Last Updated: February 25, 2019 ...
Rittenhouse - Avengers
Rittenhouse - History of Marvel
Rittenhouse - Dangerous Divas
The sketch cards are divided into TWELVE Galleries.
Note: To see the updates for each of the Galleries, go to that Gallery's update section.
The Galleries can be viewed, by clicking the links under Sketch Cards ...
So enjoy the sketchagraphs and other sketch cards!!
Thanks for visiting my Gallery of the Sketchagraphs that I have collected over the past several years. Sketchagraph is a term coined by Fleer/Skybox in 1997 to describe "chase" cards that were inserted into packs of some of their Marvel-related trading cards. These "chase" cards were not the typical mass-produced reproduction of some artwork, but each is an actual hand-drawn piece of artwork, done in pencil or pen or both, sometimes by an artist in the comic-book field !! The card is initially produced as a "blank format" by the card company. An assigned number of blanks is then sent to each artist. The artist draws on the blanks, and then sends them back to the card company, who later inserts them "randomly" into the packs. So in theory, every one of them is different, though in many cases, some artist drew "essentially the same" image over and over again. However, in those cases where an artist only drew an image once, those sketchagraphs (or sketch cards) are considered "unique", and that makes them even more "collectible" and/or "valuable", among us sketchagraph collectors.
I mainly collect the sketchagraphs that were produced in 1998 for Skybox's 'Marvel, The Silver Age' (MSA) series. Sketchagraphs in this series were inserted at 1 per box. This series focused on the Marvel comics, characters and artists from my childhood, back when I collected ALL of the Marvel titles. Since there were 11 autographers in this card set, 10 of which did sketchagraphs, my goal was to get at least one sketchagraph from each of those signers. Also, there were five "modern" artists that also drew sketchagraphs for this series. I decided to get at least one from each of them. As you will see, I got "carried-away", and for the most part, I got more than one sketch from each of these fifteen artists .
Over the past few years, I have added other sketchagraphs. In 1998, Skybox also released the 'Marvel Creators Collection' (MCC) series. Sketchagraphs in this series were inserted at 1 per box. The sketchagraphs for this series were drawn by a "large number" of current artists in the comics' field, and varied widely in quantity, characters, style and "quality". I added some of those sketches that I deemed had a "Silver Age" look to them. In 2006, I added a whole page of ones for Silver-Age villains because they "looked cool". Then in 2007, I added a whole page of Spider-Man related ones !! .
I also decided to try to get some of the sketchagraphs from the first ever card series that had them, Fleer's 1997 release of 'Ultra Spider-Man' (FUSM). These were limited to 1 per 10 boxes, and had a mixture of current artists, as well as Silver Age artists. At first, I got some with a Silver Age character on them, but later, since they were so hard to find and procure, I added FUSM's that I liked "art-wise".
Other Marvel Comics Sketch Card Releases
|Date||Title / Link||Comments|
|April 2001||Marvel Legends||In 2001, Topps got the Marvel comics trading card license, and they came out with the ML series. They called their hand-drawn sketch cards "Custom Covers", and were inserted at 1 per box. There were nine variations (characters) of the blank Custom Covers. Topps was the first to define "rarity levels"
for their sketch cards, based on how many sketches each assigned artist did, and thus had inserted into the packs. In theory, the fewer sketches a certain artist did, than the "higher level" his sketches were, and thus more sought-after, and thus pricier, than those at "lower level". |
As with MCC and FUSM, I decided to collect the Custom Covers that had a Silver Age look to them. As it turned-out, I got only ones that showed Jack Kirby originated characters.
NOTE: In December of 2007, since I had a few "common" ML sketches that had "no home" in my collection, and since I realized that there were nine variations of the blank Custom Covers for the Hobby boxes, I decided to make a 9-pocket showing an example of each Custom Cover.
|Fall 2003||The Incredible Hulk||Topps made a card set for IH03. The sketch cards for these were the same Custom Covers format as they used in the Marvel Legends series, but these were extremely limited (and thus pricey) ... less than 1 per 20+ boxes !! |
I eventually managed to get at least one from each of the four artists for this series.
|October 2006||Marvel Heroes: The Complete Avengers||Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released a card set for MHCA. RA calls their sketch cards "Sketchafexes", and for this series, every sketchafex was colored !! There was one sketchafex per box. There were 50 "approved" Avengers-related characters for this set, but some artists included characters that were not on the "approved" list.
