I’m trying something new today. I have a ton of signed trading cards acquired at comic book conventions. I thought I would make this my ongoing gallery page. I have a lot to add later … but wanted to start somewhere. I think the easiest way is to do this in blocks of six cards. That way I can come back and add descriptions as needed. Away we go …
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There’s a different kind of sketch card out there. It was never inserted in packs, and it’s not even card shaped. I’m talking about cardboard drink coasters with original art.
The original “Drink and Draw Social Club” was formed in 2005 by Dave Johnson, Dan Panosian and Jeff Johnson. These three invited other artists to join them Drinkin’ and Drawin’ (often to hilarious results). They even printed up their own drink coasters and compiled the best of their drawings in a book (printed in 2007).
Well, if you are familiar with Comic Book Conventions you probably know that there are often copious amounts of artists and alcohol available. Thus the Drink and Draw Social Club became popular at hotel bars at some major conventions after hours.
A few inspired people soon devised a plan to make the Drink and Draw Social Club into a fundraiser. — The first annual HeroesCon Drink and Draw charity event was back in 2011. Funds raised would benefit Parkinson’s research in honor of Richard Thompson (the cartoonist behind the award winning Cul de Sac comic strip). Artists at HeroesCon were invited to show up to a designated bar on the first night of the convention, and draw on some custom printed drink coasters that would be sold to benefit the Michael J. Fox foundation.
The way the HeroesCon event operates is a whole lot like the floor of the the New York Stock Exchange in a 1980’s movie. As soon as artists are done drawing, they hand off their finished coasters to the event organizers who then display them on a table. All the interested attendees are then free to make an offer. If the organizers like your offer, the item is sold. The better the art, the higher the offer needs to be. Often, friends of the artist will make immediate and crazy offers to guarantee their win, so some art may sell within seconds of being turned in (it’s all for charity after all).
Of course an art auction is not an original idea. People have done this in various ways for decades. Another organization that uses a similar model is The Hero Initiative, who is dedicated to finding a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid or financial support. Recently, The Hero Initiative has also moved to the drink coaster format. Below are some of their charity coasters have sold on eBay in the last 60 days.
2020 was unfortunately the year of the COVID pandemic. Most conventions were cancelled and charity organizers had to become even more creative with their fund raising. The good news is that it looks like a lot of coasters have been sent through the mail, and are about to get art on them for future use by Team CuldeSac. (BTW … check out that new design!)
Want to donate? You can Email the HeroesCon organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org or message them on Facebook. — This is one of my favorite ways to collect original art. Be safe y’all, and feel free to tweet me @sketchcards. Thanks!
This is it … the last day to win Ingrid Hardy’s excellent The Art of Sketch Cards book. Follow & RT any blog post with the hashtag #SketchCardContest.
And what did this blog babble-on about? Here’s a clickable checklist of the last 24 days. I bet you missed one, so take a load off & catch up.
Day 01 – Dynamic Forces MCC98 proof cards? Day 02 – Top Selling PSC’s Day 03 – Sketch Card Sets that were Abandoned Day 04 – Famous Artists that drew Sketch Cards Day 05 – Understanding Lady Death sketch card sets Day 06 – The First sketch card set ever (newly discovered) Day 07 – Sketch Card prelim renderings Day 08 – Free sketch cards via NPN Day 09 – Best Sketch Card books & websites Day 10 – Box Break: Mystery Power Box Day 11 – Topps Transcendent (expensive sketch cards!) Day 12 – Holiday Themed sets Day 13 – Lowest Print Runs ever Day 14 – Guest Author! Day 15 – Topps Artist on Demand Day 16 – Matt Stewart interview! Day 17 – Top Sales of 2020 Day 18 – Special Convention Sketch Cards Day 19 – TTM sketch cards (including Todd McFarlane) Day 20 – Sketch Artist business cards Day 21 – Secret Fleer / Skybox paperwork Day 22 – The best eBay auction EVER Day 23 – Rejected Sketch Cards Day 24 – Star Wars sketch card drinking game
… So, thanks for loving sketch cards, the artists, the collectors, and everything the hobby throws at us in-between. Merry Christmas, all. I hope we can bump into each other at a Comic or Card Convention once the pandemic is over!
