BLOODLINES WEEK DAY 5 – REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN

Welcome to the final day of Bloodlines Week here at the Fortress.  Over the last four days I have posted cards from the Skybox International Bloodlines trading card set featuring the characters that made their first appearances in the four Superman related annuals from 1993 and have done so without much commentary.  Today that changes and while I won’t delve into the series too much I figured I would end on a strong note and talk about the card set and the crossover itself.  Some of the characters introduced during the course of the event had a lot of potential.  Others…didn’t.  As much as I can bust on Bloodlines as it was executed I have to admit that the idea behind it was solid and it had a lot of potential to introduce new heroes into the DCU.  It just didn’t work out that way and served as one of the signs that comic books, as a medium,  were going off the rails.

In the previous four installments I wrote that DC and Skybox used Reign of the Supermen as a marketing hook for the trading card set.  On paper I see this making a lot of sense.  Reign was an insanely popular storyline that continued to make the Superman titles must reading during this time period.  More than that I think that Bloodlines, as a concept, just didn’t have that one, universally identifiable character to hang the card series around.  It wasn’t a traditional crossover so much as a unifying theme for the annuals that year.  It was more like Armageddon 2001 and less like Eclipso: The Darkness Within.  Frankly I am surprised they put out a Bloodlines card series at all but in the early nineties non-sports cards were huge and I have to believe that DC thought that this “crossover” was going to break big and in all honesty if it had come out in 1991 or 1992 it might very well have.  1993, particularly the latter part of that year, is when the speculator bubble burst and while it would be several years before the effects of that crash would be seen Bloodlines had the misfortune of coming out at the worst possible time.

Getting back to the final day of Bloodlines Week I thought it would be best to showcase the various Supermen that were featured in the card set.  Bloodlines is unique as a trading card set as it did not feature stand alone cards for the more familiar heroes like the DC Cosmic Cards or DC Cosmic Teams sets had.  The only heroes that featured solo cards were the four Supermen.  Sure the Ray had a “Ray Unleashed” card but there was never a straight up, “Ray” card like previous and future card series would feature.  The Supermen were pretty much the only ones to receive, for lack of a better term, spotlight cards.

As this was the nineties and Bloodlines was a trading card set there were five chase cards to be had, four of which were randomly inserted into boxes of the cards and one of which you actually had to mail off for.  I have purchased two boxes of Bloodlines cards over the past ten years (and didn’t pay more than $20 for both, which should tell you how valuable these things are) and both boxes had this chase card.

You really can’t tell from the scan but this thing does have a metallic sheen to it.  I do not own the other three Supermen chase cards.  I’ve seen them online and even bid on them a time or two but have always lost out, which means that while the main set is cheap as hell people are still searching for these.

The other one per unopened box card was a mail away offer to get the “One, True Superman” card.  It looked a lot like this.

I am always fascinated when the people that make things that are meant to be collectible include items that have to be written on.  Having said that I do think it is cool that this card series had a mail away offer like the old Star Wars and Super Powers action figure lines.  Most card series of this time period had something you could send off for, especially in the later lines, but those were usually special binders designed for the card series and this is a practice that continues to this day.  If I had been collecting these cards back in 1993 and found one of these cards in a pack I would have definitely sent off for the “One, True Superman” card.

So what did the “One, True Superman” card look like?

And there you have it, folks.  The Bloodlines card series, at least those related to the Superman books.  As always I hope you liked or at the very least were amused by this series and if I ever get my hands on the other chase cards I will definitely post them here.  Comments are always welcome and well as memories of this crossover event or card series.  Take care and as always…

More to follow…

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