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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superhero Sunday: Gridiron Heroes

Nice paradox. Not.
Will there be nudity?
In 1986, the then editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics launched The New Universe, a separate continuity of stories outside of the regular Marvel Universe. No magic (sorry, Dr. Strange), no aliens (tough break, Silver Surfer), no gods (bummer, Thor) and no supertechnology (meaning Iron Man in that universe would just be some guy with an iron.) A whole new series of heroes was created - the idea being superhero stories in a more grounded reality. Verisimilitude was the operative word. (Actually, "realistic" was probably the operative word, because "verisimilitude" is not easy to say over and over. Fun, but not easy.)
Little Billy Romanowski
suddenly gets an idea . . . 
It was actually a pretty good idea in retrospect, but it didn't go over terribly well. This could have been because, at the last moment, the Marvel corporate bosses cut Shooter's budget, so his original plan to use established artists had to be replaced by lesser-known names. It might also have been because thirteen-year-old comic book readers - like yours truly - just, weren't interested.
Yep. He's wrestling a white lion.
One of the first titles to be canceled was also, ironically, the most traditional of the superhero books. Kickers, Inc. followed the adventures of a unique detective agency made up of former football players. The leader of the group, Jack Magniconte, also the only member of the team to have superpowers, went by the name of Mr. Magnificent. Kickers, Inc. investigated paranormal mysteries - something that the New Universe had in abundance as a result of the mysterious "white event" (also the source of Mr. Magnificent's powers).
As I said, in 1986 I had no interest in the New Universe, and today what little interest I have only barely extends to the short-lived superhero team of Kickers, Inc., but it is the day of the Superbowl (I'm told), so why not feature a team of super football players?

Actually, I'm a little embarrassed now.

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