Final day of the Contest! (Details at the bottom). Day 24 Topic: A Star Wars Sketch Card Trivia Game …
In the immortal words of Billy the Puppet, “Let’s play a game.” Seriously … get yourself a piece of paper and a pencil. And before you scroll down let’s take a quiz together. As 2020 comes to a close, let’s look at Star Wars trading card releases. Ready? —
(#1.) How many Star Wars trading card sets did Topps release in 2020?
(#2.) Including shaped sketchcards, panoramic sketchcards, and other variations, how many total different sketch cards did Topps release in 2020?
(#3.) Did Topps release more or less star war sets in 2019 compared to 2020?
(#4.) If Topps stayed on its current pace of Star Wars trading card releases, how many sets would we have between 2021 and the 50th anniversary of A New Hope?
Thank God this isn’t a drinking game. I would be dead on the ground. I’m not even sure if my answer key is correct, and I did hours of research. Maybe this is a trick-quiz with impossible answers? Anyways … here’s my best guesses … I didn’t even take into consideration pre-solicited sets like 2021’s The Mandalorian Season 2, or oversize releases like 2020’s Star Wars Authentics 8 x 10 Series 2. Okay, let’s give this a shot (starting w/ most recent) …
These are the solicited release dates (not necessarily the actual release dates). If I did my math & research correct, that’s NINE Star Wars trading card sets released by Topps in 2020. — Now let’s count sketch card variations … Holocron should have 1, Masterwork had at least 3, Mandalorian had 1 (or 2 if you count Redemptions, lol), Stellar had 1 (oversize), Perspectives had none, Rise of Skywalker 2 had at least two, Journey of the Child had none, Women of Star Wars had 2, B&W had 4? — That’s a total of 14.
According to my math, 2020 exceeded the 2019 set count. I think 2019 only had 6 different sets … and 2018 had 7 different sets …
The last question in the quiz was “If Topps stayed on its current pace of Star Wars trading card releases, how many sets would we have between 2021 and the 50th anniversary of A New Hope?” Well, A New Hope was released 1977, so the 50th anniversary would be 2027 … that’s seven more years of releases, thus at nine sets a year, Topps could release 63 more card sets before the 50th anniversary. — I hope y’all got deep pockets, and avoid the On-Demand and “online only” sets (like TFA Widevision) because that only make this list even more confusing.
Whew! Good think I’m not a Star Wars master collector or completist. Reminder: Collect what you like, and keep the hobby fun. Now onto the contest:
2 days left in the contest (details below). Day 23 Topic: What happens when a sketch card gets rejected by the manufacturer?
It’s not a secret that manufacturers maintain the right to throw-out, or reject, sketch cards that show nudity, banned characters, or other various reasons. But the feelings of artists are rightfully still hurt when they pour time & effort into a project that they will never get paid for, or even seen by the public. Here’s some of those stories …
In 2012, Cryptozoic Entertainment released The Walking Dead Comic Book Trading Cards. In 2014 (when this post was made), Cryptozoic Entertainment released The Walking Dead Season 3 Part 1 (based on the TV show). ^ This artist was completely cut from the Walking Dead sketch card project because his style of art was not realistic enough. I have no idea what the contract specifically requested, or what his final cards looked like, but artists need to pay close attention to what companies are asking for regarding specific sets.
^ This screenshot makes some sense (but not complete sense). The Walking Dead gave the individual actors the right of denial, so Andrew Lincoln supposedly denied these sketch cards of himself. I think these cards are well-rendered, and worthy of collecting, but Andrew Lincoln didn’t agree.
^ I think this stings even worse. This artist only had ONE card approved for The Hobbit. It truly is The One Ring. — I don’t know the story from the artist’s perspective. This was written by a collector.
