To succeed in business you need to look ahead and take risks. With the success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it led to a bunch of classic fantasy series getting adapted for the screen. Inkworks followed suit, licensing sets for several of these properties. My guess is it was a matter of throwing against the wall and seeing which ones stuck. Unfortunately it was too late once Twilight hit. With the likes of the under-performing The Golden Compass and The Seeker: The Dark is Rising causing Inkworks to take big hits, the non-sport manufacturer eventually went under. And while I'm sure they did the best they could given their own limitations, The Seeker is but a one-card chase for me.
I'm a big fan of the HBO series Deadwood. And on Deadwood Ian McShane is my favorite aspect. So when I saw that he was signing for The Seeker, I knew there was one card I really wanted to have. Unfortunately for Inkworks, one card doesn't make many sets popular.
The set is based on the theatrical adaptation of Susan Cooper's novel. Despite a solid cast of cable stars like McShane, Six Feet Under's matriarch Frances Conroy and Doctor Who's Christopher Eccleston, the movie was a muddled mess to watch and a bomb at the box office. Predictably, the set was a dud as well.
The base set consists of 72 cards broken down into several confusing subsets. Outside of your standard profile and storyline subsets, there's a bunch at the front of the set that lay out the film's mythology. The checklist choice makes it all somewhat confusing as the story part normally lays out the plot so that the various subsets that go a little more in depth at least have some context.
One thing the subsets do achieve is showcase many different sorts of card designs, some of which are gorgeous and others are plain ugly. My favorite cards in the set are those of the Agents of the Light profiles. They mix striking images with a light-colored background and a simple yet affective text bar at the bottom. These are in contrast to the horrible looking story cards that waste a ton of space on two sets of borders. This leaves little room for the picture itself. With these cards all my eyes see are the wasted space.
The chase aspect of the set is highlighted by one autograph and one Pieceworks costume card per box. Although this wasn't formally announced, I haven't seen any breaks that didn't follow this pattern. The autograph design is typical Inkworks: horizontal layout with plenty of room for the signature. My autograph was of Gary Entin as Paul Stanton. I haven't heard of him. His filmography thus far isn't exactly spectacular either. Among his film credits are Rest Stop, Color Me Olsen, Whore and Rest Stop: Don't Look Back.
My favorite cards in the set are the Pieceworks. Although I don't chase after too many costume cards, the ethereal design of these cards standout amongst an otherwise bland set. I pulled a swatch of a jacket worn by Frances Conroy as Miss Graythorne.
The Seeker follows the Inkworks insert formula to a tee. Signs of Light is your nine-card foil puzzle. Eternal Enemies is the slightly tougher to pull six-card set and Hidden Symbols is the one-per-box set. While I don't mind consistency, Inkworks followed the same pattern for a decade with almost every release. Occasional exceptions existed but they're not the norm. I can't tell you how many times I've busted a box of Inkworks products and gotten a puzzle piece of someone's arm, or in this box, half of someone's hair. The puzzles look good completed but I'm rarely motivated to do so with the underwhelming assortment I generally start out with. I received the predictable amount of predictable inserts. In fact, I beat the odds slightly and got two Eternal Enemies cards instead of the expected one.
The Seeker is one of those sets hobby history can use to illustrate the company's demise. It's a set that required a risk to even be made. But in the end it followed the same predictable pattern as many of Inkworks' other releases. While there is little Inkworks could have done to make the set a hit based on the poor performance of the film, perhaps a little shakeup in the construction of the set might have brought a few more collectors into the mix. This is a boring set that, for me, was all about chasing a single card.
- Autographs:1 (A-GE. Gary Entin as Paul Stanton)
- Pieceworks Costume Cards: 1 (PW5. Jacket worn by Frances Conroy as Miss Greythorne)
- Eternal Enemies (1:17): 2 (E3, E4)
- Hidden Symbols (1:23): 1 (H1)
- Signs of Light (1:11): 2 (S7, S8)