Welcome, my friends, to the show that never ends. Time for another edition of Best of the Worst of Upper Deck! Let’s all take a moment to appreciate just how far we’ve come with the photography and printing technology that bring us such stunning pictures in a little foil pack. The imagery is unparalleled with anything we’ve had in decades past; it truly does bring us closer to the game.
“Captain America: Civil War,” the new Marvel movie comes out today, and oh man, am I excited. The movie features Captain America, who was my favorite comic book hero growing up. (Yes, I self-identify as “lawful good.” Deal with it!) It’s got Iron Man and Spider-Man and all the other superheroes we love.
My first-ever job was working in a comic book store, as a dorky, flannel-wearing teenager who spent his $4 an hour on comics and hockey cards almost faster than he could earn it. (Well, it wasn’t like I had many dates back then.) Today, I still collect hockey cards, and while I’ve cooled my heels on comic collecting, I still enjoy a good superhero flick.
Hockey fans who also like superheroes — or comic book fans who are at least tolerant of hockey — will be interested to know that there have been several notable crossovers between superheroes and hockey. Like ketchup on ice cream, hockey and superheroes is a strange combination that always had ridiculous results.
Here are six examples of hockey and superhero crossovers.
Like many kids growing up in the 1980s, I played with G.I. Joe action figures. Each figure had an interesting code name like Snake-Eyes, Shipwreck, Roadblock or Cobra Commander, had a ton of poseability — including swivel-arm battle grip! — and came with some pretty cool weapons.
Another great thing about G.I. Joe action figures was that each one came with its own file card on the back of the toy packaging — a small profile about the character that you were supposed to cut out and save for future reference. Believe it or not, these file cards many times became a factor when deciding which figure to buy. As a nine-year old, standing in the toy aisle of K-Mart, with only enough scratch in my Ghostbusters wallet to get one figure, I had to make a tough choice each week. All the figures looked awesome, so the file cards told you what kind of character the toy was supposed to be, which made picking one easier.
So this got me thinking, what if NHL players had file cards that summed up what you needed to know about them? It would quickly get you up to speed if you haven’t been following their career, and help you decide if you were going to like them or not.
Remember when you were in elementary school and you saw your first grade teacher at the grocery store for the first time, and exclaimed, “Mrs. Dethnoll, what are you doing here?”
“I’m shopping for groceries, just like you!”
“You are? I thought you just lived at the school!”
Even though we’re all grown-ass adults hacking away at our 9-to-5 jobs and drinking kale smoothies (ugh, seriously this stuff is gross!), we sometimes forget that those of us on this earth living the dream of playing hockey for a living exist outside of the rink as well. Pro athletes have lives, likes and dislikes, clothes they enjoy wearing that don’t have an itchy fight strap, pets that need walking or scooping after, and, most importantly, food they love eating!
Steve Galvao is a good old Canadian kid who grew up loving hockey and collecting hockey cards. To see more of Steve’s work, visit his website, the Shoebox Collection. You can view his earlier blog posts here. Follow Steve on Twitter@galvaost. ■