^ Wow; even the great Katie Cook had 3 cards rejected for X-Men Archives! The only thing I could guess is that she drew “banned characters.” I’m sure Rittenhouse wanted every last card they could get from Katie Cook, but sometimes their hands are tied by their contracted licenses.
^ This is a classic story. Marvel Masterpieces (2007-2008) banned all Marvel Zombies. Upper Deck said they were all rejected and destroyed. Then they started showing up in packs. Oops. So rejected does not always mean destroyed. (I got pictures of them here somewhere that I will try to dig up later …)
But this story should give artists hope … Dave Gaskin had some sketch cards rejected for the The X-File: UFOs and Aliens card set. So he did what any of us would do … he contacted Upper Deck and asked for reconsideration. And the second time around they were approved.
^ But just because cards are approved does not necessarily mean they were packed-out … neither Dave Gaskin nor myself have ever seen 2-card X-Files puzzles. (And these are beauties).
Now in case you are wondering who makes all these tough decisions regarding what gets rejected; in September of this year, Upper Deck hired a new Quality Assurance Clerk. That’s the dude that inspects all incoming sketches, and keeps “accurate data on spreadsheets.” — That means that somewhere there are records of all the Upper Deck sketch cards … Maybe one of you got the job?
So to recap:
Cards can be rejected for content (nudity, or banned characters).
Cards can be rejected because the actor does not approve .
Rejected cards are not always destroyed.
Rejected cards can later be approved.
Accepted cards are not always packed-out.
Any other thoughts on the subject? — I honestly feel for any artists that have cards rejected. I wish I could own them all. Good luck. Now onto the Contest:
Contest details at the bottom. Day 22 Topic: The best eBay Auction Ever.
Ebay was a much different beast in 2001. There was a lot of transparency by eBay, listing the buyers & sellers names and bid amounts. Nineteen years ago an auction like no other was listed, and then never seen again, including THREE HUNDRED 1998/99 sketchagraph cards. This could be considered as the master checklist of what was available in Fleer Silver Age 1999. — I had to physically print the auction back then, and just digitally scanned it for the first time:
In case you can’t read the description: $14,000 buys you 300 cards ($46 each). Included in this listing are:
2 Stan Lee sketch cards
17 different John Romita sketch cards
5 Tom Palmer sketch cards
30 different George Tuska sketch cards
23 different Michal Dutkiewicz sketch cards
42 different Emir Ribero sketch cards
22 different Gene Colan sketch cards
60 different Marie Severin sketch cards
13 different Joe Sinnott sketch cards
It’s fair to say that this seller had inside access regarding a few of these cards. Often he refers to cards as “never released” or “stamped samples.” What really blows me away is that he claims to own some CZOP cards that were “editorially rejected.” What does that mean? Note: I always assumed that nothing was rejected in these early sets. — In my opinion, a collection this complete is not simply acquired by opening boxes and buying off eBay. This guy was the real deal with deep connections at Fleer/Skybox. — I honestly can not remember if this auction sold? Regardless, when people ask for a complete checklist of 1999 Silver Age, I think this is it.
By the way, did you read that last line? There was a MCC98 Deadpool original art redemption by Walt McDaniel. He was the artist on the 1998 series. I don’t think this was inserted or initiated by Fleer/Skybox. I think Walt McDaniel wrote on a blank sketch card (“mail me this, and I’ll mail you art”)? You can see a few examples of his sketchagraphs above … Okay, onto the contest. Only a few more days left …
Contest details at the bottom. — Day 21 Topic: Inside Info on Fleer.
Fleer was the top of their game in 2002. I was honestly considering opening a Comic Book, Hobby & Baseball Card Store (called Pop Culture), so I wrote Fleer a letter asking what it took to get started and purchase product directly from them, the manufacturer. They sent me back the following letter. — I thought I would use this blog post to share some of the official documents that Fleer sent out to their partners. This is kind of a Fleer time-capsule.
A bit of history: Marvel Comics bought Fleer in 1992 for US$540,000,000. Then in 1995, Marvel Comics also bought Skybox. Fleer/Skybox created three of the legendary Marvel sketch card sets … FUSM97, MCC98, and Fleer Silver Age 1999. But, Marvel entered bankruptcy in 1996 and eventually started selling its subsidiaries.
