Playstation Store Update for 11/25/2014

PlayStation Store Update

PS4 Games
PS3 Games
PS Vita Games
Demos
Pre-Orders
PS4 PS3 PS Vita
The Binding of Isaac Rebirth
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Also Free on Vita)
Frozen Synapse Prime
Frozen Synapse Prime
The-Hungry-Horde
The Hungry Horde
Steamworld Dig
SteamWorld Dig (Cross Buy)(PS4/PS Vita)
Luftrausers
Luftrausers (Cross Buy)
Escape Plan
Escape Plan (Cross Buy)
Sales
Platform Title Plus Price Regular Sale Original Price
PS4 Angry Birds: Star Wars $22.49 $24.99 $49.99
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! $5.39 $5.99 $9.99
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Abyssal Swiggins Skin $3.59 $3.99 $4.99
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Admiral Swiggins, PHD Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Ahrpl Skin $3.59 $3.99 $4.99
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Bionic Raelynn Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Bumble Gnaw Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Cap’n Vinnie & Seadog Spike Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Cheerleader Penny $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Cluck Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Coco Hawaii Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Coco McFly Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Costume Party Skin Bundle $10.79 $11.99 $14.99
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Costume Party 2 Skin Bundle $10.79 $11.99 $14.99
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Cynical Vinnie & Total Spike Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Demon Skolldir Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Desperado Penny $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Digital G $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Disco Voltar Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Double-O Yuri Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Expendable Clunk Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Genji The Grey Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Gnabot Skin $3.59 $3.99 $4.99
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Grandmaster Splash Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Hotrod Derpl Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Kage Genji Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Kosmonaut Yuri Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Mousquetaire Leon Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Officer Lonestar Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Party Boy McPain Skin $3.59 $3.99 $4.99
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Penny Fox $0.89 $0.99 $1.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Pimpy G Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Pirate Leon Skin $3.59 $3.99 $4.99
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Private Mels $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Ravishing Raelynn Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – S.U.S.I Announcer $2.69 $2.99 $3.99
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Shaolin Ayla Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Ted Mcpain $0.89 $0.99 $1.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Teddy Ayla Skin $1.79 $1.99 $2.49
PS4 Awesomenauts Assemble! – Titanium Ted Skin $3.59 $3.99 $4.99
PS4 EA Sports UFC $13.99 $19.99 $39.99
PS4 LEGO The Hobbit $19.59 $27.99 $39.99
PS4 Mercenary Kings $8.99 $11.99 $19.99
PS4 Rayman Legends $19.59 $27.99 $39.99
PS4 Resogun $5.99 $7.49 $14.99
PS4 Speakeasy $8.99 N/A $9.99
PS4 Surgeon Simulator: Anniversary Edition $6.39 $7.99 $12.99
PS4 Towerfall Ascension $7.34 $10.49 $14.99
PS4 Trine 2: Complete Story $7.99 $9.99 $19.99
PS4 Warframe: 75 Platinum N/A $3.49 $4.99
