Tag Archives: digital trading cards

These Should Exist: The Lost Boys Edition!

Over the past year I’ve been having a lot of fun with my latest Branded in the 80s project where I try and fill in some of the pop culture gaps when it comes to properties that weren’t merchandised nearly as well as they could have been back in the day.  The basic gist of the idea for me is creating mini sets of Topps trading cards for movies, TV shows and cartoons that never had sets of cards, but totally should have.  This idea started last year when I was working on my Countdown to Halloween theme of 31 days worth of articles and appreciate for one of my all time favorite flicks, The Monster Squad.  While putting that month’s worth of content together I thought it would be fun to create a digital set of trading cards that looked as accurate as possible to actual vintage Topps releases, up to and including recreating wax wrappers.  I had such a blast creating these and sharing them that I’ve worked on 5 additional sets in the last 12 months (including sets for Adventures in Babysitting, Rad, Jem & the Holograms and a couple sets that I co-created with my Cult Film Club co-host Paxton Holley for Young Guns & Young Guns II.)  Around June of this past year I started jotting down a list of all the flicks and shows that I felt needed card sets, and when the one-year anniversary of the Monster Squad cards was about to hit I went back to the list to find a flick that would be an appropriate Halloween-y follow up.

Lost Boys Wrapper A

The movie that immediately jumped out at me was The Lost Boys, which along with The Monster Squad were my first two big forays into watching horror flicks back when I was 10 years-old in 1987.  My parents had been very strict with my sister when it came to letting her watch R-rated movies, or anything even remotely resembling the horror genre, but they were a little bit looser with me.  For all intents and purposes 1987 was the year they gave up trying to keep me from watching more adult flicks, but before they completely let me loose in the horror section of the local video rental store with their rental card there were a handful of flicks that were sort of baby steps into horror for me.  The Monster Squad and The Lost Boys were these movies, and the latter in particular as it was aimed at a slightly older audience with the level of gore and intensity.

Lost Boys Wrapper C

Unlike most of the sets I’ve worked on so far, with the Lost Boys set I felt the urge to start with creating the wax wrapper and then work out from there.  When I sat down to tackle the wrappers I kind of wanted to go in two different directions with the style.  The mid-eighties was a time of transition for Topps in terms of style. They had begun to phase out the bold, italicized logo (the one on the wrappers above) in lieu of a more spindly, art deco logo.  There was also some shake up in terms of the pictures on the wrappers.  For a few sets they moved away from the high contrast, thick line art illustrations and instead went with photo realistic images that used black and white halftone shading and minimal color fills.  You can see this on the Supergirl and Cyndi Lauper wrappers.  So I got it in my head that I’d try my hand at doing both styles for the wrappers.

Lost Boys 1 - combo

As for the cards themselves, I knew I wanted to go with something stark and dark for the border colors and I hadn’t really done any black-bordered cards yet.  So I dug up some Jaws 2 cards and took a lot of inspiration from the fin design in the border to create a bat for the Lost Boys cards.  I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Lost Boys 2 - combo    Lost Boys 4 - combo

Lost Boys 3 - combo

Lost Boys 5 - combo    Lost Boys 6 - combo

This is also one of those movies (like the Monster Squad) where I could easily have created 80+ cards, but I decided to keep it tight with 15 cards.  Otherwise I’d probably still be working on this set next Halloween…

Lost Boys 10 - comboLost Boys 7 - combo    Lost Boys 8 - combo

Lost Boys 9 - combo

I did want to make sure that I hit on all the major characters though.  On my short list for cards that didn’t make the cut were Big Ed (the boardwalk cop), the punks, Nanook & Thorn, Michael eating Chinese takeout, and the Vampires Everywhere comic book…

Lost Boys 14 - combo

Lost Boys 11 - combo    Lost Boys 12 - combo

Lost Boys 13 - combo

Even though I skipped over some cards that I wanted to make, but didn’t.  There was one card that absolutely had to be made no matter what, Tim “Sax Man” Capello.  He “still believes” his card is the best in the set, and therefore I still believe that it’ll probably be the first one folks right-click on and save for their digital Lost Boys cards collection…

Lost Boys 15 - combo

 

These Should Exist: the Jem & the Holograms edition!

