A while back my friend (and comic book guru) Steven told me about a new collaboration between Marvel genius Stan Lee and the National Hockey League. Referred to as The Guardian Project, this collaboration was envisioned as a way to bridge the professional hockey league, declining rapidly in viewership, and a generation of young kids growing up in an increasingly digital world. And so Stan Lee put his brilliance to work creating a superhero and back story representing each of the NHL’s 30 teams. As both an athlete/sports enthusiast, and a comic book nerd, I have to say . . . WOW!
The guardian team is led by Mike Mason, a Peter Parker-esque sports fan. Obsessed with hockey and superheroes, as a child Mike created thirty different characters for the NHL teams, inventing their powers and alter-egos, and writing about their grand adventures. However, when the world is threatened, The Guardians are brought to life to defend their home cities against a series of villains controlled by the evil and malicious Deven Dark.
Check out a few of my favorite Guardians (chosen by alter ego and bios, not sports team) . . .
To see the rest of the Guardian bios, check out their website: http://guardianproject30.com/bios.php
Unfortunately, as I understand it, The Guardian Project wasn't terribly successful as a marketing strategy. For one thing, many people never heard of it, despite efforts to draw people in via contests and social media advertising. And let's face it, on a Venn diagram, the intersection between comic book readers and hockey fans is a rather small one – though I’m of course living proof that they do exist. Still, I'd consider it one of the coolest advertising campaigns I've ever seen.