PS4 Warframe: 170 Platinum N/A $6.99 $9.99
PS4 Warframe 370 Platinum N/A $13.49 $19.99
PS4 Warframe: 1000 Platinum + Mod N/A $33.49 $49.99
PS4 Warframe: 2100 Platinum + Mods N/A $66.99 $99.99
PS4 Warframe: 3210 Platinum + Mods N/A $99.99 $149.99
PS3 3 on 3 NHL Arcade $3.49 $4.99 $9.99
PS3 Ace Combat Infinity Rookie Set N/A $0.99 $1.99
PS3 Ace Combat Infinity Unlimited Campaign Play Ticket N/A $14.99 $19.99
PS3 Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers N/A $9.99 $19.99
PS3 Angry Birds Star Wars $17.99 $19.99 $39.99
PS3 Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! $14.00 $27.99 $39.99
PS3 Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel $3.99 $4.99 $19.99
PS3 Battlefield 3 $3.99 $4.99 $19.99
PS3 Borderlands 2 $4.54 $6.49 $19.99
PS3 Bulletstorm $3.99 $4.99 $19.99
PS3 Chaos Code $5.99 $7.99 $11.99
PS3 Dark Souls II $19.59 $27.99 $39.99
PS3 Dust 514 AV ‘Nemesis’ Pack N/A $24.99 $49.99
PS3 Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse $8.99 $9.99 $59.99
PS3 Far Cry 3 $9.79 $13.99 $19.99
PS3 Fight Night Champion $3.99 $4.99 $19.99
PS3 LEGO The Hobbit $14.69 $20.99 $29.99
PS3 LittleBigPlanet $7.99 $9.99 $29.99
PS3 LittleBigPlanet 2 $7.99 $9.99 $19.99
PS3 Lord of the Rings: War in the North $5.00 $9.99 $19.99
PS3 Madden NFL Arcade $3.49 $4.99 $9.99
PS3 NBA Jam: On Fire Edition / NFL Blitz – Bundle $3.99 $4.99 $19.99
PS3 NCAA Football 14 $8.99 $14.99 $29.99
PS3 Rayman Legends $19.59 $27.99 $39.99
PS3 Rayman Origins $9.79 $13.99 $19.99
PS3 Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition $14.69 $20.99 $29.99
PS3 Rune Factory: Tides Of Destiny N/A $14.99 $29.99
PS3 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows $8.99 $9.99 $14.99
PS3 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 $9.79 $13.99 $19.99
PS3 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier $9.79 $13.99 $19.99
PS Vita Angry Birds Star Wars $17.99 $19.99 $39.99
PS Vita Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! $14.00 $27.99 $39.99
PS Vita Rayman Legends $13.22 $18.89 $26.99
PS Vita Rayman Origins $13.22 $18.89 $26.99
PS Vita Soul Sacrifice Delta $14.39 $17.99 $35.99
PS Vita LEGO: The Hobbit $9.79 $13.99 $19.99
PSP Adventures To Go! N/A $7.49 $14.99
PSP Carnage Heart EXA N/A $9.99 $19.99
PSP Harvest Moon: Boy + Girl N/A $7.49 $14.99
PSP Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley N/A $9.99 $19.99
PSP Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon N/A $7.49 $14.99
PSP Mystic Chronicles N/A $7.49 $14.99
PSP Reel Fishing: The Great Outdoors N/A $7.49 $14.99
Click here to see all this week’s deals
PS Plus Discounts Ending 12/2
3 on 3 NHL Arcade
Angry Birds Star Wars PS4
Angry Birds Star Wars PS4
Angry Birds: Star Wars PS Vita
Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! PS3
Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! PS Vita
Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel
Awesomenauts Assemble!
Awesomenauts Assemble! – Skins, Characters, Bundles, and More
Battlefield 3
Borderlands 2
Bulletstorm
Chaos Code
Dark Souls II
EA Sports UFC
Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse
Far Cry 3
Fight Night Champion
LEGO The Hobbit PS4
LEGO The Hobbit PS3
LEGO The Hobbit PS Vita
LittleBigPlanet
LittleBigPlanet 2
Lord of The Rings: War in the North
Madden NFL Arcade
Mercenary Kings
NBA Jam: On Fire Edition / NFL Blitz – Bundle
NCAA Football 14
Rayman Legends PS4
Rayman Legends PS3
Rayman Legends PS Vita
Rayman Origins PS3
Rayman Origins PS Vita
Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition
Resogun
Soul Sacrifice Delta
Surgeon Simulator: Anniversary Edition
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Towerfall Ascension
Trine 2: Complete Story
PlayStation Now
  • Heavy Fire: Afghanistan
  • Judge Dee – The City God Case
  • MouseCraft
  • Cuboid Ultimate Bundle
  • Sonic Generations

