Saturday, February 27, 2010

An Olympic Message from former Olympian - Northstar!

That winning Beaubier smile!

Alo! Canadian celebrity, superhero, author, CEO, teacher, circus aerialist, former terrorist and deceased ninja assassin, one time elfin royalty and disgraced Oly*p*c skier, Jean-Paul Beaubier here. But you can call me by my trés chic, code name -- Northstar! (accent on the 'star', naturalment.)

As my countrymen compete with the best in the world at Vancouver 2010 Olympics, my heart has swelled with uncharacteristic pride. And so I promise on behalf of Comicanuck at least one more week of comic book Olympic goodness to help you get through those curling and short-track speed skating withdrawal pains.

Mostly I'm doing this because I need somewhere to channel all this Olympic spirit now that my so-called friends' in Alpha Flight couldn't score me a seat to today's Canada-U.S.A. Men's Hockey final. You'd think a certain hardcore hockey fan by the name Puck would be able to pull a few strings. Quel connard.

Go Canada... or else!

To start us off, mes amis, for this final day of official Olympic festivities, we have a cover gallery of comic book Olympic moments!

The Olympics have long been fodder for comicbook storytelling. It provides a recognizable hook (or macguffin as Hitchcock referred to them) and also a straightforward narrative structure -- Two or more characters compete in a variety of events to determine the eventual winner.

Add to that a kidnapped kid sidekick, a cheating or doped up competitor or what have you and the stakes are suitably raised. You can also return to the idea every few years to coincide with the actual Olympics and cash in on the buying public's awareness and spirited desire to take part in some way... like purchasing your fine comic perhaps.

The Games can also serve as a compelling and unique backdrop or setting for a tale, even if the events of the story have little to do with the Olympics themselves.

But enough of this. Let's move onto the events that are near and dear to my Quebecois heart -- the downhill events!

Ahhh... the speed and aerial acrobatic grace of my beloved skiing and snowboarding events.

How telling is it that I miss it less for the joy of competition than for the fact that no one shoots plasma bolts at you or tries to remove your head from your torso while crying out, "Die, X-men!" when you compete there?

Such a comforting memory.

Sigh... I shall pour another chianti while you and these covers conquer that mountain!

A big part of selling a comic is to make sure your character stands out to the buying public and your cover is a key to doing that. So why not put them in an unusual but relatable situation? Afunny gag sevres much the same purpose for a humour book. The cover must amuse and also reveal somethign about the main character or the contents.

Something like a super hero skiiing or, in the case of the Blackhawk shown, prehistoric cavemen on flying skis with futuristic weaponry, can draw the eye away from more the mundane covers surrounding it and raise questions in the viewers minds. The only way to get those questions answered is to buy the book.

For some fun write-ups on comic book Olympic tales check out Mark Engbloms Comic Coverage post, An (Interplanetary) Olympic Moment, Pat Curley's Silver Age Comics follow-up post, The Olympics. You can also check the Grand Comic Book Database to see the whack of stores that grooved to an Olympic beat... Sorry, I have been hanging out with Dazzler a lot lately.

And now I must content myself to watch the gold medal Mens' hockey game on my plasma screen instead at rinkside with my selfish Alpha Flight compatriots. Onwards and upwards my friends!

Beavers Up!

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