A Set Only a Jackass Could Love

Nostalgia is a funny thing. It has the power to tug on your heart strings and make you emotional from even the slightest memory of your childhood. Depending on your age, the Jackass franchise was either the greatest thing on the planet or the absolute worst and the beginning of humanity’s decaying state we are currently dealing with in 2022. At the time of Jackass’ MTV debut in October 2000, I was a fun-loving, 19-year-old teenager and well, let’s just say I became an instant, diehard fan from that moment.

After watching the end credits of Jackass Forever last month, two things hit me hard. One, is how much Father Time has aged and slowed down the original cast members. The movie was fun but featured nowhere near the insane stunts from previous sequels. Also, missing from the mix was Bam Margera and his family and friends. The second thing that hit me as I was walking out of the theater is that to this day, 22 years after its debut, no one has created a proper Jackass trading card set.

Sure, certain cast members have been featured in official sets. For example, beloved little person and one of Jackass’ “biggest” stars, Wee Man, can be found in 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter. Jackass’ main star, Johnny Knoxville, was featured in 2016 Topps Series 1 throwing out the first pitch of a Los Angeles Dodgers game. After that, there’s really not much else. All that changed when Fanatics Collectibles, through a company called ‘zerocool’, produced what will be the definitive Jackass trading card set.

Unlike Topps & Panini, who would never DARE to release print runs on their brands, zerocool laid it all out on the table for collectors. 10,000 total boxes produced, and 500 boxes held back for promotional and replacement purposes. What that means is that there are less than 3,000 of each base card in the set and with only 8 parallels, this product has a chance to explode on the secondary market. I’ve never seen that type of information available directly from the source and it’s likely we never will again, but I am loving every second of it.

As for the checklist, you will find all the main characters minus Margera. The main cast is all represented, including Johnny Knoxville, Chris Pontius, Steve-O, Wee Man, Preston Lacy, Dave England, creators Jeff Tremaine & Spike Jonze, and perhaps the MVP of Jackass Forever, Ehren McGhehey. Other notable autographs include skating legend, Tony Hawk, Matt Hoffman, actor/comedian Eric Andre, Rob Dyrdek, and the King of the 4 Rounders, Butterbean. All cards appear to be hard signed with no stickers.

One has to wonder if we may one day see a zerocool Bam Margera autograph. Word is Bam is doing great in rehab and has another six months to go. He’s even been getting emotional support from fellow Jackass cast members. One possibility is a Jackass Series 2 set with all new images featuring Wild Boyz, Viva La Bam, CKY, previous Jackass films, Bam Margera autographs, and even rare Ryan Dunn cut signatures. There’s still a lot of material for zerocool to explore. Here’s hoping this is not a “one and done” deal.

Panini’s Shocking & Temporary Coup

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. This week, Panini America managed to rule the entire world of sports cards with the debut of 2022 Panini WWE Prizm. I cannot remember the last time a sports card debut had this type of impact since 1997’s top rookie brand, Bowman Chrome. WWE Prizm carried that type of hype and so much more thanks to social media. Is 2022 Panini WWE Prizm the biggest sports card brand debut of all-time? A case could be made to just that and sadly, this will be only be temporary as WWE kicked Panini to the curb even before their first release in favor of Fanatics.

As of Friday, unopened boxes of 2022 Panini WWE Prizm, which were just under $1,000 at the time of its release, hit as high as $1,300. That’s a box that comes with just 12 packs, a total of 144 cards (two sticker autographs) and a small sample of parallels. If you think that price is crazy, 1-pack group breaks were pushing as high as $200 earlier this week. The hype is absolutely insane but like most things, it can’t last forever. However, if you are one of the lucky ones with a sealed box, WHATEVER YOU DO, do not ever open it. You’re likely to make a fortune once the dust settles on this storm.

Panini America has flat out bested Topps Company and soon Fanatics in just one single try, at least in the wrestling market where MLB logos don’t come into play. Topps created $14,000 super high end products for WWE but ultimately failed the WWE market. To me this has to give Fanatics every possible sign that Panini’s brands, at least in WWE & NBA, cannot die out. If ever there was a shred of fear in my heart that Panini America would survive Fanatics’ monopoly, it is right now. Thanks to the enormous success of WWE Prizm, Panini America has now got to be on Fanatics’ $$$ radar.

Don’t get it twisted, the WWE Prizm market will crash and come back down to Earth but the hype of this debut will live forever and if Panini isn’t purchased by Fanatics and Topps takes over the license again, every collector will be dying to ride the Prizm wave once more. WWE’s decision to sign an exclusive deal with Fanatics could lead to WWE trading cards once again gathering dust on retail shelves all over the country. Here’s hoping, UGH … I can’t believe I am about to say this … I hope Fanatics purchases Panini America. There. I said it. I feel so disgusting. I need a shower.

