Work on Fleer Ultra X-Men ’95 began immediately after the release of Fleer Ultra X-Men ’94. Unlike ’94, all editorial duties including commissioning paintings, trade dress, packaging design, card design, character selection and copy would be handled in house by John Taddeo, Fleercorp Director of Marketing.
Fleer Ultra X-Men ’95 featured a Base Set of 150 cards each showcasing never before seen original painted artwork by fantasy industry giants Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell (Julie & Boris’ Website), and Dave DeVries.
Over 160 individual paintings were commissioned for this release. Artists were provided character “Style Guides” for each subject. Artists would submit penciled sketches of each painting for approval. The original paintings for this set ranged in size from 8″x10″ to as large as 3 feet by 2 feet.
Sales Incentive Cards / Chase Cards
Pack Insert: Capcom X-Men Mutant Apocalypse
Sinister Observation Chromium Cards : 1-10
Fleer was the first company to market and promote “Editorial Theme Content” to their incentive card sets. In “Sinister Observations” – a ten card chromium chase set – fans are treated to a glimpse of the secret files and thoughts of the evil ‘Mister Sinister, a genetically altered super villain in the X universe, voted the #29 comic book villain of all time by IGN. The character is telepathic, and a scientific genius, with expertise in the fields of biology, genetics, cloning, physics and engineering. The character is a master manipulator and planner, with decades of genetic research at his command. The editorial content of this chase set was an additional factor to the exclusive art driving sales.
Hunters & Stalkers Powerblast Cards : Rainbow 1-9 of9
Continuing the concept of creating “Insert Sets” based on editorial content, Hunters & Stalkers was created featuring X family tough guys, bith heroes and villains. The original name of this set was “Hunters & Killers.” It was toned down to “Stalkers” at the last moment. The set consisted of nine cards randomly inserted in packs. The “Hobby” version featured silver based cards, while the Walmart Exclusive version featured gold based cards.
The exclusive deal with Walmart helped Fleer sell thousands of additional cases, and more importantly created an outlet where fans in locations without hobby shops could purchase their cards.
Silver (Jumbo) 1-9 of9
Gold (Wal-Mart) (1/pk) 1-9 of9
Suspended Animation Cel Cards : 1-10 of10
In 1995 the hottest cartoon on the Saturday morning dial was X-Men Animation. To capitalize on the success of the animated series John and the team at Fleer created “Animation Cel” cards. Printed 4/4 on clear plastic these cards resembled collectable animation cels. The idea of animation cels being valuable collectables had been around for years. These cards immediately capitalized on that perception, skyrocketing sales of Fleer Ultra ’95 packs and boxes. These cards commonly sold for $10-$15 per card in the aftermarket, and were displayed for sale in showcases and cardholders in hobby shops worldwide.
Fleer Ultra Prints (Case Insert)
To drive retailer case purchases, the team included a”Case Insert Pack-in” of a complete set of “Fleer Ultra Prints. These were over-sized cards of Bishop, Cable, Cyclops, Fall of the Mutants, Gambit, Iceman, Jean Grey, Mr. Sinister, Random, and Wolverine. Retailers would commonly sell the set very quickly for $50-$100, thus reducing their overall product cost.
Mail In Trading Card Album Binder Offer
To get fans exited about the upcoming X-Men ’95 release, the Fleer team utilized various promo cards as giveaways in hobby and mass market outlets, industry trade magazines (both bind-in and poly-bagged) and trade shows.
Dealer Sales Folder
A Dealer Release Folder containing product information including Sell Sheets, Checklist, Product Feature Sheet, Product Fact Sheet, Survey Sheet and product samples was created and distributed to key retailers, and retailers attending the yearly retailer trade show.