Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Pack From The Past- Bloom County Chromium

I was going through some of my storage boxes looking for a set I collected in the 90s that I planned on writing about, I found the cards I was looking for but I also found a handful of long forgotten packs that I had opened around the same time and stored them all together.
Sometimes you forget about some of those sets that came out in the 90s when companies were setting the printing presses to high speed and it seemed like every guy with access to a printer was creating card sets hoping to cash in on the gold rush.
Being a child of the 70s & 80s I spent my Sunday mornings reading through the comics. The one section a kid could pull out of a newspaper and for one day feel like an adult, reading “our own” newspaper. Bloom County was a favorite, once I finally began to understand Berkeley Breathed’s humor I felt grown up. Breathed often covered subjects you would not expect from a comic strip like politics, culture, depression and mental health, war and even death and religion. His strips ran the entire decade before he decided to stop but then he moved on to Outland, which was a spin-off but a little more outlandish in the environment.
One company that jumped on the popularity of Bloom County and Outland, Krome Productions, created a set based on the storylines from the comic strips. The cards were chrome, obviously, and seemed almost random. The set contained a 100-card base checklist and two inserts, Holochrome and Stickers. There were actually subsets within the base set, multiple cards that would follow a certain theme (like Photos from Milo’s Scrapbook), multi-panel cards and puzzle cards.

The Holochrome cards were strikingly similar to Topps Finest cards and each contained one of the main characters from the comic strip. I did not pull any of these inserts, this image was pulled from eBay.
The stickers were a parallel of the individual base cards but not of the multi-panel or puzzle base cards. As best as I can find there are roughly 60 stickers. The stickers were also chrome but they were thinner than the base cards and the backs contained “Bloom County Outland” multiple times down the back instead of the standard base card back.
The set was released in 1995 and even though the packs are marked as “Premier Edition!” this was actually the only product released. You can still find boxes and individual cards selling on eBay with boxes running around $35-45 on average, most base cards sell for a couple of dollars and the Holochromes and Promo cards a little bit higher.
I picked up this pack in a dollar bin at a card show at the Tacoma Dome in 1999, back when card shows were still relevant to the hobby and there were hundreds of dealer tables and thousands of collectors working their way from table to table. This was the last show that I attended; I dragged my pregnant wife (bad call) and met the Product Manager from Pacific Trading Cards who helped me ID a Steve Largent card I pulled out of a pack a few years earlier that was not supposed to be packed out. Pacific was headquartered out of Lynnwood, about 45 minutes up I-5 from Tacoma. She invited me to take a tour of their offices and warehouse but sadly I never was able to make it work with my schedule.
Here is what the backs looked like, the vertical backs had a slightly different coloring than the horizontal backs but they otherwise were the same.


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