onsdag 23 november 2016

Swagic and denimwalk

Last weekend marked one of the more brag-worthy tournaments in casual Magic; the PWP Invitational.

One of the more amusing things with the Invitational is that the competitors travel from all over, hundreds of miles, to battle for no tangible reward. The only thing to show for that we even came is that it's the only tournament where each player gets to bring a card for the other participants to sign, and then keep it to play with. Player-signed cards are very rare in the northern European meta, and even though they are technically close to worthless, the player-signed cards in circulation are considered "bling" due to their implication of solid performance.

So why do we go? Because the people involved make it a great experience. I arrived in Arvika Friday night to stay with KungMarkus and his family for the weekend. Markus was also invited to the tournament, and this year it was to be hosted by Mällroth in Karlstad, a little less than an hours drive from Arvika. We spent the evening before the tournament catching up and playing The Haups Cube with Loff and Berntsson.
The deep end.
I could write about my experience at the Invitational. I could note how Mällroth gave everyone personalized score cards that doubled as whiskey lists, offering everybody free drinks from his ridiculous collection of fine spirits. But there's a report coming from the winner next week, and spoilers gonna spoil. I will tell you that the eight players competing had created vastly different archetypes to attack the format, and that my own creation ended up in the middle of the field, with a 9-9 record in duels.
MonoBlack Highlander-96.
But today, let's leave the Invitational for a while and look at some old school swag.
You know where this is going?
Back in 1993, the face of Magic was no planeswalker. It wasn't even a creature like Shivan Dragon or Serra Angel. The card that represented Magic was an inconspicuous vanilla 2/3.
The Minotaur was everywhere. Not only as the example creature in the original rule book, or in the ads for the game (before it was even released), but on the face of booster packs, as a huge statue at the WotC headquarters, and on promotional products. The honks I give about graded cards are few and far between, but the single graded card I own is an Alpha Hurloon Minotaur with the case signed by Anson Maddocks. It is iconic enough for me to justify having a card I can't play with.
As a part of the game's promotion in the mid 90's, WotC produced some Magic branded clothes. Among the more familiar ones might be the Vesuvan Doppelganger and Serra Angel t-shirts. But they didn't stop with t-shirts or backpacks. Among the real oddities of the 90's Magic swag are the denim jackets.

Now, regarding most Magic rarities, I usually have some idea of whom to ask or what to look for. Like when I looked at early Khalsa-Brain mats Japji Khalsa helped me out, and when I dug down on Summer Magic, I could ask the people who collected sets of the cards. I've asked Matt Tabak about flipping Chaos Orbs and Keith Adams about Garfield Alters. But for this I didn't really have a good starting point. Two well-known collectors at the Magic Librarities forum mentioned having Hurloon jackets in a forum thread from 2009, but judging from the discussion, even they weren't that certain about their origins nor distribution.

Beth Moursund maybe? Mark Rosewater? The only other person I know by name who owns one is Nicola Leonard-Beeson, an early Mtg artist who painted e.g. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale and Karakas.
Here seen showing off the jacket at her signing table.
So, these are pretty Swagic. After some lurking at collector forums and a little Google Fu with the Wayback Machine, this is what I've learned.
  • There are two different types of jean jackets with the Hurloon Mintaur embroidment. One is kinda terrible and the other one is swag as a swashbuckler.
The subjectively lame jacket. (The sweet one is the one that Nicola shows in the pic above.)
  • The Hurloon jackets weren't publicly available, but a handful were made for employees at WotC. They were nicknamed Hurly jackets.
  • In addition to the Hurloon jackets, there are two different Nightmare jackets. One black and one blue.
  • When Alexander Blumke won the second ever World Championships in '95, his prize was "a box of Legends boosters, a Hurloon Minotaur jacket, [and] a couple of Arabian Nights, Antiquities and Beta boosters". So the Hurloon jackets existed at least as far back as August 1995, and were considered a somewhat valuable prize even back then.
  • There exists a Hurloon petticoat, with the same embroidiment. It was made as a prototype. 
  • The Nightmare jackets were slightly more available, and a few were given to regional tournament organizers. There are e.g. reports of Nightmare jackets given out at Alliances pre-release tournaments in Northern California in 1996.
Mail from Beth Moursund to regional tournament organizers in April 1996.
That's about as far as my facts go. I've heard rumors that the Hurloon jackets were made sometime between late 1994 to early 1995. The Nightmare jackets were supposedly made slightly later, thought at the very latest in the spring of 1996. I've heard that all the jackets are very rare, but I have no idea how many were made or how many are in circulation. Some sources have stated that there also exists jackets with Jester's Cap and Shivan Dragon apart from the Hurloon and Nightmare ones. There are also rumors of some of the embroideries used on the denim jackets being put on leather jackets instead. But damn if I know. If you have any more info on these jackets, Hurloon, Nightmare or the rumored others, it would be cool to know.

Until then, I'll enjoy the early Christmas present I found and rock this swag at upcoming gatherings like it's 1995.
Intended use.

6 kommentarer:

  1. I don't know what to say about this.

    SvaraRadera
  2. hahaha super pimp! // Jhovalking

    SvaraRadera
  3. I dub thee "best read of the week"

    SvaraRadera
  4. LOL! Nice article! I have a Summer Minotaur too! Too iconic not to have :)))
    Valerio

    SvaraRadera
  5. I still have a Black Nightmare denim jacket. Got it from someone who I don't even think played MtG. No idea where he got it from.

    SvaraRadera