The post Playstation Store Update for 11/25/2014 appeared first on Respawn Reviews.

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Respawn Radio EP 035: Podcast

Description: Crash...

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Available Now

Today marks the newest addition to the Sierra™ library of games with the release of Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. This frenetic arcade shooter from developer Lucid Games is the latest installment in the Geometry Wars franchise. The new game advances the series to unexplored frontiers, bringing its retro-inspired action and energy to more platforms than ever before with an added twist to its classic gameplay – 3D grids!

“Geometry Wars is a part of our DNA,” said Craig Howard, Co-founder of Lucid Games. “Several of us here worked on prior games in the series, and we’ve had ideas kicking around in our heads for where it could go next. Partnering with Sierra to bring those visions to life has been an amazing experience.”

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is an exciting evolution of the fast-paced twin-stick shooter gameplay the Geometry Wars franchise helped define nearly a decade ago. While the game’s look should be immediately familiar to hardcore fans, it features new 3D action and gameplay modes, a dedicated single-player campaign with 50 levels and revamped online cooperative and competitive multiplayer. It also adds five unique companion drones, new power-ups, electrifying boss battles and community leaderboards. There are also Classic Arcade modes available for those still hungry for the original Geometry Wars experience.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is a digital-only title available today for $14.99 in North America for the PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems through the PlayStation®Network, as well as PC via Steam. It arrivesNovember 26 for Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft on the Xbox Games Store. The game is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB

The post Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Available Now appeared first on Respawn Reviews.

Follow the History of Daredevil Pt. 32

The History of Daredevil Pt. 31

In 1964, Marvel premiered one of its enduring and exciting super heroes, Daredevil. Whether in his secret identity as blind lawyer Matt Murdock or using his enhanced radar senses, DD stood out from the crowd as an unrelenting crusader for justice.

To celebrate 75 years of Marvel, 50 years of the Man Without Fear and the upcoming debut of “Marvel’s Daredevil” on Netflix in 2015, we look back on the hero of Hell’s Kitchen’s remarkable history!

Daredevil’s multiple identities proved more than he could bear in 1995 as his sanity slipped away under the onslaught of heinous villains and the weight of Matt Murdock’s past actions.

The year opened with the in-progress battle between DD in his new armored outfit, the wicked Bushwacker, the terrifying Devourer entity, and the strange cyborg known as Deathlok the Demolisher in DAREDEVIL #336. A bomber called Jenkins swung the blame for his attacks onto the tunnel people, led by a man known as Joshua, but when the Man Without Fear instituted a sweeping search for more of the villain’s bombs in DAREDEVIL #337, it took the help of the Demolisher to finally bring him to justice.

Meanwhile, the once-mighty Kingpin began to mount his return to prominence in the city. DAREDEVIL #338 revealed a “typical” day in the life of Jack Batlin, Matt Murdock’s new identity since his “death” the year before, while a disfigured man called Kruel licked off a campaign to find the man who’d caused his injuries: The Kingpin. In DAREDEVIL #339, Kruel assaulted reporter Ben Urich, one of several witnesses to his past beating at the hands of the Kingpin, and by doing so regained a portion of his memories of the original incident.

Feeling as if he’d found the right path to restore his memories, Kruel next attacked Matt’s old friend Glorianna O’Breen, another witness like Urich, in DAREDEVIL #340, and ruthlessly killed her. This put DD on Kruel’s tail, though our hero believed he himself stood as the ultimate target of the attacks.

Finding more witnesses, Kruel neared full illumination of the “fat man” who disfigured him. Daredevil confronted Kingpin about the mystery in DAREDEVIL #341, while elsewhere, former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and cyborg John Garrett looked for work. Kingpin filled our hero in on Kruel’s particulars in DAREDEVIL #342, while the killer himself went after Foggy Nelson, yet another witness. With the Kingpin’s aid, DD stopped Kruel’s progress, though the man died in the battle. Before he left the scene, the “new” Daredevil introduced himself to Foggy.

In DAREDEVIL #343, DD’s sanity shredded even further, producing a mock “trial” in our hero’s mind, wherein all of his identities stood up and spoke as to their reality. On the edge of madness in DAREDEVIL #344, Matt wound up in the middle of a scuffle between a hell-bent Punisher and Nick Fury. When the dust cleared, he donned his original yellow costume and proclaimed the real Daredevil “back.”

With his sanity slipping away by the minute, Matt heard of someone going around in his armored costume in DAREDEVIL #345, and the advent of a woman-hating criminal known as Sir. When the troubled hero went to his own grave wearing his red costume, he narrowly avoided a run-in with Karen Page.

Sir wanted to duke it out with the Man Without Fear in DAREDEVIL #346 to absorb his “male power,” and managed to beat him when that fight finally occurred. Sir went on to slaughter a precinct of cops in DAREDEVIL #347 wearing DD’s red outfit, but when Matt attacked and ultimately triumphed over the bruiser, Sir turned out to be a female transformed into a male by chemicals.

