Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Life With Comic Books: Part # 87

Cast of Characters:
Paul: age 38
Mal: my wife
Adam: my son
Cassy: my daughter
Brian: an artist and my friend


After I finally forced myself to make the time available to help Brian finish photographing the toys that we wanted to include in our new product, “Classic Toys Trading Cards,” we worked hard to write the descriptions for the backs of the cards while our good friend, Mark Marderosian, did the finishing touches on his computer layout of the final set of sixty-six cards. Mark also designed a full-color advertising flyer that we had our old printing friends at “Associated Printers” of Grafton, North Dakota, print up for us. We sent these to “Diamond Comic Distributors” so they could include these with the next order form that would be sent to almost every comic book specialty store in the United States, Canada, and England. I found a printer in “up-state” New York who was able to print the cards in large sheets and then cut them into individual trading cards. To complete the project, they would put seven random cards into a foil package and put thirty-six of these packages into a box. The box would then be shrink-wrapped and twenty of these boxes would be put into one case. We sent the printer the computer disk with the sixty-six card fronts and backs on it so he could assemble these into the large un-cut sheet format. He produced a “proof-sheet” for Brian and I to review before the cards were to be printed.

I remember our excitement when we received this “proof-sheet!” The cards looked great. We carefully looked at each card to be sure that there were no spelling errors and to be sure that the front of the cards matched the backs of the cards. When we were satisfied that everything was correct, we called the printer and gave him the permission to print the cards. I brought the “proof-sheet” home to show my family. My fourteen-year old son, Adam, looked over the large sheet and said, “Dad, why are there two Paul McCartney cards?” ARRRGGGGH! Somehow Brian and I had both missed this error! Luckily, we were able to contact the printer just before he printed the cards and he corrected his mistake.

My agreement with Brian was that I would put up all of the money to produce these cards and he would be the main artistic guy. We’d then split any proceeds evenly. It was now time for me to send the printer the $42,000. Thirty days later we received the three hundred cases of “Classic Toys Trading Cards.”

We shipped out the cases that were pre-ordered through the comic book distributors and we began to enjoy the favorable reviews that the trading card publications wrote about our new product. Within a few months we had my original investment back and we still had about one hundred cases of cards left. Unfortunately, the trading card market was “crashing” and the interest in our product faded. Over time, we eventually made a modest profit on these cards and this remains as the product I’m most proud of. For a couple of guys with no professional experience, we produced an excellent set of cards.

Next chapter: Hey, Hey, it’s Davy Jones of The Monkees!

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