Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Topps Trading Cards

Last week, I purchased my first pack of the "Inaugural Edition President Obama" Topps trading cards. It was a big day. Within five minutes I had purchased both a gigantic burrito and a slim but exciting sleeve of Obama Topps.

At $2.00 for 6 cards and a sticker, it was no great deal--my burrito was only a dollar more--but the cards have zero fat grams and are more friendly to animals.

I had high hopes for the cards.

I imagined a photo of Obama dunking over Dick Cheney; perhaps one of him making a long downfield pass to Joe Biden; I was especially looking forward to the one of Obama and Hillary doing the high-five after that wicked alley-oop ESPN keeps running on the highlight reels.

Instead, I got cards in which there were a lot of ties.

A red tie, a blue tie, more red ties. And blazers. Who puts a guy wearing a tie and a blazer on a trading card? Instead of calling these "trading cards," I propose Topps change the name to "trading favors cards," since that's what most of my scenes seem to be about.

There appear to be 90 different cards in all and 18 stickers. That seems hard to believe. Are there really 90 different images of Mr. Obama talking to other people? Topps gets points for the attempt to make "Pioneer at Harvard Law" edgy with the black and white photo of Obama in the turtleneck and leather jacket. But, those points get taken away by the half-witted "Cool Running Mates" tag.

My goal is not simply to collect all 90 cards but to rank the lamest of 90. Sure, sure, I'll also be happy to write about the "best" Obama cards, but unless Topps includes images from SemiObama, I'm not convinced we're going to learn much.

My nomination for the lamest card from this set is the "Ready for Prime Time" action shot of President Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Could anything be less actiony than two heads of state in suits and ties strolling through an English garden?


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