Can Someone Doxx Rob & Ed Broder?

Something amazing is happening right now. We are almost in the 4th month of 2022 and there has yet to be a single Jose Canseco card sighting. Well, technically, he was in 2022 Topps in ’87 reprint form but these cards are 100% redemptions and not a single one has made the scene yet. If Jose Canseco is as weird in real life as he is on Twitter, the redemption will likely be delayed for a while longer.

Jose can also be found in 2022 Topps x Spotlight 70 Series 2 but this set has not even printed yet and there hasn’t even been a proper preview of Jose’s card, which is strangely enough, #2 on the checklist. I’ve begged and begged for the set’s artist, Andy Friedman, to provide a preview image but nothing has worked. So, it’s almost April and I’ve yet to see a 2022 Jose Canseco baseball card.

This of course has left me to look through my collection to find a card to spotlight and I landed on the 1989 Broder issue you see above. For those who don’t read my work regularly (shame!), I have been obsessed with finding out more information on the father/son duo of Ed & Rob Broder. I wrote the piece ‘Where in the World is Rob Broder?’ several years back and while that landed some leads, ultimately they went nowhere.

In today’s collecting world, these cards clearly lack any of the Pokemon-sizzle, shiny technology that has spoiled collectors over the past decade or even longer. These unlicensed “Broders” were essentially just printed photographs in the dimensions of baseball cards and even I can admit about 85% of them were about as dull as can be. If there are 100 Broders of Canseco from 1987-’92, maybe 5 or less of them contained any action photography.

Despite its many flaws, which includes said lazy photography pretty much anyone could replicate and no real “book value” (Beckett has never acknowledged Broders), these unlicensed, counterfeit cards were vital to player collectors of the times. In 1989, we didn’t have 45 different Topps products to collect. We had one Topps (flagship), along with one Donruss, Bowman, Fleer, Score, and Sportflics. That’s six total, “official” releases.

Along the way, Fleer & Donruss would pound out 3-5 small, factory sets a piece yearly (usually between 25-35 cards) sold through retailers and Jose would usually appear in most of those but that really was the end when it came to licensed MLB trading cards. There are actually less than 40 total Jose Canseco cards released in 1989, the year after he became the unanimous American League Most Valuable Player.

Today, it’s not uncommon for a Topps card to have more than 40 different parallels alone. Add in the usual 40+ Topps releases through the calendar year and if you collect a popular player like for example, Shohei Ohtani, you are looking at thousands upon thousands of different cards, NOT counting autographs and game-used cards. Back then, collecting was a lot easier (and cheaper).

These Broder issues were great because without them, a collector could complete his yearly chase very early and move on to something else. As bad as these cards were, it was at least something to collect. Unfortunately, MLB’s lawyers eventually intervened and the end came swiftly. It’s a damn shame because by the early 90s, Broders were catching up to the times with gold & silver foil in their designs and even serial numbers.

Below is the last known Broder-issue of Jose Canseco, produced in 1992. Nearly three decades later, it was Topps who came to “borrow” Rob & Ed Broder’s work for their Project 70 release. I don’t know about you, but I’m picking the unlicensed, non-Beckett catalogued Broder over anything ever created by Keith Shore. That of course is just the snobbish, old collector in me talking.

The Slap Heard Around the World

2022 has been an interesting year and the surprises kept on rolling last night when beloved actor and former rapper, Will Smith, took offense to a tame joke made about his wife by legendary comedian, Chris Rock, at the Oscars. Smith, who moments prior to the incident was all smiles, walked up to Rock and slapped him with all his strength across the face. Will, who was in the running for Best Actor (and won), sat back down after the one-sided skirmish and started yelling and cursing at Rock, who handled the violent slap and emotional outburst extremely well.

See the video below, while it’s still up:

As you can imagine, the Card Art Community was hard at work and the particular custom card above made its debut on eBay mere hours after the Oscars wrapped up. Currently, there are 5 copies available at the outrageous $14.99 price but I’m holding out for something a little better and more creative. One can only imagine the type of cards we will see from this exchange, especially on Twitter, where Smith has become a sad MEME and a social media punching bag ever since his wife humiliated him in front of the entire world. Also, it will be interesting to see if there will be any fallout from Smith’s act of violence against Rock.

If you’re a collector looking for something a little more official, Will Smith’s “Rookie Card” can be found in 1991-’92 NBA Hoops, produced during the Junk Wax era. Smith is featured in two cards but #325 is the more popular of the pair. As for Chris Rock, perhaps most shocking of all is that no major card manufacturer has ever included him in an official trading card. You can see him, unnamed, in several cards from 1992 Star Pics Saturday Night Live set but nothing as himself has been produced. Hopefully, Leaf Trading Cards’ Brian Gray was watching and is working on a card of the incident.

