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Old 01-05-2013, 10:40 AM   #26 (permalink)
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I have worked for Upper Deck as a freelance writer for 8 years.

The people who run the entertainment division are wonderful people who are at the mercy of horrible bosses.

In the end, even after 20 good friends were fired, the Vs. System and Mavel Superstars games were cancelled, and I never got paid for six months of work (and never will), Upper Deck still makes some of the best cards in the world.

Morally, the bosses at Upper Deck are despicable human beings. But the cards are still great.
U.D. does not make "some of the best cards in the world" though. If we're talking about sketch cards, the artists do. Every single sports dealer I know wishes they'd just go away and "die already".

Between counterfeiting Yugioh cards, backdooring huge Hockey cards, and treating every store owner with apathy, it's a wonder UD is still around.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:17 PM   #27 (permalink)
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U.D. does not make "some of the best cards in the world" though. If we're talking about sketch cards, the artists do. Every single sports dealer I know wishes they'd just go away and "die already".

Between counterfeiting Yugioh cards, backdooring huge Hockey cards, and treating every store owner with apathy, it's a wonder UD is still around.
As a collector, I disagree strongly.

Upper Deck makes great cards, and their Marvel Masterpieces series really got some amazing artists into the sketch card hobby that would have never been available. And some of those artists will never be available again.

Arthur Adams and Skottie Young did sketch cards for Upper Deck, and now they are superstars that don't have the time.

Of course that was in the glory days, when Mark Irwin was the Art Director. Then the terrible idiots who run the company ruined it.

Now, with a skeleton staff, Upper Deck Entertainment is alive and making great stuff. Marvel Beginnings is a wonderful series with AWESOME cards.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:29 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I think Cujo's point is that UD doesn't make great sketch cards, the artists do. You cited only their ability to get great artists to create sketches for them, thus creating the great cards. However, some of those great artists are still waiting to be paid.

Is it really a good thing that UD gets these artists to agree to create sketch cards for the first time in their career, only to treat them poorly and put them off the genre completely?

When you look at their larger sports products, you'll find very few examples of even 'good' card design. Styles are recycled across sets, and overall quality is lacking. This, along with a few other reasons, is why they have lost their sports licenses recently.




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As a collector, I disagree strongly.

Upper Deck makes great cards, and their Marvel Masterpieces series really got some amazing artists into the sketch card hobby that would have never been available. And some of those artists will never be available again.

Arthur Adams and Skottie Young did sketch cards for Upper Deck, and now they are superstars that don't have the time.

Of course that was in the glory days, when Mark Irwin was the Art Director. Then the terrible idiots who run the company ruined it.

Now, with a skeleton staff, Upper Deck Entertainment is alive and making great stuff. Marvel Beginnings is a wonderful series with AWESOME cards.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:32 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Morally, the bosses at Upper Deck are despicable human beings. But the cards are still great.
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As a collector, I disagree strongly.

Upper Deck makes great cards...
Even if they're counterfeit?

Even if they contain fake memorabilia?

Even if they contain fake cut autos?

Growing up, I knew several "pretty girls" that I KNEW better than to marry.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:34 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I think Cujo's point is that UD doesn't make great sketch cards, the artists do. You cited only their ability to get great artists to create sketches for them, thus creating the great cards. However, some of those great artists are still waiting to be paid.

Is it really a good thing that UD gets these artists to agree to create sketch cards for the first time in their career, only to treat them poorly and put them off the genre completely?

When you look at their larger sports products, you'll find very few examples of even 'good' card design. Styles are recycled across sets, and overall quality is lacking. This, along with a few other reasons, is why they have lost their sports licenses recently.
Upper Deck is run by a horrible human being. I know that. I also know that the artists themselves are responsible for great sketches. (And some are responsible for piss poor sketches, but that is another matter.)

I am saying that I love Upper Deck cards, and that those same sketch artists would have never had the opportunity to be official Marvel artists without Upper Deck. As a collector, I appreciate good official cards. Upper Deck delivers great official cards in my opinion.

The moral issue is a completely different matter. When my wife did sketch cards for the Kree Skrull set, she was paid EIGHTEEN MONTHS LATE and only after 20 emails demanding the payment.

But.

