Monday, July 30, 2012

Early Preview: 2012 Cryptozoic DC Comics The New 52

The last couple of years Marvel related cards have been making a regular appearance in the collecting world while DC has had a limited release. Not counting movie related cards the number of DC sets in the last decade can be counted on one hand.

With the DC Universe getting a reboot of sorts with the launch of the New 52 last September Cryptozoic Entertainment connected with DC to create a set that goes with the re-launch. Late next month, August 29th, the 2012 Cryptozoic DC Comics The New 52 will hit shelves.

The term “New 52” is in reference of DC’s decision to end all ongoing monthly graphic novels as of August 31, 2011 and revamp and re-release 52 new series with the first graphic novels starting September 2011 and running with new launches through 2013. Every line is being addressed, some titles are being rewound to a specific event, some are being rebooted and some are even being cancelled. This includes changes to all the biggies too; Batman, Superman, JLA and Green Lantern (my personal favorite).

The 2012 Cryptozoic DC Comics The New 52 set has not been fully previewed, Cryptozoic has decided to post up previews of some of the sketch cards, over-sized sketch cards and original art pages with more details of the base set to come over the next month.

Release Information:
Release date: 8/29/12
Box SRP: @ $65-75/box
Pack Out: 24 packs/box, 5 cards/pack

Box Break:
115 Base cards
4 Inserts
1 Sketch card

Set Info:
71 card checklist (69 base cards, 1 checklist & 1 cover card)
There are foil parallel versions of each base card

Lanterns- Die-cut foil cards centering on Green Lantern & the Green Lantern Corps

Work In Progress- Lenticular cards that show the art of the re-vamped characters from pencil sketches to full-color image, there are 9 cards in the chase set.

Sketch: 7,000+ from over 150 artists

Redemption- There are 2 different redemptions for items too large to fit in the pack out. The first is a redemption for one of 50 over-sized sketch cards; the second redemption is for one of 6 original art pages.

Lord Mesa Puzzle Sketch card

Lynne Anderson Puzzle Sketch card

Andy Price Oversized Sketch card

Andy price Oversized Sketch card

Meghan Hetrick Murante Oversized Sketch card 

Meghan Hetrick Murante Oversized Sketch card

Benjamin Glendenning Oversized Sketch card

Super Girl Original Art Redemption

Red Lantern Original Art Redemption

Red Lantern Original Art Redemption

Justice League Original Art Redemption

Justice League International Original Art Redemption

Detective Comics Original Art Redemption

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Early Preview: 2012 Topps UFC Bloodlines

Topps just released 2012 UFC Finest and within days they began teasing fans with the next UFC product on the horizon, 2012 UFC Bloodlines. Arriving in mid-November, Bloodlines is building on the popular insert, this time the entire set is built around the fighters and their heritage. UFC has a world-wide appeal and fighters come from every corner of the globe and Topps wants to share this with the fans.

Right now we are seeing some preview images and some basic information but at this point not a whole lot else is available. It is expected to be a high-end product and each Master Box will contain 10 mini boxes. Each mini will contain one pack with 5 cards; two base cards, one parallel, one insert and one hit. Each Master Box will include two relics, one jumbo dual-relic, one manufactured patch, three autographs and two auto-relics and like 2011 Title Shot and 2012 Knockout you have the possibility of pulling a box topper, a Bruce Buffer Announcement Card. It will be the actual card that Buffer uses to announce each fighter as they enter the ring, and each card will be signed by Buffer.

The base set contains 150 fighters from UFC and Strikeforce. There are five parallels: Flag Parallel (#/188), Black (#/88), Red (#/8), Platinum (1/1) and Printing Plates (1/1). There will be First Signature cards from first time signers plus a parallel Red Ink (#/15) autograph that includes the fighter’s nickname.

There is a nice selection of inserts, with many of them having autographed or relic parallels, as well as numbered parallels. Every insert will have something to do with fighter’s lineage as well as paying tribute to the fighters who laid the ground work during the UFC’s early years as it was trying to get established. The manu-patches include a Patriotic Patch, which includes a patch representing the fighter’s homeland, and International Airmail, which contains a stamp from the fighter’s country.

The Fighting Forefathers is an inset that pays respect to the men who were there on the ground floor. UFC was a street fight inside a cage back then, fighters did not wear gloves and the fights lasted as long as it took to beat the other guy (the longest fight ever was Gracie vs Shamrock at UFC 5 and lasted 36 minutes). Sometimes fighters went on to fight 2 or 3 fights in a night. To see what it was like take a look at some clips from any early UFC event, specifically UFC 1-14.

I am disappointed that Topps decided to use a horizontal design for the Forefathers base and auto versions but went vertical with the relic versions. I like a nice uniform design when dealing with inserts and subsets. They did a similar thing with the Bloodlines but reversed. The base and autographed version were vertical and the dual relics and dual autos horizontally, but this is fine because the horizontal works with the dual fighters.

The Global Conflict autographs contain the autographs of fighters who faced each other in a match while the International Incident autographs have singatures from two fighters from the same country who faced each other.

The manufactured patches are the Patriotic Patch and International Airmail. The Patriotic Patches have manu-patches with an emblem that represents the fighters country, there are autographed versions. The International Airmail has a stamp from the fighters country embedded in the card. Again Topps went horizontal and then verticle with the base and autograph versions of the Patriotic Patch.

