This interview has been my most intriguing to date. Wilson Ramos Jr drew for the Fleer/Skybox Marvel Creators Collection set twenty years ago, and has fresh insight into the very first one-per-box sketchcard project. I can’t thank him enough for sharing.
(Q1.) Welcome, Wilson. It’s an honor.
Do you remember how you were approached to draw/submit for MCC98?
(A1.) Well, 20 years ago, the idea for sketchagraph cards was brand new and it seemed like there wasn’t enough artists to fill the demand. I was working at The Marvel offices doing Art Returns (my job at the time to return the original artwork back to the artist after the comic was printed). The famous Marvel Bullpen (all comic book artists in their own right) were asked to do some sketch cards. Since I was also an artist (mainly known for coloring at the time), I was also asked if I wanted to be a part of it, and I jumped at the chance. Being able to draw official Marvel heroes, penciling, inking, & sometimes coloring was exciting. Up to that point I only colored a few things.
(Q2.) Do you remember any stories about friends who also participated?
Did everyone think it was just a passing fad?
(A2.) Since the Bullpen was a part of it, we all felt it was a fun thing to do (at least I did). It was so new at the time, I think it helped sell the cards. Many of us ran out to buy some card packs! I recalled finding a Wolverine Sketch card drawn by one of the bullpen’s inkers, Pond Scum. I don’t recall if anyone thought it was a gag or a fad; there was so much excited activity going on at the time, we were each showing the cards to one another; seeing who in the Marvel universe people picked to draw. Some of us drew the heroes we most liked, and others would try to find some obscure hero. Again it was a very exciting time. The only downside was there were so many cards to draw and we didn’t have to much time, so it was quick sketches. We also got to see some of the art the comic professionals were doing, such as the paintings Mark Texeira would show us. Some of us wanted to stop because of what he brought in. Fun times.
(Q3.) Do you remember any specific cards you drew for MCC98?
Were there any guidelines, or was it truly “draw anything you want”?
(A3.) At first there were no rules. Draw whatever you like as long as it was from a Marvel Comic (I think it had to be Marvel owned, so no Conan, Transformers, G.I. Joe, or even Rom). I remember drawing a lot of Spiderman (he was my favorite hero), Moon Knight, Ironman, Hulk, Kingpin, Cloak and Dagger, SpiderWoman, Wolverine, Captain America, and more heroes then I can remember. Later (I don’t recall if it was the same set, or the next), but some rules were added such as to limit repeats of the same head shots & stuff like that.
(Q4.) Did you think your sketch cards were still going to be in-demand 20 years later?
Do you still own any MCC98?
(A4.) I only participated in 2 or 3 sets, then I never did another one for 7-10 years. At first I didn’t think they still did them. I didn’t follow the card scene as much as I did the comic book market. When I went full Freelance in 2004, I was just dong comics. But it was my connection to comics that brought me back to sketch cards. An editor I had worked with years before started working at Topps. Then I was asked to do some of the Star Wars Galactic Files sketch cards. So, I was back doing them off and on for the past 7 years.
As for MCC98, I still have one or two, (or maybe they are from the later series, Silver Age). I know I have a Gene Colan card in my collection. I don’t have any of my own, but funny enough I think I still have a few blanks, or really some that I started but were so bad I didn’t turn them in. Those got banged up over the years, I always though I would do some new art on them at some point.
I’ve seen my cards pop up over the years. We didn’t make copies of all the cards like we do now, so I don’t know how many cards I did. I have images for maybe 12 or so. I found out that an Ironman card of mine sold for $300 a couple years ago. That was a big surprise! They were all quick pencils sketches, very rough art, but they found a fan.
(Q5.) What do you now do with Artist Proof cards & ‘Returns’?
How can a collector contact you?
(A5.) My website is www.the8spot.com and I have an eBay store where I sell Comic books and comic book related items (such as my artwork), as well as sketch cards. I only have a few AP left for Marvel (those are from the Thor: The Mighty Avenger set) and I have a lot of Star Wars cards. I haven’t sold all those yet. I do plan to put them up on my store a few at a time. I also now have Custom card stock for commissions. My store is stores.ebay.com/ramoscomics … And of course people can find me on Instagram or Twitter @ramoskaiju
(Q6.) Are new sketch opportunities still exciting?
Is there anything new to look forward to?
Are you open to new companies contacting you for new projects?
(A6.) New projects and getting to draw new things is always exciting. I’ve done Star Wars for a number a years now for Topps, but then new things popped up that I never knew I would have so much fun doing (such as Mars Attacks, Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids, and I just finished up a few weeks ago drawing the 45th Anniversary cards for Red Sonja for Dynamite Entertainment). It’s been a while since I heard from Cryptozoic or Upper Deck; but that’s also on me as a freelancer to contact them to let them know I’m available. Editors change contact info as well. I’m always up to do more cards. It’s fun to do. In my normal freelance work, I letter books for Papercutz. I’m a freelance Art Director for Apex Comics Group, and of course I self publish with Section 8 Comics my own book is Team Kaiju at http://www.the8spot.com
Great insight. Thanks again, Wilson!
Want to continue the conversation? Tweet me @Sketchcards, or Wilson @RamosKaiju