If you've felt like Upper Deck's recent Marvel releases have maybe been a bit out of your budget, I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a counter-argument. While the Marvel Masterpieces set is fantastic, it's certainly not cheap. The same could be said of the upcoming Marvel Gems set, which is even more premium than that limited collection was. Aside from the movie tie-in cards, there hasn't really been a budget-friendly Marvel trading card set in some time, but that looks to be changing with the announcement of Marvel Annual.
Upper Deck has not been stingy with the Marvel license, and over the past few years has mixed things up with card sets that showcase a wide variety of artists and characters, while also keeping things fresh with the designs themselves. From retro-inspired collections to painted masterworks, Upper Deck has had Marvel covered. For its next collection however, Upper Deck is going in a more Exquisite direction.
The 2016 Marvel Gems card set will be an ultra premium collection, and will be the first Marvel set under the Exquisite brand. What's more, this set will focus entirely on the women of Marvel comics, and will include cards made with actual diamonds. Yeah, you read that right.
If you've been following the site closely these past few weeks, you'd know that I was eagerly anticipating the release of an all-new set of Marvel Masterpieces trading cards. Announced back in 2014, the Upper Deck card set was delayed ever so slightly to allow artist Joe Jusko the proper amount of time to complete the entire set on his own. Finally, after more than 20 years since the last time Jusko took on the challenge, and after a few years of wondering when Upper Deck would finally release this new collection of 135 paintings to the wild, it happened. Marvel Masterpieces returned.
It's been years in the making, but the return of Marvel Masterpieces trading cards is nearly finally here. A callback to the Skybox series of fully painted cards originally released in 1992, the 2016 iteration from Upper Deck brings back the original artist Joe Jusko for a completely new set of cards and paintings. With more than 130 new pieces, all crafted by Jusko himself over the course of the last three years, it's no wonder it's taken some time for the set to see the light of day. The release schedule sliding out of 2014 ended up being a blessing though, as it gave Joe Jusko ample time to leave it all on the canvas. It certainly beats the 90 days he had to paint the original set in the early '90s.
We had a chance to speak with Joe Jusko about returning to the Marvel Masterpieces brand after all these years, and what to expect from the upcoming card set. We've also got an exclusive look at some of the cards you'll find in packs starting this week.
In 1992, Skybox teamed with Marvel and painter Joe Jusko to release what would become one of the most revered and sought-after trading card sets of the era. While Marvel had been in the trading card game already, the Marvel Universe series was steeped heavily in comic art and wore its sports-style influences on its sleeve. With Marvel Masterworks, the game was changed completely. Instead of cards for Spider-Man that offered stats and quips, we were treated to museum quality paintings that captured the power and majesty of heroes and villains alike. The Marvel Masterpieces series would see a number of releases over the years, including sets done by the Hildebrandt brothers and Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, but it was the original set, painted entirely by Joe Jusko that ignited it all.
This year, Joe Jusko and the Marvel Masterpieces card series return after a long layoff with 100 all-new paintings turned into premium quality cards for this momentous release. It's been a long time, but with the limited preview art that's out there, the wait looks to have been worth it.
Jonathan Hickman has been building up to something big for the Marvel Universe for the entirety of his run on Avengers and New Avengers. His 'incursions' -- alternate realities colliding and wiping each other out -- were the driving force behind Infinity and the splinter that divided the Avengers in Original Sin; they now form the backdrop to his books as they skip to a new status quo under the 'Time Runs Out' banner. There was always a plan.
Now we know the culmination of that plan. As announced at a Times Square event for New York Comic-Con on Thursday evening, Hickman's Avengers runs will end in May 2015, and he'll be joined by artist Esad Ribic on a year-long epic event book called... Secret Wars.
No, for real. Secret Wars. Maybe they don't know that the name's been used before? No-one tell them. They've been working on this for ages; they'll be so disappointed.
Gaming: Street Fighter Monopoly is really happening. How much will Shadaloo cost with a hotel built on it, I wonder?
Movies: The latest Avengers trailer was viewed more than 13.7 times within its first 24 hours on Apple Trailers, the most of any film so far...
Threads: Mondo shines a neon light on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's greatest foe.
Movies: Twilight/Snow White and the Huntsman star Kristen Stewart has supposedly been offered the role of Kei in the live action Akira film from Warner Bros...
Awesome: Tales Designed to Thrizzle creator Michael Kupperman's next project, Mark Twain's Autobiography, 1910-2010, will be out from Fantagraphics soon.
Manga: Japanese fans who attend Fullmetal Alchemist: Milos no Sei-Naru Hoshi on July 2 will get an exclusive copy of Fullmetal Alchemist vol...
In Memory: The BBC reports that Elisabeth Sladen, known for her role as Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who and its spinoff The Sarah Jane Smith Adventures has died at the age of 63.
Trading Cards: When assembled properly, this July's The Avengers: Kree-Skrull War trading card set from Upper Deck will tell five new comic stories stemming from The Avengers #89-97...