Another look at ESPN’s Marvel Comics-themed season preview, featuring the Miami Heat

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A little more than a week ago, ESPN and Marvel Comics announced their plans to release an NBA season preview issue of ESPN the Magazine featuring the characters and iconography of the Marvel universe. The first two images released featured Kobe Bryant and a number of other NBA stars, and this latest image, provided by ESPN, gives you a sneak preview at the Miami Heat’s spread.

Depicting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh with Captain America’s shield is a nice departure from the “Superfriends” rhetoric that’s been thrown around thus far, which was thankfully off-limits anyway due to its D.C. affiliation. Like it or not, this it the team that will capture the American consciousness for the next eight months, so it’s only befitting that they’re shown wielding the weapon/safeguard of America’s most obvious hero.

Plus, along with donning the red, white, and blue, Capt. America always came off as more than a little self-righteous. Just a little full of himself. Fits the bill, no?

What’s odd, though, is that in Captain America, those at Marvel and ESPN have aligned the Heat with one of the more unremarkable superheroes out there. The Cap’n is a perfect physical specimen among men, but considering this preview issue shows other NBA stars as more than men, the selection of one of the more ordinary heroes (albeit one doped up on a performance-enhancing serum) to represent the Heat is an interesting one. There’s no value judgment there; maybe the national symbolism supersedes in this case. Regardless, you’ll have this gem and many more to enjoy when the full preview mag comes out this Friday.

ESPN and Marvel Comics to team up for superhero-themed season preview


At this year’s New York Comic Con, Marvel Comics CEO Joe Quesada announced a partnership with ESPN to produce an extended series of promotional images featuring the game’s brightest stars and the staples of the Marvel Comics universe. There are 33 promo images in all (including one for each team) created by 31 different Marvel artists (including Quesada himself), and the first two to surface — both released at last weekend’s Con — are quite promising.

The first image (displayed to your upper right) parallels Kobe Bryant’s five-ringed mitt with the Infinity Gauntlet, from the comic of the same name. Also pictured are LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Durant, and a handful of Marvel types all vying for what could be Kobe’s sixth.

Additionally, we have a LeBron James-themed recreation of a famous Spider-Man frame:













Promotional images from NikeTalk.

So far, so good. As I mentioned before, these are only the first two of what is an extended series of such images, one with infinite possibilities for both fantastic imagery and eye-roll-worthy symbolism. Luckily for us, ESPN and Marvel seem to be hitting the former.

Images created by and courtesy Otaku But Gangsta.