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Groo cards (Wildstorm, 1996)
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This was the only card set produced by Wildstorm that I don't own. I passed on it in 1996, as in my view, Groo wasn't an actual Image Comics character like Spawn, and I only collected Wildstorm cards that dealt with the Image universe.

I am AMAZED as to the prices on ebay for these cards ! Seems like even a base set is tough to find--prices between $65 to 110 and up for one! I don't even see any base sets on ebay now.

And how hard are the chase cards in the set to find ? Asking prices of $ 40 each on ebay ? Wow !
 
Posts: 4718 | Location: Bayonne, NJ, USA | Registered: May 06, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are 50 pack inserted sketch cards and 500 Sergio Aragonés autograph cards too. The sketches rarely ever trade hands and the prices are, umm, a wee bit high when they do.

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Posts: 5142 | Location: Vancouver/B.C./Canada | Registered: October 13, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah, it has a very strong cult following, so the prices stay up there.

I have this set. There is also an uncut sheet of the chase cards. The only thing I don't have is the autographed card because it isn't "official" in some way to make me happy.

Thanks,
David

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Posts: 328 | Location: Henderson, NV | Registered: February 01, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A few factors driving the popularity of the base set is that it is large, 153 cards, so you wouldn't get 3 sets per box like you would a lot of the other cards in those days, which are more readily available these days as a result.

If you didn't get a full box when the Groo cards were issued, you probably didn't even finish one set, and there wasn't the big print run in the first place like there would have been had Skybox or Topps released the Groo set, making trading difficult when the cards were still available since the internet was still a year or two off for a lot of people.

By 1995, the print runs in general had already been coming down from the all-time peak of the early 1990's and this Groo set was from that brief period where Jim Lee's Wildstorm (pre DC days) became a card maker cutting Topps and Skybox out of Images Comics trading card business, resulting in the lower print run the Groo set shared with the handful of other Wildstorm-made card releases before DC bought them, essentially ending their card sideline business. There hasn't been too many other Image Comics inspired sets in the last 10 years or so since that happened. Walking Dead from Cryptozoic is the only one I can thing of.

Beyond that, the content of the Groo set (art, card backs) was all-new, made especially for the cards making it a must for fans of the ol' mendicant, a character steadily published for almost 30 years now, so there are more than a few, and definitely scattered worldwide along with a lot of the cards, most likely. I sold an extra base set I had last year for around $100 and it went to England. I traded some of the chase guys with a guy in Australia a few years back.

As for the set itself, the "character" cards are fantastic and there are some 9 card puzzles within the set that are just exquisite. I really like the base cards portraits of the entire creative team of Groo, artist Aragones along with writer Mark Evanier, colorist Tom Luth, and letterer Stan Sakai (of Usaji Yojimbo fame). The cards are low gloss, (unusual for the era, since most mid 1990's cards are heavily UV coated) making them ideal candidates for autographs.

When autographing singles from this set at conventions, Sergio told me he will only sign the #1 card of Groo and the card of himself which I think is #19. That may be his way of helping to protect the uniqueness of the pack issued ones, but I can't be sure of that.

I do have the #1 and #19 cards signed along with a sketch card Sergio was nice enough to do for me at Comic Con, and they are prized possessions to be sure. I've been a fan of his work since 1970's Mad magazine, so when Groo came along in the early 1980's, I already knew who the artist was, even though I was still just a kid.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: chesspieceface,

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Posts: 3328 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by David R

And how hard are the chase cards in the set to find ? Asking prices of $ 40 each on ebay ? Wow !


I think there were 3 or 4 per 36 pack box. They have a clear plastic overlay on them that really makes the art pop. They're all drawn by guest artists, which a lot of the Image Comics set had, but these were the chase cards which was a little unusual. A lot of the artists of the chase cards remain popular with collectors. Just off the top of my head, the inserts were drawn by some heavy hitters including Jim Lee, Simon Bisley, Kevin Nowlan, Mike Allred, Jeff Smith, and Dave Sim.

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Posts: 3328 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very interesting discussion. Thanks for posting, David.

I remember when Wildstorm starting doing cards in 1994-1995, the first few sets were popular. It's been so many years, but I recall WildStorm Series 1, Wildstorm Archives, Spawn and Gen 13 among the first few

By 1996, the Wildstorm products weren't as "hot", and I remember sets like The Maxx, Savage Dragon, and perhaps others being tough to complete, as there was no ebay back then, and some like Savage Dragon had these mobile pieces which came as 1 per box toppers, from what I recall. Not many comic stores or dealers carried them.