Almost completely submerged in his identity crisis, Matt allowed himself to be led away to help by Karen and Foggy, with his dark past overwhelming him at last…

Read more DAREDEVIL (1964) on Marvel Unlimited

Injustice: Year Three #9

The Good

Superman finally comes face to face with John Constantine. Does Constantine have some elaborate plan up his sleeve? I mean, does he literally pull a piece of kryptonite from his sleeve? Is there anyone else helping him? Instead of moving forward with an epic and potentially action-heavy development, writer Tom Taylor uses this ninth chapter to focus purely on character before dropping quite a twist.

There's three characters on display here: Superman, Constantine, and Billy Batson. With Superman, Taylor continues to show us what a twisted character he has become and why that Yellow Power Ring selected him. Gone is the Man of Steel. He packed his bags and left quite some time ago. Now, the Man of Fear has replaced him. This Kryptonian doesn't shy away from torture and doesn't think twice about having Sinestro fighting for his cause. Just about everything that makes Superman such a respectable character is long gone and that's crystal clear in this chapter. Even though he lets his rage step forward, we still see him hold that back, for just a brief moment, to manipulate one of his biggest admirers in order to keep the character by his side. Is the manipulation intentional? It really does't seem like it; it's as if Superman isn't even aware of just how much he's changed and can go from torture to thanking an ally in just a moment or two. Love or hate how much the dude has changed, it continues to be pretty an interesting development under Taylor's writing.

As for Constantine, Taylor uses the character to add a little humor to the issue. They aren't remarks that'll make you laugh, but they're great jabs at Superman and, considering what Constantine has experienced, they're well-earned. It's pretty much Constantine doing his best to troll Clark ("You mad, Superbro?") and that gets the powerful character to let his real personality shine through. The filter is off and Constantine is using every breath he has to remind Superman just how much of a villain he's become. You can tell everything in Superman wants to kill Constantine and it's taking so much restraint not to follow through with those violent desires. The art team really did a good job with a number of these expressions.

It's so heartbreaking the way Taylor's making Billy stand by Superman's side, even when he saw the Man of Steel try to interrogate John Constantine with heat vision. If you played the video game, you know what the future has in store for Billy Batson, so to watch him cast aside his doubts like that and tell himself Superman's in the right because, well, he's Superman is really empathetic. It's almost like how some of us would act if we were in that world. Right now we have the advantage of knowing where this path takes Kal-El, but what if we existed in that world and really looked up to Superman? Sure, some would see some of the terrible things he's done and want to oppose him (good luck with that), but I imagine many of us would hold onto hope and desperately try to believe that Superman is still doing this because he's legitimately trying to make the world a better place. Deadman was the voice of reason -- almost as if one of us jumped into the universe and tried to point out just how far Superman has fallen, hoping to save Billy from his destiny -- and, even though his dialogue doesn't show it, you can tell BIlly's really feeling conflicted on the inside. Poor, poor Shazam.

Visually, this is another solid chapter by Bruno Redondo (layouts), Juan Albarran (finishes, inks) and Rex Lokus (colors). Unlike the previous chapters, there aren't any really immersive settings (although the attention to the night sky is appreciated) and the real focus is instead on making sure these characters' faces are as expressive as possible, something the art team does quite well. I continue to really enjoy Lokus' coloring as well. The pencils and inks make these characters lively enough, but the variety of costumes and surreal abilities really pack an extra punch with the consistently good coloring. And the final panel? They do a killer job hitting us with that twist.

The Bad

If we're going to give something 5-stars, it really should blow us away and leaves us wanting to read it all over again in the near future. This is well-written chapter that focuses on the dynamic between Superman and Billy and the twist will have you excited to find out what happens next, but all in all, it isn't an issue of INJUSTICE that's likely to leave as lasting impression. It's important for the next chapter and has a nice focus on character, but when it comes to the best Injustice has to offer, it just wouldn't feel right giving this the same perfect rating as some of the really jaw-dropping and compelling issues.

Minor criticisms: Is it just me or is it a little odd that "Shazam" can have that conversation with Constantine and Superman wouldn't hear it? Also, there's one panel where it looks like Superman's symbol isn't properly attached to his costume, almost like the bottom part isn't connected to his body.

