There is a great deal of satisfaction to be had in completing a trading card set, whether base or chase. Each generation’s favorite stories are given space to unfold, the roll call of a new class of characters is run through, and the sometimes obsessive collector can relax to the sound of card stock sliding into binder sheets, the annuls of modern myth safe at last.
Looking at my complete, yes, complete 1995 X-Men Fleer Ultra chase set, Hunters and Stalkers, I get all sorts of nostalgic feelings. Thanks to an excellent trade, the final cards, including Cable and Deadpool, came together in their one sheet. I love the blank space at the source of Magneto’s hands in this card.
With any collecting I think, there is a pleasure to remembering when and where you first came in contact with a piece. I remember the desk I sat at to look at the first of the ’94 Flair PowerBlasts (below). The colors are as rich as when I first saw them. I love that feeling. The light changes around them, but the familiar reflection of a particular year, the colors, the styles, where a character is in their particular arc remains crisp as ever.
PowerBlasts from the Marvel Flair Annual still look as amazing to me today as they did when I first collected them. Granted, they do look smaller and thinner than I remember them being.
Though there are many degrees to which these things happen, it seems that a story is told, an update on characters and events is listed, or a catalog of heroes and villains is presented. The Batman: Saga of the Dark Knight, for example, looks like a story board for the nocturnal Bruce Wayne’s cartoon biopic. Marvel Beginnings, on the other hand, with its introductory Breakthrough Comic Cards, offers the collector a chance to find the comics in which their favorite characters were introduced.
I hope they will continue making trading cards like these for the common collector like me. In the meantime, I have a few sets to complete and there are a handful of new series I’m really looking forward to getting started. I’ve never collected Star Wars memorabilia, so I’m thinking I’ll start there.