Besides posting book reviews, once in a while I will be posting articles on the subject of pulps. I hope we can generate more interest for the Blog. If you would like to share an article on the pulps, you can send me a message in the Comments of a post.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Retro Card Set


Retro style Pulp and Sports Culture of the of the Great Depression Limited Edition Trading Card set.
A swell 18 picture card set that every Depression-era boy and girl should have had in their back pocket - but didn't.
Exactly 80 years ago in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, U.S. unemployment peaked at 25%. This in an era before Social Security, welfare, food stamps and the myriad of social programs we have today. It's not surprising people did whatever possible to divert themselves from the horrible realities and unknown future that lay ahead of them. After all, things were about to get worse with the Dust Bowl only a few years away, and World War 2 in less than a decade. In the years before television video games and the internet, those not lucky enough to live near an air conditioned movie theater could at least look forward to a 1 cent pack of picture card gum, Sunday comics color insert, or a 10 cent "pulp" magazine, and dream away the day while keeping the wolves and dust at the door. It's also no coincidence that many of the most well known creations from that era were also created 80 years ago.
It's precisely that era that Ground to Pulp celebrates - the vibrant picture card releases like those from National Chicle, Goudey and Gum Inc, and the great pulp heroes fromStreet and SmithPopular Publications and the record-busting American athletes that gave us hope, all born at the nadir of the American Century, fueled by a longing for the return of the American Dream so potent that most of those creations are still with us today.
Ground to Pulp is a set that any kid from the 1930s would recognize, with the possible exception of H.P. Lovecraft, who at that time was still only known to the "tinfoil hat brigade" of Weird Tales readers, and Rondo Hatton "the Creeper", though kids would have likely seen him in bit parts throughout the 1930s. The artwork remains in pulp cover style, a little slicker than the images found in Sport Kings or Indian Gum, vibrant but a little faded. Pulp cover artist Hubert Rogers and Basil Gogos were probably the two biggest influences on this set. These 2.5 x 3.5 inch cards will NOT be glossy or UV coated in keeping with the retro feel of this set and the production methods of the era. 18 subjects were more or less chosen from personal preference. The set started out as a pulp set but I included Red Grange, Jim Thorpe, Bronko Nagurski, Mel Ott, Jimmy Doolittle and Jimmy Fox late in the development. There are obvious omissions like the Phantom Detective, who also celebrates his 80th anniversary this year, Joe Louis or James J Braddock, or Robert E Howard and Buster Crabbe as Tarzan, Flash Gordon AND Buck Rogers. I also decided against making them the smaller size seen in the 1930's as I didn't think they'd be as accessible to today's collectors. The card design of the reverse appears yellowed and aged for an older feel.
Included with the base set, for all pledges $28 and over is a randomly inserted original hand-drawn sketch card of one of the 18 subjects in the set, and maybe even a few others!

Prints for this series will be printed on tan pulp-style paper and arranged into two sets. They really look old! I have given some of these away in the past and they were well received. This will be the only time these prints will be available, as I am not in the print business. Most of the prints have a much larger image area than the images on the cards, as they are un-cropped. Hang these stunning 8 1/2 by 11 inch prints in your home, office, den, Fortress of Solitude, or Inner Sanctum with pride.
This print is done in the style of a pulp cover proof on semi-gloss paper. The palette is sort of a sea green/urine yellow. Lovecraft himself is sort of a sickly purple. I tried this with normal coloring, but Lovecraft just doesn't share the same health or tone of some of the other tanned and glistening adventure heroes of this set. A rosy cheeked Lovecraft just looked silly. 
An array of rewards is offered for this project. Like my last project, prints will only be available through Kickstarter and will not be available for retail. So pledge now if you want them!
Why Kickstarter?
Kickstarter allows a project to grow more organically than with traditional funding - response, feedback and things like stretch goals take it in directions that it might not have headed in a traditional manner. Therefore, the choice was obvious.
What the money will be used for:
Once funds are released they will be used for covering the cost of printing, both the cards and the rewards and the Amazon/Kickstarter processing fees.

Risks and challengesLearn about accountability on Kickstarter

The artwork is 96 percent complete, aside from color, contrast, brightness correction, correcting eye and hair color, and minor details of that nature. There is always some frustration and delays from dealing with a commercial printer, but once the funds are released, essentially all there is to do is click a few buttons to send printing orders off. All rewards were delivered within 5 weeks of project close of my last Kickstarter project and i'm hoping to repeat that again. Producing more than 200 hand drawn sketchcards within a month can be a challenge, but I've been doing this sort of thing for over a decade now, and shipped to every continent except Antarctica. (For some reason they don't like my work there.)

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