Good morning friends, and thanks for tuning into the second Perna Studios Sketch Card Showcase of 2023! Since the release of Marvel Masterpieces 2020 (from which this column takes its namesake), I’ve been chasing the trading-card-sized original works of art known as sketch cards. This has branched out from Marvel trading cards in the years following, and chief among them are the releases put forth by Perna Studios. Today I’ll be talking about their latest set hot off the presses, and that’s Classic Mythology IV!

Before we get too far and for those unfamiliar, Perna Studios is run by artists Tony & Elaine Perna from their home in Canada. Tony has been a freelance and sketch card artist working on a variety of comics and sketch cards since 2006. Together they create independent trading card sets, each of which includes an original sketch card commissioned from some of the top artists in the field. Announcements come from the Perna Studios Facebook page, and the most recent is below:

The Artist List for Classic Mythology IV: World Mythology

“Perna Studios is very excited to announce our 19th trading card set entitled Classic Mythology IV: World Mythology.  This set will focus on Gods, Goddesses and Creatures from the following mythologies; Greek, Egyptian, Norse, Celtic, Japanese, Chinese, Native American, Aztec/Mayan, Inuit, Hindu and African. We have an impressive list of artists involved on this set working on both base/promo cards and sketch cards.”

This was a BIG set with 30 base cards, and available in two formats: either as 6-card packs or 30-card complete sets. Regardless, each mode came with one of five pearl chase cards and that coveted one-of-one sketch card, with metal inserts and metal sketch cards sprinkled throughout as well. Those sketches will again be our focus, as a bevy of new and returning artists alike channeled deities and beings from across the ages and around the world. These were those that came to me:

My 10 Classic Mythology Pack-Pulled Sketch Cards

Down the rabbit hole we go—let’s take a closer look at some of my favorite pieces from this group!

Lady of the Lake—Huy Truong

I think we’ll begin with what I’m calling my favorite of the ten sketches I pulled, not only because I’ve yet to own a sketch by the inimitable Huy Truong, but because Arthurian Legend and the tales that follow are some of my absolute favorites. He depicts the Lady of the Lake as she breaches the surface, with a beautiful face and outstretched hand that beckons our attention. She’s the star of the show in both storybooks and sketch cards and now gets to tell my story of collecting this set.

The place to watch Huy’s work and new sketch cards is on his Instagram page; he’s a regular for Marvel Trading cards, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, as well as Perna Studios. 

Athena—Sean Pence

I was lucky enough to open my very first Sean Pence sketch back during my last Perna pull, and am equally excited to run it back and add another of his fine works to my collection. He’s created Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom and War, and we see those thematic sigils at the top right and the bottom left. The helmet represents military victory, and the Owl of Athena is seen as a symbol of wisdom throughout the Western world even today. Pence’s penchant for sketches of beautiful women makes this piece the complete package, and I’m stoked to have it in my little group of packs

Though he doesn’t post much anymore, if you’d like your socks knocked off, check out Pence’s Instagram. You won’t regret it.

Jormungandr—Nestor Celario Jr & Bonkz Seriosa

The next pair depict the same mythical beast from two different angles. Jormungandr, the World Serpent of Norse Mythology. The titanic sea serpent encircles Midgard (Earth), and is often seen biting his own tail. We see perhaps the moment before and after in these two works- his casting from Asgard, the mighty Thor in the background, and his entrance into the world.

Initially I wasn’t super excited to have two sketches of the same character so to speak, but I actually plan to keep these side by side in my binder. I’ve always enjoyed different artistic iterations of the same subject, and this really is no different. That said, if someone is a big Norse Mythology fan and needs a Jormungandr for their set, it turns out I’m your ouroboros.  

You can follow Nestor Celario, Jr on Facebook and Bonkz Seriosa on Facebook as well!

Ganesha—Loren Bobbitt

Ganesha, the many-armed, elephant-headed deity of the Hindu pantheon is our final sketch for this showcase and comes from the hand of Loren Bobbitt. This is also my first sketch of theirs, and my photo simply does not do it justice. Wonderfully smooth color and clean lines are accentuated by metallic gold (it’s quite shiny in person!), and capture the character’s positive and jovial nature (or at least they are most of the time; you can’t be mad when you’re dancing). While my knowledge of Hindi traditions is not particularly deep, Ganesh is a figure I’m familiar with, and as such super excited to have in this set. 

You can best follow Loren’s work keeping your eyes peeled in the Perna Studios group!

Wrapping Up

The place to watch for updates is the Perna Studios page on Facebook and on Deviant Art to see all the sketch cards and original artwork done for past releases. This set literally arrived on my doorstep as I was planning this month’s article, so while there is not a future announcement available for an upcoming set, I’d bet the Pernas have something exciting planned for Set #20. 

Looking ahead, this column will play a back-and-forth game between Unbound 2022 and the newly (and finally) released Marvel Masterpieces 2022. It’s going to be all Marvel Trading Card Art all the time for the foreseeable future, I’ll do my best to keep it fresh through the end of the year. See you all in September, and as always, thanks for reading.

Donny Caltrider (he/him) is a Senior Writer at Hipsters of Coast writing about all things related to the art of Magic: The Gathering and the larger imaginative realism genre. He has an M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and enjoys telling stories about art, objects, and the intersection of fantasy with real life. When he’s not writing for Hipsters or working with artists, you can find him traveling with his wife, petting his two cats, and watching the Baltimore Orioles.

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