Thursday, August 18, 2016

Striking Back With Empire Cards

The cover and a page from the hardcover book Star Wars: The Empire 
Strikes Back: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Two.
You know time has passed when the collectibles you purchased as a child find their way to nostalgia-inducing coffee table books. That was the feeling, along with curiosity over who might actually purchase such a publication, I experienced last weekend while wandering the book shelves at Barnes and Noble. In an a time when the demographic (white male nerds, 45-50) to which I belong are willing to part with hard cash for a nostalgic charge, it is not surprising that the hardcover "book" Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Two is now available. The book is exactly as advertised, each page has both the front and back of one of the 132-card base set and 33 stickers that compromised the original wax packet release.

My collection of the original Empire Strikes Back Topps Picture Card Series Two.
Fortunately, I still have a complete card set (though only a partial sticker set), so can save my funds for other fanboy passions. An important aspect of card collecting that is lost with the transition of looking at the cards in book form as opposed to card is the tactile charge of flipping each individual card over. One never knew what to expect, but it would be something exciting whether cool facts, silly quiz questions or behind the scenes production secrets.

Here are just a few representative cards (with caption comment) from my collection:

Straight from 1980... the "title" card for my set of The Empire Strikes Back
Topps Picture Card Series 2.
Card 138: Back before any mystery was blown up by the prequel trilogy,
all things related to Boba Fett, like his ship Slave 1, were super cool!
Card 164: A suitably Eighties caption to this standard Vader shot.
Card 174: This one is interesting as it pre-dates the current practice of
referring to our robot friend by his government name R2-D2 rather than the
much more humanizing Artoo.
Card 207: Clearly the Star Quiz questions were intended to make young fanboys
like myself feel really confident in their Star Wars trivia knowledge.

Card 261: Prior to the Internet, these special cards, complete with
alliterative caption, were the best way to see any behind the
scenes shots. I still love looking at this sub-series.
Card 263: As a kid, I hated getting these cards (they lacked cool pics!) but now
appreciated knowing what cards I am trying to get when you get down to
only a few left for a complete set.
The original packs came with a single sticker so it was not so easy to get a complete set.
Sadly, I have very few of these as I used most of them spelling out cool things with
the letters, such as the word "Awesome": ah, childhood!

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