Remembering Kickers, Inc On Super Bowl Sunday

Kickers,_Inc._Vol_1_4When people think of Comic Books and Football they most likely go to the NFL Super Pro that Marvel did with NFL… not me. I got back to when I was in my teens and Marvel launched the New Universe. A whole line of new titles based on the "White Event". Some of the titles were memorable like Starbrand, Justice, DP7 and Psi-Force. And then there were others like Kickers, Inc. by Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz.

Kickers, Inc. was the story of some ex-football players turned heroes / adventurers. The only one with any real powers was the leader Jack Magniconte, the former quarterback for the Smashers. Magniconte got his powers through a combination of the radiation from the White Event along with a experimental muscle-enhancing machine. He ended up with super human strength and endurance.

Kickers,_Inc._Vol_1_8This was an odd addition to the New Universe line which was supposed to be more grounded in reality than the normal Marvel Universe. From Dan Johnson's book Spark In A Bottle: The Saga Of The New Universe,  we get a better idea of what Tom Defalco wanted from the series he originally called Mr. Magnificent and his Team Supreme:

They were going to have a vehicle called the Ultramobile that could travel all-terrain and it was much more broad adventure, à lá the Challengers of the Unknown. As things started to form, there was more information about what the New Universe was going to be trickling down from [editor-in-chief Jim] Shooter. We found out Shooter was pushing this idea that the books would be ultra-realistic. Tom wanted to do very tongue-in-cheek, seat-of-your-pants adventures. The characters were going to be off-season football players, but he was seeing something much broader. When Tom saw that Shooter wanted things more grounded in realism, he tried to take the strip back. But Jim wanted a sports book. Tom tried to tell him it wasn't a sports book, but Shooter told Tom, 'Trust me, it'll be great. I want it for New Universe.

The series was cancelled after twelve issues with both Defalco and Frenz having left the book by issue #6. The character of Magniconte continued to pop up occasionally in the other New Universe titles but the rest of the Kickers, Inc were retired.

So as you watch the game today and celebrate all that is football… remember, sometimes mixing sports and comics doesn't work out so well.


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About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.
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