^ This postcard from 1995 says “Fleer/Skybox filed a Verified Application … authorizing sale of remining trading cards …” Everything was to be sold at auction. I received this postcard because I was one of the listed creditors at the time.
So, I started getting packets from lawyers in October/November 2005, listing me as a low-value creditor (they owed me $40). But the packets listed every creditor, including some high-level celebrities & manufacturers. Obviously, the proceeds from the bankruptcy auction would benefit big creditors first, like Alexander Grass who was owed $2,050,000.
The blog entry below (found using Google) was posted March 02, 2015. Some of the “sale of remining trading cards” bought at liquidation were only coming to market 10 years after the initial bankruptcy. I vaguely remember them originally being sold in very large lots (for example: all the basketball autographed cards, (or) all of the sealed product in the warehouse; etc). They were not small & manageable lots that the average collector could afford. — Reminder: the Transformers Armada set was released in 2003 with sketch card redemptions. Many of the actual sketch cards were still in the Fleer warehouse when the bankruptcy auction took place in 2006.
So, have all the 2006 Fleer bankruptcy auction collectibles already come to market? Who knows. There could still be large batches of cards that the auction buyers are still sorting. Are there any other Fleer documents you own or want to see? Leave a comment or Tweet me @Sketchcards — Now onto the contest:
Contest details at the bottom (only 5 days left). Day 20 Topic: Artist Business Cards.
Pre-Pandemic, I loved going to Comicbook Conventions and meeting artists. I love buying official sketch cards & PSC’s directly from the creators. Sometimes artists would say “I didn’t bring any sketch cards with me, but take my business card and we’ll work something out later.” Other times I ran out of pocket-money and took a business card to remind myself to re-contact the artist once I had more cash saved up. — I quickly realized that a lot of these business cards are mini-prints full of gorgeous art, so I started putting them in business card notebooks. I thought I would share some of these business cards these creators spent so much time and effort to produce. So, there’s not a whole lot of text or commentary in this post. Just good looking art from some of the best sketch card creators in the business …
… By the way, most of these business cards are 10+ years old, so I assume all emails/websites/phone numbers are now expired. Even if they are still valid, please be respectful and don’t use their contact info for nefarious purposes. Now onto the contest …
Contest details at the bottom. Day 19 Topic: Through The Mail … #TTMSuccess’es
Sometimes you throw a Hail Mary, and the long shot connects. For years I’ve seen friends on social media & hobby message boards post TTM successes. That stands for “Through the Mail” requests; usually an autograph from a celebrity, but in my case I’m talking about sketch cards. There are plenty of websites that provide possible addresses and instructions, so I won’t beat that horse. For a while FANMAIL.biz had the best 174-page thread of comic book creator addresses (click here), but it has dried up the last few years.
This is one of my earliest and favorites. It’s from Terrell Gentry, a Senior Product Designer at Walt Disney. — Back in 2003, Upper Deck started making Disney Treasures card sets with very rare sketch cards (read about them here). Terrell was on that first & second set, contributing 10 and 12 cards respectively. I was so mad that I never found any Disney Treasures sketch cards or landed one from eBay that I decided to write letters to a few of the artists, courtesy of the Walt Disney company address (I didn’t have or want to use home addresses). — Terrell wrote back and included this sketch card (free). I was over-the-moon, and this holds the spot until I land an official Disney Treasures sketch cards one day.
I’ve known about Don Perlin for years. He joined Jim Shooter’s Valiant Comics in 1991, penciling the series Solar, Man of the Atom and Bloodshot (among other things like Werewolf by Night back in the 1970’s). — Strange story, but my parents lived around the corner from him and they didn’t know it until they bumped into each other at the local comic book shop. My parents were picking up some things for me while I was at college (yup, cool parents), and the comic shop owner was like, “That’s Don Perlin.” They shared pleasantries, and my parents later told me the story. — Well, I wrote a letter to the comic book shop (again, I didn’t have or want to use home addresses). The next time Don Perlin was in the shop, they gave him my letter, and then this came in the mail. Heck of a guy (and currently 91 years old)!
