Thursday, March 01, 2012

Complete Set Chronicles: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter: Ascent of Man

Allen & Ginter is known for some interesting (and borderline crazy) inserts over the years - but I don't think anyone expected something like the Ascent of Man set to be included.  The 26 card insert set featured full-bleed pictures that when places side-by-side formed a 26 card mural!


The Prokaryotes begin the set as they are thought to be the first living organisms (according to the back of the card).   The card looks more like it belongs in a biology textbook than a pack of baseball cards...


The final card in the set is Homo Sapiens Sapiens (also known as modern man).  For some reason, every single time I look at this card I think the guy is relieving himself in the street...

Card design:

As I mentioned at the top of the post, the design of the Ascent of Man is marked by two unique properties:  Full bleed images and the fact that the cards form a mural when placed side-by-side.  I've often thought a mural type set would be kind of cool - more so for 9 cards at a time (so you'd see a different mural on each page of a binder)...and seeing the Ascent of Man set in person convinces me that a mural-based set could be quite interesting if done right.  


Given all the political correctness in the world, I found it a bit interesting that Topps included President George W. Bush in the base set without a democratic counterpart and that Topps included the Ascent of Man insert set without a creationism counterpart.  As it turned out, Topps is included a People of the Bible inset set in the 2012 set (perhaps as an answer to the 2011 set's critics)?


I like the design and creativity that when into the set.  I didn't like that the set was 26 cards in size (seriously, you couldn't add one more to make the set fit nicely in three binder pages)?  It would have been excusable if the set was used for the Ginter code - 26 cards, 26 letters but that didn't seem to be the case so there are no excuses for the lousy set number.  As much as I like the concept of the set design, I can't get overly fired up about the set (probably it's too many monkeys and not enough variety though that is as much a limitation of the subject matter as it is the designer's lack of originality).  Overall, I give the set a 6.5/10.

For those that want to see the set in its entirety, here it is:


Anonymous said...

I mostly agree that they could have done it to fit 9-page binders - I don't know where most people could string out 26 cards in a row other than their floor. Plus, might as well add the 27th to fit 3 binders, for sure!


Scott Fendley said...

A. Science! (I like this insert set but not enough to break my insert set chasing rule as part of my manifesto.)

B. I keep hearing Pete Shelley's "Homosapien" in my head when looking at that dude.

C. My daughters would love this set, since they think science is cool. For fourth and first graders, i think I did something right.

D. "Good heavens, Miss Takomoto, you're beautiful!"


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