Late last week, Cryptozoic Entertainment (CZE) released its very first product in the non-sport trading card category: CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards. If you have read the pages of Non-Sport Update (or this blog), you’ll know that we are excited to have the new company on the scene and it’s high profile licensed properties populating our hobby, so it’s logical that we are also excited for this first product.
It’s been a while since NSU had run New Card Review in the magazine and we have yet to run box reviews on the blog. Whereas we never needed to do so before, we now must state the CZE gave us the box review but did not place any restriction on what we say about it. Having said that, we love the product!
The art on the 72 card base set are by many notable comic artists including Jim Lee, Dave Gibbons, Denis Kitchen, Howard Cruse, and Jason Gonzalez. It’s been a while since a non-Marvel or DC set has been on the scene and it was fun to look at art which isn’t pulled out of the pages of comics. That’s not to say the art here is second-rate—it’s all excellent in its own right.
I found the backs to be just as interesting as the cards fronts. The text presents a history of First Amendment battles that comics have faced over the years in chronological order. Cards 2 through 22 give a history of the trouble that comic, comic artists, and retailers faced before the creation of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in 1986 (and formally incorporated in 1990). Cards 23 through 54 give a history of the many cases the CBLDF has supported. And cards 55 through 71 explain a bit more about the organization. Card 72 is a checklist.
You can really learn a lot about comics on the card backs. It is also interesting to see the personalities that pop-up on the card backs—not just legendary comic creators but other celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny and Edgar Winter and others.
And now back to our box. CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards boxes contain 24 five-card packs. Our box yielded a complete set. We also got two autograph cards (Marv Wolfman and Neil Gaiman), and one sketch card (by Jin Han). You can see my sketch card, autographs, and some sample base cards in the photo gallery below. The insertion ratio for autograph and sketch cards is supposed to be one of each per box so we happy to get an extra — and pretty excited with these three excellent hits. The list of contributing sketch card artists is outstanding and you can see the complete list on ICv2’s site.
Boxes also contain stickers, which are not mentioned on the packaging or CZE’s website. We’re told four stickers should be found per box; our box contained five. The stickers include art on the front from the base cards and puzzle backs with copyright info on the front rather then the reverse. There are nine different stickers and the puzzle forms the Lady Liberty and Blind Justice image by Rob Liefeld and Tom Mason found on base card front 56 and 57.
All proceeds from the sale of Liberty Trading Cards benefit the CBLDF. Several cards encourage readers to join the organization, which you may want to do after you read the card backs. It’s nice to know that just by purchasing a box of Liberty Trading Cards, you are also supporting the cause.