Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A nice box of Mystery Science Theater 3000 cards

My all-time favorite TV show is a tie between MST3K and The Simpsons. So I perked up a few months back when I heard on Twitter that a set of cards for the show was in the works. Then I didn't hear anything for a while until a couple weeks ago when Doug did a box break on Sportcards From The Dollar Store. I hemmed and hawed for a few days, trying to justify paying the price for a box despite there being no autographs in the product to chase (a big disappointment to me). But I ultimately gave in and ordered a box (link).

It comes in a cool box that you can cut up into additional cards, though I'll likely leave it intact.

While the box is full of packs, it promises you a complete base set (104 Invention Exchange cards + 50 Experiment cards), some complete insert sets, and some other goodies to chase. While opening packs is fun, it was a bit of a pain to go through and collate everything later, and I may have preferred a product that just gave you a pouch of the set in order.

The only cards that showed up in dupes were the Invention Exchange cards. In fact, my stack of extras was a little taller than my collated Invention Exchange set. But due to several triplicates, I did not end up with a second complete set.

Some of the Invention Exchange cards had tiny nicks/indentations on the front, which sucks. While collating my set, I often had to compare dupes to make sure my set was in "NM/EX", swapping out any cards with surface marks. To the company's credit, there's an offer to exchange damaged cards (while supplies last).

As for the content, this Series One product covers seasons 1 through 3. These base cards feature a screen shot on the front, with the backs having either quotes (Invention Exchange cards) or misc. info on the episode (Experiment cards).

The Riff It insert set has more of a matte feel, which is refreshing to spice up a pack with since the other cards are very glossy. There were also some bonus promo cards for other RRParks stuff thrown in "box topper" style. They've put out a massive Three Stooges set (over 1k different cards) which caught my eye because of glow-in-the-dark inserts, and you guys know I'm a sucker for all glowing cards. I'm kinda bummed the MST3K product didn't get any glow-in-the-dark cards. I definitely would have chased all those down.

One cool insert set that you get full set of in each box are the 3-D cards. You also get a free pair of 3D glasses in the box to use with these 18 cards. The effect is a little hit or miss. The best is probably the one with the pointing finger.. damn near pokes you with the glasses on!

But my favorite inserts are easily these retro b-movie poster art cards, originally created as DVD mini-poster inserts, and shrunk down here to standard cards. These are fun and look great. I believe the artist on all these is Steve Vance, veteran comic book artist; found a neat featurette on his MST work on YouTube.

Now we're entering the "chase/hit" cards (i.e., the cards you aren't promised a complete set of in each box). These are Byron Winton art card prints, hand-numbered on the back to 500. You get 3 of the 9 cards in a box. I think I got a nice selection here.

As a big Tony Gwynn fan, I was pleased to see my 3 art cards were all number 394 in the print run. Always fun when you can find some "eBay 1/1" significance to a seemingly random serial number.

You also get one (of 9) metal cards (standard size box topper). These look nice and vibrant in the light, and are hand-numbered /311 on the back.

I hit another metal card in the form of a 1/1 printing plate.. sweet!

Here's the card the plate was used for, plus a look at the back of the plate. I lucked out pulling a front, since it looks there are also back plates, which aren't as interesting to me. Comes with a signature by the publisher of the cards, so that's pretty cool.

YES! I was hoping to hit a sketch card. Very happy with this one.. cool external look at the Satellite of Love in space.

The artist is Marsha Parkins. Looks like she has a good presence online (link, link), and has made many Star Wars sketch cards for Topps over the past few years. Pretty cool.

Then a few packs later I pulled what seemed like another (non)sketch card and I was confused for a moment before flipping the card over...

Ha, a blank sketch card for you to use yourself! Great idea. Turns out this is also a solid hit and these seem to fetch decent money on the secondary market. So I won't be scribbling on this particular card, but it did inspire me to grab a couple blanks from my stack of "dummy" cards that I use for sketch cards and try my hand at MST3K artwork...

Not perfect, but I'm still proud of how these turned out, especially seeing as they were my first attempt ever drawing the bots (that I can recall, at least.. I've been into the show since the early 90s, so I've probably doodled them at some point years ago). You've got Crow concerned about slime dripping down from the ceiling, and a nice closeup of Tom Servo. I'd say robots are easier to draw than humans, and will likely do more sketches of the bots in the future, as these were a lot of fun. Oh, and remember earlier when I was complaining there weren't any glow-in-the-dark MST3K cards? I tried to do my part to correct that...

The pair looks pretty good in the dark! It appears Crow got completely slimed! Guess he was right to be concerned.

Here's a promotional fold-out that also came in the box.

Each wrapper includes a checklist printed on the inside. Pretty cool. I kept a couple with my box, and used one to check off what I got. You can see I got shutout in the "Faux Film Cell" department, but I didn't have much interest in those anyways (Now, if they were real film cells, then you'd have my interest). The big hit I was hoping to score but struck out on were the prop relic cards. But after seeing what they look like (check the right side of the foldout a couple pictures above), honestly they don't do much for me (just swatches of jumpsuit or labcoat), so I'm fine missing out there.

While I initially had some buyer's remorse after ordering the box, in the end I turned out very happy with it. Love the sketch card. The printing plate and blank sketch template were nice hits, too. And can't forget about the "394" art cards to make this Gwynn fan happy. And I dig the movie poster inserts and 3D cards.

Will I spring for a box of MST3K: Series Two if/when that's eventually released? Maybe. I would love to see autograph cards in there to chase. Glow-in-the-dark cards could also tempt me to pony up for a box.

I used to have a ritual of watching an MST episode on VHS every Sunday night before bed. It was a great way to wrap up the week. That lasted from the mid 90s through the 00s. The tradition faded once I moved to Portland, and now I just randomly watch an episode every once in a while. Since autumn 2011, I've kept a spreadsheet of episodes, keeping track of the dates I watch one, with the goal to eventually get through the series (without repeating any). Anyone curious in my progress can take a look here.

I've already showed off this DVD signed by Joel Hodgeson on the blog a couple times, but hey, since I'm doing another big Mystery Science Theater 3000 post, might as well throw it up here again. It's an all-time favorite item in my collection.

Wrapping things up... If anyone would like to trade for some of my stack of Invention Exchange dupes, please get in touch. I've also still got my old MST3K DVDs/burnt dvds that I'm trying to find a good home for since I've digitized them to hard drives.

Thanks for reading. Keep circulating the cards!




  2. i must confess - I've never seen a full episode. These cards are def up your alley Gav!

  3. I was surprised at how much these boxes go for! Cool set for sure.

  4. These cards are fantastic. My aunt was obsessed with MST. Im curious about the Madman boxtopper. I loved that comic and Mike Allred art is incredible.

  5. Fantastic work on those sketch cards Gavin. They look good in the light and the dark. Great stuff.

    I love MST, have watched dozens at least, maybe even triple digits by now, but I have to confess I fast forward through the non-movie parts. There, I said it. I know it’s probably sacrilege.

  6. Big fan of the show, thanks for showing off the cards. I'm kinda bummed that the show hasn't been released as a card set by now, and that it wound up being released on a (seemingly) unknown publisher. Who knows the type of inserts available if a Topps or Panini got their hands on it?