• 11.21.13

NFL Stars Cam Newton And J.J. Watt Star In Gatorade “Freaks” Digital Comics

Calling J.J. Watt a “freak” to his face is probably not a good idea, but Gatorade decided to chance it.

Football and comic books go together like chocolate and, er, pumpkin bread–they’re not a bad combination, but we don’t see them put together very often. The on-field heroics of stars like Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton have thus rarely been given the four-color treatment–until now.


Gatorade, in partnership with the NFL and DC Comics, is publishing a line of biographical comics about NFL stars on its Gatorade Freaks website, with Watt and Newton as the first two players featured. The comics, which utilize motion graphics, are created by longtime pros Christos Gage (Avengers Academy) and Howard Porter (JLA), and they make for a fun read. Porter’s talent for drawing muscle-bound icons translates effectively from Superman to Newton (in perhaps a nod to subtlety, Newton’s “Superman” touchdown celebration doesn’t even make it into his comic), and Gage’s “origin story” approach to the players’ lives highlights the idea that football and comics are both about larger-than-life characters carrying out unbelievable physical feats.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.