Mainstream Pop Culture meets Urban Underground Sub-Culture: Star Wars Galaxy 4 Sketch Cards from TOPPS

HERE'S-THE-SKINNY: American trading card producers TOPPS launches their new STAR WARS GALAXY 4 Trading Card series, and randomly inserted within the packs with regular cards are die-cut chase cards in the shape of Darth Vader and Storm Trooper helmets. On one side is the image of the infamous Sith Lord and armored Trooper-clones, and on the other, a plain blank canvas.

A host of street artists, toy designers, and urban underground pop practitioners from around the globe (and even from Singapore *cough*) were enlisted to render their individual interpretations on the cards. Familiar names like MAD, Sket-One, Onell Design, JK5, Triclops Studio, Mad Barbarians, GARGAMEL, Michael Leavitt, EVIL DESIGN, SUCKADELIC and many others put their individual stamp on the cards, while autographing the image-side.

The result is a kaleidoscopic implosion of characters in the Star Wars Universe hand-rendered, stenciled, sprayed, doodled, sketched and even kissed - in a collision of mainstream pop culture, with the urban-brow subculture! Each artist was provided with 53 pieces of each die-cut design, making it a 100 inserted into packs, with 6 returns, each contributer. Almost 3000 cards were completed in total!


And before the cards totally gets sucked into the void of fans' collections (ebay auctions have begun for a while now) - you can check out the rendered cards on the dediated flickr HERE. Also do drop by this forum-thread on Scoundrel Publishing to weight in your thoughts on the sketch cards. Within the thread also explains the genesis of this particular project, with major-kudos to the Suckadelic SUCKLORD for pulling us all together in on this :)


TRE will also be attempting to bug the various artists for a little Q&A, into their craft and motivations (just wished I was more diligent in saving email addresses...bug me back please! I <3 U all! ;p). Meanwhile, do CLICK THRU for the full lowdown on the project, more images, a sketch-video, as well as the list of participating artists :)


American trading card institution TOPPS gets radical with the new STAR WARS GALAXY 4.

PRESS: Since the release of the original STAR WARS movie in 1977, Topps has brought the magic of the big screen to the tiny trading card, inspiring millions of kids worldwide and defining a genre. In the following 30 plus years, Topps has continued to push the boundaries with such innovations as widescreen cards, foil stamps, and motion cards, evolving far beyond the old wax paper and crappy gum packets of yesteryear.

Enter the Sketchcard. With the release of 2004's Clone Wars series, Topps once again raised the bar by introducing 1 of 1 artist interpretations drawn directly onto blank cards. Short packed in with the regular cards, these are very rare, highly sought after mini works of fine art. Sketchcards have become a collecting category unto themselves, with websites and fan groups obsessively trying to find and catalogue each one as their value continues to increase. Traditionally, these sketchcards
have been produced by Comic book artists, animators and fantasy illustrators, all known artists within the Star Wars community. Until now.


Reaching out to the vast world of street artists, toy designers, and underground pop mutants, Topps has pushed the limits once again. With the debut of the first die-cut sketch card, artists outside the traditional realm of Star Wars illustration have put their own stamp on these little canvases in the shape of Darth Vader and Stormtrooper helmets. STAR WARS Galaxy is a radical, art-oriented collection that showcases rare and offbeat imaginings of the Star Wars cannon. It is the perfect venue from which to unleash this new experiment in Star Wars collecting. Star Wars Galaxy 4 is available now in most comic and hobby shops or from

[All images via Flickr]

Amy Vuitya
Artbot 138
Art Denka
Brian Slivka
Daniel Cantrell
Dice One
Fig-Lab/ Datadub
Hans Yim
Jaguar No No
Jason Atomic
Jeff McMillan
Kerry Lee
Lamour Supreme
Mad Barbarians
Michael Leavitt
Nick the Ring
October toys
Onell Design
Patrick Francisco
Simeon Lipman
Sket One
Spooky Booty
Triclops Studio
Urban Medium

[Jason Atomic sketching]

Somehow, I got asked to recruit a bunch of "cool" "underground" "designer toy" artists to shill for the latest series of official Star Wars cards by Topps. The new angle Topps is pursuing are these one-off, hand done sketchcards that they pack in with the regular cards. They asked me to get some new blood into the mix to do a batch. Naturally I went for it and recruited a gang of my compatriots to crank out almost 3000 of these things, which they went for readily.You may find one of these rare, hand-drawn gems randomly inserted in limited packs of Star Wars Galaxy 4 or see a massive collection of photos from this unique project on the dedicated flickr page:

As you know, I am a huge Star Wars fan and have been ripping it off for years. This is the first time I have been asked to helm an official Star Wars project. Quite an accomplishment for me. perhaps I have finally arrived. Or sold out. You decide. We may do a show with some of these things in the near future. Stay Tuned.