I am a fan of both comic books and sports. If you can’t tell from all of my Gambler’s Den posts, football is my choice of sports. Meanwhile, my love for comics is much more eclectic. As long as the story is a good one, it doesn’t matter if the genre is superhero or just fiction.
I also like beer. I’m a big fan of ice cream. Blending the two of them together, meanwhile, is a horror show on the palate. I like bratwursts and my favorite candy treat are Nerds, but a Nerd flavored like a bratwurst is a terrible idea.
Food companies have generally done a good job at not crapping out some weird blend. But comics? Oh hell no. Comics aren’t nearly that sensible.
And so it is that I present you:
For starters, the idea of sports-themed superheroes isn’t that bad. It’s gimmicky at best, but that doesn’t mean it can’t find a sort of niche audience. However, the minute you slap a brand like NFL on it, you’ve gone from specialty character to full-blown Mac and Me land.
If you’re a child of the 80s you might remember Mac and Me simply as an E.T. ripoff, except there’s a crippled kid. What you may have neglected to remember – and blocking out this cinematic abortion is totally understandable – is that this movie is basically a f*cking McDonald’s commercial. The goddamned alien dances with Ronald McDonald for a pretty long scene, for Christ’s sake. It was one long stretch of product placement dressed up as a shitty movie.
NFL Superpro is basically the same thing, except Marvel partnered up with the National Football League. The premise is idiotic: a retired football player-turned-reporter interviews a superfan that also happens to be a genius scientist (wut) that has created an indestructible football uniform. Some stupid shit happens, the retired player dons the super-duds, and voila. There are blatant references to the NFL, and even a villain that can time warp named – wait for it – INSTANT REPLAY (which I totally love and hate at the same time).
This is the first WTF Comics character I totally knew about prior to the Internet. There was a time back in the early 90s where our local Wal-Mart sold comic books in the toy department. I used to buy the occasional Spider-Man or Venom issues that sold. I remember an entire display for NFL SUPERPRO. I remember even then, as a kid, thinking that it had to be horseshit.
As far as the basics go, his indestructible uniform looks like something Captain America would wear if he was an athlete rather than a soldier…which isn’t awful. This is a comic book. But the huge NFL logo slapped on the helmet and chest is what takes this character from “gimmick” to “shill”.
There are a bevy of weird characters in this series, some of which I may need to return to for later installments of WTF Comics, but I had to jump back on Instant Replay. If this was meant to be a parody comic – and for all intents and purposes it was supposed to be at least pseudo-serious, despite the idiocy of the premise – then Instant Replay would be absolute gold. Shit, he might even be diamond-studded platinum in terms of character. The name itself is just so heavy-handed that it’s hard to imagine that this comic isn’t supposed to be a comedy. But this guy is less a joke and more of a time-traveling Snake Eyes that plans to foil the actions of our intrepid NFL spokesperson/hero.
NFL SUPERPRO has a love life, a sidekick, and he also fights the mob. He’s basically every other superhero you knew during the 90’s, with the exception that he’s also a goddamn advertisement for some football.
All of this is bad enough, until creator Fabian Nicienza admitted that he only kept the character going so he could score some Jets tickets. That in itself might be the most poetic part of this whole story: he did it for the goddamn New York Jets.
All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!