Sketch Card odds in Retail Stores part2

Many people think that trading cards are only sold in Hobby Shops or Online. Retail stores (like WalMart and Target) also sell trading cards with the chance of sketch cards. I wrote an earlier article on the subject here: RETAIL PART1. — New cards are now on store shelves, so here’s an update on current odds:

Topps Walking Dead Evolution was released in 2017, but still lingers on retail shelves. Hobby boxes included 1 autograph + 1 additional hit per box (I saw a case break that had 3 sketches out of 8 boxes). Retail odds are long … 1 per 33 blaster boxes.

Topps Star Wars Skywalker Saga is brand new, but still very similar to a lot of other Topps Star Wars products. Hobby boxes are also configured to include 1 autograph + 1 additional hit per box (I saw a case break that had 3 sketches out of 12 boxes; that 1:96 packs). Retail odds are again long … 1 per 307 packs.

In comparison, the Topps Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) blasters have much more unlikely odds on sketch cards. If I am reading the type correctly behind the shrink-wrap, the odds are 1 per 22,682 packs. That’s a whopping 73x worse, thus proving that not all blasters are equal.


Garbage Pail Kids are a whole different animal. The newest set is “Revenge of Oh, the Horror-ible.” It looks like there are three different sketch card possibilities, all with different odds, the lowest being 1 per 358 packs.


2019 Topps Baseball series1 is not a sketchcard-heavy set to begin with. They are more of a novelty in sports products, so I always expect the odds to be long. A retail pack from a gravity feeder at Target lists the odds at 1 per 9065 packs.


Lastly, the Topps Stranger Things retail blaster does not list sketch cards at all. I know they were available in Hobby boxes, but there is no guarantee at finding any in retail stores. — Good luck, hunting. — As always … if you have a sketch card question or idea, find me on Twitter @Sketchcards. Happy collecting!


Dynamite KISS Cards

Early in 2019, Dynamite Entertainment released “KISS Deluxe Ultra-Premium” trading cards (portraying the world-renown rock band). The set included 18-card base cards, 14 autographed cards, and thousands of hand drawn original art sketch cards.

I knew I wanted one sketch card of each musician (Starchild, Demon, Catman, & Spaceman) all from a single artist to make a “set.” — The question is which artist? There were 60 different contributors on the checklist. I ended up choosing Pablo Marcos.

Pablo Marcos has been a comic book artist since the 1970s. His signature character was Marvel Comics’ the Zombie, for which Marcos drew all but one story in the horror-comics magazine “Tales of the Zombie” (1973–1975). By the early 1980s, Marcos was at work inking penciler John Buscema on Conan the Barbarian comic books, the black-and-white magazine The Savage Sword of Conan, and the newspaper comic strip.

I gobbled up all the Pablo Marcos KISS sketch cards I could find, even if I already obtained the character, knowing that I may have to trade with other collectors to finish a four-card set. I won my first card in April and my second one in May. Through August, I had multiple Starchild and Demon cards, but no Catman or Spaceman sketches. I figured that most breakers were also collectors, and a lot of cards were simply being kept instead of listed on eBay.

Then in September, a collector started listing lots of KISS sketch cards. A Peter Criss (Catman) card finally surfaced. One more off the list. Then the very next week the same seller listed more cards, including an Ace Frehley (Spaceman), the last card I needed. — So there you go. It took five months, but I learned that some sellers won’t list what you’re looking for until after the initial rush.

And, yes, I ended up with a lot of non-Marcos KISS sketch cards along the way. They are all for trade if anyone needs them for their own set. Long live Rock-N-Roll, and Happy Collecting. Find me on Twitter @Sketchcards.


Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (revisited)

This weekend I attended a local ComicCon where I bought some old hobby magazines. One called “Superman & Batman Magazine” really captured my attention. There were multiple pages dedicated to the “Mask of the Phantasm” film. Originally planned for a direct-to-video release, Warner Bros. ultimately decided to give Mask of the Phantasm a theatrical release. The film was released on December 25, 1993. This magazine pre-dates the film. You can tell because the back cover says, “coming this holiday season to theaters everywhere.”

The interior pages were more than just a passing advertisement. The content dug deep into preliminary sketches, and the Mask of the Phantasm voice actors. It also included a jumbo-sized centerfold poster.



