It’s been 13 years since Firefly was cancelled on television, yet the show still remains a cult classic, and with good reason, it was an exciting new vision of space travel from Joss Whedon, and the cast, headed by Nathan Fillion, was perfect. Visit any comic shop or even a big book store such Barnes & Noble, and you’ll find games, figures and models all devoted to the show. Card collectors were lucky to have Inkwork’s two great sets based on the show and the follow-up movie Serenity, both of which included autographs from all major cast members.
After all these years, Firefly has returned to cardboard, with trading card giant Upper Deck’s offering, Firefly: The Verse. I was one of the many fans anxious to see more of this show, so I pre-ordered a box.
Firefly base card by Mick and Matt Glebe
It has been quite a while since I had bought an Upper Deck box, so I was unsure of what I would find. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place, but the only guarantee I could find was one auto per box. Furthermore, it seemed that not all the main cast were signing this time, and that most of the signers were guest stars with small roles. Considering this box was more expensive than the average box, I actually had a nightmare about getting my box with only one hit, and that being an unknown cast member.
Ed Webb of Scifi Cards posted NSU Card Talk – Firefly case breakdown on Card Talk, and I was somewhat relieved, it looked like each box had at least three hits or more. Finally, my box made the long journey from Arizona to Illinois and I had my chance to crack open some packs!
The box has 20 packs with seven cards per pack. You math whizzes out there have figured out that’s 140 cards–actually, packs with a relic card only have one base card so it works out to 135 cards. This is a 171 card set so you won’t be getting a full set, plus, many of those cards will be parallels.
As I opened the packs, my nightmare was coming true, I opened all 10 packs on one end and no hits. I opened the top two cards on the other side, and pulled a Leather parallel. There were only eight packs left…
I was pulling lots of green foil parallels, just like the regular gold foil base cards, but with green logo, some Chinese writing, and a large green symbol that has some meaning to the series, such as an apple, or toy dinosaur. The Leather parallels have a crinkled leather finish, Bronze foil trim, and a number out of 99. I was impressed to pull a 1/99 card.
Firefly Base and Green Parallel cards by Kevin Sharpe
Firefly Base and Leather Parallel cards by Bill Pulkovski
The base cards are all artwork, think of this as Firefly’s version of Star Wars Illustrated. There are 23 different artists, with differing styles. Each was given a theme or one episode to illustrate. Many of the artists are new to me, however there are some of note. Tony Santiago lives near the Chicago area, and I had seen his work before. He is a very talented artist and someone to watch. Chris Meeks also did a stellar job on the ships of Firefly. Also, look for work by Tim Shay, who did a killer set of portraits, and talented siblings Mick and Matt Glebe.
With eight packs left, I pulled the autograph. Fredric Lehne as Ranse Burgess. I was not too impressed, I couldn’t recall this character, but looking at the small photo on the card, he looked familiar. Turns out this guy is quite the actor, having been on the small screen since 1978, he’s been in Dallas, LOST, American Horror Story, CSI, Justified, Blue Bloods and Supernatural, among his hundreds of roles. I’m impressed and thrilled to pull his auto. There has been some complaints about the design of the autographs, the signature is sideways, and the card is meant to look like an I.D. card. It is rather creative, but I think I still like the old fashioned style of auto.
With seven packs left, I thought maybe I could find one more hit. The next pack held the Patch card, I got “Mal”. The patch cards have a character’s name or some kind of symbol, such as Wash’s toy dinosaurs.
Next I pulled the Artist Autograph Parallel. Each artist signed a number of these special parallels. Mine was Tim Shay, signed in gold ink. The hits just kept coming – a printing plate, the cyan plate for card 150, and finally a sketch card, by Chris Henderson. I like Chris’s work. My first pull of one of his cards was in Breygent Marketing’s Wizard of Oz and I now have several of his cards, both pack pulls and cards I’ve purchased from Chris. My card shows Mal writing in his log book, in Chinese of course.
My final count was 130 Base cards, including three Leather and 12 Green parallels. There were only three doubles, surprisingly all from the last 10 cards. I beat the odds with five hits, one Cast autograph, one Artist autograph, one Printing plate, one Sketch card, and one Patch card. My nightmare turned out to be a dream box.
Upper Deck did a fantastic job with these. If you are a fan of the show, it’s worth investing in these. The set is innovative and beautiful to look at. Thanks to Scifi Cards for getting the box out to me so quick. Good luck to everyone on these, hope you find something “shiny”!
Firefly Sketch Card by Chris Henderson
Fredric Lehne Autograph Card
Firefly Artist Signed Card by Tim Shay