Wilfred Santiago Examines The Biggest Sports Icon of the 20th Century With ‘Michael Jordan: Bull On Parade’
At the height of his popularity, Michael Jordan was more than just an athlete. He was an icon, a cultural phenomenon the likes of which the world had never seen, and arguably the most recognizable human being on the planet. As such, there have been innumerable biographies of the athlete, but none quite like the one Wilfred Santiago has created. After the critical success of 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente — Santiago’s previous comic book biography of a legendary sports figure — Fantagraphics is now announcing Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade, Santiago’s follow up work which examines the career of the greatest athlete of the 20th century.
CA: At one point, you could have made a legitimate argument that Michael Jordan was the most recognizable person on the planet. And while he’s still an incredibly popular and influential figure, he hasn’t been at his peak in a number of years. What made you want to put out this book now?
WS: The idea is to do a trilogy of biographies, Jordan being the second and the third being a web comic about abolitionist John Brown. Michael Jordan was chosen as a subject because it’s a unique story about a trail blazer. And basketball is a great sport. A hundred years from now you still won’t be seeing anything quite like the Jordan phenomenon at its height. And of course, for good or ill there’s his legacy that still reverberates today. Now is the time because a book like this has not been done before.
Ask Chris #88: The Justice League of Professional Wrestlers
By Chris Sims
Q: Let’s say the Justice League has fallen to Darkseid or some other Ultimate Evil. It’s up to you to hand pick seven professional wrestlers from any era to replace them. Who do you select, besides the American Dream Dusty Rhodes, who is A GIVEN. — Michael Haynes, via email
A: Let me tell you something, Michael “P.S.” Haynes: I like your style. For one thing, even though it was how I killed countless hours back at my old job, to the point where I once had a serious conversation with a coworker about how the McRib was definitely the Green Arrow of the McDonald’s menu, it’s been a while since I did a “who would replace the Justice League” question, and it’s also been a while since I’ve had an Ask Chris about my love of pro wrestling. Although now that I think of it, both of those elements last showed up in columns involving My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
I’ve got a pretty weird job.
And for another, you have correctly identified my first choice. If my goal here is to fill the seven archetypes of the Justice League with their closest equivalents in the Squared Circle, then my pick for Superman is definitely The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, circa 1985.
The parallels here are pretty obvious: The great thing about Superman is that for all the power that he has from being an alien energized by Earth’s yellow sun, he’s a human at heart, raised by farmers and taught to use his powers to stand up for those who couldn’t do so themselves. Whether it was the populist super-heroics of the Golden Age or the battle against cosmic threats that only he could stand against, the core idea has always been that he’s the ultimate champion of the common man. He might wine and dine with (Atlantean) kings and (Amazon) queens, but he also eats in… well, giant crystalline fortresses at the north pole that house a diary that he carves into metal slabs with his heat vision in the language of a dead planet. But whatever. Close enough.
Dusty’s the same way. He might not have been raised by farmers in Smallvile, but as you might’ve noticed from the subtle message on his truly amazing T-shirt, he’s the son of a plumber. And like Superman, his main value isn’t just in his power, but in his ability to inspire others.
Read much more of this at ComicsAlliance.
War Rocket Ajax #15: Blair Butler Talks ‘Heart’ and Reviewing Comics on TV [Podcast]
You may already know Blair Butler from her work hosting the comics segment Fresh Ink on G4TV, where she’s gets to be one of the few people who actually reviews comic books on television, but this week, she’s talking to ComicsAlliance’s War Rocket Ajax podcast about her upcoming comic Heart with artist Kevin Mellon and her love of it subject matter, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting.
When Blair joins the program, she tells us the short version of how she became the world’s most prominent (and possibly only) national television comic book reviewer. She also makes an attempt to sell Chris, a die-hard pro wrestling fan, on the idea of MMA, a sport she loves so much she wrote a comic about it:
To me, it’s like, wrestling, what are the stakes? The outcome is predetermined. Yes, it’s athleticism, I guess, but everybody knows who’s going to win before the match even starts, even if the audience doesn’t.
The amazing things about MMA are the upsets, the athleticism, it’s seeing someone… there was this guy named Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, who ran up a cage and, like the Matrix, kicked off the side of the cage and hit a man in the face! And you couldn’t believe it! It was like gravity got turned the F off. They called it the Showtime Kick. Google it. Everybody listening to this, just go Google “Anthony Pettis Showtime Kick.”
That happened! That man turned gravity on its side and everyone pooped. Everyone collectively pooped.
It’s the kind of thing that when it happens in an action film, you’d go “that could only happen in an action film,” and he did it in real life. It’s like someone from Cirque Du Soleil did a move and then kicked a dude’s head off while they were doing it. It’s amazing.
Plus, Blair shares her thoughts about the controversial books of the new 52, tells us all about Heart and compares the Kansas City professional sports teams to the world’s worst boyfriend.
Listen to Blair Butler on ComicsAlliance’s War Rocjet Ajax right now.
Say Goodbye To Summer With Photos of Acrobatic Waterskiing Super-Heroes
By Chris Sims
I hate to say it, friends, but with August coming to a close, the end of summer is upon us. [Ed. Note: Noooooo!] But before we fully brace for autumn (or as we know it around here, Hurricane Season), Marc Tyler Nobleman has unearthed the perfect piece of summer: A series of photographs of Sea World’s “Salute to the Super-Heroes’ Waterskiing Show from 1977, where many of DC Comics’s most popular characters saved the day through the power of legitimately impressive waterskiing pyramids. And also America.
The photos are part of a very interesting oral history of the show Nobleman, the author of Boys of Steel is putting together for his retrospective on the more obscure pieces of super-hero pop culture ephemera from the ’70s and 80s. And for a super-hero comics reader, they’re the perfect way to bid a fond farewell to the summer.
See more at ComicsAlliance.