Then by 1997-1998, the cards became even TOUGHER to find. I recall Wildstorm Swimsuit, and perhaps one more, whose name escapes me, released during this period. Finally, the company just started doing factory sets, instead of pack releases, like Wildstorm Photoblast, I believe.
 
Posts: 4008 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Some other ones they did-- Wildstorm Gallery, Wildcats '94, Wetworks, Wildstorm Series 2, Wildstorm Archives 2, Wildstorm Stickers, and a second Swimsuit set that was only a boxed set...

Nostalgia !

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Posts: 4008 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by David R:
This was the only card set produced by Wildstorm that I don't own. I passed on it in 1996, as in my view, Groo wasn't an actual Image Comics character like Spawn, and I only collected Wildstorm cards that dealt with the Image universe.

I am AMAZED as to the prices on ebay for these cards ! Seems like even a base set is tough to find--prices between $65 to 110 and up for one! I don't even see any base sets on ebay now.

And how hard are the chase cards in the set to find ? Asking prices of $ 40 each on ebay ? Wow !

I started a thread a short time ago about the toughest base card set to complete and Groo was right up there. Like you I have all of the other Wildstorm sets but have spent half a lifetime trying to complete my Groo set. I have tracked this set on Ebay and can assure you that every new listing is dearer than the last. Recently there was a lot offering 5 empty packets for $5.00!!! (and it sold). As a long time subscriber to Mad Magazine I have always enjoyed and admired Sergio's work (particularly the margin sketches). He really has reached cult status and you can safely predict that this set will end up being hugely expensive.

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Posts: 509 | Location: Auckland New Zealand | Registered: January 26, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's my signed cards and sketch cards (all from Comic Con, not pack pulled) plus the 5 chase cards I've got. These are the ones by Sam Kieth, Simon Bisley, Stan Sakai, Jim Lee, and Dave Sim.


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Posts: 3328 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi,

I picked the complete set up about 2 years go for $92 and the 9 chase cards for an average $18 each which I was really pleased with as I have rarely seen this set come up for sale and would have paid pretty much anything for.

It is by far one of my favorite sets. I am a huge Groo fan.

I did post about it at the time.. here are some pics.

http://nonsportupdate.infopop....4605353/m/1607010995
 
Posts: 162 | Location: UK | Registered: December 18, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've told this story before, but it bears repeating Smile
I met Sergio a few times at US conventions in the mid to late nineties, he actually had some boxes of Groo with him which I snapped up. I opened the boxes that night, and pulled a Groo sketch card! I went back to show Sergio at the show the next day, and he said "I opened some boxes and I pulled a sketch card too! I was really excited!".
Great guy, and some great cards.

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Posts: 128 | Location: United Kingdom | Registered: September 08, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Originally posted by drofdarb:

It is by far one of my favorite sets. I am a huge Groo fan.

I did post about it at the time.. here are some pics.

http://nonsportupdate.infopop....4605353/m/1607010995


Thanks again for that look at most of the base cards (a couple of the links are broken) and congrats on having all 9 chase cards.

Looking at Sergio's puzzles, you can just see a master at work. Each card works perfectly fine on it's own. I wonder who has the original art for these cards. It really does feature some of the best Groo art ever done, even more detailed drawing than usual, with some of the best colors ever seen on the strip, all high praise.

And to cardcollectors uk, great story about the sketch card. Can we see yours?

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Everywhere around this burg they're running out of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Everywhere around this town, they're running out of nouns.
 
Posts: 3328 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Two Groo sketch cards, and the front of the sketch card.
The left one was done at Chicago in 1997, when I met Sergio. I asked him to do a sketch so I could show people one of these really rare cards, but I didnt want any confusion with pack pulled sketches, so he dated it. Cool!

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What do you call a set missing more than 10 cards?
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Posts: 128 | Location: United Kingdom | Registered: September 08, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by chesspieceface:
When autographing singles from this set at conventions, Sergio told me he will only sign the #1 card of Groo and the card of himself which I think is #19. That may be his way of helping to protect the uniqueness of the pack issued ones, but I can't be sure of that. /QUOTE]

In the 90s I was collecting sports cards, but I always liked autograph cards. There was only one dealer at the local show that sold non-sport cards and I picked up certified signatures from a couple of comic artists each time, often without knowing them. In retrospect I wish I had gotten even more autograph cards from the artists behind Lady Death, Evil Ernie, X-Men, Shi, HellShock etc.

