Being a sports enthusiast, I thought it would be interesting to look at the Guardian Project, created in 2010 by Stan Lee in partnership with the NHL. The basic idea behind the project was Lee developed 30 new superheroes, one for each of the NHL’s franchises.
There was nothing too fancy behind the design of the superheroes, each was named after the club they signified. For example, the Calgary Flames guardian was … the Flame. Each guardian had their own background and art, with the most of them looking rather impressive for what the artists had to work with. Some of the characters even have their own video bios which shows them in their city. Each character has its own line of online PDF comics available for people to read. There is a range of genres covered depending on which character you choose to look at. A couple examples are: the Flame fighting off spaceships by the Calgary Tower, or The Lightning battling pirates. Apart from the online comics, there are graphic novels for each team on the NHL’s online store.
What seems to be one of the main story lines for the Guardian Project is what they call The Guardian Vault. The storyline shows a villain named Devan Dark (no, not Gary Bettman) capturing the Guardians. Leader of the Guardians, Mike Mason, works to begin freeing the Guardians from Devan Dark. If you login to the vault, you get access to some interactive features involving the Guardians and some other content.
When I first heard of this project when it was announced, I found it silly from both a sports and comic standpoint. I could see no way in which this would satisfy either fan base at all. Even looking at the comics for a brief moment was enough for me to never want to read them. It is interesting though to see that the project still receives updated content. For younger fans of both hockey and comics, the middle ground must provide some kind of joy for it to still have life. In my opinion though, I find the whole the thing a bit ridiculous and a money grab for both groups involved. While some characters look bad-ass, some are less than appealing. I feel sorry for the young comic book/hockey fan who lives in St. Louis; I don’t think that trusty saxophone will save them.