Inspired by the unforgettable classic monster and horror films from the first half of the 20th century, the Bicycle Monster Montage is created by my blogging peer, Scott Carey of Tuckcase.com. The deck merges the famous Bicycle brand of playing cards and vintage monsters. But instead of focusing on specific vintage monsters from specific films, Carlos Bercini completely re-interpreted and re-imagined each monster and horror figure - from Frankenstein to Dracula to the unforgettable scream queen. Bicycle Monster Montage has a little bit of everything from a genre that has its roots deep in film history.
I had a chat with Scott to talk about the Bicycle Monster Montage. In this interview, he shares with us the idea behind his new company Uncrowned Playing Card, the bold move from blogging to launching his very own Kickstarter project, the inspiration behind Monster Montage and his thoughts on Kickstarter growth.
Can you tell us about Uncrowned Playing Card Company and what is Carlos Bercini’s design background?
The idea for Uncrowned came from one of it's meanings - "having the power of royalty without the title." I'm not really about the spotlight but I want to make great things. I want people to just know that when they see Uncrowned on a deck or another product that it came from a good place. The boring answer though - Uncrowned Playing Cards is simply my brand that I plan to release playing cards under. Whether I am putting out custom releases like Monster Montage or if I am reselling another company's decks, Uncrowned Playing Cards is what I plan to funnel it all through. That said, I really want to get one deck release under my belt before I start to push Uncrowned as this real thing.
Carlos Bercini studied design and illustration in school and now resides in Austria doing freelance work as a graphic designer/Illustrator. He is the only one that does design work for me. He is heavily influenced by comic books, movies, music and 80's culture. Its great working with him on the monster deck because he loves that stuff.
From running tuckcase.com to creating a Kickstarter project. What motivated you to launch your own playing card project?
I started Tuckcase because I have this entrepreneurial itch. I can't just have a hobby. I have to be creating. I thought Max was doing a great thing with MaxPlayingCards. I read it a lot and found myself wanting to interview designers and deck creators and cover new releases - from Kickstarter and the other companies. I suppose I should have messaged Max to see if I could have contributed to his site but I wanted to have something to show for on my own if anyone was going to take me serious. So I started small on my own wordpress account last year. I eventually interviewed Jackson Robinson and Lee McKenzie. That kind of kick started Tuckcase and really brought me traffic.
After doing Tuckcase for awhile, I saw Kickstarter really grow and people have a lot of success with it. Over time I also had a lot of ideas of my own for different decks. I would search Behance for card designs and designers in my free time. One night after I had a rough few weeks on the site with low traffic and people turning me down for interviews or something else I wanted to do, I just decided I would start working on my own deck. I spent so much time pushing other projects, it was time I started to work on me. I found Carlos and loved his work so I reached out to him. He has been on board ever since.
What is your inspiration behind Monster Montage? How did you come up with the idea?
From before I can remember I always thought that Cyclops would make a perfect One-Eyed Jack. That was my starting point. That being said, I think monsters are visually exciting. I started to think of other card ideas. Frankenstein on the King of Spades made sense to me. Classic monsters just appealed to me on a card deck. I liked the possibilities and when I put it together in my mind, the deck that tied in classic monsters and the cinema hadn't been done before. Since all the monsters would be redesigned so we didn't infringe on any trademarks, I knew it would be something unique.
Of course, they tend to get lumped into the overdone "zombie and Cthulhu" category. It baffles me. There isn't a single zombie or Cthulhu in my deck. Looking back I can think of one or two decks that really focused on classic monsters. To me that isn't overdone as much as a deck with abstract swirls, floral patterns or recolored court cards. But those decks don't get as much slack. I knew at the end of the day I woudn't be happy creating a deck for someone else. I had to do something that would keep me passionate. I just couldn't get away from that Cyclops as the One-Eyed Jack idea.
How much time did you spend working on the deck?
I think we started conceptualizing and talking about the deck in September 2013. Carlos sketched things up and we solidified the designs in October through December 2013. We finished up the box and back design early this year. It was a good 4 or 5 months of work.
Can you briefly go through the design evolution of one of your unique card design?
So we did a lot of talking about what I wanted. Carlos had a good ideas about the cards before sketching. He would then do one or two sketches of the card. I would give him some of my thoughts and then he would finalize the design. Here are the sketch and then the final design.
What are your thoughts about the continuous strong growth of playing card projects on Kickstarter?
I think its great. I mean for someone who doesn't have the funds to print a deck it can be quite helpful. Some deck projects that make over $60K in one month is incredible. I will say that it is becoming harder for every project to get funded. Even good designs sometimes don't get funded. Deck creators just need to get smarter about how they launch. Myself included.
Since launching I will say I had a few backers cancel their pledges and then immediately go back another project. Its a struggle when they leave your project for another but people do not have an endless pit of funds. I get that.
Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks?
I would have to say Bicycle Venexiana, Bicycle Z-Ray and Pressers by Ellusionist. My favorite decks have a rad design but they are also playable. There are a lot of fancy decks with incredible design but they are too expensive or the seal is too pretty to break. No one even knows I have those decks because I just have them on my shelf but when I pull out a Z-Ray deck it is a lot of fun. I am starting to only buy the fun decks.
Thank you for your time Scott and taking the next step. You are an inspiration to all your blogging peers! If you like what you’ve read here and want to support the Bicycle Monster Montage Playing Cards, you can find it on Kickstarter here.
This deck will be Bicycle branded and printed by the USPCC with air-cushion finish. Pledge starts from $11 and there are multiple add-ons available such as movie-style poster, t-shirts and uncut sheet.