Comic book publishers have never been innocent of creating cash-grab characters, but the NFL SuperPro took Marvel to a new low in 1991. To commemorate the blatant commercialism, the ‘Pro has the distinction of being the Oddball of the Week.
WHAT IN THE NAME OF TOM BRADY IS THIS ABOMINATION?
Dust off your jockstrap for this tale of corporate marketing sprinkled with a dash of racism.
Famed comics writer Fabian Nicieza was handed the scripting duties for this job, which surprisingly lasted 12 issues and one forgotten special. Nicieza, however, departed after four issues.
In his brief stint, he told the story of Phil Grayfield, a star athlete with aspirations of playing professional football. One fateful day, he put himself in harm’s way to save a child. Unfortunately, the rescue cost Grayfield his NFL dreams and he sustained a career-ending injury. At least that kid didn’t get hurt, right?
After that horrific day, Phil opted to become a sports reporter. As chance would have it, he was sent to a laboratory to interview an NFL mega-fan who also happened to be a mad scientist off his meds. Among his many experiments (and NFL merchandise that he stored in the lab for some reason), the scientist had created an indestructible set of football pads, helmet, and jersey that cost the strangely specific $5 million. During the interview, thieves broke into the lab, stealing the officially-licensed NFL memorabilia. They tied up Grayfield and the doc, set the place on fire, and left them for dead. Boy, those Eagles fans are intense.
Grayfield managed to knock over some chemicals that gave him superpowers. Totally not looking like a dork, he sported the impermeable uniform, complete with cleats, and charged after the thieves and attempted murderers. From that moment on, he dubbed himself SuperPro, and dedicated his life to making millions of dollars in the NFL fighting crime…and the good people of the Hopi Tribe, but that’s a different story.
He would go on to have epic battles with legendary villains like Instant Replay, Quick Kick, and Rip Saw, who hated the rainforest for some reason.
CORPORATE AMERICA, AT YOUR SERVICE
The concept was simple enough; the NFL would partner with Marvel Comics to create a football-themed superhero. This superhero would attract kids to the high-impact world of the National Football League. When the NFL came calling about publishing a comic, it made sense they would reach out to Marvel. Let’s not forget that since the late-70s and early-80s, Marvel had made a boatload of money churning out kids’ cartoon adaptations. They even had their own imprint for the job, Star Comics.
While Hasbro may have struck gold when Marvel created the Transformers universe a decade prior, the NFL SuperPro series is considered one of the worst comics the publisher ever concocted.
In SuperPro’s first comic, he was paired with the Amazing Spider-Man to help drive sales. Not even Marvel’s biggest stars could save this dumpster fire. Still, that cult following has helped the graded 9.8 reach respectable figures. One slab sold for $120 in February, although most copies stay in the $60 range.
NO GO FOR SUPERPRO
Thanks to the MCU, the world has fallen in love with kitschy “so-bad-they’re-good” characters and stories, and SuperPro is a comic so awful that it’s created a cult following.
Will we ever see him grace the silver screen? With an idea this hilariously bad, it would make for laughs, but the copyright issues involved with the NFL would keep that from happening. That doesn’t mean he won’t get a namedrop or Easter egg, but that’s about it.
Then again, never say never.