The Women of Marvel Shine Bright Like a Diamond in Upper Deck’s New Card Set
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.
Coming sometime this year, the Marvel Gems will be a 60-card set, with each card limited (and numbered) to just 225 each. There will of course be variants of all the cards in the set, but the real choice cards here are going to be the inserts. Each of the Gem packs, which come one per box, comes with five cards. Two will be base cards, with the other three being any combination of premium inserts like Diamond Mine, Crystal Clear, Diamond Cuts Shadowbox or Gem-balaya. There are original art sketches as well, but they're a bit rarer than the rest of the inserts.
The Diamond Mine and Crystal Clear cards will have variants of their own, but inserts like Gem-balaya and Shadowbox appear to just have one basic type. That's probably for the best, as chasing down a complete set is going to be hard enough without having to worry about all the variants for these cards, even with as few as there are in this collection.
In addition to the Gem pack, each box will have one Exquisite pack. These packs have just one card each, and form what you could consider a set within the set. Exquisite cards all feature art crafted for this set by Ariel Olivetti, and will also have four tiers of variants (the rarest of which is #'d/30). The variants will have actual metal nameplates for each character versus the standard embossed printing.
Exquisite packs will also feature the ultimate rare cards in the Marvel Gems set with the Emma Frost Collection. Each of these cards is printed on "diamond-like" stock, but there will be versions printed with actual, literal diamonds, too. Where sports cards are able to have relics like game-used jerseys or gloves inserted as a relic, you can't really do that with superhero cards. Maybe for the movies you could get some costumed goods, but using actual precious gems like this is an interesting move. They're going to be incredibly hard to find, and rightfully so, but they'll certainly be a good way to recoup the cost of trying to build this set if you happen to find one.
The release date details for Marvel Gems are still to be determined, but pre-orders are available through a number of card and hobby sites for ~$180-$200 a box. Considering each box has just six cards, this is going to be one of the most difficult Marvel sets to put together on a reasonable budget, even moreso than the 2016 Marvel Masterpieces.