There are a couple of booklet cards that include jumbo relics of Champions and autographs and multi-autographs.

This set will also include a UFC first, sketch cards. I actually know two of the artists who will be working on the sketch cards through an MMA collector community and while they are not allow to display the work they are doing for Topps I have seen other MMA work from both artists and collectors will be happy. The Bruce Buffer Announcement Card box topper is pretty cool, I like the Fist-o-Graph from 2012 Knockouts but I definitly would not cry if I pulled one of these.

I have been quite happy with Topps run with UFC sets, they have put out some quality designs and have included the right fighters and this looks like it will be a set following in the steps of some awsome sets. From what I have seen I would say this is easily a set to consider for UFC collectors, while the price will most likely be in line with 2012 UFC Knockout (@ $200), if you have the spare cash it is the one to get.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1910 T218 Champions Abe Attell

The Vintage Card of the Month comes from the 1910 T218 Champions set, this 153-card set were included in packs of Mecca, Hassan and Tolstoi cigarette packs. The set was made up of various champions from billiards, bowling, boxing, flying, golf , track & field and swimming. The majority of the set was made up of the boxing and track & field cards. This set is beautiful, amazing illustrations and fascinating colors.

The card that I am highlighting for this month is the Abe Attell boxing card. Attell, known as “The Little Hebrew” and “The Little Champ”, was an interesting fighter. He fought his first fight at 17 and a year later he was the Featherweight Champion, which he held from 1901-1905. He took the title back in 1906 and held it for 6 years, defending his title 18 times. When he finally retired in 1917 he fought 172 fights, winning 125 (51 by KO), lost 18, 21 draws and 8 no contest. He is in the Boxing Hall of Fame, the International Boxing Hall of Fame, the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Jewish Sports hall of Fame. As a boxer there is no question of how he fared but towards the end of his career he made some friends in low places, namely noted New York mobster Arnold Rothstein.

Regular readers will know of my fascination with the 1919 Black Sox. The connection here is that Abe Attell was the “rumored” go-between that worked out the details with the White Sox players for Mr. Rothstein. When everything collapsed the rats fled the ship leaving the players holding the bag. The players were eventually acquitted but were banned for life, including Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver (one of my favorite players). Rothstein claimed ignorance of the fix and was never charged and Abe Attell convinced the court that they had the wrong Abe Attell.

Unfortunately this card is not in my collection. A reader, named Phil, contacted me not long ago to ask for some help identifying a nice collection of vintage cards, he was helping out an associate who had received the cards from a family member and this was one of those cards. The collection was quite extensive and contained sports and non-sports cards, all tobacco era from the early 1900s. We spent a little over a week going over the cards and talking about our own personal collections, this was definitely a fun endeavor and I got to see some awesome cards.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Panini Comes Up Strong With A National Wrapper Redemption

With a week left before the National Convention opens its doors Panini has been busy posting up images of the final two cards from their National VIP set, something they originally intended to show at the National, along with their special wrapper redemption set that collectors can pick up by busting specific boxes of product. They laid it down, a wrapper redemption that will really reward collectors with some nice cards. I like the idea of a complete set, it really reaches out to all type pof collectors like set builder and player collectors.

Starting with the final two “Mystery” VIP cards, Diamond King Darvish and Harper cards.

On to the wrapper redemption program:
When collectors purchase and open a box of one of the 14 included products they will receive wrapper redemption packs. Depending which box you open will determine how many packs you will receive:

Panini Wrapper Redemption Program pdf file

What is interesting is that this program is actually a complete set, including parallels, inserts, relics and autograph cards plus instant-win cards for printing plates. The printing plates are actually packaging printing plates that were used in printing out the boxes.

The base set has a 40 card checklist made up of 14 active players, 5 legends and 19 rookies. Each rookie card is #/499. There are Cracked Ice Parallels (#/25 or less) and Autographed Cracked Ice Parallels (#/5 or less).

The Team Colors insert set is an 8 card set including players from Baltimore and Washington teams. Like the base set there are Cracked Ice and Autographed Cracked Ice parallels.

Memorabilia cards are made up from Tools of the Trade, NFL Draft Materials and Rookie of the Year Materials. The 12 card Draft Day Materials and 6 Tools of the Trade are NFL players and the 1 Rookie of the Year Materials is Gabriel Landeskog (NHL).

The other relic set is the 10 card Rookie Manufactured Auto set, a Manu-patch that is autographed by one of the NFL rookies, there are also Cracked Ice parallels #/30 or less.

The final set is the 3 card RG Collection

Instant win cards will reward collectors with package printing plates or on-site autographed memorabilia.

I think you will find that the set is a collaboration of various Panini designs, which is why I think that the set overall may go over well. The set seems like it will be readily available, considering that only the parallels are really limited, the base set and some of the inserts will probably show up for reasonable prices within minutes of the convention opening. I am wondering how the packaging printing plates are going to go because many collectors are torn over the card printing plates. Do people actually collect packaging material? Is it a large enough group that would justify creating these plates as instant-win rewards? What adds to question is the sheer size of the pacakging printing plates, these are not card sized, these are the size of the boxes so it will be very different to display and do people really want to display a box? I have various Griffey box tops from the 90s that I tore off of boxes but that was just the top flap, these are the entire box; top, sides and bottom.