1995: American Beauties & Cuties

American Beauties & Cuties (1995) by Drew Friedman

I’m mainly covering the comics Kitchen Sink published in this blog series, so I skipped a bunch of books and other stuff, like the trading cards Kitchen Sink published in the 90s. But as the blog was winding down, I thought it might be interesting to see if there was anything I had missed that I’d like to cover… so here’s a post about one of their trading card sets.

I think Eclipse Comics were the people who spearheaded this fad — starting in 1989, they started publishing non-sports cards, mostly about political stuff. And I think to the surprise of basically everybody, it became a big thing.

I think a major factor here was the juxtaposition between a form that’s even lower than comics — “trading cards” — and the hi falutin subject matter — all the dictators that the US were supporting. They’re interesting stuff to have lying around on your coffee table, right?

Soon everybody got into the game, though, and most of the other publishers weren’t that into politics and stuff, so the subject matter of most of these sets are humorous. Which… I dunno. Why not just publish your jokes in a book instead, I think most people started asking themselves? Because the fad had crashed by the time this set was published:

These sets were originally priced at $11, but you can pick up a three-pack for $15 a few decades later.

But let’s have a look at the cards in this set. Friedman is well-known for plying his meticulous technique to drawing oldee B movie stars, but this time around, he’s apparently just drawing random people. So on the front, there’s some pretty normal-looking person…

And on the back, there are some made-up info that I guess is supposed to be funny (but kinda isn’t).

Is that Stephen Fry?

I guess not.

While the artwork is good and all, it’s just… er…

I think that if I were 11 and had spent $11 on this set, perhaps expecting some Mad-like funny stuff, I’d feel pretty let down. The effort spent on these texts? None. They read like somebody typed them all out during an afternoon while watching some sitcom.

And there’s a bonus card — an ad for a different, probably better card set.

This is the two hundred and twenty-eighth post in the Entire Kitchen Sink blog series.

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