The Small Lebowski:
Characters Appearing: Ken Reid, NFL Superpro
NFL Superpro #10
Issue(s): NFL Superpro #10
It starts with Phil Grayfield and Ken Reid getting sent on an assignment to investigate a camp where sports professionals go to address masculinity problems.
I admit i was looking forward to seeing how Superpro would be called upon to defend the NFL in this situation. Like maybe the camp would be all about how being a macho jerk all the time isn't necessary, so Superpro would have to punch out the camp counselors or something. But we're actually going in a very different direction.
When Phil and Ken get to the camp, they find that in addition to some tired looking sports professionals, the actual campers, are, to put it in Phil's macho language, "nerds".
In fact, the professionals that Phil meets turn out to be on staff (and they're just as goofy as the nerds).
Here's everyone at their toga testosterone maleness celebration.
It turns out that the camp owner is really trying to create a process to give people super-powers. He uses the camp attendees as guinea pigs (that's why the departing pros look tired). He uses his process on all the nerds, but it doesn't work. Then he uses it on Phil, and he thinks his process is a success, but that's because Phil already has superpowers (it's worth remembering that in addition to his high tech uniform, NFL Superpro has actual super-powers thanks to having been bitten by a radioactive football film, and i'm only sort-of joking about that).
But then - and here's where everything goes off the rails into madness - it turns out that the process really did work, and all the nerds got super-powers too. The actuary guy basically predicts Amadeus Cho.
The fat guy is fat (Jesus H. Christ!).
The mortician, uh, is a runner. Because he jogs.
And the accountant with the last name of Pennypacker?
Oh my god. I did double check to make sure i wasn't reading an issue of Howard the Duck.
Together, these guys are the Happy Campers.
With licensed books, sometimes Marvel wound up creating characters that made the transition into regular Marvel books, like Red Ronin, Dr. Demonicus, and Yetrigar from the Godzilla series. Somehow, that didn't happen with the Happy Campers.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Because of your great work on reviewing Superpro, I guarantee that someone will bring back the Happy Campers now. They're perfect for the Deadpool/Squirrel Girl/Howard the Duck set.
Posted by: FF3 | March 10, 2016 1:34 PM
I have no idea why Dixon insists on being "Buzz" on this book while being "Chuck" on the Punisher.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 10, 2016 2:51 PM
Happy Campers vs. Brute Force with Deadpool officiating...I'd watch that.
Posted by: Ataru320 | March 10, 2016 3:08 PM
The Happy Campers were probably given Guam during the 50 State Initiative.
Posted by: FF3 | March 10, 2016 3:28 PM
Happy Campers vs. Shield's Super Agents!
Posted by: david banes | March 10, 2016 3:41 PM
Gah! They stole Robn & my brilliant 'Quarter Force' idea!
Posted by: Wanyas the Self-Proclaimed | March 10, 2016 3:57 PM
Do I want to know why the scientist is carrying around a purple toy cat?
Posted by: Thanos6 | March 10, 2016 5:18 PM
I believe it's meant to be a Blofeld parody.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 10, 2016 5:25 PM
I'm afraid to ask, but what the heck is SuperPro wearing in the scan of him being examined by the scientist? Was the football camp having a toga party??
Posted by: Dermie | March 10, 2016 5:34 PM
Indeed they were. I've added a scan.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 10, 2016 5:40 PM
Ha! Thanks for that Fnord!
So, they have the guys all half-naked to come together to "celebrate their maleness" in the "common bond of testosterone". Sounds like the set-up for some cheesy gay porn...which may have been an improvement on the actual story! lol
Posted by: Dermie | March 10, 2016 6:08 PM
You know you're a stupid superhero concept group when NFL Superpro is banging his head against the wall at how stupid you are.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | March 10, 2016 10:21 PM
As much as the "masculinity camp" sounds like a setting for gay porn movie, I think Dixon might be satirising the Mythopoetic men's movement, a masculist/anti-feminist movement which did indeed have camps and rituals similar to what we see here. The ideas of the movement were popularized by Robert Bly's book Iron John, which was a best-seller in the early 90s, so it's certainly possible Dixon could've been aware of it at the time.
Posted by: Tuomas | March 11, 2016 8:52 AM
The story definitely was spoofing the sort of gatherings that sprouted up after Iron John's release. And Buzz Dixon and Chuck Dixon are separate people, for the record.
Posted by: Garnet | March 12, 2016 12:03 PM
While Robert Bly and the "men's movement" are certainly great material for parody, this is Superpro, 'nuff said. Personally, my favorite satire on this subject came from Beavis and Butthead, when the boys (including Stuart and his omnipresent Winger T-shirt) went on a camping trip with hippie schoolteacher David Van Driesen. This is the episode that still haunts my dreams due to Van Driesen's singing of the ballad "Men": "Men have feelings, too/ May I share mine with you?"
Posted by: Brian Coffey | July 8, 2017 10:32 PM
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