As new product has finally begun to reach store shelves, collectors are seeing two new styles of Star Wars action figure cardbacks. In celebration of the release of The Black Series and Saga Legends series, From 4-LOM to Zuckuss is taking you on a brief look back at the different cardback styles of yesterday and today.
1) “Classic” Style
The “classic” style of cardback (established in 1978) set the standard for Star Wars action figure cardbacks with its rectangle 9” x 6” shape. This is the only style of cardback that does not feature a J-hook type hanger but instead an isolated peg hole. This is the most widely used and most popular style of cardback.
Series to feature this style: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Power of the Force, Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO, Ewoks, The Original Trilogy Collection, The Saga Collection and The Vintage Collection.
2) “Corner Art” Style
The style debuted with The Power of the Force 2 series in 1995. It features a character in the upper left front of the card and varies from the “classic” style as it contours to the featured character art. Other than the contoured corner this style still maintains the “classic” 9” x 6” shape. It also introduced the modern series use of the proper J-hook hanger.
Series to feature this style: The Power of the Force 2, Shadows of the Empire, The Expanded Universe, Episode 1 and The Power of the Jedi.
3) “Modern Classic” Style
Hasbro in a manner of speaking returned to the “classic” style of cardback in a couple of series over the years with a very basic rectangle of 9” x 6”. There are two points which differentiate this style from the “classic”: deeper, more rounded corners and use of the J-hook.
Series to feature this style: Star Wars “Saga”, Clone Wars, Clone Wars “Animated”* and The Original Trilogy Collection.
* The animated series has two slightly different corners but overall the same spirit of this style.
4) “Helmet” Style
Revenge of the Sith introduced collectors to an entirely different style of card. It consisted mostly of Darth Vader’s helmet. This style would be revisited three years later with Clone Trooper and Stormtrooper helmet-themed cardbacks. These card’s profiles vary from the “classic” as the whole top halves are contoured to their respected helmet. Despite heavy contouring these cardbacks still measure pretty close to the “classic’s” dimensions.
Series to feature this style: Revenge of the Sith, The Legacy Collection and The Clone Wars.
5) “Angular Modern” Style
This style is close to resembling the “modern classic” style but instead of curved edges a more straight-lined angular design was used. Its dimensions come in at 9” x 6”.
Series to feature this style: The Saga Collection.
6) “Left Geometric” Style
Hasbro expanded on its use of angles to create a very geometric looking cardback. This cardback pioneered a feature that is still seen today; the extreme J-hook. The extreme J-hook can be defined as the top of the cardback looking and acting literally like a hook. In this specific style the J-hook is left facing and features “classic” 9” x 6” dimensions.
Series to feature this style: The 30th Anniversary Collection.
7) “Right Geometric” Style
Hasbro repeated itself with a couple of twists for this style. Twist number one is minor and consisted of simply moving its extreme J-hook to be right facing. Twist number was a much larger departure as for the first time in 31 years Hasbro changed the dimensions of its basic action figure line. These cardbacks now measure in at 8.25” x 5.5”.
Series to feature this style: The Legacy Collection and The Clone Wars.
8) “Curve” Style
This style repeats the “right geometric’s” dimensions and extreme J-hook design elements but with a softer edge. This style does away with the hard angles and features long curved edges.
Series to feature this style: Movie Heroes “TPM 3-D” & “Yoda”, and The Clone Wars “TPM 3-D” & “Yoda”.
9) “Micro” Style
In 2013, Hasbro took Star Wars action figure cardbacks down to the smallest they’ve ever been: 7” x 5”. This style features a more normal J-hook and mirror the “corner art” design of the ‘90’s.
Series to feature this style: Saga Legends.
10) “Tower” Style
The “micro” cardback was not the only drastic style released in 2013. Hasbro also put forth the “tower” cardback which featured a unique slender style. This style was created by keeping the “classic” 9” height and combining it was the very narrow 4.75” width. This style also features the extreme J-hook.
Series to feature this style: The Black Series.