Friday, January 7, 2011

NHL Superheroes---Now with Real Plagiarism!!

So in what is sure to be one of the top nominees for the "Who the Hell Saw That Coming" Awards, the NHL has entered into a partnership with Marvel demigod Stan Lee (Stan Lee...Stanley Cup? Coincidence?) to create superheroes for every NHL team, codenamed The Guardian Project. I kind of see where they're going with this. For many sports teams, a mascot can be a fan favorite. As an Islanders fan, I can't tell you how much Sparky merchandise the Islanders sell, and how many kids in the stands could not care less about the game and spend the entire time looking for that damn six foot dragon.

Not to be confused with Chasing the Dragon
Still, it seems like an odd partnership. Most of the time when you picture your average comic book reader and your average hockey fan, you don't exactly get the same image. I mean, could you see Chris Pronger walking into a comic book store to pick up the latest Spiderman? (answer: no, because that would imply that Chris Pronger has the ability to read). So far, six Guardians have been released: The Penguin, The Hurricane, The Flyer, The Blackhawk, The King and The Sabre. We'll review each one case by case in the coming days, so let's kick things off with the first one that was released, The Penguin:

Definitely NOT Danny Devito
Fanboys for years have been fighting over mom's meatloaf whether Marvel is ripping off DC every chance they get. The Flash vs. Quicksilver. Aquaman vs. Namor. The Justice League vs. The X-Men. Who knows if those debates have merit. I'm sure many a virgin's heart rate has escalated because of it (well, that and the constant ingesting of Fritos and Mountain Dew). Seriously, how many different variations of "Guy in tights kisses girl, saves world" or "Chick with ridiculous rack punches bad guy, saves world" are there? But to rip off your own characters, Stan? That's kind of low. In fact, we can get The Penguin (in both look and superpowers) by simply combining two heroes.
First, in appearance, I thought that The Penguin looked familiar. I remembered back to a time when superhero costumes were closer to what you saw in WWF and not what the goth kids hanging outside of Hot Topic wear. Remember Cyclops:
Definitely NOT James Marsden

But I'm reasonable...I was willing to give Stan a pass. Again, even if they look EXACTLY ALIKE there have to be some differences. I mean, shooting lasers out of your eyes doesn't really seem like the kind of power suitable for The Penguin. Speaking of which, let's look at The Penguin's powers:

The gritty young savior of the Steel City. Can project ice missiles from his hands and travels on a frozen ice sheet.
Hmmm....interesting. Wait, travels on a frozen ice sheet? Shoots ice missiles? That sounds familiar:
If they made a movie version of The Penguin,they could not cast Anson Carter for this reason
Yikes. This is also completely ignoring the fact the Iceman draws some striking similarities to The Penguin as well. But really Stan? Have you no respect for the wrath of Samuel L. Jackson? I feel as though when the NHL pitched the idea for The Guardian Project to Stan Lee, it went something like this:
Sweetie, what are you watching on TV? The Incredibles?

Look, Penguins are awesome. I understand that they don't exactly give the creator much to work with, unless the superpower is wearing a tuxedo or balancing things on their feet. And I understand that the Penguins hockey team doesn't give much to work with either, unless the superpower is being really good at punching people in the balls.

As I said, we'll be reviewing the other Guardians as they come out. One thing's for sure....the next time Stan Lee wants to rip off Samuel L., couldn't we at least get Jules from Pulp Fiction? Hopefully the other ones are better, because The Penguin is uninspired and recycled. The last time I can remember something being this blatant of a ripoff was when they changed Mike Tyson from black to white in Punch-Out!!! and renamed him Mr. Dream.  


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