NEW NSU: Volume 22 – No. 2

NSU’s latest issue came out last week, and I was pleasantly surprised to see The Invisible Woman (from the Fantastic Four) featured on the cover; and if that was good, things kept getting better at every page-turn, as this month’s issue came jam-packed with very interesting reads.

One particularly appealing article was “Classic Cult Cards-from Sci-Fi to Sword & Sorcery”, written by Charlie Novinskie, and it reviewed the soon-to-be-released fantasy and sci-fi series from Cult Stuff. So if you are an FPG collector and a fan of its fantasy artist sets-as I sure am- I highly recommend this piece.

This issue’s Promo column discussed different promo cards from the animated series “Thomas & Friends”. In another period of my life, this article would have been ignored, but parenthood has a weird effect on people (lol). My kid loves the show, so it was cool to learn a bit about these cards.

 Lastly, it is worth to mention Dave Thopson’s new column Beyond Non-Sports. This new section centers on themes not directly link to NS cards but yet related in some way. This column premier gave a glimpse of the “Magic: The Gathering” world. It was very informative and entertaining piece with some very interesting insights and ideas on the card game.

Here’s the list of articles on this issue as display on the NSU webpage: 


  • Editorial: Where, Who, What?


  • Venturous Vixens: Rittenhouse Archives presents the darlings of dilemma in this splashy new Marvel set.


  • Beyond Non-Sports: The Game is Afoot! – NSU thinks outside the non-sports box in the premier edition of this exciting new column.


  • Classic Cult Cards—From Sci-Fi to Sword & SorceryBarbarians, dragons, and…Martians?


  • The Notorious Bettie Page:The original Dangerous Diva!


  • Horror Monsters Mystery.There’s more to this creepy classic than most collectors realize.

     I cannot end this review without mentioning the Notes column by Roxane Toser where she shared some of her frustration with the downfall of our hobby and the apparent apathetic attitude of some collectors. On this note I have to say that indeed we’ve been somewhat “dormant” with the growth of our hobby. There’s much we can do in order to get people hooked with collecting. We HAVE to get young people back on collecting; and we HAVE to be creative if we want Non-Sports to survive this recession.


“One small step for man (collecting)” or “Of a Great Buy!”

How good it feels to be one step closer to completing a set; especially if the set is close to ones heart. It’s like getting one character of a Star Wars jigsaw or getting another train “property” in a Monopoly board game. Had that feeling this week!

I’m currently working on completing my Achilleo’s sets (both series 1 & 2). See, I like Master Sets. I believe that the process of building Master Sets in an era where you will mostly get the base set for a couple bucks online, Master Sets are the way to go for people who enjoy the process of building it.

The definition of “Master set” it’s greatly debate by collectors. Some might consider Master set to be the base set, chase cards and promos. Others include binders, autograph and sketch cards. I myself see a Master Binder as the “Anything-related-to-that-series” set. And what exactly is that? Well, on my book:


  • base set
  • parallel sets
  • chase cards
  • inserts
  • autograph cards
  • sketch cards
  • promos
  • case topper cards
  • seller sheets
  • binder
  • wrappers
  • display box

In my book, building this is no peaches and cream

Some of you might be thinking that this will be an easy task with places like Ebay floating with auctions on thousands of sets. But you got to remember that it will all depend on the set (scarcity, year of production, etc.). Also, not every dealer or seller tends to have that kind of inventory. Finally, even after you’ve found the item, money could crash your dreams.

In my case, another step was taken with an incredible deal from a fellow dealer at

The Achilleos series 1 has two parallel sets: one silver-foiled and one gold-foiled. It’s rare to see singles of both of them and rarer to see the complete set. TODAY I checked on Ebay and the silver and gold sets were been auction for $250 each (an amount of money I’m not comfortable spending with today’s economy). The gold set was the one I bought and I got it for a fair price. With this acquisition, I’m moving to get the silver one which appears to be tougher to find.

Right now, for Series 1 I have:


  • Base set
  • 4 cards uncut promo sheet
  • Gold Parallel Set

For series 2:


  • Base Set
  • 3 of 5 Metal Storm chase cards
  • Binder with special Binder Card
  • Promo sheet
  • Wrapper

There’s still a long way to go and I’m happy about that for that means the HUNT it’s still on.

I invited you to read a full review of the set in the archives of this blog.

Pepsi Cards: Drinking, recycling, and collecting.