The Verdict

INJUSTICE: YEAR THREE #9 does a fine job reminding us of just how far Superman fallen and it's a nice contrast to the brief focus Taylor places on Billy Batson's sense of hope and optimism. It's a character-driven ride that gives us just the right dose of Constantine without allowing him to overshadow the other characters like he has in previous chapters. It's pretty much focused on the drastically different personalities and looks consistently solid, but then it drops a very neat twist; it's something that's more than likely enough to make readers stick around for the next chapter. I'm sure some of you will think a majority of this chapter is filler and I wouldn't argue with that point, but it's still handled well and absolutely kept me entertained.

Marvel 75: Trading Cards of the 90’s

Trading Cards of the 90's

Ask just many creators or fans who grew up in the 90’s where they found out about Marvel characters for the first time and you’ll find one recurring answer: trading cards.

Before the days when you could look anyone up on the Internet, legions of fans got their information from the various card sets produced in the 90’s. Each came with unique, one-of-a-kind artwork on the front and a variety of offerings on the back from stats and biographies to full comic stories and even additional artwork.

It all started in 1990 with the launch of the Marvel Universe trading cards from a company called Impel that would rebrand itself as SkyBox in 1992. That same year, Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc. purchased Fleer which then bought out SkyBox in 1995. By 1999, Marvel sold the Fleer-Skybox brand off, but in that time a variety of comic-based trading cards found their way into fans’ hands.

The sets branched out to focus on subsections of the Marvel Universe, large events, and even artist-centric collections done by the likes of Andy and Adam Kubert. To celebrate the sets that influenced a whole generation, Marvel.com talked with current Marvel President & Publisher - Print, TV & Digital Dan Buckley, and SVP, Marketing, Marvel Studios & Television Michael Pasciullo who both worked on the sets back then as Business Unit Director and Assistant Marketing Manager respectively.

So how did they get into the game? Buckley moved over to the card company after his first stint at Marvel and worked with future Marvel Executive Vice President Bill Jemas.

“[Jemas] was running all the trading card business at Fleer at that time,” Buckley says. “Marvel had acquired Fleer. The Marvel trading card license was originally with Skybox. When the Skybox license ran out, Fleer started making Marvel trading cards. Bill Jemas was the guy who did that. Business was booming. He was going to be in charge of more things and he asked me if I wanted to take over the trading card business for Fleer for Marvel.”

For his part, Pasciullo, then a recent college graduate with a marketing degree, responded to a job ad without even knowing what it was for.

“One Sunday, I opened up the ‘Philadelphia Inquirer’ and there was a job posting that only said they were looking for someone with a college degree and a knowledge of Marvel Comics,” he recalls. “So I sent in my resume and ended up getting a call for an interview with Fleer. At that time, Bill Jemas was in charge of Fleer so my interview was with him in his office. I’ll never forget that at the end of the interview he pointed at the Marvel Universe poster by Ed Hannigan that he had on his wall and said that he was going to point to 10 characters and that I needed to identify which characters they were. Fortunately, I went 10 for 10.”

Both Buckley and Pasciullo had a hand in developing card sets, as well as who would draw them and what would show up on the back.

“I was involved in product development and marketing,” Pasciullo says. “From a product development standpoint, I was involved with developing what the trading card sets would be, the different themes/sections within the sets, the artists that would be used, the design of the cards and the writing and proofreading of the cards. From a marketing standpoint, it was the advertising and messaging to retailers as well as to consumers which included sales materials, packaging, giveaways, and events.”

“I love planning trading card sets because you just do maybe five or six a year and you lay them out over a year,” Buckley says. “It was a group of maybe five, six, seven of us. We sit in a room and talk about who we think are the artists that we’d want to get to do certain work and then our production guy Jim Boyle would say, ‘I think I could do this with foil. I could do this hole.’ We’d talk about the lead times associated with those things. And you could nail down the plans for trading card sets over a one to two week period for a year and it took a lot longer to get them together with the artist.”

“It almost became a game to see how deep into the well you could go,” Pasciullo explains. “But the best part was that this was about two years before the Internet hit, so we were doing this all from our own personal reading experiences. You couldn’t simply Google ‘Spider-Man Villains.’ Instead it was about remembering how cool it was when Spot showed up for the first time in an issue of PETER PARKER, THE SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN.”

