Five Sport-Themed Marvel Superheroes You've Never Heard Of

The franchise has been through a fair few failures on the way to becoming a behemoth
16:01, 26 Oct 2019

When you think of Marvel superheroes, you tend to think of super-strong characters like the Hulk, super-fast characters like Quicksilver, magical characters like Doctor Strange, and skilled assassins like Black Widow.

What you don't tend to think about is sport - but there are a number of superheroes in Marvel's comic books with sporting themes.

Let's take a look at five of them...

 

Bantam

First up is Roberto Velasquez - a former boxer from Puerto Rico who never made it as a professional because of his small stature.

But he was given the opportunity to take part in a program that augmented his physical abilities, granting him super-strength and a degree of invulnerability.

He became so powerful that he could no longer fairly take part in the sport of boxing, after inadvertently killing another fighter during a bout.

At that point, he became the superhero known as Bantam - named after the weight class in boxing which, in turn, was named after bantam chickens - and he even wore boxing gloves as part of his costume. At one point, he even found himself fighting alongside Captain America himself, but he ultimately died during the Civil War story arc.

 

BrooklyKnight

BrooklyKnight was created as part of a collaboration between Marvel Comics and the New York-based NBA team the Brooklyn Nets.

When Brooklyn was given an NBA team, they wanted to create a superhero mascot and, logically, they asked for Marvel's help to do so.

The result is the BrooklyKnight - a play on the word "Brooklynite", which is the name given to residents of Brooklyn.

While he didn't do much basketball-related stuff, he did have the Brooklyn Nets' logo on his chest - but he was ultimately adjudged to be "too scary" for children and wasn't really clicking with the older crowd, so he was retired after just two years.

 

El Guapo

El Guapo is the alter-ego of Robbie Rodriguez - a mutant, like the X-Men for example - who has a sentient skateboard.

He's a former stuntman who was working on the X-Statix movie (X-Statix being a team of superheroes who were designed specifically to be media superstars) and who eventually joined the team itself after helping them to defeat a dangerous villain.

"El Guapo" translates literally from Spanish as "The Handsome", so he's undoubtedly a very campy joke character, but that was all part of the charm - in fact, he was specifically created as a way to poke fun at all characters who were created to capitalise on cool trends, such as skateboarding or surfing.

He died in ludicrous circumstances when he hummed a cursed song and his skateboard ended up impaling him.

 

NFL SuperPro

This guy is arguably the most well-known sports-themed Marvel character - and his superhero name is NFL SuperPro.

His real name is Phil Grayfield and he was created by Marvel in collaboration with the NFL. It probably won't surprise you that this American Football-themed character has quite a silly origin story.

Grayfield is a former football player who became a sports reporter, and one story he covered was about a scientist who created an indestructible NFL uniform. Inadvertently, he ended up caught in a fire, which exposed him to chemicals from the scientist’s laboratory and granted him superpowers. Wearing the indestructible NFL uniform, he became the NFL SuperPro.

But his superhero exploits only lasted 12 issues, and not even a guest appearance by Spider-Man was enough to prevent his cancellation.

 

Triathlon

Delroy Garrett Jr. was an Olympic track athlete who ended up being kicked out of sport after he tested positive for steroids.

Downtrodden, he went on to join a cult to help build his faith. He ended up being given superpowers. What superpowers? Rather underwhelmingly, the strength and speed of three men! Yup, that really is the extent of it.

He became Triathlon and, surprisingly, he actually became an integral member of the Avengers - although his own initial assumption was that he'd been added to the team as a PR stunt.

Unbeknownst to Garrett Jr., his powers were actually taken from a previous Marvel character - 3-D Man, who also had the abilities of three men, and he would later adopt the 3-D Man moniker for himself.

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