P’ups. . . Pin-ups and Puppies. . . the concept certainly isn’t obvious, if you look at the heritage of P’ups you’ll see that it was born from success of 5FINITY’s Mandy set. Mandy is a pin-up gal who frequents the pages of men’s magazines with her dog Skoots. By current standards Mandy was a slow starter — it took a week for 5FINITY to sell out of the product, but after that week the prices for cards and packs exploded. While 5FINITY’s previous releases were all successful Mandy was a phenomenon, and likely the turning point for 5FINITY as releases since Mandy tend to sell out in hours rather than days lead by massive collector orders as well as dealer speculation.
As a follow up of sorts to Mandy 5FINITY created P’ups featuring scantily clad babes and their puppies, and this set is loaded from all angles. The artist line up is excellent, the chase packs feature everything from rare artist cards to commission cards to sketches of Mandy by her creator Dean Yeagle, and on top of that 5FINITY created a contest — collect all 50 dog breeds and get a master set of sketches. I figured this would be in the same vein as a McDonalds Monopoly contest where there would be 1 super rare dog breed and thus 1 master set given away, but no — 5FINITY turned things up another notch making it actually possible to put sets together — 14 are mathematically possible from what I hear, although they don’t think they’ll get that many. The company was also astute enough to realize they shouldn’t just crank out an extra few hundred P’ups sketches as that would potentially screw all the people who were collecting the set so the master set sketches will be on a different card stock — everyone wins!
Let me repeat that in case you missed it. 5FINITY actually pays attention to the industry/collectors and cares about what happens after they produce a set — they care about their customers.
I loved Mandy. It was my top pick of 2009. There were a few reasons I loved Mandy, first the art was exceptional, second it was a good value, finally — and most importantly I knew what I was getting in almost every pack — Mandy. Now, I never followed Mandy before the cards came out, in fact I still don’t follow Mandy at all, but I really liked that I knew what the character should look like and I was able to see various artists interpretations of the character and what she might be doing. I ordered a lot (by my standards) of P’ups based on my enjoyment of Mandy — plus 10% of the sketches in P’ups were of Mandy and Skoots, so it was a win-win, right?
The packs arrived, and I was a little anxious after shelling out a bunch of money for packs of a product based on Pin-Ups and Puppies . . . the concept still hadn’t gelled with me. I popped open the envelope and pulled out my incentive card — it was a really nice Benjamin Glendenning sketch of some random hot chick and 2 puppies. I was off to a great start, and late to lunch with my co-workers so I stashed the packs until after lunch wondering what surprised awaited. . . so far P’ups was good to me.
Once I returned I thumbed through all the packs picking out my lucky number, I slid my finger up the side of the pack and pulled out the sketch. . . I looked down to see a card that gave me that sick feeling in my stomach. . . there was nothing pin-up about the card, and the quality was far below what I’ve come to enjoy from 5FINITY. I swallowed hard and stuffed everything back in the envelopes to open more later.
When later came I opened pack after pack and I wasn’t disappointed in another card out of all 25 packs I opened. Even though I started with a dud the overall quality of the art in the set is excellent. I pulled a couple of chase packs, a couple of Mandy cards and overall was . . . satisfied.
P’ups isn’t Mandy, and I didn’t expect it to be, but after looking through all the cards the concept of Pin-ups and Puppies just doesn’t work for me. I don’t care about the puppies, and the pin-ups are just random babes so that cohesive element (Mandy) that kept me interested in *all* of the Mandy cards doesn’t exist here. I will collect some artists because they did excellent work, and I’ll collect others who have done cool themes with their cards like Leak’s caricatures and Dekraker’s space girls, and of course I’ll attempt to pick up Mandy cards here and there, but this set didn’t leave me craving more like Mandy did.
Don’t get me wrong P’ups is a great set — I mean . . . what do you judge a set on?
Quality — this set has excellent quality.
Value (at release date) — amazing, $14 for a great sketch — you can’t go wrong.
Content — It definitely delivers what it promises.
Those attributes certainly make it one of the top releases so far this year.
What would I change? More themes or less dogs. . . several artists had great themes — like Dekraker and Leak as mentioned, or like Frankie B Washington — his cards have a retro vibe and are very cool. Or give me an identifiable pin-up girl that I can collect across the individual artists.
I’d also get more cards in the hands of collectors. I’ve heard complaints from a few collectors about the prices dealers are slapping on some of these cards. Thankfully it seems that collectors have refused to pay outrageous prices for these as the prices have already dropped back to a reasonable level after an initial spike.
What would I keep the same. . . the quality of the art . . . no real room for improvement here. The price point, the small release size.
Thank you to 5FINITY for another great set, and thank you to all the small press manufacturers out there who are shaking it up in the industry and truly creating interesting products.