Monday, May 30, 2005

Inkworks Makes X-Files Connections

On June 1st, Inkworks will be releasing their latest card set focusing on the conspiracy-laden television phenomenon, The X-Files. The new set will be a part of their Connections line of cards and will cover all nine seasons of the show, tying in characters and events thematically across the show's entire story arc.

I recently spoke to the folks at Inkworks about the new set and how it was put together...

MIKE JOZIC: The show has been off the air since 2002 and all nine seasons have been represented with a card series. I’m curious why you chose to do another X-Files card set?

INKWORKS: Although The X-Files has been off of the air for a few years, it still has a large, passionate fan base. Those fans regularly contact us and ask when they can expect the next new trading card set. The nine seasons of The X-Files have been represented in card sets, but no single set has covered all of the seasons. There have also been rumors of a new movie, which has renewed interest in The X-Files.

JOZIC: Can you describe what the ‘Connections’ line is for anyone who may not be familiar with the product?

INKWORKS: The Connections line of Inkworks trading cards is an ultra-premium line. Every card in the base set is printed on foil board and embossed, so each card looks and feels like a chase card that a collector might find in a regular product. The theme of the product is focused on the various connections between characters throughout the seasons. Our previous two Connections products (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Connections and Charmed: Connections) were both sell-outs.

JOZIC: What is the process for selecting the images that are used on the card faces?

INKWORKS: We first determine the important connections that we want to cover in the set then we look for images that best illustrate those connections.

JOZIC: How involved are FOX or 1013 in the design of the set?

INKWORKS: FOX has been closely involved with the development of the set. They approve every card in the set and sometimes make suggestions to help improve the product. Ten Thirteen is no longer operating, so they are not as closely represented on this project as they have been on other X-Files sets. However, our writer for The X-Files: Connections is a former employee of Ten Thirteen and has written for previous X-Files trading card sets.

JOZIC: How difficult was it to squeeze 9 seasons of a series into a 72-card set?

INKWORKS: In this case, we aren’t trying to just squeeze nine seasons into a set, but nine seasons of character relationships into the set. It isn’t easy, but we have to decide what images and relationships are the best fit with this type of product release.

JOZIC: What will be featured on the parallel card set and how will it compliment the base set?

INKWORKS: The design and images on parallel set will be identical to the base set except that the cards will be numbered differently, they will be much less plentiful (1 per pack) and the foil will have a different look.

JOZIC: What kinds of bonus cards have been designed for the set?

INKWORKS: The X-Files: Connections will have several levels of randomly inserted bonus cards including: Parallel cards, “Mulder’s Secret Files” (nine card foil puzzle), “Haunting Cases” (six cards featuring memorable characters and cases), Pieceworks® Cards (two cards that feature pieces of actual costumes worn on-screen during The X-Files), and autograph cards signed by stars of The X-Files.

JOZIC: How do you decide on the kinds of bonus cards to include with your card sets?

INKWORKS: In each card set we create, we try to put together bonus cards that fit with the subject matter and that we think will appeal to fans of the series. Usually, a few options naturally evolve as we develop the set.

JOZIC: In the past, what have been some of the best received features of your X-Files sets?

INKWORKS: Autographs and Pieceworks cards are always very popular, but I think fans of the series have also appreciated the fact that Inkworks has delivered extensive episodic coverage of The X-Files in our season product releases.

JOZIC: I have to admit I'm kind of intrigued by the Pieceworks cards. Can you delve a little bit into how they're created and how many of these cards will be appearing in the set?

INKWORKS: The studio has given us two costumes for The X-Files: Connections - Scully's shirt (worn by Gillian Anderson) and Mulder's shirt (worn by David Duchovny). They have been cut into pieces and those pieces are then imbedded into a trading card. There will be three different cards available in The X-Files: Connections including PW1 - Scully's shirt, PW2 - Mulder's shirt and PW1-A, which is a Gillian Anderson autographed version of the card featuring Scully's shirt.

JOZIC: How long does it take to put a card series like this together?

INKWORKS: That's a tough question to answer. On the one hand, it takes a few months to create the design, select the images and print the cards. On the other hand, it takes a long time to get to know the property, to develop the product concept and build the relationships that are necessary to make it all happen.

JOZIC: At the time I first queried you for the interview autograph cards were still to be announced. Do you have any word on who may be participating now?

INKWORKS: 11 Different Autograph Cards featuring Gillian Anderson (Agent Dana Scully), Annabeth Gish (Agent Monica Reyes), Mimi Rogers (Agent Diana Fowley), Veronica Cartwright (Cassandra Spender), William B. Davis (Cigarette-Smoking Man), Tom Braidwood (Melvin Frohike), Dean Haglund (Richard ‘Ringo’ Langly), Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers), Nicholas Lea (Alex Krycek), Chris Owens (Jeffrey Spender), and Nick Chinlund (Donnie Pfaster).

JOZIC: Seeing as how the set spans all 9 seasons, what was your criteria when looking for X-Files actors to participate with the autograph cards?

INKWORKS: We are collectors and fans ourselves, so we try to line up autograph cards that we'd like to collect and that we think fans of the show would appreciate.

JOZIC: How difficult is it to arrange something like the autograph cards - especially when a show is several years off the air?

INKWORKS: It can be a challenging task. Sometimes there are actors who are difficult to locate, sometimes they are busy with other projects and sometimes actors simply choose not to autograph.

JOZIC: What is your personal favourite feature of the X-Files: Connections set?

INKWORKS: While the Gillian Anderson autographed Pieceworks card will be, without question, the most sought after card in the set, the feature that I like most about The X-Files: Connections set is the fact that every card in the base set is printed on foil. When a collector opens a pack, it is like they've pulled a pack filled with bonus cards.

JOZIC: On your website, you mention that there will be three boxloaders and 1 case loader. For someone unfamiliar with the trading card lingo - like me - what would those be?

INKWORKS: A box loader card is a card that is inserted loose into a box. A case loader card is a card that is inserted loose into a case. "Loaders" are traditionally considered retailer incentives, but many collectors now buy sealed boxes and cases.

JOZIC: Are you supporting the set with any promo cards, and if so, where will they be appearing?

INKWORKS: Yes, there will be several promo cards for the set. They will be available at a variety of outlets including trading card retailers, from the Inkworks booth at trading card and comic shows and from the Inkworks website.

JOZIC: If and when the second X-Files film gets off the ground, will you guys be there with a card set to support it?

INKWORKS: I'm sure that Inkworks would be interested in the license to produce trading cards featuring an X-Files movie.

JOZIC: Supposing the second X-Files movie doesn't happen, would this likely be the last X-Files trading card set, or do you think you'd try another one sometime in the future anyways?

INKWORKS: We don't have any X-Files products on our schedule at this time, but that doesn't mean that there won't be another one at some point in the future.

JOZIC: If I can ask a more business-centred question, the '90s was kind of a crazy time for collectables like comic books and trading cards, with everybody getting in on the action and doing more harm than good. In the last few years comic books have more-or-less levelled off – no longer on life-support but breathing naturally, you could say. How is the trading card business these days?

INKWORKS: The trading card industry is strong. The increased presence of the Internet, email and on-line services such as eBay and virtual retailers have changed the nature of the business, but the industry itself is as strong as ever. In fact, collectors have more access to products and information than ever before. For example, we are able to post information on our website and see collectors discussing it on message boards within minutes.

JOZIC: If there's anything else coming up for Inkworks that you'd like to plug, feel free to mention it here...

INKWORKS: Look for other new products from Inkworks including The Sopranos: Season One.


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