I realize I have ragged on just about every product that Topps has put out so far this year. But it's just the way the cards have fallen (heh) in 2012. Topps base is OK, but design-wise it's a come down from the last three years. Heritage is simply luck of the draw. I don't happen to like the '63 look. But call me in two years and I'll be elated with Heritage.
But then there's Gypsy Queen. There's no luck at all here. I just plain don't like it.
Last year I found the base set insanely dull. The framed paper inserts were very nice, but I don't buy products for inserts (unless those inserts are '75-style minis).
This year, the base set is not quite as dull. But it is ugly, in a way that maybe only I think is ugly, but it's still ugly to me regardless. I will demonstrate with the first card out of the pack that I bought yesterday.
#22 - Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
OK, agonizingly boring gray border, but that's not the issue.
The issue is with the flourishes along the border. I've never liked that stuff. I don't like "ornate," and that is definitely "ornate." It reminds me of old-style European architecture, and over-elaborate home decor, and spooky door knockers.
And these things:
The Gypsy Queen design reminds me of gargoyles. It fits right into that overwrought, overdone, overimpressed with oneself, "ornate" mindset.
That and these things gave me nightmares as a kid.
Now, I know that there are a few of you who are saying, "Gargoyles! Awesome!"
Fine. You've found your card set.
But don't blame me when a gargoyle hunts you down in your sleep and kills you. Because it will.
But the set also reminds me of this:
Those overdone T-shirts. Super-ornate.
You find these in hip-hop designs, heavy metal designs and other stuff that I don't even know what it is. But they all have something in common. They're hideous, and I'd never wear them in a million years.
Again, there are probably people out there that are saying, "Hey! Those are the only shirts in my closet!"
Terrific. Have I got a card set for you.
But it's not for me.
So, now that all my hang-ups are out there, let's finish off the pack:
#157 - Nelson Cruz, Rangers
I'm told there are variations of some of the cards, including Cruz here. But you won't be able to figure it out until someone reveals the look of all the short-prints. (I happen to have seen the Cruz short-print and this ain't it). So nice of Topps to help the collector out here.
#244 - Roger Maris, Yankees
GQ has a habit of making the uniforms of the old-time players look as dirty as possible. And with lots and lots of wrinkles. It looks like that thing hasn't been washed for three weeks. Fire the equipment manager.
#257 - Ryne Sandberg, Cubs
The photo is cool (again, dirt seems to be a necessity in most GQ photos). But look at how much territory that the border takes up. It's too ugly to be doing that.
#247 - Paul Molitor, Brewers, mini
More dirt. And a strange accentuation on arm hair. It looks like he applied pine tar to his arm.
#MS-WM - Willie Mays, Giants, Moonshots insert
Wouldn't be a Night Owl pack without a Yankee and a Giant.
This is one of the insert sets in the set, with a mercifully colorful border. Again, there isn't much territory for the photo of Mays' very dirty looking uniform.
And that's the pack.
I have someone in mind for just about all of these cards, so they're all taken. And, just because I don't like it, doesn't mean I won't take the Dodgers, per usual.
That's important because I'm almost positive when I say I won't buy another pack of this. First, I don't get along with the look of it. Second, if you're selling 6 cards for $3.19, you better damn well be Allen & Ginter -- at least. Third, if GQ disappears off the shelves as quickly as it did last year, then I won't get a chance to buy more in the unlikely event I ever change my mind.
Sorry, GQ enthusiasts.
Over here, the Queen is dead.