I know a mod didn’t approve my message asking for help yet, but I thought I’d provide an update. I was able to resolve the booting issue, by going to the official Batocera website and downloading their latest stable image (not the one currently in beta). Then flashing the image to a different MicroSD card using Etcher software. Once that was bootable in my steamdeck, I used my PC to plug in both cards via USB card readers, and copied every file in the Batocera Boot partition of the working new card, to overwrite all the files in the non-working 1TB card I got from Arcade Punks. Once I did that, the 1TB card booted up, all menus were there, I just needed to map the buttons and controls properly for them to work with most of the games.
Hope that helps someone else…if the mods approve it.