Man and weird.

Supaidaman sure knows how to make an entrance!

Jul 1, 2017

Monthly Movie Recap - June 2017

Here we are at the half way point for 2017. It is just flying by! I'm seeing tons of buzz and recommends for Baby Driver so I may have to check that out. If you've seen anything good lately, drop a comment below!

Quick reminder: the linked movie titles will take you to Amazon where you can purchase it, or anything else, and drop a few pennies in the blog coffers.

Hopefully an indication that DC is starting to head in the right direction, this movie is a lot of fun! There was a lot of great stuff here, especially anytime Diana is fighting for the common people. We need a hero that inspires!

Cool: I need an entire movie of young Diana, that girl was great!
Lame: I didn't quite get everything going on in the final showdown. Was the power coming from the bracelets or her because she's a demigod or...? Cannot take any villain seriously with that mustache.

Rating: 8/10

Sometimes you just find things on Netflix and dive in with nothing more than a couple sentences of summary. I had no idea what I was getting into! This is the kind of grindhouse midnight movie I absolutely love because it is so off the wall. You can hardly go wrong if there's nuns with shotguns.

Cool: While watching it, I thought it would make a great comic book, turns out it's based on a comic.
Lame: It's a little uneven in places but not really a bother overall.

Rating: 6.5/10 (7 for fun, 6 for movie overall)

And sometimes you find something on Netflix that sounds like fun and it turns out to be a Hallmark movie. Not that it's terrible, I just wasn't expecting it to be a kids movie. I think 13 year old me would like this. If I had watched the trailer first, I probably would have skipped it.

Cool: I like the premise so maybe I'll check out the books it's based on.
Lame: It's just too by the book.

Rating: 3/10

Dark Space (2013, Netflix)
The trailer makes it look halfway decent, what it doesn't tell you is that the main characters are going on space spring break when their ship crashes unexpectedly. If that doesn't trigger a warning flag, I don't know what will. I can't be bothered to look up the actual age of the actors but I'm guessing their average age is late 20s/early 30s.

Cool: For low budget, the effects and armor suits are really well done. Guess that's where all the money went.
Lame: Never invested in the characters, was looking forward to seeing them all get offed (they don't)

Rating: 2/10, not even "so bad it's good" bad

TMNT: Out of the Shadows (2016, Amazon Prime)
I've never been a big fan of the original cartoon or the look of the current movie incarnations. Having said that, this was a great improvement for me over the first movie. I actually had fun watching it instead of being appalled at the sexual innuendo. It's a great live action cartoon!

Cool: Krang was fantastic! Megan Fox was adequate!
Lame: Why put Casey Jones in if you're barely going to have him BE Casey Jones?

Rating: 6/10

Month Total
 New: 5  Rewatch: 0

Year Total
 New: 29  Rewatch:3

Jun 28, 2017

The Incredible Origin of Space Snake

Back in 2014, The League of Extraordinary Bloggers had a topic called 'Look What I Can Do" which encouraged participants to share something they created. I shared my original comic creation, Space Snake.

As I mentioned there, when my step-dad was in the Marines, he had a hard cover sketch book that he took with him in his travels around the world. Everywhere he went, people added stuff to the book. Sometime in the early 80s, I got my hands on it gave Space Snake's origin the full blown comic book (in color!) treatment.

The book had been presumed lost for the last 20 years or so when it recently and mysteriously turned up in his home mailbox. So now I am able to present to you, the Origin of Space Snake!

Click to embiggen!
It should be noted in the history books that my radioactive waste mutated reptile preceded TMNT by a year or two. Just sayin...

I don't know why a 12-ish year old would choose the name Harold for a galaxy-trotting mutated snake but there it is. I was doing a sort of cross-over thing because one of SS's rescuers is another one of my creations, Captain Blaze (his first name is Douglas!). You can read about his origins and evolution here.

I mention at the end that SS became one of the Galactic Federation's top agents. While Blaze was originally conceived as an intergalactic spy, I don't think there a whole lot of undercover work for a mutant snake even one with a V-inspired laser gun and cool jetpack.

There is a continuity conflict between the comic and SS's handbook entry. In the comic, he's alone on the rocket and in the written backstory, his wife was with him but didn't survive. You have to have some kind of loss to be a great hero, don't you?

