How To Enjoy Your Hobbies When The World Is On Fire, Part I

To tell you the truth, I haven’t had an answer for that one lately, but let’s see what I can do. I’m going to scan and write as I experience these things, and see where it takes me.

Oh hey, look, it’s 2017 Topps! Finally made it out to a store that had it, so I bought a hanger box (most base cards for your buck), and we’ll take it for a spin.

Upon pulling the cello pack out of the much-harder-to-open-than-I-remember hanger box (Did they switch to glue this year?), this was the first thing I saw. We’ll see how it turns out at the end of the pack.

The first new card of 2017! You know, last year, I liked the design way more before I saw it in person. This year, it underwhelmed when I saw pictures, but I think I like it better in person. At least on first impression! I would still like them to un-blur the crowds, though. I’m guessing someone sued Topps for being visible in a baseball card or something. But no, even with the amount of space the silly design takes away from the picture, this is an improvement over ’16 flagship, I think.

Baseball Reference killed the card back star!

Anyway…Arcia didn’t have a Twitter or Instagram handle at press time, so that’s some wasted space. Really, I see a lot of wasted space on the back, but it is colorful enough. I’ll also take that it’s legible and has a large card number on it. My eyes are going on me, and reading card backs can be a real chore sometimes.

Let’s look at some more cards…

Unfortunately, most of it is stealth advertising, but there’s a lot going on here. Ellsbury looks like he’s doing the crane technique from “The Karate Kid”, and it also looks like he’s got lightning comin’ out of both ends of ’em. Worth asking, since I don’t recognize the park: which spring training park is this? I don’t think it’s an MLB park.

These red Jays unis are whack. Good picture of Stro, though!

Y’all. Gaylord Perry’s supposed to be on “Then & Now” cards. Not Stephen Strasburg.

Sorry. I know that was a little melodramatic. Moving on…

Parallels! Parallels! Get your parallels, or they go in the “send to COMC” box!

Hey, Night Owl, look! (Yeah, it’s one of those ad cards. I should see how many reprints I have of ’56 Jackie, though.)

Goddamn it.

You’re gonna see his cards all over the place this year, with people saying about the same thing as I just did every time, but…goddamn it. Such a senseless waste.

OK, back to having fun and not spending as much time in the real world…

Whew. Got this out of the way.

And this.

 

Picked this kid up in fantasy late in the year. Came with good reviews from the minors, but he exceeded expectations, as I remember it. His team’s gonna be a mess this year, but I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next.

…and we’re at the end of the pack. These are weird. I mean, I have a long, established love-hate relationship with 1987 Topps cards, which I’ve owned more of than any other cards except maybe 1988 Donruss. The homage to the design looks sharp, save for the gloss (that’s just weird). The picture of McGwire they used makes his head look 3 times bigger than his body, though, and that’s not a great look. I’m probably not collecting the whole run of these, where I might’ve fallen for it in years past, but I will probably peruse the checklist and see who’s in it.

So, I’m through the box! (I should probably mention that my exclusive Silver Slugger cards were Trout and Trumbo, but they weren’t really visually interesting enough to scan.) I’ll probably do with ’17 Topps what I’ve done with ’14 and ’16 (and ’12 Heritage), which is accept them in trades, maybe pick up a pack here and there when I’m bored. They’re better than I thought they’d be, but they’re still not ’11-’13 or ’15. I’ll checklist what I got and put it on my want list sometime this weekend (it’s also officially time to move ’16 to the back catalog now).

Not a ton of players I was hoping to get (no Sanchez, which is kind of in the Bryant “gotta pull it so I don’t have to pay a premium” category), but I got a Story, I got Stroman, I got that Strasburg insert, and as depressing as it is, I got the Fernandez card. I haven’t looked at the main checklist yet to see who’s in Series One, though. Yeah, I’ve been that far out of the loop. Still, it’s good even as “get away from the news” practice to spend time doing something I enjoy.

Onto the next thing I enjoy…comic books! Had a big stack waiting for me at my local shop, as I had bills to pay in January and hadn’t been able to pick up for a few weeks. So, I’ll read ’em, and let you know what I think now.

I’ve gone back and forth on Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight a bit (this is the first of I think 3 Lemire books I have in tonight’s pile), but this is one of the good issues. If you’re not reading it yet, without giving away too much (I think they’re about 2 trades in on this run), Jeff’s exploring Marc Spector’s mental illness pretty deeply in the storylines. He’s using a lot of flashbacks, because that’s what Jeff Lemire does. He’s also used multiple artists along the run to visually differentiate Spector’s different personalities, which was hit-and-miss. He’s back to just Greg Smallwood on pencils for the current run, though, so it’s not as page-to-page jarring as it was for me. I’ll stick with it a while longer. As Moon Knight’s one of my favorite characters, it’s pretty hard to get me to bail on a book of his.

 I’ve really enjoyed the first 3 issues of Josie And The Pussycats, but #4, I dunno, maybe overreached? Could be that Marguerite Bennett finally took the references to “Scott doesn’t get it”-level (I got about 2/3 of them), could be that the story had too much going on and plot points that I thought would have a slow burn to ’em got rushed, but it all kinda came apart for me a little. One issue isn’t usually enough to tank a series (though a few have tried over the years), but this one was kinda rough.

Lemire book #2, and the one that I think has been his best for a while (he writes a LOT of books at the moment, but it feels like he saves the good shit for Descender). This issue was sorta chase-sceney, but still good.

It’s gonna seem like I’m grouchy about every book I’m reading (“decent, but…”, and “not quite as good as the last few” and “hit-and-miss” and such), but the Black Cat storyline they’ve been on for a few issues in Patsy Walker, A.K.A. HELLCAT! (“That’s me!”) was dragging on a bit. Thankfully, they did a really nice job of wrapping it up. Felt good to see a book that had me sorta on the fence for a few issues turn it around.

I have 5 more books to read, but I need a snack and a break from reading. I’ll do part II a little later. It’s been good so far, though, just focusing on one thing as I’m doing it.

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