The Sad World of Hobby Influencers

Recently, a wild tweet came my way from Beckett Market Analyst, Eric Norton. I’ve known of Eric for several years and maybe even at some point or another in the past decade have followed his account. I’ve never had much interactions with him nor have I taken issue with anything he tweets. I know he has in the past hosted a few podcasts including Beckett Live Presents and the Fat Packs Podcast, which I’ve never had any interest in listening to. I’ve just known Eric to be one of the hobby’s popular “influencers” that resorts to towing the line for card manufacturers, much like a guy like Ivan Lovegren. I personally do not respect people like this but I understand it gets them attention from the Topps and Panini America employees and on more than one occasion, lands them a boat load of free products. You scratch their backs (and sell your integrity) and you will be taken care of. That’s the deal on the table and who am I to knock that?

For the record, that’s not the way things worked back in my days (2007) when Topps Company and Upper Deck sponsored me to write honest reviews and sent thousands of dollars’ worth of free products to my house on a weekly basis. Thankfully, Topps’ Clay Luraschi and Upper Deck’s Chris Carlin were 100% in agreement with me being as honest as possible when reviewing their products and I had the green light to do or say anything I wanted with the one exception placed on me by Clay, which was no cursing to describe their products. For nearly two years I reviewed their products and gave away 100% of the cards I received in contests but rather than do the lazy thing and tell collectors to comment and retweet in order to win the cards, to enter the contests, the readers had to write their own review, which in turn created multiple reviews to help collectors spend their hard-earned money. You can see an example of my review system HERE.

Of course, my glory days were from 2007-2009, which makes me a dinosaur in influencer years. My blog is now irrelevant, my connections at card manufacturers are long gone, and even my social media reach is minimal. All I have left is this blog, which was once statistically speaking, more visited than Beckett Media’s own site but again, pre-historic ages. For the most part, the online card collecting community is made up of about 10% influencers who suck on the hobby teat, 50% collectors who are trying and failing to join the influencer bunch, and another 40% just doing whatever can be done for free cards. Most collectors just dream of being recognized by the card companies they shell out half their income to but unless you are a ‘WatchTheBreaks’ that has amassed a huge following, it won’t happen. Not anymore. Not ever again because unlike other industries that thrive off critical reviews, our hobby does not need it. Everything sells out, every time.

There is a small list of influencers who receive free products, and it is shrinking yearly. All it takes is one badly worded tweet or slightly negative review to be taken off that list and these influencers know it. I once had a conversation with Ivan (WatchTheBreaks) where we were discussing 1992 Upper Deck, which was 28 years old at the time of the discussion. I then jokingly tweeted that Ivan thinks 1992 Upper Deck is lame and with the tweet uploaded 4 of the best cards from 1992 Upper Deck. The tweet went viral and not in a negative way, people were sharing their favorite 1992 Upper Deck cards along with their stories. It was such a wholesome tweet in my eyes. WIthin minutes I got an angry DM from Ivan who was furious that I would Tweet that because “Upper Deck could be reading”. I assured him that the people involved with 1992 Upper Deck were likely now in their 60s and 70s and most definitely did not care but the damage was done. Ivan demanded I delete the tweet.

I can’t trust a collector who doesn’t appreciate 1992 Upper Deck.

This is the fear influencers have to deal with. It is their jobs to keep these manufacturers happy at all costs which is why I was not the slightest bit surprised in Eric’s tweet yesterday which basically called out collectors for taking Topps & Panini to court for not getting their redemptions in a timely manner. How anyone in 2022 could choose to defend million-dollar corporations over collectors who are struggling with soaring unopened product prices is absurd. Eric not only went after the collectors suing but also after the endless number of tweets going after him for being such an over the top, hobby shill. Ultimately, the negativity proved to be too much to take, and Eric issued an apology and deleted all the tweets related to the original take. Again, the damage was done. This is a so-called collector with 10,000+ followers who is affiliated with Beckett Media, the supposed Bible of sports cards and his disdain for collectors is as clear as day.

At the end of the day, Eric and his online Twitter buddies will laugh this off as just “Mario being Mario”, which he already tweeted but later deleted. This is not a case of someone being negative for the sake of being negative but more importantly a case of a long-time collector with 3 decades behind him standing up for collectors. There are thousands of us sitting on Panini America and Topps redemptions not weeks or months late but years. Even Ryan Cracknell, Beckett Media’s Hobby Editor is sitting on a John Cena redemption he’s been waiting on for 8 long years. That’s 8 years after he paid full price on a box of cards. That’s 8 years of being ignored and/or getting the run around from Topps. That’s the type of customer service Eric Norton, Ryan’s co-worker at Beckett Media, is publicly supporting and it boggles the mind. It’s not okay to be negative 100% of the time but it’s also not okay to turn a blind eye to a real problem in this industry.

Further reading:

Topps’ Promotion Goes up in Ashes

Bought and Sold: The Gary V. Story

Paging Tracy Hackler