Back in 1995 the Pepsi Corporation thought of another way of making kids addicted (beside the sugar and caffeine that is). The idea was similar to the one implemented by Gum companies back in the 1930`s: add some cool cards with the buy of the product for kids to collect. In the case of Pepsi, the gimmick was to give a pack of cards to kids in exchange of a couple of empty cans plus fifty cents. It’s not a surprise that this strategy worked, making it one of the biggest and successful promotional campaigns ever.

I remember being 12 and going around the block collecting empty cans. My closest competitor was my best friend, who was into them too. Now, thinking back, I can see that we did plenty of good for our planet ( LOL ). After gathering enough cans, we used to go the mall`s Burger King with a couple of dollars and, bang, we had a lot of fun for the afternoon.

The set is basically a reprint of the 1994 Flair Marvel (Inaugural Edition) American set. There are some differences in both sets. Flair`s cards are thicker (ergo a little heavier), glossier and with the Flair logo on a corner written in a golden finish. The caption at the foot of the card is also in gold. The back of the cards are totally different. The Flair set is in English in difference to the Pepsi edition which is in Spanish. It also has different art on their backs as well as logos.

The Pepsi set consisted of a base set of a 100 cards with 9 prism chase cards. The cards have the great art of the original Flair set.  The quality of the images is outstanding. The colors are sharp and brilliant. It also has the story and mythologies of the different characters in the Marvel Universe. Back then there wasn’t a computer in every house. Most of had access to the internet in school at most. So it was kind of difficult to keep track with the ever-expanding Marvel universe and its spinning and turning storylines. To that problem, those summaries on the back of the cards were great and accurate.

The chase cards weren’t that hard to find but I can say pretty confidently that there were some more scarce than others. The Spiderman and Cyclopes cards were the rarest followed by the iron man one. The other ones were relatively easy. All of the chase cards were prism with black backs featuring a close up of the character in the middle and no text. Ironically in this set the common ones seems harder to find. Some of them were pretty scarce and hard to find. In my experience the “hardest cards to find are number 2 (El Increible Hulk), 18 (Dr. Doom) 32 (“El juicio del Sr Fantastico), 41 (Nightcrawler), 45 (Venom), and 93 (Bishop).

Those set are really coveted by Latin non-sport collectors all over America. If you enter different bidding sites, these babies can go as high as 500 dollars for a master set. Its popularity goes beyond the set itself (after all, they’re a lot of sets with better quality than this). This set is so great because of the memories attach to it. The hours and hours of can gathering, wrapper opening, and card sorting. The great childhood days of running, eating, sleeping, collecting and swapping.

Achilleos: Series 1 & 2


Work of Fantasy

Fantasy is the number one thing my collection is made of. I’m fascinated by it; the giant trees, the orks, the sexy girl with the long legs. Everything is eye filling. It’s a unique way of fly to far lands and fulfill hidden dreams in the subconscious, just a page turn away. From the vast and gigantic offer of incredibly talented artist immortalize in trading cards, at the top three of my head is Chris Achilleos.

Chris Achilleos has created some of the most eye gauging and detail artwork in his thirty years of work.  He has become one of the most  influential  and popular artist of  the genre. His works includes many hundreds of book cover illustrations and collaboration as consultant for conceptual artists in Hollywood movies.

The first series set was issued by FPG in 1992 and in it the female form play a major role. In some of the illustrations it plays almost in the erotic which makes the set more for an adult crowd. FPG used to produce most of the Fantasy artwork back in the 90’s during  what I consider one of the “good ages” in the non-sport world. This was one of the sets first produce by the company. The cards consisted of a base set of90. The back of each card has pencil drawing illustration and a comment from Chris. Originally there were insert redemption cards one for a painting and 20 others for sketches. There were also parallel sets of silver and gold foil stamp cards randomly inserted (1:12). There also were 250 signed cards from the base set randomly inserted. Special collectible binder was made and it came with a binder card.

The second series was called Angels and Amazons also produced by FPG in 1994. On this series Ahilleos focused more on fantasy with a bit of science fiction. In the first series Achilleos showed his dominion on the female form. Now, the ambience glow in all its splendor. Again there’s a pencil drawing in the back with a brief comment by the artist. A binder was also produce for this series with a special insert card as well.

This has been one of my favorites release from FPG. I’m still working on it since its been difficult finding the parallel set both silver and gold. I’ve seen the complete set of both on Ebay but they go for a high price, plus its more fun building it one card at a time which stretches the hunt that is, in my opinion, the best part of collecting. What has been harder to find is the signed (and numbered) card and also the binder for the first series; haven’t seen neither on Ebay or at any convention or shop. But again, that’s part of the fun!



2. Non-Sport Encyclopedia