Anyway this thread sounded familar and I recognized Aragones signature from my collection. I believe that my dealer sold mainly packed pulled autographs, but he also had in person cards because non-sport was his thing and autographs were still rare at that time. After getting out my old binder, the signed Groo card I have is #146 Arfetto. There is no mention on the back that it is an official card, although I always assumed it was from what I can remember.

So now my question is, do I really have a pack pulled autograph? And if so, were they not identified as such? Or is it an in-person that is not #1 or #19?
 
Posts: 10408 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Raven,

Did you also collect FPG factory autographed cards, Defective Comics autographed cards or Hildebrandt series 2 autographed cards?

Thanks,
David

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Posts: 328 | Location: Henderson, NV | Registered: February 01, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hey Raven
I found this on a Groo discussion board and it sounds legit to me:

"The "trouble" with the autograph cards is that there is absolutely,
positively, 100% no way on God's green earth to tell them apart from the
thousands of cards Sergio has signed at conventions since 1995. I have
pulled two from packs, Ruben has pulled one, and we both have cards he
autographed for us in person. All in black ink. No difference. Nada. So
while this guy on ebay might very well have pulled the card from a pack,
it's value as such is nil."

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Everywhere around this burg they're running out of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Everywhere around this town, they're running out of nouns.
 
Posts: 3328 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That is why I mentioned earlier, it is the only card I didn't bother getting. I have no idea if it is a factory autographed card or just a show signed card. It is the same thing with SW Galaxy series 1 and 2.

David

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Posts: 328 | Location: Henderson, NV | Registered: February 01, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The Galaxy 2 artist cards that were issued almost 20 years after they were signed in the Galaxy 4 set, I would considered certified authentic as they have a Silver Topps logo added to them to indicate they were a Series 4 insert.

Too bad Topps didn't do something to distinguish the autographs when originally issued as mail in redemptions from Series 1 and 2, and also those found in the Series 1 Millennium Falcon factory sets. It is virtually impossible to tell them from regular cards signed by the same artist in the nearly 2 decades since. Even so, I do still separate in my binder the one I personally got back in the mail from Topps and the few I got directly from Falcon factory sets from those I've had signed in the years since.

One kind of sad result of the auto cards from those early Galaxy sets not being certified in any meaningful way is that the Redemption cards are in most cases, far more valuable than the signed card you would've got for it, especially the series 1 redemption card, meaning for "values" sake, it would've been better to keep the redemption card.

Even so, autograph cards were still pretty novel in those days, so I'm glad to have found one to send in, and was delighted with the card I got back. Hey, at least I know it's real!

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Everywhere around this burg they're running out of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Everywhere around this town, they're running out of nouns.
 
Posts: 3328 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by dpolis:
Did you also collect FPG factory autographed cards, Defective Comics autographed cards or Hildebrandt series 2 autographed cards?/QUOTE]

Thanks all for the Groo info, I'm pretty sure my autograph card was out of pack now, but there is no way to prove it either way.

David, I have nothing from Defective comics and I don't know what FPG stands for, so I guess that would be a no also. Big Grin

I did know about the Hildebrandts at the time though. Without pulling out my old binder I think I have 2 or 3 cards autographed by one or both of them in person. I know I have one certified card signed in gold by both that came from one of their sets. I wouldn't know the series without looking, but I think it had a girl and a clown, or something like that.

I really wish that I had paid more attention to non-sport cards back then, but they were difficult to find pre-internet and sportscards took up most of my spare cash.
 
Posts: 10408 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Smile

FPG is Friedlander Group cards. They went under like a lot of other card companies, but a few of their fantasy artists that had card sets are: Ken Kelly, Achilleos, Tim White, Larry Elmore, Rowena, Keith Parkinson, etc.

It was a nice group of artists.

Yeah, the one I was most thinking about as far as Hildebrandt is concerned, is the 2nd series of Greg Hildebrandt, the one that had green frames on the back. It was the first Hildebrandt set to have factory autographed cards.

David

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