In addition to the Topps Now releases that happen on a (nearly) daily basis, Topps also has a Throwback Thursday program going, where every Thursday they release a set of cards based on a vintage design. The set is available to order for a week, and then orders are cut off and the print run is set. These usually are baseball cards, but a little while back Topps did a Star Wars-themed Throwback Thursday set based on the 1980-81 basketball card design, which featured three players on one card, separated by perforation lines. I decided to go ahead and pick a set up. The print run ended up being 989 sets on this one.
Each card features three characters separated by lines. They are not actually perforated, though. The perforation lines are just printed on the fronts. For the first card Topps went with the Big 3 in Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia.
These cards are printed on thick vintage-feel cardstock. The backs are all the same outside of the card number. They talk about how this set highlights The Empire Strikes Back on the basketball card design that matches the year the film was released. The second paragraph reminds us that Topps has been around for a while and also that Topps is awesome and American.
The second card features some popular Empire bad guys, or misunderstood heroes of the Empire for anyone who sympathizes with this side of the fight. I guess Boba Fett is an agent of the Empire, although I might have preferred to see him designated as a Bounty Hunter or Mercenary just for variety's sake.
There are a lot of repeats among the characters in this set, but at least Topps used different photos for them. Out of 18 possible panels there are 12 different characters depicted, with Han Solo making the most appearances with three. Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and Boba Fett are the other repeats with two appearances apiece.
I am glad to see Chewbacca on the checklist. I was a little worried about ordering this set as I had previously seen The Snorting Bull's post regarding a damaged Throwback Thursday set that he got in the mail from Topps. My cards came packaged in the same way his were, in a plastic snap case with a foam insert, but they escaped without damage. I still think that as a card company Topps might understand collectors a little better and maybe take more care with packaging (really, they use flimsy Card Savers without penny sleeves to ship cards sometimes), but for whatever reason they can be pretty tone-deaf when it comes to focusing on things that customers want from a card company. I've heard that they subcontract a lot of their work out, so maybe this kind of thing falls on the subcontractors. I don't know. I just know that I worry whenever I have something coming in the mail from Topps, because they can be prone to sending out poorly-packed cards, delivering cards with smeared autographs or other defects, and redemption replacements that don't measure up.
The AT-AT is the only non-character card in the set. It is one of the most recognizable vehicles in the films, though, and I guess that qualifies it as a character of sorts. It makes sense to have R2-D2 and C-3PO share a card.
Getting back to the cards, the set closes out with Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, and Han Solo. I think this is a pretty cool set. I don't feel the need to collect all of the Throwback Thursday sets, but I'll probably pick up the occasional Star Wars set if they come up.