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By Michael Kim  – @michaelny11731

Hello Midtowners, this is Michael from the back issues department for this blog entry on comic books and sports.  The Guardians of The Galaxy are the 2014 box office champions.  With no upcoming films to give the Guardians competition in their record gross earning, the Guardians will be sitting pretty for the rest of the year.  The GOTG were underdogs, B/C/D-listers in the Marvel library.  They’re known by comic book fans, but questioned by the casual ones.  They lacked the commercial appeal of The Avengers and other Marvel characters.  The Guardians weren’t (at the time) a household name, they weren’t iconic.  Producing a space adventure film made sense to keep the Infinity Gems and Thanos in the broad picture of the Marvel cinematic universe.  However, to use relative unknowns as their vehicle seemed risky.  Well, it seems the gamble by Marvel paid off.

The accomplishment of the film made me think of other success stories.  300 directed by Zack Snyder and based on the Frank Miller comic book series comes to mind: low budget, huge box office return.  But I digress.  This blog entry is about comic books and sports.  If the Guardians of The Galaxy film were a professional sports franchise, they would be the Super Bowl XVLIII Champion Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League.  Before Super Bowl XVLIII (48,) the last professional sports championship that the city of Seattle WA won was in 1979 by the Supersonics in the National Basketball Association (NBA.)  The franchise saw some success in the 90’s with head coach George Karl, point guard Gary Payton, and power forward Shawn Kemp.  The franchise came close to another championship, but lost to Michael Jordan and The Chicago Bulls.  In 2006, the team (along with eventual 2013-2014 Most Valuable Player of the Year Kevin Durant) was sold and moved to Oklahoma City OK, now named the Thunder.

Seattle’s professional baseball team, the Mariners, have never won a World Series Championship.  With some success and marquee names like Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez, the Mariners were either on the outside of the playoffs looking in, or losing in playoffs to teams with the reputation of being winners: New York Yankees in 2000 and 2001, American League Championship Series.  In 2006, the Seahawks would play in Super Bowl XL (40) against the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the most successful franchises in the NFL.  Seattle would lose to Pittsburgh on a game known more for its controversial calls made by the referees.  The Steelers would take home their fifth Super Bowl trophy in their franchise history.

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“When I look around, you know what I see?  Losers, I mean people who lost stuff” Peter Quill/Star-Lord, GOTG.  Seattle was losing in the big games and watched their beloved NBA team leave town.  They needed a winner and it started with the Seahawks hiring head coach Pete Carroll.  Star-Lord is Coach Carroll.  Carroll was a high-energy California kid with a passion for football to match and it showed on and off the field.  Coach Carroll’s previous NFL experience was in the 90’s with the New York Jets and the New England Patriots.  He was fired from both teams.  Carroll would then go on to be a very successful college head coach at the University of Southern California (USC) resulting in two Associated Press National Championships (pre-playoff era,) three Heisman Trophies (highest individual award) won by quarterbacks Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and running back Reggie Bush.

In 2010, Carroll would return to NFL as the Seahawks head coach.  That same year, USC was investigated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for violations in the athletic program.  The ruling by the NCAA resulted in the forfeit of wins including one championship.  Along with sanctions put on the program, RB Reggie Bush voluntarily gave up his 2005 Heisman Trophy.  Carroll was about to start his journey to Super Bowl Champion with losses and controversy.  Carroll needed Seattle as much as Seattle needed him, a fresh start.  Before leaving for the Seattle, some considered Carroll better suited for college (minus NCAA violations) than the NFL.  He brought his college style offense to the NFL which would play a big role in the Super Bowl.  Peter Quill, the real Star-Lord, would seem to be the unconventional choice as the leader of a team as well as the lead for a big budget film.  Quill would start his journey as leader and savior of the Galaxy by bringing The Guardians together…in prison.  Like Carroll, Quill maintained his youthful enthusiasm that would help him through good times and bad, things will get easier and things will get brighter.

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Gamora is the Seattle Seahawks of the 2005/2006 season.  Seattle was the best team in the National Football Conference (NFC.)  After winning the NFC championship game, they earned a spot in Super Bowl XL (40) against the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers.  Seattle’s first trip to the Super Bowl would end in disappoint not because they lost 21-10, but because of the way the game was officiated.  In respect to our Steelers fans, there were a number of controversial calls or non-calls made by the referees that could have changed the outcome of the game.  Seattle fans were angry and some media members were critical of the referees.  Seattle fans felt betrayed and slighted.  Gamora needed to right her wrong.  She spent most of her life as prisoner and assassin for Thanos.  After discovering the destructive power of the gemstone, Gamora realized selling it to the collector and buying her way to freedom was no longer an option; millions could die.  The gemstone could never fall into the hands of Thanos or Ronan the Accuser.  She would make the right decision by siding with the Guardians, once enemies and now friends.  Along with her new friends, she helped save the galaxy.

