Is Panini Threads The Start of a Rehash Downfall?

I thought things were a changin’, I thought that Panini had finally made a push in the right directions by starting to avoid some of the major design problems that the last 2-3 years of their cards have had. Then I saw the preview for threads yesterday, and all of that promise and hope deflated like the soccer excitement in this country after Saturday.

On top of the fact that these cards look terrible to begin with, they have changed VERY little since 2009’s offerings. We still have the same design for the main rookie hits, and most of the subsets are so boring that I had to drink a red bull to stay awake while looking at them. That’s not the scary thing though, it gets much, much scarier.

Last year, National Treasures was a 400 dollar box of Threads to begin with, featuring the worst looking product since its inception in 2006. What used to look like aged relic of the past, instead looked like half the shit out of Threads, minus the foilboard. That will not ever fly with me, and if this set is any indication of things to come, we are looking at ANOTHER down year of National Treasures. I was hoping that Panini would learn that you cant just rehash every single part of previous sets and not expect people to notice, but I assume as soon as we get the Absolute Preview, its going to be more of the same ole shit.

This is where the consumers really need to speak up, but with a lack of licensed product from the company known for producing the best looking cards, they may not be able to have that luxury. Then when you consider that so far, Chrome and Flagship are the only products out of Topps’ lineup worth being excited for, it may be a full year’s worth of boredom on the horizon.

For shame Panini, for shame.

Panini Rookies And Stars Shows A Good Direction For Once?

In my opinion, Rookies and Stars was one of the worst looking products of the entire calendar last year. They used weird fonts, splatter paint designs and overall crap concepts to put out a product that a lot of people were very fond of. This year looks a lot better on paper, but I have yet to get truly excited over a Panini design yet this year. Like Elite and Classics, R&S is a million times better than the previous year’s offering, meaning that Panini is FINALLY on the road to better design elements in their products. However, I don’t quite think they have truly invested enough time to get to a nice point we can ALL appreciate. I guess we will have to wait for the final product to come out.

One thing I will say is that the signed manupatches are terribly lame and played out, and should be scrapped completely from every product. I get that they are ridiculously cheap to produce and prevent another stickered subset from infesting their overladen products, but they are so goddamn boring now that I cant put it into words.

Here are some pics from Blowout:

One Of My Favorite Days of the Year: Topps Chrome Preview Day!

Saw the Chrome sell sheet on FCB, and I am both ecstatic and kind of sad at the same time. I absolutely love Topps Chrome and I dont think this year will be any different from the looks of things. However, they have added in Bowman Chrome cards and some weird subsets for the second year in a row, and I have a feeling I may get pretty annoyed with this.

First off, the cards look great, as did the base cards from flagship Topps. The autograph cards are still stickers as expected, but they arent done horribly. They still feature borders that call your attention to the fact that stickers are on the cards, but with Topps Chrome, you cant see them any other way. Plus, the boxes cost around 50 bucks a piece, so they get a pass in my book.
Secondly, they are adding in red zone rookie autographs for this product as well, and I am wondering if only part of the checklist will be in base Topps and others will be in Chrome. I would expect we will have to wait for Bradford and Tebow to be in chrome, if that were the case. Who knows, maybe its just a value added type of thing. In that case, the more on card sigs, the merrier. I just hope that the red zone cards are numbered similarly to the rookie premiere autos, as it would be terrible and tiring to have to redo the fake auto fiasco all over again.
Also, I really like the Bowman Chrome cards this year, and it sucks that they wont get their own set. I would much rather have Bow Chro than Finest any day of the week. Hell, take Platinum too, I dont care. Low end Topps = win.
On the bad side of things, the dual autos look kind of stupid, and the patch refractor autos /25 are pretty bad for the third year in a row. Did that patch really need a border on it? No, it just covers up more of the player. Plus, who needs the event used stuff in a product like this anyways? Its like 2008 Topps Stadium Club all over again.
I am eager to see the Topps reprint autos that they mention without pictures, because those could be some of the coolest cards ever. When this was done in both baseball and football a few years ago, people went nuts over them, but a lot of it had to do with hard signed signatures. If they arent hard signed, I will probably pass. Who knows, they could be cool.
Im not saying I will buy as much of this stuff as I did last year, but its going to be close. I love the 2010 Topps design and that should transfer into some awesome stuff from the rookies. The final product will be eagerly awaited here on my end.

First Look: 2010 Donruss Classics

Ladies and Gents, stop the presses, I have some news you are not going to believe. I actually like the preview from a Panini set. I just saw the preview pics over on Blowout from 2010 Classics, and I have to say that they didn’t fuck it up at all. Last year’s Classics was terrible compared to previous years, but this year’s looks to be a VAST improvement.
First off, the base cards look really good, and with Classics, that is one of the most important elements because of the way the Rookie Autos are produced. I would buy myself a Toby Gerhart auto from this without a thought, sticker or no sticker. Then, the HOF auto cards also look pretty good, especially when they are using official logos and such. Nice job there.
The one problem I see is that there is a good chance of some major floating swatch syndrome, as Panini always parallels the hell out of each of the subsets. Look at the Vernon Davis card, then take away the auto, and see what you are left with. Same concept with a few of the others from this preview. Panini builds their cards backwards, which is the reason that a lot of their swatch cards look off balanced. Instead of starting with the base and building the swatch and auto jersey cards in that order, they start with the auto jersey and remove things to get to the base card.
However, with the focus being on the base cards, I think this is pretty good looking.

First Look: 2010 Upper Deck Football

A distributor just forwarded me the sell sheet for 2010 Upper Deck Football, and I want to go over a few things that I have to say about this particular choice of cards. You may think this design is familiar, and that is because it is the same one from Upper Deck Baseball. The 2010 Upper Deck baseball set was put out before the lawsuit took hold, and that is where the problem lies.

Last year, Upper Deck’s design for their flagship set was great. It was sleek, stylish, and simple, thus highlighting the amazing photography that they have become known for. This year for football, they adopted a design that was built around a logo-less team-less set from an unlicensed baseball product, and it looks terrible. Baseball wasnt great because they had a limited structure to work with, but there is no excuse as to why they transferred it over to football. Continuity isnt THAT important.
Now, this isnt the whole set, but it is enough to make me disappointed that they didnt go a different direction. We still havent gotten a look at any of the case hits like the same day sigs, or the possible inclusion of Premier cards like 2009. However, from what I am seeing, it looks uninspired and boring.
Hopefully the rest of the set looks much better than this. Last year’s was good enough that I actually considered buying a box, and I NEVER buy low end stuff. This year, I wont be touching it from the looks of things so far.