Hockey Antihero

Collector’s Sportslook Promo Card – Spawn

Spawn Hockey CardCollector’s Sportslook was a sports collectibles magazine published in the mid-1990s by Wizard Entertainment. Wizard Entertainment is better known for their more successful magazines – ToyFare, InQuest Gamer and of course Wizard, from which they derive their namesake.

One of Wizard Entertainment’s gimmicks was to include a trading card with the magazine – usually of a hot new comic book character. This trend continued with their Collector’s Sportslook magazine, which came bagged with one or more sports cards to help newsstand sales. In keeping to their roots as a publisher focused on the comic book industry, many of the sports cards included with Collector’s Sportslook actually featured a comic book superhero playing sports. An early 1994 issue – I can’t recall which month, as I’ve long since tossed the magazine – included a card of the dark comic book hero Spawn playing hockey.

Spawn Hockey Card (back)As most of you under the age of 30 probably know, the popular comic book character Spawn (short for Hellspawn) was created by Todd McFarlane – the very same Todd McFarlane who owns McFarlane Toys, makers of (among other things) the NHL SportsPicks action figures. McFarlane is a huge hockey fan, so it was no surprise when Spawn appeared on a hockey card that was inserted with an issue of Collector’s Sportslook. It was also no surprise that a character from Image Comics would appear on the card, as Wizard Entertainment seemed to overly-promote Image Comics and their characters. Other comic/sports cards included with other issues of the magazine included Savage Dragon as a boxer and Zealot from WildC.A.T.s playing soccer.

As was the case with many trading cards from that time, this is what was known as a “chromium” card – meaning, it has sort of a shiny metallic finish on the front. While this gimmick was invented to help sell more comic books, it found its way into the card industry (Fleer Metal Universe, anyone?)

Drawn by comic book artist Greg Capullo, the front of the Spawn hockey card depicts the dark antihero skating with the puck, while checking his arch nemesis Violator into the boards. A nice touch to the illustration shows Violator’s helmet flying off of his head.

The text on the back of the card reads:

Real Name: Al Simmons
H: 6′ 2″
W: 205
Age: 28
Acquired: Draft (#1 Choice), 1992

Spawn is recognized as one of the most gifted two-way players in the game. His size makes him difficult to check off the puck, while his soft hands make him an excellent passer. He also possesses a booming slapshot, making him one of the league’s most feared offensive threats. With a top-notch, rugged style of play behind his own blue line, Span’s a two-time winner of the Selke Trophy, awarded to the league’s best defensive forward. A bruiser in the Cam Neely or Rick Tocchet mold, Spawn isn’t afraid to rumble, as is evident by his boatload of penalty minutes in the past two seasons.

That’s a pretty superhero-like career. Spawn won the Selke Trophy two years in a row – one of them being his rookie season. He also is comparable to Cam Neely and Rick Tocchet. I wonder if this means that, nowadays, he has knee problems and/or a gambling problem too? (I kid, I kid! We know you are innocent, Rick.)

Worth noting is that his stats don’t add up correctly for the 1993 season (43 G and 49 assists does not equal 102 points). I guess that Collector’s Sportslook was too busy making the card shiny to check the numbers. Of course, all the shiny cards in the world could not help them, as their overall numbers did not add up anyway – the magazine went defunct in less than two years. This little artifact remains to remind us of an otherwise unremarkable and short-lived sports publication.

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Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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