The Good: Good image, Inexpensive enough, Necessary for collectors
The Bad: Not informative, It's just one card and can usually be found for free!
The Basics: Underinforming the consumers about what boxes contain, the P1 Revenge Of The Sith promotional card ineffectively teases the Topps trading card set.
With the Star Wars franchise now locked in virtual reality mode of The Clone Wars, I've been finding less and less to collect from the once-venerable franchise that captivated my imagination. I've been looking into the trading cards, because I have a pretty extensive trading card collection (mostly Star Trek) and a small business in that area of collectibles as well. I decided to approach my investigation into Star Wars trading cards the way a normal collector would: I picked up a promotional card, in this case the Revenge Of The Sith P1 trading card from Topps from the Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith Widevision trading card set.
Virtually every major blockbuster film that is released these days comes with an accompanying release of a trading card set and Topps had the license for Star Wars for years, so it was no risk when they produced the Revenge Of The Sith trading cards. However, fans, dealers and collectors have created an exceptionally small window of time for a product like the trading cards to actually become a hit. After all, while many people might enjoy this weekend's latest blockbuster film, it takes a seriously devoted fan to buy merchandise associated with it, especially the more expensive collectibles like complete trading card sets. Films like Revenge Of The Sith (reviewed here!) followed that trend, but despite selling out at the manufacturer level, dealers have tended to find their sales of the product pretty much died two months after the film's release, save for the highest level chase cards in the set.
To prepare collectors for the release of the Revenge Of The Sith trading cards, Topps produced a promotional card. Promotional cards are designed to give collectors a tease of the new set and generate enthusiasm for forthcoming card releases. Topps gave away tens of thousands of Revenge Of The Sith P1 promotional cards to collectors (who simply asked for one and sent a self addressed, stamped envelope) and to dealers to freely distribute to potential customers.
Numbered P1 (on the back) the Revenge Of The Sith promotional card prepares fans for the style of the common card set for the Revenge Of The Sith trading cards. As such, this is a widevision trading card (which captures more completely the widescreen image from the actual film) and there is no gimmick to it. It has the Topps standard UV protective coating to prevent fading and after three and a half years, mine shows no wear (though mine is nicely protected in a binder's poly pages!).
The front of the trading card features General Grievous with two lightsabers drawn fighting Obi-Wan Kenobi. The image is clearly intended to generate enthusiasm over Grievous and paint him as a dominant villain in the film and illustrate the quality of the common cards. For a screen capture of a special effects shot, this is actually a very clear image. The front also features text at the bottom which advertise the Revenge Of The Sith Trading Cards. This is the format of the common cards and it accurately predicts how the set would look.
The photography on the front is very clear and the color contrast is decent, which prepares collectors well for the actual set, and it generated some decent enthusiasm for the actual card set as this was not a very common image in the mainstream media. Those looking for something different to get signed, though, are likely to be disappointed . . . except at conventions where Matthew Wood, who voiced Grievous is appearing. Having only the one dominant character on the front of the card is nice for fans, collectors and autograph hunters.
The back of the card simply announces the Revenge Of The Sith trading card set and more of the emphasis is actually on the movie release. As a result, this is a disturbingly uninformative promotional card (ultimately, I got more information off the side of a box of these cards and opted not to invest). Because the card only discussed the card release in the most vague terms (foil cards are mentioned, but not specifically detailed what they are) this is not as helpful as promotional cards that announce autographs, sketch cards or even the format of the cards explicitly.
In the end, this card is nice looking, but a tough sell on its own. The Revenge Of The Sith Trading Card P1 card prepares the consumer for the common card set, but leaves them with little idea of what they are actually getting in a full box of cards. Topps gave a slew of these away and it is not very collectible at all. As a result, those looking to purchase one of these ought to avoid overpaying. Many dealers throw promotional cards in for free (usually with a purchase) and this card only has a guide value of $2.00. There is no reason to pay more than that.
For other promotional card reviews, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Garbage Pail Kids Batty Brad promo
The Clone Wars Season 1 San Diego Comic-Con P1
2005 Family Guy P1
For other card reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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