The sets themselves would revolve around the most popular comics, series and events of the day. At the time, the X-Men and Spider-Man not only sold well in shops, but also starred in animated series and action figure lines, so they were clear choices. Meanwhile, the Marvel Masterpiece sets offered more painterly interpretations of the characters.

“Obviously in that day and age you knew you were going to do a Spider-Man trading card set and you’d do an X-Men one,” Buckley notes. “You’d probably do some sort of Marvel Universe one and then you might think about some hot artists or fine artists that you would probably plug into Masterpiece because it was a viable trading card brand or franchise or whatever you want to call it. So we look at those things and say, ‘Well, Spider-Man. What do you think the hook is?’ And it may have been a timeline or it might have been a comic book story on the backs. You come up with a couple of different editorial technological hooks and then you start looking at stuff that’s in nines because that’s how the trading card binders lined up.”

“The fun came in deciding which characters would then be featured in those sets,” Pasciullo says. “For the Marvel Universe sets, it was fairly straightforward because there were so many popular characters in the Marvel Universe that you could easily fill up a 150 card set without breaking a sweat. It was when we worked on the Spider-Man and X-Men sets that we really got to channel our inner fanboy. Early on, there was a small group of us including Steve Domzalski, Ben Plavin, Ron Perazza, and eventually Dan Buckley that would sit around and come up with any characters from those families that we could remember from all the comic books that we had read throughout our lives.”

Once the group figured out which characters would go in which sets, they hired artists to draw those classic pin-ups.

“The artists loved working on the trading card series for two very simple reasons: one, it was easier and faster to draw a trading card than a comic book and, two, they were paid very, very, very well,” Pasciullo says. “Marvel trading cards during the mid-to-late 90’s was a very successful and profitable business so we could afford to get the best artists and pay them well. I know one artist that bought a house from just the work he did on trading cards. As far as how they were chosen, we had an amazing art director named Jennifer Caudill who was always looking both within the comic book industry as well as outside of it for great artists. Some of the coolest pieces we made were done by artists that had never drawn or painted a comic book. Some of the artists that, if I remember correctly, had not worked in comics that did some amazing work for us were Dave DeVries, Peter Bollinger, Mark Fredrickson and Marc Sasso.”

“You would probably look at artists and look at groups of what you could put together and so you try to line up artists to do things along that line,” Buckley continues. “Masterpieces you would definitely look for artists. There were four guys and that was the artistic approach. You kind of went to those guys and said, ‘How much work can you do in a certain timeline?’ and you negotiate a rate. If they were interested finances usually weren’t an issue. They were paid pretty well.”

With the front of the cards figured out, the next step was deciding what exactly would go on the back.

“That process was part Marvel, part personal knowledge and part research,” Pasciullo says. “And by ‘research,’ that meant either going into our own personal comic book collections to find information or going to the comic book store down the street from the office to see if they had the issues that we would need; try coming up with pertinent and factual information about Stegron without the aid of a Wiki.” 

Considering the sheer number of offerings, the focus of the card backs shifted from passing along specific information to figuring out new ways to use that side of the card as a way to draw in collectors.

“We were doing a lot of cards so it got harder to find what was going to be cool, new information you could give to somebody every year,” Buckley admits. “That’s why you saw a lot of the card backs turn into artist collections too. I think the last Spider-Man set that I was involved in doing we did two [things] that were pretty unique. One, I think that was the first trading card set where we did original art cards. We did like little mini blue boards and guys drew stuff. That’s pretty prevalent now.

“I think the core collection [for that set] had a John Romita piece where if you put them all together it would make one big John Romita poster. Then we had a John Romita Jr. piece that was a two box chase and that was post-wedding. It had a wedding picture in it and that was pretty neat. We did a Wolverine trading card set and it was actually an in continuity comic book.”

