NFL Superpro Special Edition #1
Issue(s): NFL Superpro Special Edition #1
And i don't really have a good answer to that question. I'm not even sure if this book is in continuity. Sure, Spider-Man appears in the first issue of the regular series (not this special), and Captain America appears in issue #8. And, decades later, Stilt-Man talks about him dismissively (and that's got to hurt) in Robert Kirkman's Marvel Team-Up. But that's it. Still, it's as much as the Human Fly got, and i covered several of his issues, so i will do the same for Super Football Man.
Ok, ok, Superpro. Actually i'll be calling him NFL Superpro. You can't title your book NFL Superpro and put "NFL" on your costume twice and then ask me to just call you "Superpro".
This series is written by Fabian Nicieza, proving that he is the Bill Mantlo of the 90s (and no one has answered to my satisfaction why there has never been a Human Fly / NFL Superpro team-up, and don't give me any crap about licenses).
So what do we need to know about Superpro? In his civilian identity he is Phil Grayfield, a retired football player that is now a sports reporter. He retired after repeated leg injuries, the final one acquired while saving a kid from falling down a set of bleacher stairs. For what it is worth, he seems to be a legit reporter, not just a color commentator.
He works with cameraman Ken Reid.
Ken discovers Phil's secret identity in this special, practically right away.
And Phil's love interest is Jane Dixon, a rival reporter.
But it's his origin that is awesome. On his first assignment as a reporter, Phil goes to the home of a big football fanboy who has tons of football paraphernalia in his house, including the Superpro armor (which the millionaire fan built himself).
Then some goons break into the fan's house to steal his memorabilia, and they tie Phil up in old football film strips and trap him in a fire.
And then Phil kicks open a vat of experimental plastics that were used to create the armor, and Phil gains superpowers.
So yes, he's powered with the essence of old football games.
He then puts on the armor...
...and takes out the goons.
And after that, he dedicates his life to making the world safe for professional football. So the main story for this issue is breaking up a steroid ring and fighting a guy that overdosed on experimental steroids.
To answer the question of "How can this comic possibly exist?", it's worth remembering that one of Marvel's New Universe titles was Kickers, Inc.. So with that under their belt, Marvel should have had no problem approaching the NFL and offering basically to pay them to do some brand advertising for them. I guarantee you that exactly 0 football fans became comic book fans because of this book.
That said, everything about it is awesome. I love an origin that involves getting football based super-powers (look at the field goal kick he deploys against the steroid guy) after absorbing the chemicals from films of old football games. And that his first mission was saving some obsessive fan's collection of football junk. You also have to love that Superpro has the NFL logo plastered on his chest and helmet. The NFL are notoriously protective of their copyrights and trademarks, so that must mean that Superpro is a sanctioned agent of theirs. Which explains why he only fights people that threaten the sport, like steroid and gambling rings.
It's also important to me that Superpro makes some bad football allusions every issue.
But at the same time i assume the guy is kinda dumb and i expect most of his banter to be as lame as possible.
The sad truth is that Fabian Nicieza plays this all out without a hint of irony and most of this long dreary story is played straight without even football puns to sustain us. Add to that some very pedestrian art from Jose Delbo & Bob Hall (Hall does the middle chapter, which tells the origin story) and you've got a book that, um, gets intercepted in the first down (i am not a football fan, so you guys are going to have to help me with the jokes). And yet somehow this book manages to get published for twelve issues in addition to this special.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Just when I thought that Team America was the low point in my comics collection, along comes NFL Superpro.
Posted by: clyde | November 3, 2015 10:52 AM
Fabian Nicieza has admitted he wrote this because he was given free football tickets.
Posted by: Thanos6 | November 3, 2015 11:10 AM
Wait, this guy came about before Thanos destroyed half the known universe? Somehow I just imagine him and Deadpool having a pick-up game during that crisis; I'd throw in Sleepwalker but we know his human host was dead during the whole thing.
Posted by: Ataru320 | November 3, 2015 11:55 AM
Thanos6, said: "Fabian Nicieza has admitted he wrote this because he was given free football tickets."
I say: I don't blame him.
Posted by: JSfan | November 3, 2015 11:58 AM
An NFL Superpro type corporate backed super-hero can actually make for a good story. You either play it as a satire or you get drama out of the hero's personal ethics clashing with his boss' orders.
I don't think this is either of those kinds of stories though :(
Posted by: Red Comet | November 3, 2015 12:42 PM
Yes! Superpro! Ive never read him but what a legend.
Seriously, here's a great chance to add some diversity to Marvel heroes. A new character! In a sport that is mostly black! I know, lets make him...white!
I think marvel can't call him "NFL" Superpro anymore since they lost the licence. I guess the corporate heads of "hand egg-ball" (that's what we call the sport to distinguish it from the football where you use your feet) didn't think he was a great rep of the sport.
Posted by: kveto | November 3, 2015 3:08 PM
Fabian has a more detailed description of why he wrote it here:
Posted by: Michael | November 3, 2015 7:48 PM
Another Wizard Magazine Famous Worst.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 3, 2015 11:11 PM
so that must mean that Superpro is a sanctioned agent of theirs. Which explains why he only fights people that threaten the sport, like steroid and gambling rings.
Which is fucking hilarious when
Posted by: JC | November 4, 2015 8:56 AM
Pretty much every professional sport has rampant steroid/HGH/performance enhancing drug use these days. The problem builds on itself because any team or players that stay natural will lose to the ones who don't.
If gambling gets de facto legalized via websites that aren't bound by state law then I have a feeling the public won't much care about roid use once they have their own money tied into who wins and loses on Sunday.
Posted by: Red Comet | November 4, 2015 10:48 AM
"and i covered several of his issues, so i will do the same for Super Football Man."
Are you covering anything besides this & the Spidey/Cap appearances? (I have a comment for #6, so was just curious if I should wait, or just post it here.)
Posted by: Erik Robbins | November 7, 2015 1:53 PM
I might not cover them all but i will definitely cover issue #6 because of the controversy.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 8, 2015 12:57 AM
"Why are you reading a comic that looks like it came free with a box of Wheaties?"
Mrs. fnord should do more reviews!
Posted by: AF | February 27, 2016 2:48 PM
Looking at one panel of the roided-up guy, his body looked like Peter Gabriel's Slipperman costume from Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" tour.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | July 3, 2017 8:27 PM
Fabian Nicieza writing NFL SuperPro for Jets tickets made it onto the Money, Dear Boy page of TV Tropes, placing him alongside such storied company as Laurence Olivier and Anthony Hopkins :)
Posted by: Ben Herman | May 7, 2018 10:53 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|