Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wax Packs: Batman (1989)

I used to own a different versions of this set when it was originally released. Topps released two series, as well as two “factory sealed” editions that included bonus cards. This review is for the standard “wax pack” set.

Batman was probably the most popular set of non-sports cards since the original Topps Star Wars series in the 1970s. It was also the swansong for the traditional pulp-style trading cards. Competition from companies like Score were putting pressure on Topps to change its production styles. Upper Deck printed its first series of baseball cards in 1989 - the same year as Batman - and it was clear that the days of pulp card stock were almost over. Trading cards for Gremlins 2 and Robocop 2 continued the tradition, but they were the last of a dying breed.
Unfortunately, when the market began to follow the collectors (as opposed to the other way around) it was bad news for all involved. Cards (and comics) stopped being a cheap diversion and became an expensive habit that many delusional people thought would make them rich.

Anyway, time has been good to the first series of Batman cards. I hadn't looked at these in years but was really impressed after finding an affordable set online. I've added about 20 full sets to my collection in recent months, and this is easily the best of them.


Cover Card: (4 out of 5)
The art is a bit of old-school “cut and paste” that uses one of the famous promo shots of Batman and the Batmobile, as well as the movie’s logo. I think the iconic logo would have been a better selection, but the logo is used to great effect on the front of each card.

Design: (9 out of 10)
Amazingly simple, but crisp and clean. The typography is sharp and consistent, and the use of the “bat symbol” from the poster is a pretty neat addition to the art. The marketing of the film tended to rely on this image, which was an instantly recognizable icon.

Photography: (10 out of 10)
At 132 cards, this is a
big series. Still, there are only a few cards that come off as unnecessary and repetitive. Overall the photos are great choices that show off the movie’s cinematography, costumes and production designs (which were its strongest points.)

Production: (10 out of 10)
The photos are all bright and clear. Even the spot color reverse sides are clean and easy to read. When it comes to pulp stock, this is as good as it gets.

The Other Side: (4 out of 5)
There are no puzzles in this series, but the text on the back (which offers summaries and trivia) is
incredibly thorough. While most series settle for a sentence or two, many of these cards have several paragraphs of text on them. A very tight design.

Stickers: (9 out of 10)
Simple, but hews close to Topps’ traditional sticker design. You can draw a straight line from the stickers for the company’s 1976 Star Trek sticker series to this set. Still, a lot of images are repeated from the card set, which is a common problem for any series this big.

TOTAL: 92 PERCENT (46 out of 50)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...