The Miami Heat may be the Avengers of the NBA and it’s for that very reason that the NBA and Marvel Comics have teamed up to create their first ever comic book starring Lebron James. Lebron, who’s already dabbled in the cartoon world will grace the cover of his own Adi Granov illustrated comic titled, “King of The Rings”. Details were revealed at New York Comic Con, which went down in NYC a couple days ago. Click below for a few details and above for a few teaser pages…
Marvel.com: For the second time in three years, Marvel will be contributing to the ESPN The Magazine NBA Preview issue. What can you tell us about the project this time around?
Otto Strong: LEBRON: KING OF THE RINGS is an all-new 12-page comic book that is collaboration between ESPN The Magazine and Marvel that will be inserted in every issue of ESPN The Magazine’s NBA Preview issue, on stands Friday, Oct. 19. It features a hilarious script we worked on with Christos Gage and amazing art by Mike Deodato, Scot Eaton, Greg Land, Terry Dodson and an awesome cover by Adi Granov.
Marvel.com: Can people read it online as well as in print?
Otto Strong: It’ll be a mix of print and digital distribution. We announced the comic at the New York Comic Con, on Saturday, October 13. On that day, the plan is for the digital comic to coincide with the Comic Con event. To bring this great story to our worldwide audience, the digital comic will be available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese, specifically Mandarin).
Marvel.com: What’s the overview of the story?
Ty Wenger: The gist of it is that LeBron James famously announced a couple of years ago during a pep rally when they announced his and Chris Bosch’s signing [with the Miami Heat], that he’d win not one, not two, not three, not four, [but] all the way up to seven titles. We decided let’s actually take a look at a fictionalized comic book version of what that might actually look like. And extrapolating out to the future, the storyline [becomes] increasingly more surreal with each passing year.
We tried to play off the known story lines of LeBron James and his career. So for one title for example, we have him engaged in obsessive levels of self-improvement as he is want to do, including learning how to shoot free throws underhand ala Rick Barry and how to levitate, perform magic tricks, these types of things. In another title, he’s forced to lose Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosch due to luxury tax implications so he has to form a new team that includes a zombie Shane Battier!
We have another season in which due to his chronically cramping quads he actually designs and builds his own bionic legs. Then Pat Riley gets a sample of LeBron’s DNA that he surreptitiously borrows, as we say, from one of LeBron’s sweat-soaked headbands. And then unbeknownst to LeBron, he raises a team of LeBron James clones. As you can guess, thanks to the awesome Marvel visuals, each season gets more and more surreal.
Marvel.com: And you came up with all of this, Ty?
Ty Wenger: Yeah. I actually came up with the overall story one night when I was extremely sick and my wife banished me to the guest room because I had a fever of 103. I wrote the outline all on my iPhone over three hours because I had nothing else to do. There are a couple of other fun seasons that NBA and Marvel fans will love because they’re so wild, and then we build to the final moment where LeBron has a decision to make, where, with the clock winding down, he has to decide, does he shoot, or does he pass? Of course, the eternal question of his career. This creates our cliffhanger that invites readers to go online to vote for their favorite ending.
LeBron: King of the Rings preview art by Greg Land
Marvel.com: Why would Marvel fans be interested in this comic that doesn’t feature their favorite super heroes, but real life athletes?
Otto Strong: For folks who are fans of comic books, they will be able to see the work of superstar creators like Adi Granov, Mike Deodato, Scot Eaton, Greg Land, Terry Dodson and Christos Gage and to experience their work in a different venue and see how they are able to take their talents, so to speak, and apply them to other areas. Without giving it away, there are a couple of instances of references to the Marvel Universe within the pages that we think will be a cool little gift. If you follow Marvel at all, it’ll be fairly easy and obvious. And there are also references that will speak more to an NBA insider’s knowledge.
More on Marvel.com: http://marvel.com/news/story/19552/nycc_2012_lebron_king_of_the_rings