This is the back of the comic page showing off both heroes. That's supposed to be a shield in Blaze's right hand and a laser sword like Thundarr the Barbarian's Sun Sword. The things hanging from his belt are an array of different weapons, mainly beams of some sort, like freeze, heat, and so on. More Saturday morning influence, this time from Space Ghost.

So there you have it, faithful readers.
You now have the complete stories of Captain Blaze and Space Snake!

Jun 21, 2017

Blood Drive - First Impressions

Premiering last Wednesday, Blood Drive is the newest original SyFy series. While the channel may be best known for it's so bad they're good original movies, a lot of their series have been good enough to watch unironically.

I'm a big fan of Roger Corman's Death Race 2000 so I've been eagerly watching the countdown to Blood Drive peeling off the starting line. When I saw the first trailer, it felt like it might be a spiritual successor to Death Race. The Jason Statham reboot series was fun for what it was but it felt more like a video game movie. The direct to Netflix sequel, Death Race 2050 might become a classic in another 20 or 30 years in its own way.

I don't want to give too much away but here's a little rundown.

In a dystopian 1999, thanks to global warming oil is $2000 a barrel, food is scarce, and water is strictly regulated. The police are now contractors sold off to a corporation. For some, the promise of Blood Drive's $10 million prize money is the only shot for decent life.

 After busting up some dregs hacking a water ATM, Officer Bailey (possibly the only decent cop left) finds out about Blood Drive, a ruthless race where the cars run on human blood. He makes it his mission to put an end to the race but gets caught by the race organizers. He gets partnered with vicious vixen Grace and forced into the race thanks to linked sub-dermal implants that can be triggered remotely to explode. And if you come in last place at a checkpoint? BOOM!

On the first leg of the race, there's an abundance of swearing, partial nudity, an assortment of deviant and depraved oddballs, and plenty of blood! Not the CGI junk, good ol fashioned, splattering the actors, practical stuff.

The show promises to deliver a new favorite grindhouse staple every week like cannibals, cults, Amazons, and more. If the first episode is anything to go by, the series will be something you'd expect from a name like Midnight Grindhouse. In fact, I still can't believe SyFy is airing this and not Netflix. Watching this made me feel like a teenager watching something on cable they're not supposed to and worrying the parents might walk in at any minute. I just would not expect this on SyFy!

For some people, Blood Drive might be a guilty pleasure but I am fully in touch with my B-movie side and totally embrace it! I found it a hell of a lot of fun and can't wait to see what weirdness is down the road in the coming weeks.

One of the highest praises I give a TV show or movie is that after watching it, I want to jump into some type of game based on it. Blood Drive is right there! I want an RPG sourcebook with more info on the world and racers. I want a video game where you take part in the race. For now, I'll have to tune in to SyFy Wednesday nights.

If you hurry, you can catch up to the pack before the second episode tonight. Wouldn't want you to come in last and have your head explode! You can watch online at SyFy, YouTube (you can find the first three eps if you poke around), and Amazon Prime.

Jun 15, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol2 Trading Cards - Retail

As I mentioned in Tuesday's post about the GotG Hobby cards, companies will also make a series of "retail" trading cards. Normally, they release the same base set of cards to mass market outlets with lower chances of pulling hits but at a lower price which makes it more affordable to get the base set of cards. But not here. The cards you get at retail are completely different than the hobby cards.

Why would you make trading cards for one of the biggest summer movies and limit them to WalMart? The stores in my area are the absolute worst if you're looking for cards that are not sports or gaming related. And to put more salt in the wound, there were also promo cards released which are different still from the hobby or retail versions. Basically, there are three different sets of cards!

I don't have any of the promo cards because to get them, you had to buy a pack of underwear or t-shirts. $10-$15 for a 4 cards is not exactly cost efficient. Although individual non-insert promos are going for $3-5 each now.

The 50(!) card promo set has different inserts like blue or gold foils, die-cut cards, chrome-cut (think shiny silver), and super lucky people get a Dave Bautista or Stan Lee autograph! The promo cards have a WP before the number for Walmart Promo. These use a different layout than the hobby/retail cards, opting for a borderless look.

Promo cards (Image from Cardboard Connection)
Then we come to the regular, non-hobby, non-promo retail set. I haven't been able to find a checklist for these so I have no idea how many are in this set. The retail cards are numbered with the prefix RB for...retail box, I guess?

Retail cards
From the few packs I've managed to find, these seem to be character focused. The re-use of art (top row) almost makes me think these are aimed at a slightly younger audience. There are cards that look like they should be stickers (bottom left and right) and also blue foils that really make the images pop.

