There are just too many goddamned Topps sets and subsets and inserts and parallels and who can keep up. Looking at the line-up of Topps sets last year feels exactly the same as when I looked at an N64 controller for the first time. And seriously, Nintendo. The little joystick in the middle? Was that actually a joke? Did it ever get used? Even in Goldeneye, I don’t think I figured out how to use that dumb controller. The PlayStation controller I totally understood. It makes sense, there’s a reason it’s the jumping off point for all other controllers. But Nintendo, seriously, the N64 controller was the most baffling thing I had to contend with as a young man.
Topps sets are that confusing to me as well. Flagship has 43 insert sets just of the 1985 design. How do I handle that?
Simple, I go to GameStop and buy a PlayStation.
For me, I think the PlayStation in this case is Bowman. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Bowman is a Topps label brand. But it’s Paul-friendly. I get it. 13 different sets, and a couple of them I know right out of the gate I don’t need to worry about. Sure, there are a lot of inserts & parallels, but not nearly as many as in the Topps prime family of releases. The sets are also smaller by half (source: wildly unscientific comparison). But, what I like most about the Bowman cards is that they’re not taking every opportunity to retread vintage designs.
I love the classic 70’s and 80’s Topps designs, but I don’t need Topps to make sure that every player who ever got issued a cap gets on an ’87 wood border card. That’s why we have guys out there like Cards That Never Were and Topps Cards That Never Were. I’ve always been a Topps fanboy. As a kid I started by collecting Topps and just kinda always preferred Topps to other manufacturers. But I think I need to shift gears. If I’m going to jump into buying packs and collecting sets and just being around collecting again, I think I’m going to focus on Bowman. Sure, Topps still ends up getting the money, but that’s fine, it’s not a protest, it’s not a boycott, I’ve just finally found my particular lane in the game.