It’s difficult to refer to 5FINITY as a new trading card company, after all they keep releasing sets that sell out within days if not hours. Their product format is being emulated by other manufacturers who are hoping to catch lightening in a bottle the way 5FINITY has — after a handful of releases they’ve forever innovated the hobby. . . it’s hard to refer to them as a new company, indeed.
Still, after all of these releases, and the impact to the hobby many collectors aren’t all that familiar with 5FINITY, so we asked 5FINITY to chat with Webjon a bit, and they obliged. Here are a few questions I had for Steve Frank, president of 5FINITY:
5FINITY’s releases are incredibly eclectic, how are licenses chosen to become a 5FINITY product?
We try to select properties that have built-in fan bases which have not had trading card treatment in a long time, if ever. Since our releases are rather limited, it is well served to go after niche type properties. But, we also think the properties have to be fun for the collectors and the artists.
Your releases have been coming out at a blistering pace since the Archie series, do you plan on maintaining a frequent release schedule for the foreseeable future?
We offer, on average, a standard product release twice a quarter. For the second half of this year, we only have two standard releases, one that came out today and one in October. We also have our annual March of Dimes charity release, but that is a premium release and not for the average collector, so to speak. So, combined with the fact that most of our releases are under 1,500 packs, we think the pace is just right. If the market dictates otherwise, we will heed the shift and act accordingly.
Congratulations on your comic book releases! How did you take your product from sketch series into a full blown comic book?
The success of our sketch card property, Zombies vs Cheerleaders, warranted more sketch cards, but we didn’t want to do another standard ZvC release so quickly. Moonstone, a comic publisher that we showcased in a sketch card series called Moonstone Maximum and featuring characters from their library, like The Phantom, Buckaroo Banzai and Domino Lady, agreed to let us produce the comic ourselves, using artists that have worked with us on sketch card products, and Moonstone publishes it. When we offer the comic, we offer the sketch cards as an incentive, so now we can produce a fun comic title and still get ZvC sketch cards out there about once a quarter in small quantities and by different artists. Each ZvC sketch card release from the comics are different as far as the card design goes, too.
What other collectible lines would you like to see featuring 5FINITY licenses?
I think a ZvC movie starring me and Scarlett Johanssen would be awesome. At least it is when I play it out in my head over and over, every day, LOL. No, seriously, you asked about collectibles. I think McFarlane Toys would make great figures.
It’s obvious when you watch releases sell out in hours that collectors and dealers love 5FINITY. . . how do you feel 5FINITY has been received by the other publishers in the industry?
I don’t know. We are a small blip in the trading card industry, for sure. Topps probably thinks we are a Japanese car brand, but I get that. We just want to offer another option in the most distinct way possible, high quality at outstanding value for properties that don’t get as much love. I mean, Voltron was featured on not one, but two series of Reebok sneakers in the last few years, but they have never had a trading card series except for the Topps tattoos in the 80’s. Shouldn’t Voltron have sketch cards? That’s our thinking. But, to Topps’ credit, they have to cater to the masses, like the Star Wars and LOTR fans. There aren’t as many Voltron fans to warrant Topps doing it. That is where we come in.
Seemingly after seeing the success of 5FINITY’s format Sad Littles and Breygent planned releases of similarly packaged and priced products, how do you feel about the imitation?
We didn’t invent and develop sketch cards, companies have been doing it for over a decade. We just did it differently, so if others want to jump in, who can blame them? The difference is we hope to do it the best and I think we do. Everything else will work itself out if we manage that.
What is the most exciting thing collectors can expect from 5FINITY in the next six months?
We have the most dynamic line-up of artists compiled for our upcoming charity release, The Female Persuasion, which features Sabrina the Teenage Witch from Archie Comics, as well as other characters from our previous releases. After that, we have a sketch card series based on Hack/Slash, one of the most popular indie comic titles out right now. Our first release of 2011 will be exciting. It is a popular comic property that has been around for almost two decades and it has a huge fan base. As it turns out, other card companies have been inquiring about it, but the licensor sees how well we treat the properties we have done in regards to the aforementioned quality and value. We will be announcing it in a week or so, so check out our websites. [start with www.5FINITY.com -Jon]
What are the chances we’ll see that classic A-Team set I was practically begging for on Webjon a few weeks ago? How about Mandy 2?
We thought about classic A-Team when we worked with Mr. Cannell last year on Greatest American Hero. Due to the movie coming out, it wasn’t a good fit, but who knows? P’ups: Pin-ups & Puppies was a quasi-sequel to Mandy, but without inundating the collectors with all Mandy. We might do another Mandy release in 2011, but it will have a different spin on it.
Can I get a job at 5FINITY?
Do you have to get paid, LOL?
Thank you, Steve for taking the time to chat with me, and for all the great products you’ve released! Webjon readers — if you have any questions at all for 5FINITY leave a comment or email and we’ll get ‘em answered in our next interview!