16 July 2015

John Soukup Hits Me With One of the Coolest Surprise Packages Ever!

Early last week I showed off a Princess Leia sketch card by John Soukup that I had purchased from the artist himself on eBay. In addition to posting about the card here, I sent him a message to say thanks and let him know that I am a fan of his work. I try to do that when I get convention sketches done or when I acquire sketch cards that I enjoy, so the artist knows I appreciate the work they put into what they do. He responded to my message and thanked me for my support. Then a few days later a box showed up on my doorstep with his return address on it, full of fun stuff. First is the non-card stuff.

In Soviet Russia, arts patronize you!

That plush Yoda over there on the left says a few phrases from the Star Wars films. I tried to hold on to the A-Team Van Hot Wheels car for myself, but my kids whined and cried so much that I finally gave in and gave them all three cars. Maybe when they get tired of them I will steal it back. The book on the bottom is a music magazine featuring his art on the cover and an interview with more art inside.

He does seem to have an interest in sports and sports cards, so he included a variety of things to hit my player collections, as well as a couple of notable cards that I am saving for the end of the post. First up are three Gheorghe Muresan cards for my 2nd-largest basketball player collection. That '95-'96 Fleer Metal set is something else, especially in-hand. I could look at cards from that set all day. Across the bottom are some cards from Seattle-based teams. I really don't know how to feel about Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and the rest of the Seahawks. I want to like them and cheer for them, but there is something going on with them that makes me uncomfortable. I haven't thought really hard about it though, so I can't be any more specific than that.

For the prospecting side of things he added a Bowman Chrome autograph of Tyler Pike, who is still pretty young and seems to be a popular mention whenever someone writes an article about the Mariners' next group of rising stars. I guess we'll see how he turns out.

And here is where the package really takes off. These are a couple of vintage cards with a bit of notoriety to their names. On the left is Pedro Borbon's 1970 Topps Rookie Card, and on the right is Billy Martin's 1972 Topps card. Since Borbon is more famous for what's on the back of his card, we'll start with Billy Martin. You'll notice that Martin is slyly extending the middle finger on his left hand, flipping the bird to the photographer or maybe someone in the background. Usually there is a joker on the team that is prone to this kind of stuff, but Martin was the team's Manager! Anyway, his gesture ensures that this card pops up on many of the internet's Top 10 lists for vulgar or silly trading cards. 

Pedro Borbon's card is famous because the back features a cartoon explaining that his hobby is cock fighting, which is legal in his country of origin, the Dominican Republic. It's not so legal here in the United States, though, which probably makes talking about it in the open like that kind of taboo. I guess it would be akin to printing a football card for Michael Vick announcing that his hobby is dog fighting. Borbon isn't someone I'd read up on until now, and his story is a pretty colorful tale. It seems that he had quite a penchant for getting into trouble and biting people and things.

There was some other cool stuff in the package, but those were the highlights. I could really tell that he went out of his way to select just the right mix of stuff for my collections and interests, and that personal touch to me is probably even more neat than physically getting all of this awesome swag. Make sure to check out his art page and also go look at these awesome Star Wars figure sets he's made (make sure to scroll down and see the Hoth set!). I know that he goes by the name Kettle sometimes, too, but I am not cool enough to know how street names/art names work. Maybe he uses 'John Soukup' for his commercial stuff and 'Kettle' for his more personal art. Either way, I am super excited by this surprise package and I will be seeking out more of his stuff soon!


  1. That is really cool that he appreciates his fans and he acknowledges it.

  2. That's awesome! Talk about supporting your fan base. As for the Borbon... that's an interesting conversation piece. Gonna need to track down one of those for my vintage binder.

  3. Great stuff and a great story behind it!