Marvel Masterpieces 1994 Edition Trading Cards by The Hildebrandt Brothers, cards #26-50

Marvel Masterpieces 1994 Edition was a set of trading cards released by Fleer that featured painted renditions of Marvel Comics’ characters as interpreted by celebrated fantasy artists the Brothers Hildebrandt. This batch features cards #26-50.

The original set comprised of 140 full colour trading cards measuring 2½ x 3½ inches that shipped in blind gold foil packs of ten cards per pack. Each card featured a painting on one side with a gold foil logo, along with a character bio and short caption by the brothers on the reverse. Along with the base set of 140 cards several chase sets were also inserted randomly into packs, including gold, silver, bronze and red holofoils.

The front cover to the 1976 J.R.R Tolkien Calendar — notice the misspelling of ‘illustrations’.

The Brothers Hildebrandt were twins Greg and Tim, born in Detroit in 1939. From an early age the twins shared a deep love of science-fiction movies and animation. After leaving school they worked as documentary film makers and dabbled in animation before turning to book cover illustration in the early 1970’s. Their big break came in 1975 when they were commissioned by Ballantine Books to provide 14 paintings for the 1976 J.R.R Tolkien Calendar. The calendar was a huge hit and became the best selling calendar of all time, propelling the brothers into the big leagues of fantasy art. In 1977 they provided both the cover and interior illustrations to Terry Brook’s novel The Sword of Shannara, the biggest selling fantasy novel of the 1970’s. That along with painting the Star Wars poster won the brothers worldwide fame and attention.

The Brothers Hildebrandt’s only novel, Urshurak.

Two more hugely successful Tolkien calendars followed in 1977 and 1978 before the brothers bowed out of the world of Middle-Earth to concentrate on their own fantasy project. Their novel Urshurak, written in conjunction with Jerry Nichols, was published in 1979 and also became a bestseller. The brothers planned to turn the novel into an animated film, but despite hundreds of storyboards and preparatory drawings being made the film failed to find a backer and the project faltered. In 1981 Tim and Greg went their separate ways: Tim concentrated on advertising work while Greg continued working as a book illustrator. They eventually reunited to work on this Marvel Masterpieces 1994 Edition trading card collection.

There are some great paintings in this second batch of cards. Fan favourites Daredevil (card #26), Deadpool (#28), Hawkeye (#49) and the Hulk (#50) all make an appearance, along with a somewhat sinewy Elektra (#34) and an evil looking Green Goblin (#44). I’m a great fan of both Deathlok (#29) and Ghost Rider (#42 and #43) and both are well represented here (although Deathlok‘s head is clearly too small). The Hildebrandt’s are masters of warm tones and fire effects and there are some great examples of both in this batch — Galactus (#40) presiding over an exploding planet is suitably awesome.

Here are cards #26-50 of the  Marvel Masterpieces 1994 Edition by the Hildebrandt Brothers, both front and back. I’ll post the next 25 cards in a week or so.

Card #26: Daredevil

Card #27: Darkhawk

Card #28: Deadpool

Card #29: Deathlok

Card #30: Demogoblin

Card #31: Dr Doom

Card #32: Domino

Card #33: Doom 2099

Card #34: Elektra

Card #35: Evilhawk

Card #36: Exodus

Card #37: Fin Fang Foom

Card #38: Firestar

Card #39: Nick Fury

Card #40: Galactus

Card #41: Gambit

Card #42: Ghost Rider

Card #43: Ghost Rider 2099

Card #44: Green Goblin

Card #45: Jean Grey

Card #46: Grim Reaper

Card #47: Guardian

Card #48: Havok

Card #49: Hawkeye

Card #50: Hulk

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