In a world where collectors try to define “first appearances” and early cameos, I would like to submit that this magazine is just as important as the “official movie adaption” comic book. This could be the first time The Phantasm was ever in print. Magazines have often been credited as first appearances. For example:

  • Deadline (first appearance of Tank Girl)
  • Greed (first appearance of Milk & Cheese)
  • Foom (first appearance of Wolverine)

That’s my two cents. Thanks for indulging me on a comic book side-rant. I’ll get you some more quality sketchcard content again soon. Happy collecting, y’all. — @Sketchcards (on Twitter)

Fried Pie Con IV

I attended the 1st-ever Fried Pie Con at ‘2nd & Charles’ in Kennesaw, GA on May 28, 2016 with my then 7yr.old son. The annual convention then traveled to Denver, CO and Newark, DE before coming back this year on August 3, 2019 to Kennesaw, GA again. — My son and I made sure to attend, and this is our review:


The convention happened inside 2nd & Charles (which is a retail store), but made space to add an artist alley and a panel stage just for this event. Admission was free, and you were even offered a free fried pie (from ‘The Varsity’) at the door. — At the rear of the store, the stage hosted three different panels and a cosplay contest throughout the day.

The artist alley was created using curtain partition dividers, and had multiple “rooms.” Each room had a variety of new trade paperbacks for sale, and a few convention exclusive comics.

Even with good foot traffic, all the creators were easy to approach and remarkably kind. I spent time talking with Stephen Green, Andrew MacLean, Paul Jenkins, Brandon Fletcher, Brian Stelfreeze, and Francesco Francavilla. They were all great ambassadors with a wealth of wisdom.

It was a great day, and I have 4 new sketch cards to show for it. Thanks to 2nd & Charles, and their parent company, Books-A-Million. I’ll leave you with a throwback from Fried Pie Con 1. — Happy Collecting, y’all.







July 2019 Sales

These aren’t always the “highest priced” sales on eBay, but these are sales worth noting. Let’s get to it …


Dan Burn Webster is probably most well-known for his Garbage Pail Kids work. I wonder if that’s what led to a $976 sketch card sale. — In comparison the 3 highest sold “Rick & Morty” autograph cards inscribed by Justin Roiland sold for $929, $899, & $899. And I couldn’t find any other Dan Burn Webster “Rick & Morty” sketch cards for sale or sold.


Fred Ian sketches regularly sell over $100, but $752 is a great sale by any means. I wonder if it’s the characters that elevated it. Which one is the popular one? Quicksilver or Scarlet Witch?


Jerry Vanderstelt sketches are always in demand. He has worked for Star Wars & Lord of the Rings properties in fine-art capacities beyond sketch cards.

This “Rick & Morty” card of Squanchy sold twice by the same seller (I assume the first auction was cancelled by the buyer). $365 the first time & $560 the next time. It proves the exact same card can sell 50% more just by listing it on a different day. — The only thing I find weird is that both auctions were driven by only 2 bidders. If only 1 bidder was involved, the card would have sold for a small fraction of the final price.

Well, there you go. A few of the interesting sales of the month. Were there any you had your eye on? Hit me up on Twitter @Sketchcards. Happy Collecting.

Oversize Case Toppers

(** UPDATE at bottom.)

Trading cards are most often assembled by the pack, then packs are put in a box, then boxes are loaded in a case. Distributors often include special insert cards as “case-toppers” to be incentives for collectors to purchase a whole case. Sometimes these case-toppers are sketch cards. As a means of differentiating the case-topper sketches from pack-inserted sketches, companies sometimes decide their case-topper sketch cards should be oversize card stock. Let’s look at some jumbo sketch cards.

The first set to employ 5×7 sketch cards was “Fathom” by Dynamic Forces in 2001. They released 300 individually numbered cards, all drawn by Talent Caldwell (who drew the Fathom mini-series “Killian’s Tide”). There were only two repeated characters that I know of. My biggest question is whether only 300 cases of Fathom were ever produced, or if some cases were packed without a case-topper?

With the success of Fathom, Dynamic Forces issued a second oversize sketch card incentive in 2002 based on the TV show “Lexx.” According to, all cards were drawn by Dan Parsons in five different variations:

  • Kai facing forward, # to 100
  • Stan facing forward, # to 100
  • Xev facing forward, # to 200
  • Xev from side, # to 200
  • Xev bust, “Season 3”, # to 200

The Benchwarmer company tried oversize sketch cards as case incentives in 2007. This was an unexpected addition from a company that makes trading cards based on live-action models. Most Benchwarmer collectors were only used to photographic images on their cards. These were produced 4×5 (rather than 5×7) & came protected in a plastic top-loader.