I still love Upper Deck cards, even though I hate the people at the top of the company.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:36 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Even if they're counterfeit?

Even if they contain fake memorabilia?

Even if they contain fake cut autos?

Growing up, I knew several "pretty girls" that I KNEW better than to marry.
I am not marrying anything. I am collecting cards. I know that there are plenty of bogus elements to Upper Deck cards, but there are many more great cards to collect.

In my humble opinion.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:46 PM   #32 (permalink)
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I can appreciate that you love UD cards, however, I think you love the properties more than UD's work itself. If another company were able to produce some of the licenses that UD had, would you not love them just as much if they obtained similar artists for the release?

It's basically like going to an art gallery and proclaiming your love for the canvas maker.

When you look at the company as a whole, where 99% of their product is non sketch related, you start to see that it's very hard to 'love' UD cards.

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Upper Deck is run by a horrible human being. I know that. I also know that the artists themselves are responsible for great sketches. (And some are responsible for piss poor sketches, but that is another matter.)

I am saying that I love Upper Deck cards, and that those same sketch artists would have never had the opportunity to be official Marvel artists without Upper Deck. As a collector, I appreciate good official cards. Upper Deck delivers great official cards in my opinion.

The moral issue is a completely different matter. When my wife did sketch cards for the Kree Skrull set, she was paid EIGHTEEN MONTHS LATE and only after 20 emails demanding the payment.

But.

I still love Upper Deck cards, even though I hate the people at the top of the company.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:47 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Opening post: I'm asking because as a collector, I'm not interested in supporting a company that is not taking care of its obligations to the people creating the work they are making good money from.

I think that Rian's point is that he thinks Upper Deck does a good job putting together high quality collectable sets. That is his opinion, no need to attack him.

If you are in the non-sports card hobby to just collect SKETCH CARDS then Upper Deck is not the company for you as a collector. Competitive companies offer much better odds of pulling sketch cards (1 per box) or a premier sketch card product (5finity, Axebone, Perna Studios, etc) is clearly the way to go.

Rewarding the artists by commissioning their AP cards is one way to show your support for the artists and not the company. An even better way is to commission PSCs. A lot of sketch card collectors aren't interested in PSCs and will only purchase licensed cards. Its usually less expensive to purchase a licensed card from a dealer than it is to commission an AP - so this is what most collectors do. These actions benefit the companies and the dealers, but not the artists. I imagine that being a sketch card artist is a very difficult way to make a living.

I think Upper Deck has done a very nice job with the insert sets for the Marvel movies trading card sets and I have enjoyed collecting them. They stepped it up a notch with Avengers Assemble and that set was a huge hit. I'm looking forward to the Iron Man 3 release in April. I also think the Marvel Beginnings sets are a great collection.

I do not like the way they treat their artists. As long as new artists are willing to sign on and do cards, its not going to change. Guys like justice41 have taken a stand, but I doubt it has had much of an impact. Lucky for him, he is a highly talented artist and has plenty of options without having to take crap from Upper Deck.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:54 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Well said.

I understand all the opinions, and I actually had a whole bunch of friends who had their lives torn apart by the company when they shut down the gaming division. Luckily, they all landed on their feet. Most of them went on to start Cryptozoic, and we all lived happily ever after!
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:37 PM   #35 (permalink)
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If you are in the non-sports card hobby to just collect SKETCH CARDS then Upper Deck is not the company for you as a collector. Competitive companies offer much better odds of pulling sketch cards (1 per box) or a premier sketch card product (5finity, Axebone, Perna Studios, etc) is clearly the way to go.
That is fine if you like to collect sketch cards just for the art...hell, I have been a big buyer of 5finity and Sadlittles in the past and enjoy their products as well. The vast majority of buyers of liscensed sketch cards are buying the art that they like mostly due to the property. Upper Deck (as much of a scumbag as "Slick Dick" certainly is) has been able to capture MANY more working comic book artists to to sketch cards than the "competition" has combined. While the sketch card artists (many of which, I would count as friends) are capable of doing some jaw droping art, many collectors would trade them in a heartbeat for even a rough sketch of their favorite Marvel charachter by the likes of Adam Hughes, Mark Brooks, Joe Jusko, Art Adams, Stan Lee, Scotty Young, Joyce Chin, Randy Green, Jim Cheung etc. and UD has been drastically better in this regard.