From what I've been able to gather online, the retail set also has their own hits.

Image from eBay
Honestly, I think these look better than the hobby wardrobe cards, such a cool way to do it.

The good news is, while researching the cards on eBay, it looks like the prices of a complete hobby set are coming down so I may be able to get them after all. It's just not as much fun buying it all at once as it is opening packs though.

Jun 13, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol2 Trading Cards - Hobby

The movie may have come and gone but that doesn't mean I'm done talking all things Guardians just quite yet!

I picked up some packs of trading cards when the first movie came out but never got around to getting a complete set. This time, I decided to treat myself to a hobby box. If you're not up on your trading card lingo, they will usually release retail cards (what you'd find at places like Target) and hobby cards (which if you don't have a specialty shop nearby, means mail order).

The difference is what you get in packs. Hobby packs have "premium hits" in them. You're generally guaranteed a couple of these if you buy a box. These can be things like sketch cards or autographs.

I found a decent price from an online retailer. As you might imagine, I was very excited the day my box of cards arrived. My first thought on opening it was, wow there's a lot of styrofoam packing in here. You see, in my giddiness to order the cards I didn't read the fine print. Well, it's not really fine, it's right there if you actually read. I'm used to seeing boxes of Star Wars cards which are usually 24 packs per box. This box has only 10 packs...for almost what I'd expect to pay for twice as many packs.

With the main set having 90 cards, there's no chance of even getting close to a complete set from this box of 80 cards. That was disappointing but I did get some cool stuff.

5x7 box topper & pack wrapper
Every box comes with a one of nine oversized 5x7 cards. Random boxes will have an oversized sketch instead. These are pretty cool and relatively cheap on the secondary market so I'm planning on picking up a couple more.

The 90 card base set covers the characters and movie story. Very similar to any movie trading cards you'd get when you were a kid. The cards themselves are great quality. Unfortunately, I won't be finishing the set anytime soon because I'm not buying any more boxes and there's nowhere around selling individual packs. Considering what I paid for this box of 10, I'm afraid to see what a store would charge for single packs.

And then there is what I consider the blight of the hobby...parallels.

Bronze, Blue, and Purple

I know people out there collect parallels but I have no use for them. To me, they're just taking advantage of collector OCD and using up a slot in the pack that could be a standard card to finish the set. They're called parallels because they, stay with me here, parallel the base set cards but are slightly different. In this case, they jazz up a base card with colored foil graphics. In the hobby set, there are five levels of foil parallels: Bronze (1:1.45 packs), Blue (x/199), Purple (x/99), Red (x/49), and Pink (x/10).

They didn't photograph great but the foil looks pretty good in person. I did get a few Bronze, couple Blue, and a Purple. The numbers up above mean they are limited print run. For example, the Purple I have is stamped on the back that it is 72/99, so there are only 98 other purple foils of that card. In that respect, it's kind of cool to have one of 99 in existence.

Then come the inserts. These are mini-sets of cards with a specific theme. They are: 15 card Behind the Lens, 12 card Family of Oddballs focusing on the characters, and 6 cards on the ships. These inserts are about 1:3 packs. I got a total of 8 in my 10 packs so that ain't bad!

Now we're into the really good stuff: the hits!

These were pretty thrilling to pull! They're Galactic Garb cards featuring a piece of  wardrobe used in production! I got the one on the right in the first pack I opened. It's pretty cool to get even a small piece of something that was used in the movie.

Here's a closer look at Drax's card.

There's nothing covering the fabric so you can feel the texture on it.

There's quite a variation in these cards. They can have up to four characters on one card. Some of them have an autograph on the card of the actor as well. I didn't get any of those but am pretty happy with what I did get. There is also another super-rare hit called Groot's Roots. It's a piece of real maple in card shape with an image burned into it!

There are 10 different ones and the odds are 1:65 packs, or one per 6.5 boxes! They have a range of $25-$100 on eBay. I might be tempted to pick one up at some point.

Speaking of eBay and picking stuff up, I did do a bit of online shopping to snag a few more wardrobe cards. I'd like to get one with each cast member.

I'm a little confused on the Rocket one because he's CGI. I know there is a stand in actor and I think I remember from Vol 1 behind the scenes that there is a physical Rocket stand-in as well. Maybe that's what this is from.

Tune in again Thursday when I'll be talking about the retail Guardians cards. It will be a much shorter post, I promise!


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