Monday, May 3, 2010

2010 National Chicle

I've been waiting to review this set for awhile now. Bearing in mind that the previews for this card set have been some of the most polarizing in recent memory, I wanted a good majority of the White Sox set in my hand before I gave my final judgment.

I'm happy to say that the White Sox set, sans short prints and variations, are in my hand. Thanks to a mighty nice eBay seller and pure luck, 14 of the 15 cards.

The trend of the last few years is retro. This set is no exception. The difference maker is that Topps commissioned actual living and breathing artists to paint and design works of art for this set. The extra care is immediately apparent when holding one in your hand.

Some interpretations of players are sketchy. Some are unadulterated pure bliss. With artwork, the result is truly in the eye of the beholder. While the famed "Chipper Ruth" may look like a failed lab experiment, is was based on an actual photograph of Babe Ruth. It's just puzzling to see that image in an Atlanta jersey, since the only team in Atlanta during Ruth's playing days were the Crackers. The Braves were still in Boston.

Let's run down the fifteen White Sox cards in the set.

61 - Gordon Beckham
A smiling, sunglasses wearing Bacon, lit up like an angelic figure, washed in an ocean of blue. This was the first positive White Sox image I saw during the previews. It loses none of its luster in person.

67 - Mark Buehrle
Flailing among various shades of green stripes, Buehrle looks a little drunk. It's still a nice artist's rendition of his easygoing delivery style. Kudos for the glove tuck.

80 - Jermaine Dye
The background looks to be made of turmeric, which is a pleasant memory of Indian food. Dye looks generic enough to be included in an Upper Deck release. It's still recognizable as Jermaine though.

99 - Alexei Ramirez
Run Alexei! A gigantic atomic cloud is rushing towards you or you stole Ozzie Guillen's beans from lunch. Either way, it's bad news. That's a shame, since the painting of Alexei is really good, except for the spore colony mutating behind him.

111 - Paul Konerko
A classic Goudey-like background with Paul trotting around the bases. Simple, elegant.

161 - Juan Pierre
Another Goudey-like stadium background. Juan has a goofy smile, is running like an extra in Chariots of Fire, and looks too small for the uniform. These would all be negatives, until you realize that Pierre does have a goofy smile while running like an extra from a movie about running and wears a uniform that could fit two of him. Kudos!

168 - Jake Peavy
The artist manages to capture the intensity of a Peavy pitch. The eggplant and mauve color scheme strangely works.

172 - Gavin Floyd
The artist manages to make Gavin look like a younger brother of Roger Clemens. The stoplight background color scheme is interesting, to say the least.

179 - Carlos Quentin
I'll admit that green is my favorite color and the background is almost a light saber glowing shade of green, which to my eye is awesome. Why muck up that awesomeness with Carlos Quentin looking like a Lee Marvin doppelganger from "The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance"?

195 - Alex Rios
I love the effect of colored pencil on portraits. Just not here. It may be watercolor, but my money is on colored pencil. A wash of turpentine would have done wonders for the look of this. Alex looks like he's fading into the background.

205 - John Danks
The night and day aspect of the artwork works extremely well here. It's like Danks is emerging from the darkness and is about to shine in the limelight.

208 - Luis Aparicio
A really fantastic portrait of Aparicio. There's nothing going on in the background so the focus is brought to the subject. The harshness of the red background draws Luis out more and makes him pop. It works very well with the mid-tones used in the face.

256 - Tyler Flowers
The same effect is used on Tyler with the red background. Only the red is only used on the upper portion. A grass green is used on the majority of the body background. It doesn't make the uniform pop as much, but the softer color makes a warm feeling come over the viewer.

258 - Gordon Beckham
The second Bacon in the set is both a win and a fail. The win comes from the artist's use of softness and variations on sepia in the artwork. The fail comes from an oversimplification of the subject. The face reminds me of the worst strip panels from the late teens and early twenties. The uniform style screams tobacco cards from a decade prior to the strip panels. The technique is amazing, but not for a recognizable player.

312 - Tyler Flowers
This is the most polarizing card in the White Sox set. Tyler's second card of the set resembles the 1990 Topps Frank Thomas error with no name on the front. Tyler is put into Frank's body and it does not work on many levels. The original card is so iconic. This feels like a forced cube in a round hole. It might have worked better is the original card was actually a catcher.

Overall, the cards look fantastic. Even the bad paintings are better than most of what's out now.

1 comment:

Matt F. said...

I haven't see the Aparicio yet but the phrase "makes him pop" means it's going to be one of the must-own from this set.

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