Hobby Musings: The Walking Dead’s Joshua Hoover tracking down his own cards – AMC’s hit show, The Walking Dead, has spawned a large variety of collectibles since its inception. This includes trading cards produced by Cryptozoic and more recently, Topps.
Joshua Hoover, who portrayed Joseph A.K.A. Fat Joey for a few episodes of the show during Season 7, was one of the actors to receive a cards in one of Topps’ recent TWD lines. He also signed various cards for the autograph checklists. Speaking with Mr. Hoover, I found out he has been an avid collector for a little while, including chasing down his own cards. He took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss his experiences with trading cards and memorabilia. The following interview was conducted via email.
What was your reaction when Topps asked you to be on trading cards for its Walking Dead line?
My instant reaction when I was asked to come in for a signing for my Topps Walking Dead card was laughter, and I couldn’t believe it was true. My manager e-mailed me very nonchalant, and was like oh Topps reached out for you to do some signing with the Walking Dead and my ears perked up! They made a card of you and they want you to sign them, here’s how much they’re paying, do you want to do it? I just laughed and said are you serious? First of all, TOPPS is making a card of me? And they’re going to pay me to sign it??? I thought I’d lost my mind! Excited! Dream come true! Ridiculous happiness ensued!
The process of making my cards a reality wasn’t much of a process for me. I believe once you sign the contracts with Walking Dead they can do any type of advertisement with your image. I know I spoke with a few of the other cast members who have some cards out and they weren’t even aware of it. I think I would’ve been in the same boat, but they asked me to do a signing so that’s how I was aware that my face was going to be on a few trading cards! As for making the signing a reality, I had just got back from shooting a movie in South Africa for three months, and I told my managers and agents I was thinking about moving to NY for the summer to see some theater. They said go for it. While I’m in NY, my manager had set up the Topps signing and coincidentally they’re down by the Wall Street district and Freedom Tower down in Manhattan, so they set up a time, and I got to go sit in their Very nice offices and sign my cards for an hour! Loved it!
You signed autographs for the product. For fans and collectors who may not know, are there any challenges with doing those autograph cards?
I wouldn’t call them challenges, but with Topps, they were very specific about the pen that I signed with. They encouraged breaks, as well as practicing. They had me sign the cards in an order too. So, when it came to signing the printing plates or the 1/10s, 1/25s, etc. My autograph was already warmed up. Very cool process and I loved every minute of it!
Did you ever collect any trading cards or memorabilia growing up or from any of your roles?
ABSOLUTELY! I was a big collector of trade cards, memorabilia growing up and yes I try to have a keepsake from each project I work on. So one of my very first autographs I was given, was from my grandmother! My mother, and the rest of her family grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina, and they attended Laney High School at the same time Michael Jordan was there. My grandmother was a guidance counselor of sorts to Michael, my mother knew him, and my uncle played pick-up with him! So when I was old enough to understand, my grandmother gave me a program that he had signed that was a Welcome Back Michael kind of thing after he had gone to the University of North Carolina! So I have a coffee stained program signed by Michael when he was in college. She also has some year books, and my uncle has his ’84 USA TEAM gym bag, airline tags and all! From there I always wanted a Michael Jordan rookie card, but never paid the price for it. I collected all through middle school and high school. Basketball being my main focus, jersey cards, autographs, etc. My little brother and I have quite a collection in an attic SOMEWHERE (I have no idea where). I later worked for the Detroit Pistons in high school and college so the autographs we got there I’ll keep for life as well. Kobe Bryant jersey, Ben Wallace’s shoes, LeBron James, Tiger Woods and many more.
Also one more quick story. We were home visiting some time a few years ago, and the Charlotte Bobcats (at the time) were having a practice at UNC Wilmington, and my brother wanted to go. There was a good chance Michael Jordan was going to be there, and I think it was free so we all piled in the car and went. I remember Emeka Okafor was playing for them at the time, and I look over and Michael Jordan was sitting across the court from us watching them scrimmage! Now this is a pretty small college gym. The entire place was packed because his Airness was there. They were chanting WE LOVE SPACE JAM (clap, clap, clap, clap, clap). It was hilarious! Michael was laughing and it was a good time. He had a clear ring of security around him however so I wasn’t holding my breath that I’d meet him. My mother, on the other hand, wanted to see her high school friend, and there’s not much that will stop my mother! At the end of the first scrimmage, quarter, whatever it was, my mom grabs me and says come on. So she and I walk around the court and go directly to the section where he’s sitting and as we are walking over, MICHAEL JORDAN spots my MOM and nods to security that we’re good to come say hello! WHAT?! So, my mom shimmies her way past all the fans and security and he hugs and kisses my mom on the cheek. I lose it. My mom’s the coolest and he shakes my hand and introduces himself and I’m just in awe. So that was the time I met Michael Jordan, the true reason I’m a huge autograph/memorabilia collector!
Are you keeping or collecting any of your cards?
YES YES YES! I would love to have one of everything that Topps made, but it’s hard! I remember when I had the request sent to do the signing, I asked my manager if he would ask for me to be able to take 50-100 home. He did, but Topps let me have one! I respect that they only make so many and so many of them were numbered so I get it, but this whole last holiday season, I was on eBay buying buying buying my own autographed cards and In-memoriams for holiday gifts for friends and family. I thought it was too cool. So I bought autographs for my parents, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins! Everyone got an autographed card/In-memoriam card autographed. I think this is the last year I’m doing any work related gifts. Haha!
As for what I’m keeping. I am trying to collect all of the different kinds of In-Memoriam cards (I have mud/50, sepia/10, mold/25, rust/99, and maybe one more) I’m also trying to collect an autographed one in all of those variations as well, However my favorite that I bought on eBay last month is the Yellow Printing Plate! It’s my favorite, well that one and the one I got to keep from the signing are in a safe place!
TWD has had an incredible fandom all its own. How would you say being part of its cast has affected your career from a memorabilia and autograph standpoint?
The Walking Dead’s fandom is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. It’s awesome! The way that it’s affected my career from a memorabilia and autograph standpoint is that I’m now signing stuff for fans, where before I wasn’t. Every few months I’ll get some fan mail and a request to sign a picture for someone and that’s very cool. Once in a while, it will be for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but the main thing people want signed is TWD! I always love the letters and messages that these fans send. As for the conventions, I’ve done one signing. I’d like to do more and I’ll be at a few this year if schedules work! It was awesome to meet fans of the show, and to field some questions and talk about my experience on the show! It’s such a phenomena! It’s been a great experience so far!
What is the strangest thing anyone has ever asked you to autograph?
I haven’t had too many strange autograph requests yet. I guess the weirdest thing someone has asked me to autograph would be someone else’s headshot, or a show that I hadn’t worked on. I mean I’ve signed napkins and things like that! But no body parts or anything too weird yet.
I’ll get you out of here on this. When can we expect you to grace our screens in the future?
Thanks! This was awesome. As for future screens you can catch me on, I have two movies coming out this year 2018. The Leisure Seeker, January 19th, I have a scene with Donald Sutherland, and Helen Mirren (she was nominated for a Golden Globe for this performance!) And I will have a fun part in Johnny Knoxville’s new summer comedy Action Point hitting theaters May 11th!
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