With the release of the first two trailers for the new big screen, live action adaptation of Jem & the Holograms only a couple of months away it’s had me thinking a lot about the original cartoon and toy line and what made those so special to me growing up in the 80s.  I pretty much have zero interest in the new movie because I feel like the production has completely shrugged off the original concept and vision of the property that it’s all but unrecognizable.  In fact it feels like a more earnest adaptation of the Hannah Montana television series, which was itself a lesser derivative of the original Jem cartoon.  On a brighter note, I finally managed to pick up the first five issues of the IDW comic book adaptation of Jem written by Kelly Thompson and lavishly illustrated by Sofie (formerly Ross) Campbell, a favorite artist of mine for the past 15 years or so.

Jem comic

The comic series is great and manages to hit all the notes of the original while still updating the plot and characters into a more modern take.  We hear a lot about comic book adaptations and mining comics for film these days, but this is the type of material and a philosophy for how to write fan favorite material that Hollywood just isn’t grasping.  That said, I’m not trying to knock the wind out of the film industry, though if there are ever any executives out there reading this, you’re getting it wrong.  Anyway, since I’ve been diving back into the story of Jem a lot lately I thought it would be the perfect time to try my hand at designing another set of trading cards that SHOULD have existed back in the 80s but for whatever reason never happened…

Jem_Wrapper_v1    Jem_Wrapper_v2

Like the previous sets I created (or co-created) for The Monster Squad, Adventures in Babysitting, Rad, Young Guns and Young Guns II, I had a blast working on these.  I love trying to slip into the creative mindset of a Topps employee circa 1985 when laying out and utilizing artwork to create these wax wrapper and card designs.  Finding colors that work well with the content or trying to make the cards dynamic yet still true to the aesthetic of the 80s…

Jem_Cards_2_Combo

Jem_Cards_1_combo     Jem_Cards_3_Combo

First and foremost, since there is a lot of gorgeous Jem & the Holograms toy box art for each of the characters I wanted to highlight that before utilizing any of the animation imagery.  Though there were some cartoon series that had trading card sets in the 80s (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Masters of the Universe immediately spring to mind), the majority of trading card sets seemed to focus mainly on film and live action TV.  Also, the cartoon sets tended to add speech bubbles with puns and dialogue to the cards and I really didn’t want to do that.  It’s not like I feel I’d have to per-se, but it would be more accurate which is half of what I’m striving for when making these sets…

Jem_Cards_4_Combo     Jem_Cards_5_Combo

Jem_Cards_8_combo

Jem_Cards_7_combo     Jem_Cards_6_combo

The crazy 80s-inspired design of these cards is also a bit personal for me because I was able to tap into my childhood experience growing up in central Florida.  The color scheme I went with is heavily evocative of what I remember seeing all over the place from the design on the scratch-off lottery tickets that became legal around 1988.  It’s a mix of a beachy feel with a splash of flamingo, aqua and neon.  I had so many pairs of surf & skate shirts and shorts that sported these colors…

Jem_Cards_9_Combo

Jem_Cards_11_combo     Jem_Cards_12_combo

Jem_Cards_10_combo

Making these cards was also an excuse to seek out a ton of Jem-related research materials including interviews with series mastermind Christy Marx, making-of featurettes from the Shout! Factory DVD release, as well as diving back into watching the cartoon itself.  I always love re-watching cartoons when I’m doing research for a project like this because it makes me stop and take a closer look at what’s going on both in the episode and behind the scenes…

Jem_Cards_13_combo     Jem_Cards_17_combo

Jem_Cards_18_combo

Jem_Cards_14_combo

Jem_Cards_16_combo     Jem_Cards_15_combo

All in all, I think this is my favorite of the digital trading cards sets I’ve worked on solo thus far.  And at the risk of sounding like a broken record I really wish that I had a set of these in hard copy cards to stick in my collecting binders sandwiched in between my Robocop and Harry and the Hendersons cards.  Maybe someday.

*UPDATE* this is pretty darn cool

These are excellent. Hasbro should totally do these.

Posted by Christy Marx Clubhouse on Wednesday, August 19, 2015