Non-Sport & Entertainment Trading Card News from Non-Sport Update

1940 Gum Inc Superman Collection To Be Sold

Written By: Harris Toser - Jul• 02•15

Gum Inc.’s 1940 Superman cards are a very rare find. So for someone to find over 100 of them is pretty incredible. And Scarsdale, NY based American Legends has done just that. Starting today at Noon, the company will be selling off 133 1940 Gum Inc. Superman cards via their eBay store (amerlegends).

Superman card #47

The cards were recently acquired from an elderly collector who purchased them as a child 75 years ago. What a find indeed! All of the cards are PSA graded, with many grading PSA 5, PSA 6 and PSA 7. Prices go from $49.99 for PSA Graded 2 cards all the way up to $4,499 for a PSA Graded 5 card number 72 (the last card in the series) with many cards priced in the $100 to $500 range.

American Legends owner Mark Rubin had this to say about the collection “This is most significant non-sport purchase we’ve ever made. These cards are so incredibly rare in any grade and these are especially nice. Prior to this collection, I had only purchased a single 1940 Superman card in the 35 plus years I’ve been in trading cards. It’s truly extraordinary.”

If you’re interesting in buying some of the collection or just a card or two….or even just having a look, head on over to the American Legends eBay store today after noon (EST) to see the collection.

American Legends logo

Non-Sport Update Attends Inaugural Lehigh Valley Comic Book Expo!

Written By: Batman - Jun• 29•15

Lehigh Valley Comic Book Expo - June 20 - Allentown, PA

The first Lehigh Valley Comic Book Expo was held on June 20, 2015 and the Non-Sport Update team of Production Manager Harris Toser and assistants Larry Brody and Batman were there manning the NSU tables and interacting with show attendees. We enjoyed our day at the show!

Unlike many shows that carry the label of a comic convention but in reality have few comics at the show, there was an abundance of comic book dealers with an impressive selection of books from the Golden Age all the way through today’s current issues. In keeping with comics other dealers had interesting selections of comic related material including action figures, trading cards, Transformers, My Little Pony, Walking Dead, Star Trek and Star Wars items, among many others. It would be hard for anyone interested in comics and related items not to be able to find cool items to add to their collections. It was well worth the trip to attend!

There were a number of non-sport card dealers in attendance with vintage and recent sets, and exclusive promos for DC Comics Super Villains and Fringe Trading Cards Season 5 were provided by Cryptozoic Entertainment (for details see our June 5th entry) so we were pleased to see a non-sport presence at the show!

Lehigh Valley Comic Book Expo

Additional show highlights included a costume/cosplay contest, hourly door prizes, a sizable line-up of comic artists and even a broadcast of events that were occurring at the show. The site of the show was the Merchants Square Mall in Allentown, PA, a location certainly familiar to attendees of the Philly Non-Sports Card Show.

It was an impressive beginning for the Lehigh Valley Comic Book Expo and the promoters will be announcing a future show date soon (see the Lehigh Valley Comic Book Expo Facebook page). Make plans to attend and help support the show!

Cryptozoic Entertainment Expands Agreement with Diamond Comic Distributors

Written By: Harris Toser - Jun• 25•15

Diamond Comic DistributorsThis morning, Diamond Comic Distributors announced that Cryptozoic Entertainment has expanded its distribution agreement with the company, making Diamond the worldwide distributor of Cryptozoic’s merchandise product lines within the comic book specialty market and other select online and specialty retailers. This agreement extends Diamond’s current rights to distribute Cryptozoic’s board games and trading cards.

“We are pleased to expand our existing relationship with Cryptozoic through this agreement, which not only enables us to distribute their upcoming brand new line-up of collectibles and merchandise to comic shops; but also allows us to work closely with them to grow their presence in other diverse markets. We are excited to build upon what was already a strong business partnership and looking forward to exploring the many opportunities that it presents for both companies.” said Diamond Vice President of Purchasing, John Wurzer.

Cryptozoic LogoSince 2010, Cryptozoic has produced some of the best-selling board games, trading cards and other products based on comic books, TV shows, movies and more that appeal to a wide variety of audiences. Their games include the DC Comics Deck Building Game, The Big Bang Theory: The Party Game, and other table top games. Some of their trading card releases include several series of cards based on The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, DC Comics, and The Big Bang Theory. In addition, Cryptozoic organizes and hosts events worldwide to bring the gaming community together.

“Diamond provides the experience and distribution channels to successfully launch our new merchandise lines,” said Bill Schanes, COO of Cryptozoic. “We are excited to work together to achieve sales goals and expand distribution to the comic book specialty retailers and targeted specialty mass-market retail accounts.”


