Look, it’s a weird, disappointing time right now. It’s getting colder and darker outside every day, but the holidays are right around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about gifts for those special people in your life. If you’re at all like me, you know more than a few frustrated creatives with a knack for self-sabotage who identified a little too much with the titular character of the 2013 Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis. If you’re even more like me, you’re perpetually hard-pressed for gift ideas. I may have found a solution: Inside Llewyn Davis trading cards!
Created by Chicago-based cartoonist and writer Stephen Winchell and New York/New Jersey-based writer and editor Grayson Davis, the Inside Llewyn Davis trading cards (“presented” by Topps!) are the perfect gift for all the cinephiles, folk music fans, and disheartened artists in your life. A 10-pack of cards will run you $5, postage-paid, with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, which is great!
We spoke with Stephen and Grayson about this project. If you’re interested in picking up a pack of your own, fill out this form and instructions will be sent along from there.
Brightest Young Things: How did the idea for this project come together?
Stephen Winchell: I was thinking about the scene between Llewyn and Jean in Washington Square Park, the one where she just rips into him, and for some reason the idea of putting it onto a trading card suddenly appeared. Taking this horrible scene with all of this horrible human complication and condensing it into a bombastic trading card made me laugh.
Grayson Davis: Steve Facebook messaged me and said, “Can you make a Topps card with this that says “Llewyn discovers she’s pregnant.”?” That’s literally it. Maybe Steve had a mystical dream.
SW: After we did one, we couldn’t help but make more.
BYT: Why Inside Llewyn Davis?
SW: It’s one of my favorite movies, I could joyfully rant about it for hours and hours and hours. It’s also something that maybe shouldn’t be a joke, but because of that, it works as a joke. Kind of like that Barton Fink gag in The Simpsons.
GD: It’s a great movie! We both love it. It’s very sad but it’s also a funny adventure, so a series of trading cards seems like a good fit for whatever weird reason. I hope nobody thinks we’re doing this ironically. Go see Inside Llewyn Davis if you haven’t.
BYT: What makes for a good Inside Llewyn Davis trading card? Iconic scenes? Memorable lines? One Perfect Shot?
SW: Grayson and I just reminisced about our favorite parts of the movie. Funny lines, poignant shots, important characters, if it stuck in our head we put it on a damn card.
GD: I feel like it’s fun to have a mix of iconic shots and more mundane scenes. The joke would wear out if every single card was a ridiculous punchline.
BYT: The cards look very nice, what was the production process like to get them printed?
GD: I created a card template in Photoshop from scratch, but it was easy to match the colors, textures, and fonts of the movie poster. After that, it was just cropping screenshots, creating print sheets, and doing a little color correction to make sure they printed well.
SW: After Grayson put them together in Photoshop, we had them printed on cardstock sheets at Kinkos. Then I used the paper cutter to trim ‘em all down. Then I ate at the IDOF on Belmont and it was just okay.
GD: Shout-outs to the boys at Kinkos for not ratting us out.
BYT: So this project incorporates a few different established properties (Topps, Inside Llewyn Davis), are you at all nervous about copyright issues?
GD: Not really. We’re not doing this to make money.
SW: I am absolutely nervous about copyright issues, but considering this is all for charity I think people will be a little more forgiving. At least, I hope so. Joel, Ethan, if you’re reading this, please be forgiving, and if you’re reading this I liked Hail, Caesar! a lot more the second time I watched it.
BYT: Can we expect a Series 2 after this initial run goes out of print? Perhaps a line of A Serious Man cards?
SW: I would be very tickled if other people started making similar cards, but we’ll be closing up shop after this. It’s an idea that’s super easy to let spin out of control (I mean, I’d love to do 100 Slings & Arrows cards), so I think it’s best to leave before it gets too diluted. I’d also hate to move away from the ultimate heart of this project, which is a deep love for Inside Llewyn Davis.
GD: I don’t think either of us wants to make this a big thing or run the idea into the ground. It’s a small project dedicated to a movie we love, and that’s probably where it’s gonna stay.