Rittenhouse Archives offered oversize sketch cards for The Complete Avengers in 2006, but they were only offered to dealers/collectors who bought SIX cases (called multi-case incentives). They were each fully-painted by Cat Staggs.

Rittenhouse Archives repeated their program with the “Women of Marvel Series 2” set in 2013. Like The Complete Avengers set in 2006, they released oversize sketch cards as multi-case incentives; but they appear to have been drawn on 4-card uncut sheets.

Viceroy Cards did something similar to Rittenhouse for their Space Series 2 set in 2018. The oversize sketch cards were created as case-topper incentives, but drawn on 4-card uncut sheets. I wonder if anyone ever cuts these into 4-card “puzzles”?

In 2014, Upper Deck created oversize (5×7) sketch cards for “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but hid them as box-toppers (1:12 boxes) instead of case-toppers. They did it again in 2017 with their follow-up Vol.2 release.

Upper Deck created 5×7 sketch cards for Marvel Premier 2017. Because the set was packed 5 cards per box tin, 6 box tins per case, these were available randomly inside the tins rather than as case-toppers incentives. One Single-Panel sketch came in every box along with a second sketch from the multi-panel or jumbo category. These include Dual-Panel, Triple-Panel, and Quad-Panel Sketches, as well as the 5×7 Sketch cards.

Breygent Marketing created a whole bunch of oversize sketch cards, but many were made available only as Comic Con Exclusives. Most were not offered as case incentives, or pack inserts.

  • 2014 Kringle Kards 
  • 2014 Comic Con “Grimm”
  • 2014 Comic Con “Women Of Dynamite”
  • 2010 Comic Con “Golden Age of Comics”
  • Etc.

I’ll wrap up with some odds-&-ends. In 2016, Cryptozoic Entertainment released their “DC Comics: Justice League” set with blank box-toppers that are basically un-drawn sketch cards with comic book logos on the top. — Iconic Literature was released by a company started by artist Achilleas Kokkinakis. I do not know how Achilleas Kokkinakis released the oversize sketches associated with their 2019 set, but found this example on eBay. — Versicolor Productions created oversize sketch cards for their “Bettie Page: The Private Collection (Set 1),” but they were only used as Artist Proofs.

I’m sure there have been other similar jumbo cards, but this is a good start. There’s no doubt that you can fit more art on these larger canvases, but I still can’t tell if the hobby market puts any premium on non-traditionally sized sketch cards. What are your thoughts? Do you want to see more 5×7 sketches? Send me your feedback & pics to @SketchCards on Twitter, or comment below. Happy Collecting!

UPDATE: Thanks to Twitter user @SSGred4 … I was reminded about a few more oversize Sketch Cards worth noting … “DC Comics: Justice League” by Cryptozoic Entertainment had oversize sketch cards in 2016. They were called Madame Xanadu Tarot, and found 1:36 boxes. —  “The Walking Dead Comic Book Trading Cards” by Cryptozoic Entertainment had redemption cards for 4×6 art cards in 2012. — And lastly, below is a better scan of the Grimm Season2 jumbo by Breygent. — Thanks @SSGred4


Original Art comparison

For years I have bought pages of original comic book art at comic conventions. Recently I subscribed to an App that lets me read comics online, and thought to take a few screenshots for comparison purposes. I hope you find it interesting to see pencils & inks side-by-side with the finished product. Let’s start with a modern Buffy page.


This Superboy page is interesting because it uses “Screentone.” It’s a quick way to apply textures and shades to drawings, used as an alternative to hatching. This one also has the word bubbles on-page rather than added digitally like above.


Here are 4 more basic/modern comparison pages.


This “Over the Garden Wall” page shows that blue line pencils don’t reproduce, so are easily left on-page & not erased.


Lastly I took a picture of an actual in-print comic book next to the original art. Inks can fade/change over time, but I still love seeing actual word balloons on-page.

Sorry to be slow to add/post on this blog recently. I’ve been practicing & experimenting with Podcasting. I’ll hopefully have something brand new to share next month. Happy Collecting!