At first I was just going to collect ones that I deemed had a "Silver Age" look to them, or Silver-Age character, though you will see that I got a little bit carried-away with these, since I was able to complete both a Master Artist and Master approved-character sets.
|October 2007||Marvel Masterpieces: 2007||Upper Deck (UD) released a card set for MM07. To me the sketches for MM07 is very much like those for MCC98, where all characters in the Marvel Universe could be drawn, by a "large number" of current artists in the sketch card and comics' field, and varied widely in quantity, characters, style and "quality". My opinion as of this writing, is that aside from those from a few artists (and most of those few drew ony 1 - 20 sketches), these sketches are "not as good" as those for MCC98 !!|
In 2008, UD followed-up on the "relative success" of MM07, by releasing two more MM sets with even more sketches. The third set was "rushed onto the market" at the end of 2008 just before UD's license with Marvel expired.
|April 2008||Women of Marvel||Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released WoM, and basically ANY female whoever graced the pages of Marveldom was allowed, and there were IMHO some very obscure characters drawn !! As with prior releases, every sketchafex was colored !! There was one sketchafex per box.
I did NOT collect many of these sketches.
|April 2008||Iron Man Movie||Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released IMM. There were two types of sketches, those based on Iron Man as seen in the movie, (which I refer to as IMM sketches), and those drawn to represent Iron Man and related characters, as seen in the comics over the past 46 years. These latter sketches were on sketch cards titled 'Invincible Iron Man', which I refer to as 'IIM'. There was only one IMM or IIM sketchafex per approximately every FOUR boxes.|
|November 2008||Fantastic Four Archives||Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released a card set for FFA. As with prior releases, every sketchafex was colored !! There was one sketchafex per box. There were 55 "approved" FF-related characters for this set, but some artists included characters that were not on the "approved" list.
At first I was just going to collect ones that I deemed had a "Silver Age" look to them, or Silver-Age character, though you will see that I got a little bit carried-away with these too !!
|April 2009||X-Men Origins: Wolverine||Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released a set (XOW) based on the X-Men movie. There was only one sketchafex per approximately every 3 - 4 XOW boxes. There were only 5 approved characters for this set ... Wolverine, Deadpool, Sabretooth, The Blob and Gambit ... but some artists included characters that were not on the "approved" list.|
|July 2009||X-Men Archives||Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released XMA, based on the X-Men comics. Any character appearing in X-men comics was allowed. There was one sketchafex per box. Again, every sketchafex was colored !! |
For both of these X-Men releases, at first I was just going to collect ones that I deemed had a "Silver Age" look to them, or Silver-Age character, though you will see that I got a little bit carried-away with these too !!
|October 2009||Spider-Man Archives||Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released a card set for SMA, and was based on the Spider-Man comics. Any character appearing in Spider-Man comics was allowed, but since Spider-Man has teamed-up-with or fought almost every character in the Marvel Universe, it seems as though all characters were allowed ? Per their now usual format, every sketchafex was 1 per box, and colored !!
At first I was just going to collect ones that I deemed had a "Silver Age" look to them, or Silver-Age character, though you will see that (as usual) I got a little bit carried-away with these too !!
|April 2010||Marvel 70th Anniversary||Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released M70 which basically covered the entire Marvel Universe. As the name implies, the sketches were to show characters and events from Marvel's 70 years of existence. Per their now usual format, every sketchafex was 1 per box, and colored !!|
|October 2010||Marvel Heroes & Villains||
Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released MHV. The new concept here was that every sketch had to show at least two characters, and supposedly those two characters had to have some sort of connection in Marvel lore/history. Per their now usual format, every sketchafex was 1 per box, and colored !!
For these two 2010 releases, I decided to mainly collect ones that I deemed had a "historical perspective" i.e. told some part of the 'History of Marvel'. Of course I started-off looking for ones that represented the Silver-Age, but expanded to post-SA too. I mainly concentrated on my four now-favorite artists from these two releases, as a way of limiting the sketches I collected; though you will see that (as usual) I got a little bit carried-away with these anyway !!
|March 2011||Marvel: Dangerous Divas||Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released MDD, which I considered a "rehash" of their 'Women of Marvel' release from 2008. As with WoM, I collected "very few" of these sketches.|
|October 2011||Marvel Universe 2011||
Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released MU11 which again basically covered the entire Marvel Universe. Per their now usual format, every sketchafex was 1 per box, and colored !!
