Friday, February 19, 2010

Wax Packs: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

So, I've been re-discovering my love of "non-sport" trading cards in recent weeks.
As it turns out, these cards aren't worth much these days, with only a few exceptions. Many of these cards I had as a child, but haven't seen them in 20-25 years. My memories of them are still vivid — such as walking down to the local Junior Market to buy Star Wars or Jaws 2 wax packs — and it's surprising how well I still remember the small details about these cards.
What's also surprising are some of the things I didn't notice.
This is one of the few non-sport series I can think of that relies on such as dark design. Later in the year Topps would also adopt black borders into the design of the Jaws 2 series, and it works pretty well for both movies. It also makes them stand out from the blue/red color schemes that were so prevelant because, I presume, of the success of the Star Wars cards.
As a kid, I was a little weirded out by the "Starring Melinda Dillon" card in the CEOT3K series. The lighting was strange, and it was so tightly cropped that it was hard to tell exactly what was happening in it. It looked overtly sexual for some reason (I don't know why.) I came across this card, as well as the Teri Garr "actress" card when something occurred to me ... where was the Richard Dreyfuss card? I flipped quickly to the set only to find that the star of the movie appears nowhere in the entire set. There were probably legal reasons for this, but it's still damn bizarre.


Cover Card: (0 out of 5)
Nope. The series kicks off with a #1 card depicting a parked fight plane from the 1940s. Yawn.

Design: (8 out of 10)
There's a lot to be said for simplicity. The front design never intereferes with the photography. In fact, the dark borders actually make the color in the cards that much more vivid.

Photography: (8 out of 10)
Overall, pretty good. The series is hampered by the absence of Richard Dreyfuss, so the movie's lead character — and participant in the film's most important scenes — come off as a little awkward. Still, the solution is kind of fun ... LOTS of photos of the "mother ship" landing from the end of the movie make for some colorful, if slightly repetitive, cards. Oh, and Steven Speilberg ever gets a card!

Production: (8 out of 10)
The photos are pretty sharp, but nothing to get excited about. Considering how inconsistent Topps' photo quality was in its nonsports cards (which might have been the fault of the movie studios and not Topps,) CEOT3K is a solid, if unspectaular, set.

The Other Side: (4 out of 5)
Story synopsis, trivia and a puzzle. Pretty much what you'd expect from Topps in the late 1970s.

Stickers: (7 out of 10)
The stickers reprint many of the "mother ship" landing cards on slick paper. While they look nice and hold up well as an independent set, the problem of repitition in the cards is even more pronounced. Still, there are some nice SFX photos here, even if the alien card looks a little scary.

TOTAL: 70 PERCENT (35 out of 50)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...