In the late 1980s, the makers of L&M cigarettes were looking to diversify. They settled on an old idea, something cigarette companies began doing in the late 19th century: Trading cards. In 1990, the company split its business and moved its sports card division into a company called Impel Marketing.
You may know Impel Marketing by another name: SkyBox, the one it took in 1992 after launching its brand of glossy basketball cards. In 1995, Marvel paid $150 million cash to acquire the company; the comics giant merged it with Fleer, which it had purchased three years earlier for $286 million. You definitely know what happened next: The trading card market fell apart. Marvel sold the combined Fleer/SkyBox for $26 million in 1999. Really, it was just a great time in American business.
But before all that, the company then known as Impel Marketing released a set of WCW trading cards. Recently, Luis Paez-Pumar and I sat down to remember some guys from 1991 WCW. Watch as we discuss topics like Lex Luger’s membership in the National Honor Society and whether the Southern Boys were time-traveling Confederate soldiers (they were, apparently).