Just A Thought | The Worst In Sport Based Comics

Have you seen Stan Lee’s NHL super heroes yet?

Wow…just wow. I can’t blame Stan and his POW company for trying to make a buck but…wow.

While I love comics, there is no doubt in my mind that there have been a few off roads into the land of stupidity. And these NHL Guardians weren’t the first. There is a ton of sports related comic books that have to make you shake your head. What were these guys thinking? I’m not a huge sports guy but I do enjoy baseball, MMA and wrestling, but it’s never dawned on me to say, “Hey, you know what would be awesome? A comic about a team of professional thieves who are also champion curlers!”. So in honor of Stan Lee’s latest jaunt into this genre, I figured I’d present the worst in sports related comics.

NFL Superpro

This is one that everyone remembers as being horrible but no one quite remembers what the actual story is about. So here it is. The main character was an aspiring football player until he blew his knee out saving a child. Then he became a sports reporter and interviews some whack job who has created an indestructible football uniform. They are robbed, the house is lit on fire and the guy puts on the uniform in order to fight crime. The main plot hole? NFL Superpro never played in the NFL. Apparently Fabian Nicieza wrote it for free football tickets. Man, the glories of the 90’s boom. What’s more amazing? This lasted for 12 issues.

Pro Wrestling Comics

Where to start. First off, I’ll say it now. I like pro wrestling. I watch Raw pretty much every Monday night and follow what’s going in story lines via the internet and such. I am also well aware that pro wrestling is scripted. Now that I’ve gotten that out-of-the-way, pro wrestling never works in comics. I’m sure it baffles some as wrestling has a lot on common with superhero comics; story lines, costumes, special effects. The problem is when you try to convert that into a comic book, you can’t keep up with the stories on tv. One week someone may be a heel (a bad guy) and the next week he’ll switch on tv to being a face (good guy). The comics would be approximately 6 months or more behind the television which can lead to some very odd stories. The other way is to go off the grid and just come up with stories and to hell with the tv. Or base a comic book on the characters themselves. The worst example of this is The Ultimate Warrior’s comic book (which he wrote) called Warrior. In the Holiday special he ends up beating the crap out of Santa and stealing his pants. I wish I were making this up.

Charles Barkley

While I can’t really condemn basketball on a whole, Charles Barkley gets a special mention due to fighting Godzilla. This Dark Horse comic was based on a Nike ad. Essentially Godzilla comes to town and Barkley thinks that he should be stopped, becomes humongous and has a basketball game with the giant lizard. The Barkley character later became a detective in an indy comic where he solved a murder mystery while wearing a very stylish yellow trench coat. It also appears to be made out of felt.

And I can go on about the numerous crappy heroes based on sports or quasi sports. Rocket Racer comes to mind. Stan’s latest project is the latest a line of forgettable comic/sport based properties. Honestly, the only sports related comics I can recall enjoying are those issues of the X-Men or The Avengers where they play baseball.

Of course if Stan made a superhero team out of the Toronto Blue Jays, I’d be interested.

At least in a comic book they might win sometimes.

Brent Chittenden
Brent Chittenden

Brent Chittenden is a Canadian freelance writer currently writing for alancross.ca, geekhardshow.com and his own pop culture podcast, TATANS. He is readily available for writing and speaking gigs. Brent like sandwiches.

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  1. Phil Grayfield (Super-Pro) – Who would have figured the combination of exotic chemicals and football souvenirs on fire would create a super athlete. Maybe a melted football was the secret ingredient in Captain America’s super soldier serum.

    I really liked Super-Pro when it came out. I bought the first 4 issues. It followed the super hero formula a) Cool Suit b) hot reporter girlfriend c) your buddy who knows your secret who gives you support from a van d) crazy villains that you knew from your past (ie: a place kicker who became a ninja). It was a completely cheesy and corny idea, but it was fun. It was successfull by introducing the reader to a different NFL city every issue.

    I see the same thing for the Stan Lee’s Guardian project. If it gets kids to follow hockey and maybe buy some comic books it will be a success. If not, it will just be forgotten like a million other lame comic book ideas.

  2. there was also “Kickers Inc” from Marvel’s “New Universe” line

    DC tried “Strange Sports Stories” (issues 45-49 of the original “Brave & The Bold” and 6 issues in 1973). I saw Julius Schwartz at a convention once and he said his greatest regret was the failure of “Strange Sports Stories” to catch on with readers.

  3. So he said at a ‘Con in Pittsburgh, years ago.

    He also said that CC Beck was the biggest pain in the neck he ever worked with (during Beck’s work on “Shazam!” at DC)

    He was…..irascible. But highly entertaining!

  4. I now have the complete Superpro run, no wonder it ended.  The story lines got pretty stupid (even for a comic about a football hero).  I still like Superpro, but they could have done something great with him, if they weren’t hampered with the NFL licence.

  5. The problem is trying to build a comic around real wrestlers. Do what other comics do, develop a stable of wrestling heroes and villains from the imagination or existing characters. This avoids the time delay difficulty. Before it lapsed, I really enjoyed Rasslin’, Rants, and ‘Roids. Good art, and entertaining matches. Some folks couldn’t swallow the homoerotic subtext, though, let’s be honest it’s often in mainline stuff, too. Loved seeing Green Arrow demolish Batman. The newer titles do have high quality art.

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