Monday, June 12, 2017

Topps Star Wars 40th Anniversary Hanger Box

About a week ago now I found myself in my local Target grabbing a shower gift as a favor for my wife, and decided to reward myself with a little retail cardboard.  It had been some time since I scratched the itch and busted a pack of anything.

Honestly, there just wasn't much in the baseball or hockey realms that really appealed to me, so instead I ended up with this:

With 2017 being the 40th anniversary of the Star Wars franchise, Topps and Disney have teamed up for a release that looks at many different aspects of arguably the most successful science fiction saga of all-time.

I settled on a hanger box containing 16 cards, which I think set me back $5 if I recall (though it might have been $5.99).  Let's see how it went for me...

The checklist is just 200 cards deep.  Cards 1-100 hit on a wide variety of themes and topics from the franchise's history, and all use this same border and overall design.  As someone who really loves the movies but has never gotten deep into the other aspects of the franchise like many super-fans have, I learned quite a bit from these.

For example, the first card I pulled talks about Star Wars Art: Visions; a hardcover book that was released in 2010 that features 120 unique Star Wars paintings from a wide variety of artists.  It is now on my Amazon wishlist.  While the backs of the cards don't knock my socks off design-wise, the write-ups are at least interesting in my opinion.

Here's the final card from the first half of the checklist, celebrating last year's release of Rogue One.  My wife and I saw this in the theater, and I've watched it again at home since, and I have to say I enjoyed it quite a bit.  The big thing you see written about this latest film is that it's more of a gritty-style war drama than previous films in the franchise.

I'm easy-going and don't get all bent out of shape arguing the finer points of the films like hardcore fans do, so I thought it was a great addition to the catalog.  I'm happy to see Disney expanding the series with supplemental films beyond the originally scheduled/planned 9 episodes.

Here's another example where I learned something new.  Despite having been a fan of these films since I was a young kid, I had no idea that there was a corresponding series of NPR radio programs released.

In fairness, the first installment came out before I was born, and the second one when I was just a year old.  Still, I am surprised I'd never heard of these before and I'm interested in seeking out a copy to give it a listen.

The movie I was always most fond of from the original trilogy was Return of the Jedi.  We had a recorded VHS copy that my brothers and I just about wore out.  Since we lived in a pretty remote area and spent a lot of time playing in the woods I always enjoyed the scenes from that movie that take place on the forest moon of Endor in particular, so this was a cool card to pull for me.

The first seven cards of the hanger box are all from this first half of the set.

One of the more classic moments from the first film, which started it all back in 1977.

The last of these that I pulled was the least interesting for me personally.  I draw the line at the feature films, and have never checked out the animated series on Cartoon Network.  Just haven't had the time or enthusiasm to ever get into it.

What would any Topps product be without some parallels?  There are a few colors available, with green being the most prevalent, followed by blue I think.  Only the first 100 cards are available in parallel form, since the second half of the set lacks borders.  Hard to believe it's been almost 20 years now since The Phantom Menace came out.

This one's neat, Classic Star Wars was a comic book series published by Dark Horse for over 10 years beginning in 1992.  While I'm not a comic book guy I love the artwork on the card and again, it's something I was totally unaware existed.

I got one blue parallel, and this one really took me back!  We were fortunate enough to go on family trips to Disney World outside Orlando Florida a couple of times growing up, and I remember this ride so well.  These were built out of military-grade flight simulators and took riders on a virtual adventure that felt cutting edge at the time.

This card shows the one opened at Disneyland in California, though the same ride was built in Orlando as well as in a couple of other parks around the globe.  It was ceremoniously decommissioned in 2010 and replaced with a newer version, glad I can say I rode on the original!

You get one of these promo code cards for a free pack of digital trading cards in each hanger box.  Since I prefer to be able to hold my cards in hand I doubt I'll ever use this, but maybe I'll tuck it in my wallet in case I get really bored in a waiting room someday.  This does not count as one of my 16 cards, thankfully.

The second half of the 200-card checklist is comprised of different artistic interpretations in the form of movie posters and art.  This movie poster by a comic book artist came out right around the release of the first film in 1977.

Another movie poster that I believe is from the late 1970s.  I have to say I enjoy these as well, it's fun to see how different artists interpret the films.

The next two cards were done by illustrator John Berkey.

He has a unique style, and it's easy to see the similarities between the two.  They're both cool, but if I had to pick a favorite I'd go with the second one.

By far the oddest card in my entire hanger pack.  This one was done by a Polish painter, and is certainly...different?

We've arrived at the final card in my pack, featuring a poster that was used to promote the franchise in Japan.  I love the addition of Japanese text, as well as that small Oscar statue along the lower left edge.

I have to say, this was honestly a lot more fun to rip than I expected it to be.  The movie poster cards are great, and it's interesting to see how far this franchise has expanded beyond just the films in 40 years of existence.

I could definitely see myself grabbing some more of this if it's still on the shelves next time I get a craving, and that's about the biggest compliment it could possibly get coming from me.  If any of you picked some of these up and didn't enjoy them as much as I did I'd love to trade!


JediJeff said...

I have to build this set. I think I'll grab a hobby box online if the price is right. But I like the blaster of it I bought a couple weeks back.

Fuji said...

That Japanese Star Wars poster card is sweet! I'd love to add the actual poster to my collection.

Corky said...

Topps released two sets so far based on the radio dramas. They are the 2013 Topps Star Wars Illustrated and 2015 Topps Empire Strikes Back Illustrated. There was a company that re-released the radio dramas in 2013 and if you bought the set from them you got one of two exclusive Topps Star Wars cards. I have only seen two cards show up since they were released so they are pretty rare. I don't think it has been officially announced by I believe there is supposed to be a ROTJ Illustrated set eventually too.

I have the three Star Wars radio dramas on MP3 on an external hard drive somewhere, I will see if I can find them and figure a way to get them to you.

Anonymous said...

Man, I forgot about the radio dramas. I listened to the first one because at the time I loved anything science fiction-y and I had become intrigued by vintage radio shows (although I preferred the comedies, especially The Jack Benny Show and Burns & Allen).

To be honest, I remember listening to the Star Wars radio drama, but I don't remember much about it otherwise.

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