The original intent of this release was to highlight 10 of Marvel Comics' Crossover Events: The Korvac Saga, Secret Wars I, Fall of the Mutants, Age of Apocalypse, Heroes Reborn,Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, Shadowland, and Fear Itself. However, I felt as though only a small percentage of the artists drew sketches representing these Crossover events ... most were just "static character" sketches; so I only collected some that I deemed represented certain Crossover events.
|March 2012||Marvel's Greatest Heroes: The Avengers||Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released MGH, which was to coincide with the release of the Avenegrs movie, but the sketches was for the comics versions of Avengers characters and history. I collected "very few" of these sketches since I had already covered most of the characters in Complete Avengers.|
|October 2012||Marvel Premier||Upper Deck (UD) released what they call the most premium comic trading card release of all-time with MP. These exclusive packs has a suggested retail price of $200 each. Each pack contains five total cards, two of them is what we would consider a sketh card. The first is a "standard" sketch card representing one of 50 characters highlighted in this set. The second sketch card is an industry first which is either a dual, triple or quadruple multi-panel hinged sketch card. As of this date, I have not collected any of these sketch cards.|
|December 2012||Marvel Bronze Age||
Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released MBA which covered the entire Marvel Universe during what RA defined as the Bronze Age (1970 - 1985). Per their now usual format, every sketchafex was 1 per box, and colored !!
Since I had stopped collecting comics at the beginning of the Broze Age, I was not that familiar with the Bronze Age. I mainly collected MBA sketches that dealt with actual scenes from Marvel History, or were cover recreations / tributes.
Note - February 25, 2016: Over the past few years, the Marvel Comics sketch card market has become "flooded" by both Rittenhouse Archives and Upper Deck releases, to the point that both interest and value (thus collectibilty) has severely declined. It seems as though only the most popular of sketch card artists' sketches fetch what they did back in the 2006 - 2010 time frame. For that reason, I am no longer listing each new release by UD and RA individually, but will just list them below.
|Upper Deck releases with sketch cards||
|Rittenhouse Archive releases with sketch cards||
With the popularity of the Marvel sketchagraphs in 1998, other card companies, soon caught-on, and started adding hand-drawn sketch cards for their non-Marvel card series.
Note: Since 2006, with the growing-popularity ... and maybe some would say the over-saturation of the market ... of sketch cards, many other trading card series have included sketch cards. Rather than try to keep this section up-to-date with each of them, I am only going to comment on those I am personally interested in !!
In late 2007, Rittenhouse Archives (RA) released a card set for DC Legacy' (DCL). RA calls their sketch cards Sketchafexes, and for this series, every sketchafex was colored !! There was one sketchafex per box. There were 49 "approved" characters for this set, but some artists included characters that were not on the "approved" list. At first I was just going to collect ones to make pages for "Silver Age" JLA, JSA, Teen Titans, and some Czop's. You will see that once again, I got a little bit carried-away with these too !!
In 2008, the UK company Strictly Ink released 'Thirty Years of 2000 A.D.' There were sketch cards included in this release, showing various characters that have appeared over the years in the 2000A.D. comics. What is sort of interesting is that the original license for this product belonged to Cards Inc. and a few years ago, many of the sketches were originally drawn on Cards Inc. brown-border blank sketch cards. These sketches were stored for some time, after Cards Inc. went out of business. Their stock was bought by Strictly Ink in 2008. Since there weren't enough of the original brown-border sketches for Strictly's print-run, they produced their own blue-bordered blanks, and commissioned some of the same artists, and some others, to draw more sketches. Thus the sketch cards for this release comes in two styles of sketch cards. Since I like Judge Dredd, I collected some of these .
In 2011, Cryptozoic Entertainment (CE), staffed by many former Upper Deck employees, started producing trading cards. One of their 2012 releases was DC Comics The New 52 (N52), which is based on DC Comics 2011 relaunch of their entire DC Universe. Per RA's now usual format, for this CE release, every sketch card was 1 per box, and colored. I was not "too excited" about these sketches, so I only collected just 18 (2 pages) of them.
Note - February 25, 2016: sketch cards has also become a popular "insert"/"chase card" in many other non-sports non-comics sets, far too numerous for me to list each one. Since I don't "actively" collect those, I will no longer lists those types of sets.
If you have any comments, questions, want a more detailed scan, etc ... contact Ed Wong via the link Contact Me.