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A Master Returns To Masterpieces

It’s been 22 years since the first Marvel Masterpieces trading card series was released. The original, produced by SkyBox International, came on the heels of several Marvel Universe series, which used pick-up from the comics. The Masterpieces series was quite unique and very exciting in several.

By Feb 28,2014  11

It’s been 22 years since the first Marvel Masterpieces trading card series was released. The original, produced by SkyBox International, came on the heels of several Marvel Universe series, which used pick-up from the comics. The Masterpieces series was quite unique and very exciting in several ways. For starters, it featured all original art. Secondly, all of the art came from one artist, Joe Jusko. Nothing quite like this had been done before. And last, but certainly not least, the art was mind-blowing. It stills ranks as one of the best non-sport card series ever produced. Just this month, a Facebook post of Joe’s about the original series racked-up 70 glowing comments and nearly 100 likes. Jusko says “To this day, I sign more of those cards at appearances than anything else I’ve ever done. For a certain generation of fans that is the property that defines me.” So it’s VERY exciting to learn a follow-up is in the works for later this year.

To coincide with their 25th Anniversary taking place today, Upper Deck has announced the new Joe Jusko Marvel Masterpiece series for the end of the year. “This is an enormous feat that Joe is collaborating on with Upper Deck” says the company’s Jason Brenner. Just like the original, Jusko, and only Jusko, will be completing all 135 base card images (1992’s base card series contained 100 cards). “These are all new images that he is creating from scratch and they are stunning to say the least” say Brenner.

We spoke briefly with Jusko about working on the new series and how its been going so far (Joe has already been laboring on the series in secret for months and months). “I am having so much fun!” said Jusko. He continues “This type of project suits my temperament better than any other. I can put my all attention and effort into a piece and then move on to another image that is completely different in both subject and approach. It’s impossible to get bored, even with my notoriously short attention span.”

It’s now 22 years later and we wondered what fans can expect this time around. Jusko says: “Despite the success of the classic set, the main reason I’ve always wanted to return to Masterpieces has been my gnawing dissatisfaction with the amount of time I had to complete it, roughly three and a half months. That neccesitated doing very small paintings very quickly. While I think the great majority of those cards hold up very well, Upper Deck is giving me a much bigger window, making it possible to produce larger, cover quality images. I think fans will be really happy with the results.”

SkyBox International’s 1992 series had Spectra card inserts and some other inserts in related releases but those probably wouldn’t fly in today’s marketplace. When asked about inserts, Brenner assured us those details will come soon enough. He did let us know that sketch cards will figure into the new release and that additional artists will be employed for those. “The sketch work will all be inspired by the body of work that Joe has done so this is very much an homage to Joe himself” said Brenner. He continues “There will be a few different variants as well as some other inserts, I can’t talk to specific now though.”

We are very excited to show off one of the first ever 2014 Joe Jusko Marvel Masterpieces cards below.

2014 Marvel Masterpieces2014 Marvel Masterpieces art by Joe Jusko

1992’s Marvel Masterpieces inspired four additional Marvel Masterpieces releases in the 90s. Two of those series (produced by SkyBox and later, Fleer) were worked on by dynamic artists duos (Greg & Tim Hildebrandt in 1994 and Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell in 1996) while the others were worked on by a mix of artists. In 2007 and 2008, Upper Deck released three more Marvel Masterpieces series employing a mix of artists. The 1992 set is the only time a single artist has completed the entire base card series.

We will have much more on the 2014 Marvel Masterpieces release in the pages of Non-Sport Update magazine later this year. An exclusive promotional cards is planned for inclusion in one of our issues as well so be sure to get your subscription in now!


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  • Mike T April 29, 2014 Reply

    Stoked for this set!


  • ZiaB June 3, 2014 Reply

    So incredibly awesome!!!


  • Dw July 2, 2014 Reply

    Any more info yet?


  • Donald F. July 5, 2014 Reply

    Any word on when you will have my art done? It’s been almost 5 years now and still nothing.


    • Timothy W. Riggle September 19, 2014 Reply

      I would Never Count Joe Out, As He is Extremely Busy, Especially Right Now with the New Masterpiece Set coming!!!!! I HAVE Joe’s Agents Number but Don’t Believe You’ll get Anywhere, as I’ve Been Trying to Joe to do a Painting for Me for Quite Some Time now…. I Know that Won’t Help How You Feel, Especially if You Paid for it already. Just a relatable story, Back in 1982, I had the Priveledge of Sitting With Michael Golden and Jerry Bingham, Both of whom are Gentleman and Really Appreciate Their Fans, Well, Bill Sienkevich was Late that Day and the Friend I was with Got Bill to Draw a Killer Moon Knight (pencilled and inked for $20!!!!!), Bill had to leave after Only this One Masterpiece, Since I was Next, He Wrote My Name and Address and Phone# down with what I wanted, which I paid $40 to Him and STILL NO DRAWING!!!!! I Know People that work for Both Marvel and DC and Still Nothing….. Keep the Faith as I Write constantly to wherever He is Working, But Nothing Shows in the Mail Box… Be Perisistant but Not a Pest and You will get Your Work, Timothy


  • Timothy W. Riggle September 18, 2014 Reply

    I had The Priveledge of meeting Joe at a Wizard World Convention, in the mid 90’s while working at a Comic Shop part time. Absolute Gentleman!!!!! He signed 3 of the Prizma Cards for Me from the 1992 set… Any Guesses??? He said ” I Won’t Sign them All, so Pick the ones You Want” I Handed Him, The Spidey/ Venom, Captain America/Red Skull and Last but certainly Not Least, The Wolverine/Sabretoothe Cards, He Signed them Nice and Ledgibly and in Silver Sharpy Ink!!!!! I Have Nothing But Great Things to say About Joe Jusko, He’s a True Gentleman and was More than Happy, and Willing to Talk to a Huge Fan of His for almost a Half an Hour!!!!! I am Truly Grateful for His Knowledge and Insight to The Comics Industry that WE ALL LOVE and KNOW SO WELL, Thank You so Very Much Joe, Tim. PS: These Cards are Proudly Framed and Displayed in My Art Collection


    • Harris September 18, 2014 Reply

      That’s a great story. Thanks for sharing, Timothy. Joe is a real peach!


  • Rose November 12, 2014 Reply

    When will the marvel masterpieces set be released?


    • Harris November 12, 2014 Reply

      Last we heard, the series has been delayed until July 2015.


      • Allan June 16, 2015 Reply

        It’s the middle of June and still no pre-orders :(


  • abernut September 14, 2015 Reply

    I emailed Upperdeck and got the following…
    This was at the end of July 2015

    Thank you for the email. Unfortunately, we have not received any release dates for Marvel Masterpieces. Information for newer product is typically posted on our Upper Deck blog once details are available. We appreciate your inquiry.


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