Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Archives Predicament: 2016 Edition

I spoke very recently about the fact that this hasn't been especially a very big card-buying year for me. Aside from getting a few packs of Heritage, or Series 1, or a JustCommons order of stuff, there hasn't been a great deal that has interested me about products in 2016. There doesn't seem to be a ton of effort there mainly, and that's my main problem. 2016 Flagship is the biggest disappointment, as it looks like all the effort and ingenuity brought into the product in 2015 has been wasted and squandered.

So, as a guy who used to praise Topps for everything, I've slowly become the Ernest Hemingway of the blogosphere, hiding out in my log cabin of junk-wax boxes, slowly waiting for the tide to take me.

However, to quote Radiohead, I feel my luck could change.

Look, aside from a few packs and inserts, I don't think I'll be finding much solace in Series 2 this month, but there are two products that will probably save my card-collecting year before it has a chance to completely corrode in on itself. One of them is Stadium Club, and that comes out later this month and will likely be my favorite set of the year.

The other is Topps Archives.

Now...usually, around this part of the year, I have to stand on my soapbox and plead with the blogging audience to take Archives seriously. In the past four releases, Archives has been revealed to be a lackluster, sloppily-put-together site with flimsy card stock and not enough effort put in. I keep collecting cards, and the sets, because they hit close to home, as they mirror a ton of the concepts I put in for Custom Cards.

This year I have to do a ton less convincing. This year, the photography is stunning, and the designers at Topps have made it a point to mirror the photography patterns of the sets they're recreating. I.E.- 1953 Topps is posed shots, 1979 Topps is batter's box, mound, stationery wide shots, and 1991 Topps is zoomed, more unusual shots. JUST LIKE IN THE ORIGINAL SETS. FINALLY, Topps is exploring what can be done with Archives, and realizing how they can feed into nostalgia with more than putting new players in old designs. This is something I've wanted them to do FOR YEARS.

The problem is that Archives has gone from a small, manageable 200-card set to a larger and harder-to-collect 300-card set. Last year's set I tried collecting, but after a while I gave up, citing disinterest. I got bored of 2015 Archives- something I never thought would happen with the other releases.

With this set, I doubt I'll get bored- I'm still pondering whether or not I'll collect the set, as evidenced by the 'predicament' at the top of the post, but I'm definitely going to buy more packs than I did last year. And once again, I encourage any bloggers looking in to get rid of any unwanted Archives (my want lists for the 2012-2014 sets are on the sidebars) to send them my way.

Still, I'm just happy that Topps is trying new, better things with this Archives set. Hopefully they'll still be worth collecting in person.

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