…in one of his half-dozen or so binders of trading cards, there sits these two Wizard promo cards for the Dark Horse/Valiant crossover series Predator Vs. Magnus Robot Fighter:
…numbered 3 and 4, and I have no idea what 1 and 2 were. The cards are from 1992, advertising the then-forthcoming mini-series, and there they are, 22 years later, still in a card binder, still on a shelf, no real point to having held onto them for all this time other than for using them for this blog post you’re looking at right now. Plus, it’s not like they’re in the way at home or anything…I’m not moving, like, the dining table around and saying “I’d sure like to put this over in that part of the room if it weren’t for those damned Predator Vs. Magnus Robot Fighter trading cards already being kept there.”
Trading card accumulation was a real symptom of ’90s comic collecting, where one could get in cases of Jim Lee’s X-Men or what have you and easily expect to sell through all of them. That particular aspect of the market seems very diminished now…we received the 2014 Marvel Universe cards this week, and expect it’ll take a while to work through even a single box of those. The comic collector/card collector overlap likely burnt out in the overproduction of product a couple of decades back, from both sides of the equation. I remember personally buying and collecting various trading cards, and being fairly excited about tracking down those last few missing numbers I needed to complete a set. The very act of opening packs and collating sets was a strangely satisfying and fun activity in and of itself.
And then, suddenly, that particular collecting urge within me went away. It’s not like I have any newly-found disdain for the card sets I do have: I’m glad I have my Death of Superman set, or that set of chromium cards featuring Golden Age covers, or those two sets of Berni(e) Wrightson cards (with their accompanying special Berni(e) Wrightson binders!), or any of the other oddball sets I’ve gathered. I simply no longer have the desire to obtain more sets, buy more packs, sort more cards.
There are circumstances where I would want to buy more cards, of course, but more as a subset of other obsessions, rather than “I must buy and complete this new set of cards.” If DC Comics put out a new line of cards that included Swamp Thing images, I’m sure I’d set out to track down those specific cards, rather than acquire a full run of the whole release. Unless it was a full Swamp Thing series, in which case, okay, they got me.
Until then, I’m happy with the number of card sets I do have, in those half-dozen binders, resting on that shelf, where I can occasionally pull them down and look at them. And, of course, scan ‘em and show them to you.