Hobby Musings: Upper Deck bringing Black Diamond brand to Marvel – The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a cultural phenomenon, and Upper Deck has helped to fill the trading card demand for those films with its various products. On the high-end front, the company opted to make a 2021 product for the MCU using the longstanding Black Diamond brand. For more on why the product was made, as well as the highlights can expect from it, I had the chance to catch up with UD’s Tony Sirianni via email.
KS: Why make the decision to extend Upper Deck’s Black Diamond brand to your Marvel properties?
TS: We wanted to create a high-end MCU product, and the Black Diamond brand made a lot of sense based on the existing content, structure and technology we were looking to utilize. We wanted to create highly sought after, rare diamond relic cards of the incredible talent roster the MCU has to offer.
KS: What trademarks from Black Diamond have made their way into Marvel?
TS: The configuration, technology and hits from the Black Diamond brand have all made their way into the MCU version. Collectors will be happy to hear that we also made sure to include Exquisite Collection content within the set, similar to the hockey counterpart.
KS: What are the highlights collectors should look out for in this year’s release?
TS: Look for the new 6-diamond Infinity Stone Relics featuring multi-colored stones matching the Infinity Stone colors from the films. Very excited for some of the first time signers in this set including Paul Bettany and Winston Duke.
KS: The autograph checklist is pretty impressive as it includes MCU stars Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth among others. How were you able to gather signatures from all the subjects?
TS: We have a great talent relations team that works tirelessly to get these deals done. We are always working to include new exciting names that collectors want to chase in each set we produce.
KS: Overall, what challenges did you face in putting together a licensed product like this from a film franchise like the MCU?
TS: Every set has its own challenges. I’d say one of the biggest ones for this set was trying to make sure all 20+ MCU films were honored throughout, we know how much these films mean to the fans. I think we did a really nice job of giving each film a nice amount of content throughout the product.
KS: You’ve got a lot of colorful gem cards randomly inserted in the product. Where did all the diamond relics come from?
TS: We have some really great, trusted vendors that we use to acquire our diamond relics for these sets. This set has more color than ever!
KS: Marvel Cards seem like they have really taken off in popularity in the past few years. How much of that do you attribute to the popularity of the movies vs. the love for the comics?
TS: I think it’s a combination of both things you mentioned along with the nostalgia for 1990s right now that includes the popular Marvel sets from that decade. It’s great to see people digging out those old 90s binders with their Marvel sets! Some of the art and designs from those sets are fantastic, so it’s great to see them getting renewed appreciation.
KS: Which Marvel characters, and actors from the MCU, have you found to be most popular with collectors?
TS: Everyone has their fan favorites, but I’m starting to see Elizabeth Olsen’s cards gaining even more popularity now that WandaVision has debuted. What a great show! I’m sure fans will be excited to finally have a Vision autograph to pair with their Scarlet Witch.
KS: The coronavirus pandemic has made it so we haven’t had any recent MCU films. What affect, if any, has that had on the demand for your Marvel card products?
TS: I’m sure it’s played a part in some way. Fans are always craving more content. It’s great we have been able to provide some of that content to keep fans satisfied throughout the pandemic. Black Diamond Marvel will be a great set to remind collectors of the brilliance that was the Infinity Saga and get them excited for what’s coming next with Black Widow, The Eternals, etc.
KS: Besides Black Diamond, what else does Upper Deck have coming in the Marvel pipeline this year?
TS: Much like the Marvel movies, we keep everything pretty close to the vest until it’s time to release. Stay tuned!