Monday, March 11, 2019

Box Break: Topps Stranger Things Season One

I know I've caught the collecting bug again when I start branching out into things that are outside the world of hockey cards. I've dabbled in a few non-sports sets in the past (e.g. Lost and Jericho), so I'm always on the lookout for anything trading card related to my favorite television shows. For whatever reason, I really like these kinds of sets.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was shopping at the local Target and upon inspecting the trading card section, I was pleasantly surprised to see a blaster box of trading cards for my current favorite show: Stranger Things. I know some people aren't all that into this show, but I love it. Season one was great and I think season two was even better. Now I'm anxiously waiting to see what happens when season three is released on July 4th.

I wasn't even aware of this set until now. Apparently, it was released around the end of October 2018, which is interesting because season one of the actual showed debuted on Netflix all the way back in July of 2016. Better late than never I guess.

As I've done with my previous box breaks, I wanted to show the front of the box itself. The bright yellow color is what really made it stand out on the shelf at Target. Beyond that, it has painting like images of the main cast over top of the iconic Stranger Things wordmark.


This retail blaster box comes with 10 packs of 7 cards each, plus one pack with a special commemorative patch card. Not a bad deal getting 71 cards for just $20 if you ask me. Here is a breakdown of the cards available in one of these blasters:

  • Base Set: 100 cards
  • Parallels: Upside Down (#/99), Waffle (#/11), Christmas Lights (#/1)
  • Character Cards: 20 cards
  • Character Stickers: 20 stickers
  • Scene Stickers: 10 stickers
  • Commemorative Patches: 24 cards
  • Parallels: Orange (#/99), Green (#/50), Purple (#/25), Blue (#/10), Gold (#/1)

There are some cool autographs and memorabilia available in the hobby boxes, but I'll leave those off of here for now since this was a retail blaster. For more information on the hobby version, click here for a great breakdown from Cardboard Connection.

Before I get to scans of the actual cards I pulled, I thought it would be neat to show the wrappers. These are something that you don't get to see that often when box breaks are posted online. Maybe not the most exciting thing, but still interesting to me.

On the left you have the main packs. The design uses the same yellow as the box, but has a slightly different look to the picture. The black behind the Stranger Things text and the black silhouettes are a nice touch as well. On the right is the pack that contained the one commemorative patch card. Not as exciting as the other one.


Now its time to get into the good stuff. I'll start with the base cards. I was able to knock 57 of these off the list. As far as I can tell, there were no duplicates. They are printed on the old school card stock so they definitely feel like they came right out of the 1980's. There were both horizontal and vertical base cards, which seems a bit odd to me. You would think for a set like this they would've kept everything the same.

Below is an example of one of the vertical designs. This one titled "Signs of a Struggle" is card #12 in the set and focuses on Hopper searching the Byers' shed for any signs of what may have happened to Will. I love the simplicity of the design and the bold colors. Seems like it would fit right in with any other Topps set from the 80's.


If you ask me, the horizontal cards look just a little better. I guess because this is for a television show after all, the horizontal design better accommodates the widescreen shots you would see on TV. The example below is card #46 in the set focusing on the time when Will spells out the word run via the Christmas lights Joyce had strung up on the wall.


The backs of the cards are all the same horizontal design. Below is an example. I really like the simplicity here, nothing seems unnecessary. It has a nice and quick description of the scene shown on the front. The trees on the bottom are a nice touch.


Unfortunately, I wasn't luck enough to pull any of the base card parallels. That's too bad because I really wanted one of the Upside Down (#/99) or Waffle (#/11) parallels. They look pretty sweet from the scans that I've seen on eBay lately. And that's right, I did say waffle. You'd have to be familiar with the show to understand the reasoning for that one.

For the character cards, I ended up with three: Steve Harrington, Mike Wheeler and The Monster. Here's a look at The Monster, which is card #20 of the 20 card insert set. 


For the character stickers, I ended up with eight of the twenty: Scott Clarke, Will Byers, Dustin Henderson, Benny Hammond, Ted Wheeler, Barbara Holland, Jonathan Byers and Eleven. These are a pretty simple design, but look great with the bold color combination. These kind of remind me of Topps hockey cards from back in the 60's and 70's.


For the scene stickers, I ended up with two of the ten: Goin' for a Ride (Will Byers) and Determined Dustin. These are neat because the have the film reel look to them and definitely stick out with all the red. The only thing is that it does not have any kind of description on the back, just the basic set information and sticker number.


I saved the best for last. Each blaster box comes with one commemorative patch card, also known as a manufactured patch. I know some people hate these things and I would tend to agree for anything like this taking the place of a piece of actual game-used memorabilia as a "hit" for a given pack or box. However, in this case I think these are great. It almost feels like and added bonus for a blaster like this.

These are actually pretty cool to see in person. They are nice and thick and the patches look great. This one with Mike Wheeler has a Hawkins Middle School patch. The blue and white provide a nice contrast to the rest of the card design so the patch really stands out.


All in all, this was a fun break. I got some new card for one of my favorite shows and since I haven't seen the first season in a while now, it was nice to look through the set and see some key moments from the show. Now I just need to complete the base set.

Also, from what I've read, it sounds like Topps will be producing another set like this for season two. Definitely going to looking at getting at least a blaster of that as well.

Anyone else into Stranger Things, the show or the trading card set from Topps?

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! These actually released in November after a much anticipated delay. Season 2 cards release in a month or so. I have a good handful of extras if you want them. Just shoot me your address. Rakuda_chan (at) Yahoo . com.

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