Which brings me to the mack-daddy. This guy needs no introduction: Todd McFarlane. — If I remember correctly, there was a long run of Spawn comics being illustrated by people other than Todd because he was busy running his larger business (toys, etc). Then Todd had announced that he was returning to draw Spawn for a major anniversary (maybe issue 150 or 200)? So I figured I would write and congratulate him. A few weeks later, this showed up in the mail. Of course I paid to certify and slab it by JSA/Beckett. This is my holy grail of sketch cards.
Of course there have been plenty of failures along the way. I must have mailed Stan Lee & Jim Lee 10 different times to different addresses (once even mailing $5.00 cash for return postage that was kept, probably by some intern). But the successes outweigh the failures. This is one more fun way to play the hobby. Now onto the contest —
Contest details at the bottom. Day 18 Topic: Let’s discuss a few Convention and Charity Sketch Cards.
Not all sketch cards some in packs. Here’s a couple that are unique to a particular event or charity … starting with the Treasure Chest Of Art. The Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing comfort and distraction from painful procedures to children and teens who have been diagnosed with cancer, by providing gifts from a treasure chest. — Paul Maiellaro, Owner of the Chicagoland Entertainment Collectors Expo had an idea …
Paul provided special commemorative trading card blanks, and left it up to the artists to draw what they wanted. 100% of the net profits, less expenses benefitted the Treasure Chest Foundation. They got official permission to do Star Wars, Wacky Packages and Garbage Pail Kids, upon approval. — BTW: Lucasfilm gave permission for Star Wars images with a maximum number of cards to be done for the set, so although this set was authorized to include Star Wars images, they had a maximum quantity. Original characters & artwork, including Sci-Fi & Fantasy artwork were welcome. The deadline was Apr. 2, 2010.
Next, I want to discuss Star Wars Fan Days 2007. This was a sub-convention of Dallas Fan Days (or more recently called: Fan Expo Dallas) events under the same management. It started in 2002, when Ben Stevens, and Philip Wise (owner of rebelscum.com and theforce.net) produced the first Dallas Comic Con. In October 2007, they hosted Star Wars Fan Days I.
They made custom card stock for both the attending Celebrities and the attending Artists. I honestly don’t know if your ticket granted you any free signatures or sketches. I assume you had to pay each artist individually, and thus many were left blank. The artists (and custom stock) was created for the artists: Mark Brooks, Chris Trevas, Tom Hodges, Justin Chung, Cat Staggs, Joe Corroney, & Tommy Lee Edwards. Here’s an example of the talent and artist custom card stock (below):
Below is the card stock for Star Wars Fan Days 2 & 3 (2008 & 2009). It appears they moved to card stock that could be used for any artist, rather than specific card stock with the artist’s name on the front.
Lastly, let’s look at 2007 INKWORKS Convention sketch cards. From what I can tell, Inkworks made these for several years in a row (2005-2007). Their last year attending SDCC was 2008, but collectors don’t remember them having sketch cards that year. Samples have been found from Mark Dos Santos, Tone Rodriguez, and Tess Fowler. To get a sketch, collectors just had to hang around the Inkworks booth, and they’d periodically give out tickets for the sketch sessions (free). The artists were supposed to stay confined to subjects Inkworks held licenses for (like Tess Fowler drawing “Shrek,” and Dos Santos and Rodriguez drew “Family Guy” cards).
There has been some discussion among collectors if these should be classified as “promo cards” since they were never sold, and were created to generate publicity for upcoming products. If so, then these are 1/1 promo cards. — Both the samples above were drawn by Tone Rodriguez. The artists rotated “shifts,” so not all artists were available at every sketch session. — Most collectors only remember these being available at Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC), not other large comic conventions.
So … those are three convention or charity sketch card “sets.” — I’m sure there are others. Do you have a favorite convention card or one worth blogging about? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @Sketchcards. — Now onto the contest …