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I imagine that being a sketch card artist is a very difficult way to make a living.
Trust me, NOBODY is making a living as a sketch card artist, although I do know of some full time artists who do sketch cards (aside from the comic folks thich are a given).


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I think Upper Deck has done a very nice job with the insert sets for the Marvel movies trading card sets and I have enjoyed collecting them. They stepped it up a notch with Avengers Assemble and that set was a huge hit. I'm looking forward to the Iron Man 3 release in April. I also think the Marvel Beginnings sets are a great collection.
Well said, while they have had some flops, Avengers Assemble and the Beginnings sets were all extremely well done and I will likely buy IM3 as well. As a "rip & flip" dealer, it is very refreshing to have base and chase cards (outside of the "hits") that people will actually spend money on because the sets take more than a box or two. I only wish that Mark Irwin would have been kept on as AD to pull in even more "industry" talent, but McWilliams couldn't afford to keep all those folks on with having to pay all of those lawsuit damages from being a cheating pile of feces.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:49 PM   #36 (permalink)
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That is fine if you like to collect sketch cards just for the art...hell, I have been a big buyer of 5finity and Sadlittles in the past and enjoy their products as well. The vast majority of buyers of liscensed sketch cards are buying the art that they like mostly due to the property. Upper Deck (as much of a scumbag as "Slick Dick" certainly is) has been able to capture MANY more working comic book artists to to sketch cards than the "competition" has combined. While the sketch card artists (many of which, I would count as friends) are capable of doing some jaw droping art, many collectors would trade them in a heartbeat for even a rough sketch of their favorite Marvel charachter by the likes of Adam Hughes, Mark Brooks, Joe Jusko, Art Adams, Stan Lee, Scotty Young, Joyce Chin, Randy Green, Jim Cheung etc. and UD has been drastically better in this regard.
I fully agree. All of my favorite Marvel sketch cards have come out of Upper Deck boxes. Merely pointing out that Upper Deck isn't about sketch cards - they offer large interesting sets to collect and a variety of chase cards. If you aren't interested in those things, UD isn't the company for you. Rittenhouse, on the other hand, puts out a fairly monotonous product but there is a Marvel Comic sketch in every box.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:51 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Ahh but RA only does 2 maybe 3 sets a year with sketch cards unlike every other company
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:59 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Ahh but RA only does 2 maybe 3 sets a year with sketch cards unlike every other company
Yes, but 2-3 Marvel sets a year that are a minimum of 1 sketch a box (figure about 9,000 to 10,000 sketches per release) has majorly flooded the marketplace.

The other problem with RA's sets is that their distribution policy is so incredibly slanted towards the "big 3" bulk buyers who will buy 50-100 cases and then basically control the market. This is pretty much the case with all of their products, not just the sketch related ones.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:59 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Money talks bro. The fact that you can't even find RA product outside of dealers or select comic shops is a minus too. UD at least has product out in regular stores like Walmart and Target.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:29 PM   #40 (permalink)
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UD at least has product out in regular stores like Walmart and Target.
And with the Avengers Assemble they split and did a retail exclusive subset (stickers) verses the hobby subsets (concept, comic covers, evolve) whereas for the previous releases (IM2, CA, Thor) the retail packs contained the same subsets at worse odds. Unfortunately (and I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm not) sketches have always been a hobby exclusive, although relics and autos are available in the retail packs with terrible odds.

The comic book shop by me has RA and UD product that they can't seem to sell - not unexpected at $4 a pack when I can buy a sealed box online for $60
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:01 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Money talks bro.
Yes, but as a small dealer, there is no way that I am going to spend the $10k minimum just to be theoretically competative. Not to say that I haven't bought up 10% of a product before (when I was presented with incentives that I just could not say no to), but the things that go on behind the scenes can be quite discouraging to the collector and small dealers.

