Sometimes a journey forward is one that takes you back. I recently succumbed to collector peer pressure and purchased some of the first trading cards I've bought in quite a long time. Now, just to clarify, I'm not talking about virtual cards. I'm talking about tangible, cardboard printed cards that actually take up physical volumetric space in a collection. In the past I was an ardent card collector and trader in my youth mainly because my brother needed someone to trade cards with. We used to trek down to the corner store and spend our allowance on packs of cardboard movie trading cards. Being the younger sister, I learned the hard way not to trade my one of a kind cards in exchange for duplicates I already had and that the hard gum included in the packs lost its flavor instantly. Needless to say, I burned out on trading cards long, long ago and contented myself by buying completed sets instead.
Fast forward to today, as if we didn't already know, we are currently in an era of Star Wars collecting that is pandering to the vintage collector. Topps is no different, with a current slogan of 'Rediscover Topps. The story of collecting lasts a lifetime.' They've recently offered up the artwork of vintage Star Wars packages as metal wall art. And this fall there is a multi-volume set of books that will contain the original card art. Beyond that, Topps recently released Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens trading cards that are chock full of nostalgia. The wrapper may not give the feel of vintage but opening a package will definitely take you back in time (minus the gum).
Inside this set are concept art cards and behind the scenes cards similar to The Empire Strikes Back Topps cards. The sticker cards are reminiscent of the ones in the original Star Wars trading card sets. Of course, there are the more modern foil and cloth insert cards featuring characters from The Force Awakens. But even these modern cards have a throwback quality to them. The artwork looks like something straight out of the Star Wars Iron On Transfer Book from 1977.
The basic set of cards themselves are framed with a white star field background. The images take you through the story of Star Wars from The Phantom Menace all the way to The Force Awakens without giving away any spoilers along the way. The Force Awakens cards have no text on the back and instead are part of a large poster mural that you can complete by collecting all the cards. Sound familiar?!
On the reverse side, ah, a familiar sight! Cardboard backs with those basic colors, framing a few simple words.
Now, after having opened all my cards, I have to make a confession, I didn't just purchase a pack or two. I purchased a box.
I did this because my previous experience back in the day led me to believe you could complete a whole set by buying a box. Goes to show what I know… I do not have a full set. Thankfully, unlike the 80's I have a global network of Star Wars trading card collectors to trade with. And this is the best part of trading cards that I have yet to truly experience: trading. Trading with friends for the cards I need in exchange for cards they need. To me, this part is more exciting than opening the actual packs.
Happy collecting and when it comes to completing this set, may the Force be with you!