Marvel Developing NHL-Themed Superheroes
Perhaps he’ll have the ability to clear traffic and drop an “r” at any turn.
The man behind Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men and Iron Man is creating Boston’s very own superhero.
Former Marvel Comics publisher Stan Lee is partnering with the National Hockey League to create the Guardian Project. Each of its 30 animated superheroes, tied to an NHL team, will be uber fans with special powers that represent a team and its hometown.
The Guardians will be featured online (at guardianproject30.com) and integrated into each team’s marketing. There will be Guardian comic books, social gaming, mobile applications tied real-time to NHL games and merchandise. A Harry Potter [website]-esque novel, animated TV series and major motion pictures also are planned.
The superpowers of the Boston superhero bear called “Bruin” include precognition, or the ability to sense trouble, and serve as the “early-warning system” for the rest of the Guardians. His powerful roar can freeze enemies in fear, and his olfactory power allows him to “smell” when someone is lying and be a strong interrogator.
“This is unlike any project Stan has ever done,” said Adam Baratta, chief creative officer of Guardian Media Entertainment, a joint venture of the NHL and Lee’s Pow! Entertainment. “We worked hand-in-hand with the NHL over the last 10 months to specifically design each character not only to look and feel like the moniker, but to be infused with the spirit that represents the fans of each hometown.”
In that vein, Bruin will be gritty, hard-working and, since he’s Boston-educated, the most intellectual of the bunch. And, yes, he’ll have a Boston accent.
But instead of using his powers to exact revenge on his hometown team’s rivals, Bruin will join forces with the other Guardians. Bruin, Flyer, Ranger and the rest will be marshaled by 15-year-old lead character Mike Mason to fight evil outside the arena of hockey - so the superheroes, targeted to boys 9 to 14, appeal to a larger audience.
Lee, who grew up playing street hockey in New York, approached the NHL about the project.
“And we’re smart enough to recognize a good idea,” said Brian Jennings, the league’s executive vice president of marketing. “As a marketer, you’re always looking to cultivate a relationship with the next generation of fans.”
Don’t expect a cuddly mascot-type bear. The Guardians won’t be seen in full animated form until the Jan. 30 NHL All-Star Game. But, based on the online video trailer, they’re very futuristic.
“It’s another way for us to engage and connect with our fans,” said Jen Compton, the Bruins [team stats]’ marketing vice president. “We can build it into a game presentation and some of our kid-focused efforts.”
Game possibilities include JumboTron shots of Bruin in the stands doing a “superhero move” or reacting to all those power-play Boston goals against Montreal.
This is actually super cool. Big Marvel/Comic book fan so I'm looking forward to this. #Hockey