As a story goes that I heard, one of the "big 3" bought some cases of a CZ product and they contacted the company to "make things right" since they were unable to finish a master set that they had pre-sold to a customer. Instead of puckering up to kiss the dealer's a$$, they politely informed the dealer that it was not their job to finish off his master set. As the dealer continued to protest, CZ told them that their buisness was no longer desired and they are no longer a direct account. Quite a different stance than when the same dealer contacts a certain other company to complain that they didn't get their "fair share" of XXXX super high demand artist and they get taken care of.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:41 PM   #42 (permalink)
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I don't know how anyone say UD doesn't put out good Marvel product. I think their product is far superior and so is the value. They don't limit their product to just sketch cards, which really helps with saturation, and they include great inserts and large base sets that actually have some value!
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:15 PM   #43 (permalink)
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I don't know how anyone say UD doesn't put out good Marvel product. I think their product is far superior and so is the value. They don't limit their product to just sketch cards, which really helps with saturation, and they include great inserts and large base sets that actually have some value!
Very well said. And very true.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:23 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Yes, but as a small dealer, there is no way that I am going to spend the $10k minimum just to be theoretically competative. Not to say that I haven't bought up 10% of a product before (when I was presented with incentives that I just could not say no to), but the things that go on behind the scenes can be quite discouraging to the collector and small dealers.

As a story goes that I heard, one of the "big 3" bought some cases of a CZ product and they contacted the company to "make things right" since they were unable to finish a master set that they had pre-sold to a customer. Instead of puckering up to kiss the dealer's a$$, they politely informed the dealer that it was not their job to finish off his master set. As the dealer continued to protest, CZ told them that their business was no longer desired and they are no longer a direct account. Quite a different stance than when the same dealer contacts a certain other company to complain that they didn't get their "fair share" of XXXX super high demand artist and they get taken care of.
That took some cajones on CZ 's part. Good on em. I already ranted on Scoundrel about these companies possibly creating another speculator bubble with the cards.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:23 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Never mind.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:38 PM   #46 (permalink)
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It will be interesting to see if/how policies change at UD now that McWilliam has passed.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:58 PM   #47 (permalink)
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It will be interesting to see if/how policies change at UD now that McWilliam has passed.
My condolences to his family and friends. He did start a great company, no matter how poorly he treated his employees and contractors.

Part of the reason artists and writers were not paid on time was the fact that he ordered his managers to delay payment as long as possible so he could collect as much interest on the money as he could. Those orders came directly from him, so maybe that will change. I hope the company can survive, now they will see how deep the financial troubles from all the lawsuits really go. Many of the recent restrictive policies were his orders, so many things could change if the company can stay afloat.

Rest In Peace, Richard McWilliam. Thanks for all the cards.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:01 PM   #48 (permalink)
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My condolences to his family and friends. He did start a great company, no matter how poorly he treated his employees and contractors.

Part of the reason artists and writers were not paid on time was the fact that he ordered his managers to delay payment as long as possible so he could collect as much interest on the money as he could. Those orders came directly from him, so maybe that will change. I hope the company can survive, now they will see how deep the financial troubles from all the lawsuits really go. Many of the recent restrictive policies were his orders, so many things could change if the company can stay afloat.

Rest In Peace, Richard McWilliam. Thanks for all the cards.
More than likely it's to defer payment another month (or quarter) because incoming funds cannot cover them. I worked in a place like that, where royalty checks were 'misplaced' or 'not signed on time' because, in truth, the company could not or did not want to pay them out right away due to a shortage of funds.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:01 PM   #49 (permalink)
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My condolences to his family and friends. He did start a great company, no matter how poorly he treated his employees and contractors.

Part of the reason artists and writers were not paid on time was the fact that he ordered his managers to delay payment as long as possible so he could collect as much interest on the money as he could. Those orders came directly from him, so maybe that will change. I hope the company can survive, now they will see how deep the financial troubles from all the lawsuits really go. Many of the recent restrictive policies were his orders, so many things could change if the company can stay afloat.

Rest In Peace, Richard McWilliam. Thanks for all the cards.

Dude, seriously?

Extremely poor taste.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:11 PM   #50 (permalink)
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More than likely it's to defer payment another month (or quarter) because incoming funds cannot cover them. I worked in a place like that, where royalty checks were 'misplaced' or 'not signed on time' because, in truth, the company could not or did not want to pay them out right away due to a shortage of funds.
Maybe, but in this case there were other things that were paid immediately.

We shall see.
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