Tag Archives: NHL

On The NHL All-Star “Guardian Project”

It sucks.

A harsh two words for The Guardian Project, I know, but let me explain.

The concept of marrying hockey with comics is a dream come true for me, because I’m a fan of both.  Take each NHL team and create a superhero scenario around it?  Great!  A nice opportunity for the league to piggyback onto the prevailing “comics are cool” zeitgeist.

How could it fail?  Let me count the ways.

First of all, the NHL is late to the party on this one.  Both Major League Baseball and the NBA have gotten some comic book treatment in the past year or so.   The difference is the other leagues were featured by magazines (Sports Illustrated and ESPN Magazine respectively) with competent marketing deptartments who knew how to leverage the cross-marketing platform potential — something seemingly over the heads of the NHL’s powers that be.
  
A video on the making of the Marvel/ESPN NBA Preview
  
It’s a sad NHL trend to latch onto a successful idea, only to execute it poorly and laughably.  I love hockey and the NHL and want to see the league’s popularity grow, which is why it pains me to see an idea with so much potential fall short because of poor understanding of the medium they were getting themselves into.
 
Their second problem was going to Stan Lee.  Yes, he’s the founder of Marvel comics and an industry legend — but he’s also outdated.  The guy hasn’t had a good idea in over 30 years.  So what’s the idea he fed the NHL?  “Let’s take all the team names and turn them into superheroes with powers based on their namesakes and cities!”  Eeehhmm… <tug at collar>
 
I looked at all of them.   They all suck.  Even the ones that should have been cool.  Each one a parody of the concept instead of an homage to their team.
 
My personal insult?  Well, since I’m from Vancouver: The Canuck
 
Really, Stan Lee?  Really?  You took the lamest parts of Aquaman, awkwardly shoved them into a poor excuse for a Batman costume, then said “he likes rain”.  You gave him a whale cape.  [sigh]
   
  
That one image is pretty symptomatic of the entire project’s poorly-thought-out, effort-lacking, boat-missing, cash-grabbing, wasteland cast of costume-wearing misfit concepts.
 
It’s a shame really.  If the NHL had asked the right people, it could have been pretty good.  Instead they went with a recognizeable name that no longer produces acceptable product. 
 
Kind of like the All Star game, I guess. (Zing.)
[UPDATE]  A good article by The Puck Daddy, Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) explaining the background of the Guardians Project and why those of us who find it laughable are not the target audience.  Also of note, comics writing legend Chuck Dixon was tapped to write all the inital stories.
I’m sorry — I love Chuck, but The Canuck one still sucks. (That wasn’t supposed to rhyme so much, but it did anyway.)