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Drax the Destroyer is running back Marshawn Lynch.  Lynch was traded by the Buffolo Bills in 2010 to Seattle.  Lynch is a beast (metaphor) of a running back.  Lynch has said he goes into beast mode (metaphor) during the game.  His nickname in college was “Money” because he was money (metaphor) on the field.  Lynch is a work horse (metaphor.)  Since joining the Seahawks, Lynch missed only 1 game and carried the load of the rushing attack.  Like Drax, Lynch is not afraid to go head to head with his opponent.  In the 2011 playoffs, Seattle would host the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.  In the 4th quarter, Lynch ran for a 67 yard touchdown highlighted by broken tackles and a stiff arm to Saints cornerback Tracy Porter that put him on his back.  The touchdown would be the game winning score for Seattle.  The home crowd jumped and cheered so loud that it caused the Beast Quake (meta…hang on, that actually happened.)  The Seattle fans caused a minor earthquake registered by a seismic monitoring station about 100 yards from the stadium. Lynch has known to make it rain Skittles as well (meta…no, he has.)  After a Lynch touchdown during the 2012 season, fans had graciously thrown his favorite candy in the end zone as a celebration.  Drax and Lynch are fearless, intimidating and tough.  They’re the teammates you want and a necessity.  Lynch is the type of running back that will run headstrong into the opposing defense with no fear.  Drax is willing to go to battle against an entire army all by himself.  Until the game clock reads all zeros and the enemy has fallen, Lynch and Drax will keep truckin’ (metaphor) along.

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As for the home crowd in Seattle, Groot is the 12th Man.  The 12th Man is the nickname given to the fans at Texas A&M University and The Seattle Seahawks.  Only 11 defensive players are allowed on the field, but if the fans are loud enough, they become the 12th player.  The fans in Seattle have been known to be disruptive for opposing offenses and cause a tremor every once and a while.  CenturyLink Field is the home stadium for the Seahawks and their fans.  In their Super Bowl winning season, the Seahawks clinched home field advantage for the playoffs hosting two games against the New Orleans Saints and the San Fransisco 49ers.  After defeating New Orleans, Seattle would face San Francisco 49ers, their division rival, for the NFC championship.  The Seahawks would win the game with the home crowd doing their part.  The noise level hit 137.6 decibels, a Guiness World Record for loudest stadium in the world.  Even though the Super Bowl was played 2,400 miles from Seattle, it was clear that the crowd was cheering for the Seahawks in Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford NJ.  The fans traveled well.  Where ever you go, it’s good to have your fans on the road and it’s good to have someone like Groot on your team as well.  He/it is the home field advantage with legs.  He doesn’t need a weapon.  He could eliminate an army with one arm, be the toughest guy in a prison, bring light to the darkest parts of the galaxy and protect his teammates when the situation looks bleak.  It’s good to be surrounded by Groot and the 12th Man, we are Groot.

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Rocket Raccoon is cornerback Richard Sherman.  Richard Sherman is the vocal leader of the Seattle Seahawks defense, the Legion Of Boom (LOB.)  Since being drafted by the Seahawks in the 2011 NFL draft, Sherman has more interceptions than anyone in the league.  His outspoken personality and exceptional talent has made him one of the best defensive cornerbacks.  Rocket isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind and nothing intimidates him.  Rocket is the result of genetic experimentation with the knack for creating weapons out of spare parts and Richard Sherman graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication…so they have their differences.

Behold, your Guardians of The Galaxy, The Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.  On February 2, 2014 at Super Bowl XVLIII, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos, the highest scoring team in NFL history, by the final score of 43 to 8.  Seattle’s #1 ranked defense overwhelmed NFL MVP Peyton Manning and Denver’s #1 ranked offense.  Seattle was perfect, scoring touchdowns on offense, defense, and special teams.  In Seattle, a feeling of loss and close calls was replaced by a feeling of optimism.  With the majority of the players from the Super Bowl team back to defend their title, how good could this Seattle Seahawks team be?  In time, could Seattle be one of the elite NFL franchises with multiple Super Bowl championships?  Could they be as iconic as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, or Dallas Cowboys? With the sequel to The Guardians of The Galaxy in pre-production, how successful could this franchise be?  Not only the films, but the comic book as well.  Could they be as iconic as The Avengers or The X-Men?  The film continues to do well in theaters and their popularity has soared.  The comic book is also doing well.  From new releases, back issues, and trades, readers new and old can’t get enough of the Guardians.  I think we could agree that comic book characters never go away; they just need a good reboot.

The unconventional choices for the Seattle Seahawks and Guardians of The Galaxy ended up being the right ones.  The most unlikely team of characters ended up being successful in their respected fields.  We can’t overlook Seahawks owner Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) and the work behind the camera that writer/director James Gunn did for The Guardians of the Galaxy.  There are always good people behind the scenes.  The future looks bright.  The pieces are in place for both franchises to continue what they started.  Time will tell how successful they’ll be until the new crop of actors, directors, players and coaches take the reins of the franchises.

 

Thank you for reading this entry on comic books and sports.  In closing, here’s a short Awesome Mix Vol. 1…Seattle Style.

1: Oceans – Pearl Jam, Ten

2: Hunger Strike – Temple of The Dog, Temple of The Dog

3: Outshined – Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger

4: No Excuses – Alice In Chains, Jar of Flies

5: Evelong – Foo Fighers, The Colour and the Shape

6: Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana, Nevermind

The views expressed herein are solely those of the writer, and not Midtown Comics.  Additionally, Midtown Comics makes no representations as to the accuracy of any of the information expressed herein.

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