Saturday, September 19, 2009

Random Pack Break: 2009 The Greatest American Hero March of Dime Sketch Card Series

5finity has made quite the splash with their first couple of offerings. Both their Archie Comics and The Greatest American Hero sets went right to the chase with all sketch card sets. No base cards, just sketches. To add to that, both sets offer premiums such as multi-card packs, autographs and custom sketch card requests. To top it off, all of the proceeds from card sales go to the March of Dimes charity.

I've already busted two packs of the Archie Comics set and was pleased with the results. I figured that I'd opt for a pack of a somewhat short-lived show of my youth, The Greatest American Hero. The show was something of a spoof on the superhero model, opting for just as much comedy as it does action. Think of the scene from Spider-man where Peter Parker discovers his powers and goes out for the first time, give it a early-80's feel and you've essentially got The Greatest American Hero.

In anticipation of the pack I recently rented the first disc of the show from season one to reaquaint myself with it. After all these years I still vividly remember the opening theme and Ralph (the awkward main character, played by William Katt) crashing into a wall. Other than that, I remembered very little. After the first few episodes, I thought The Greatest American Hero was cute but hardly mind-blowing. Still nostalgia's worth a pack of cards.

Like the Archie Comics set, packs are oversized to fit the Ultra-Pro holders in. I would recommend buying these from trusted dealers because the packs are a folded over piece of cardboard. They're sealed so the card won't fall out but it's easy to peak inside and see if you have multiple sketches or something super-fancy.

Besides the guaranteed sketch card, packs offer the following chase elements:
  • Autographed sketch cards from stars William Katt, Robert Culp, Connie Sellecca, Michael Pare and creator Stephen J. Cannell.
  • Redemption cards for custom sketches
  • "Greatest Packs" featuring more than one sketch card.

The overall odds of receiving a special pack are 1:11. With only 899 total packs released, that means there's very few autographs out there.

Strangely enough, if I were able to pick any of the autographs, I was really hoping for a Cannell. He defined TV for me as a youngster, producing such shows as The A-Team, Knight Rider and 21 Jump Street. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. Here is what I did pull:

Unknown character from an unknown artist. Playing detective I looked up the note on the bottom of the card. Apparently this character appeared in an episode called "Hog Wild," which turns out to be the fourth episode of the second season. Reading the episode synopsis, my guess is it's some biker.

Despite the mystery and my inability to identify who drew it, I like the sketch. It has the feel of a villain from Scooby-Doo or any other Hanna Barbera cartoon from the 60s and 70s.

If somebody can identify the artist, please let me know. I like to keep track of these sorts of things.

I'm not sure if I'll be getting any more of these cards. I've had my nostalgia kick and don't really feel the need to go deep into several packs at $15-20 a pop. For fans of the show, they're certainly worth it, especially when you factor in the charity aspect but I don't count myself among the core group of fans. I do want to check out "Hog Wild" now, though.

Update: I just checked 5finity's website and notice they've added sketch card samples from all of the artists (either that or I missed the link the last time I was there). It turns out the card above is from Dan Schoening, who did 24 cards for the set. And my Hanna Barbera observation appears to be correct as he is an animator.

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