Remembering Earl Norem

Written By: Roxanne Toser - Jun• 24•15

I first became aware of Earl Norem’s magnificent artwork in 1994 when we used a beautiful piece of artwork he had produced for Topps on the cover of Non-Sport Update Vol 5, No. 4 (July-August 1994). This has always been one of my favorite NSU covers. The reason for using the artwork was the fact Topps was producing a reprint set of the original Mars Attacks set produced in 1962. They were also doing a series of comic books and Earl was involved with these projects.

Non-Sport Update Vol. 5, No 5 cover by Earl Norem

It is sad to report Earl passed away at the age of 92 on July 19. He was currently working on a card for the 2015 Mars Attacks Occupation set from Topps. How sad to think this will be the last non-sport card artwork we will ever seen from him and I have learned he was only able to do a sketch and not the finished artwork. Earl’s magnificent work (both new and pick-up art) was used in many card series including several Conan series and an array of Topps products such as Star Wars Galaxy, Lord of the Rings Masterpieces, Vampirella Gallery, and Indiana Jones Masterpieces. Norem also completed a handful of paintings in the 1988 Dinosaurs Attack! card series and worked on the graphic novel as well.

We asked Topps’ Vice-President Ira Friedman for a few words on Norem and he sent the following (which will likely be seen on the Mars Attacks Facebook page as well).

Earl Norem: He Spoke Softly But Carried a Big Brush

by Ira Friedman

While legendary artist/painter Earl Norem has passed, the amazing body of work he created will resonate with fans of pulp and fantasy art for generations to come.

Among his many cover paintings for book, magazine and comic publishers, Earl also provided many memorable trading-card creations for us at Topps. Most notably, his powerful images for our Mars Attacks and Dinosaurs Attack! properties (among other licensed ones) placed him in rarified air around the Topps offices and throughout the world of comic art fandom.

I had the privilege of working closely with Earl during the last two years of his life and while his artistic contributions to Topps were immeasurable, it was Earl, the person, who left an indelible impression on me.

Here was a man who, into his 90’s, was just happy to paint. He was incredibly modest about his talent and, only in his later years while attending a handful of conventions, did he truly understand that there were legions of fanboys out there who could not get enough of his work. He took on his assignments with great care and discipline, and put hours of research and rough sketching behind every finished masterpiece.

Mars Attacks card by Earl Norem

Mars Attacks card by Earl Norem

Mars Attacks: Invasion art by Earl Norem

When it came to deadlines, Earl was strictly ‘old school.’ He took tremendous pride in meeting his schedules and would do everything within his power to satisfy his clients within the time frame promised. Perhaps it was his distinguished service in the military – as a proud member of the prestigious 10th Mountain Division (check it out online) – where Earl learned the importance of accomplishing his tasks in a responsible, precise and timely manner. I really can’t say where his extraordinary work ethic came from, but I know with certainty that Earl took his deadlines very seriously.

Sometime ago, we began formulating plans to create a new series of Mars Attacks cards—Mars Attacks: Occupation. I phoned Earl to see if he would be up to contributing a painting. I knew his health was a challenge, but he was optimistic about his prognosis and keen to get back to his drawing table. Over the months that passed, as I followed his travails from home to the hospital to extended rehab and serious surgery, Earl kept apologizing about not being able to focus on his assignment. I assured him that he needn’t be concerned about this; that the first priority was his health and getting better. I told him on numerous occasions that the painting would wait as long as necessary.

When I received the call from Earl’s grandson, Michael, maybe I should not have been too surprised; but I was. At the age of 91, Earl’s time had come. He fought bravely until the very end and in the arms and presence of his extended family, who he cherished more than anything, Earl passed peacefully and comfortably.

Grandson Michael told me that, as the end was drawing nearer, his “Pop” Earl had told him that he had prepared a sketch for the Mars Attacks painting that he regrettably would not be able to finish. Earl wanted to us to have it as a token of his appreciation of the relationship we enjoyed together.

The world will never know a man with more grace, class and kindness. He’ll always be a soft-spoken friend and hero to me, his other fans at Topps and admirers throughout the community. Thankfully, Earl has left behind a remarkable body of art that will stir the souls and spark the imagination of many, while providing us all with an everlasting memorial of a life well lived.

Ira Friedman
The Topps Company
Vice President

Final note: The Mars Attacks: Occupation card set, scheduled for publication before the end of this year, will be dedicated to the memory of Earl Norem. It is the company’s plan to have his final sketch appear on a card within the series, alongside a finished painting based on Earl’s sketch, rendered by a to-be-determined artist.

Mars Attacks Classics Obliterated cover by Earl Norem