Pasciullo recalls a few instances when trying to keep the cards fresh and interesting might have gone a little too far:

“I remember for the ’94 Fleer Ultra X-Men set, we created a subset called Spring Break that was actually the X-Men in bathing suits hanging at the beach. There was a card where Wolverine was literally using his claws to cook hot dogs. And for the ’95 Fleer Ultra Spider-Man set, we did a subset called Carnage U.S.A. that was basically depictions of Carnage destroying national landmarks on the front and the back of the cards were postcards detailing the destruction that he sent back to various people from the Spider-Man family of characters. We didn’t clear either of those sets with Marvel and when they saw them in for the first time, they were not too happy with us.

But I think we may have finally and completely crossed the line when we did the subset called Asylum in the Spider-Man Premium ’96 card set. The premise was that the villains were in an Asylum and the back of the cards were written in their crazed voices. For the Venom card, I decided to have Venom write his own lyrics to the classic Spider-Man song. After going method by sitting in a dark office by myself for half a day, I came up with ‘Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Squashed like only a Spider can, Eat his brains, drink his blood, Chew him up just like chum, Look out, I’ll eat a Spider-Man!’ Somehow, most of that actually made it to the back of the card.”

Buckley fondly looks back on the line of cards based on the Marvel Vs. DC Comics crossover and the ensuing Amalgam mash-up comics.

“That [was] nutty to do,” he remembers. “I remember sitting in the meeting and we had to work on a very expedited timeline. That’s why if you ever look at the trading cards the checklist is relatively short. Usually your core artwork is 100 cards and then you have some chase. That was 72, I think, the core set. The main reason is because you only could hire the artists who were drawing the books because they were the only people who knew what the characters looked like.

"If anyone has taken the time to read those card backs that is probably the best card back set we ever did because that’s where we actually did mash-ups of continuity as if that comic book imprint and universe existed. So we worked with the editorial groups at Marvel and DC. For example, one of the card backs would have had Infinite Secret Wars. So that was actually a very fun editorial one to do. We did that card set in half the time we did any other card set.”

Looking back, Buckley and Pasciullo each point out additional reasons why the comic book cards did so well in the 90’s, one involving artwork quality, the other Major League Baseball.

“There was a window there where the trading cards offered something that you couldn’t get elsewhere because the economics and the production processes were different,” Buckley says. “And the production technologies for comics had not changed yet when this was happening. So [for] the trading cards, a lot of guys were able to do a lot of painted work, a lot of computer-colored work, a lot of high end painted and computer-colored stuff that wasn’t part of what you saw in comics yet. So the trading cards had a distinctly different artistic presentation than what you saw in the books.”

“One other important thing to remember is that in the summer of 1994, there was a MLB players strike that ended the season in August which not only hampered the ability to do baseball cards but it also drove away many baseball fans and card collectors,” Pasciullo adds. “Even when the strike was over, many of them were so upset with the league and the players that they did not come back to the sport or the hobby.”

The sports collecting world’s loss proved the comic industry’s gain as these card sets not only brought in fans, but also new and interesting variant cover options.

“Jim Boyle, who is in charge of printing for Marvel Comics now, was in charge of Fleer’s printing and production back then and he was always ahead of the curve with technologies and printing capabilities,” Pasciullo says. “He was always pushing the envelope to make sure we were doing the next cool thing. I think Marvel ended up taking some of his ideas and using them for covers as well. And from a scarcity or chase perspective, I think the comic book industry definitely took notice and saw how lucrative it could be. By no means did we invent it—I’m not taking the responsibility/blame for that—but I think we helped influence and perpetuate the variant trend.”

Pasciullo and Buckley both look back proudly on their time making Marvel cards not only for the personal challenges and experience, but also the products they created and the influence they had on the industry.

“I never really thought about it from that context but my time at Fleer is something that I am very proud of and grateful for,” Pasciullo reflects. “I’ll be honest, when I started at Fleer, I was a few months out of college and still going to the comic book store every Friday to get my comic books—yes, back in the 90’s comic books actually came out on Fridays. I knew that I would never work at Marvel but this was my chance to be a part of and create something new for Marvel, to be part of, albeit a small part, of the Marvel tradition. If the stuff that we worked on back then has influenced people that much, then that just makes the entire experience that much cooler.”

“Going back and looking, it was just interesting to see the range of people you could get to do the work,” Buckley concludes. “Editorially, I was proud of what we did.”

For more on the 75th anniversary of Marvel, visit marvel.com/75

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