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LeBron James drops ‘Batman’ mask, Greg Land offers another

Art by Greg Land

Art by Greg Land

After suffering a broken nose, Miami Heat forward LeBron James returned to the court last week sporting a black protective mask some compared to those worn by Batman and Bane. However, it was hot and uncomfortable, leaving him in search for alternatives.

“I’ve been talking to Marvel Comics for the last couple of days, and DC Comics, to try to come up with one of the greatest masks of all time,” James told The Associated Press. “So we’ll see what happens.”

But on Friday, the NBA asked that he not wear the black mask — hey, even teammate Dwyane Wade conceded “it looks weird” — so James instead debuted a clear one in Saturday’s game against the Orlando Magic. Greg Land had other ideas, however, designing a star-spangled option that Marvel tweeted on Tuesday was “in honor of last night’s super heroics” (James scored 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats as the heat won 124-107).

As Bleacher Report notes, “Land’s design pretty much sums up how James is playing lately.”

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DC Comics is kryptonite to NBA’s merchandising plans

The planned "Krypto-Nate" T-shirt

The planned "Krypto-Nate" T-shirt

DC Comics put a quick end to the National Basketball Association’s plans to sell “Krypto-Nate” T-shirts commemorating the slam-dunk victory of Nate Robinson.

However, the New York Post reports, the NBA is trying come to an agreement with the comics publisher and parent company Warner Bros., which hold the rights to most everything Kryptonian.

“The NBA decided not to release the Krypto-Nate T-shirt because of future initiatives we are working on with Warner/DC Comics,” an NBA source told the newspaper.

Robinson, a New York Knicks point guard, beat Dwight “Superman” Howard in the Slam Dunk Contest held Feb. 14 during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Dubbing himself “Krypto-Nate,” the five-foot-nine-inch Robinson catapulted himself over the six-foot-11-inch, cape-wearing Howard.

Within two days of the win, the NBA launched plans to sell a green Knicks T-shirt bearing Robinson’s No. 4 and the words “Krypto-Nate.” A day later, those plans were scrapped. (The Post notes the NBA Store is close to the DC Comics offices.)

Talking Comics with Tim: GTAS’ Frankel & Britt

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Garbage Time All-Stars (GTAS)

So with the Super Bowl settled some sports fans have moved on to other sports, such as following their favorite NBA team again. Or maybe they want to laugh about their least favorite basketball team. (Honestly, as an Atlanta native, I can say with great authority that for many years with the Hawks, all you could do is laugh . . . or cry). Why am I talking about sports at a comics blog? Well, this interview happens to focus upon the creators of the Garbage Time All-Stars (GTAS) webcomic: Josh Frankel and Mark Haven Britt.  As noted here: “Josh and Mark are the cartoonists responsible for the weekly NBA satire of Garbage Time All-Stars. Their comics first appear every week at the Yahoo! Sports Ball Don’t Lie blog, and are then archived here.” This week’s strip (posted on Wednesday morning) aims to welcome NFL fans back with a summary of the NBA season so far. Thanks to this interview, I now want to ask Tom Spurgeon if he thinks the 1979 addition of the three-pointer revitalized or ruined the game.

Tim O’Shea: How did the strip first come about?

Mark Haven Britt: Josh brought it up. He’s a huge NBA nerd. Even bigger than me. He knows the blogs, the sites and the community of NBA fandom. No one was really doing comics about the NBA and that he was sure that there was an audience for it. I thought it sounded like such fun. Josh is hilarious. I had to be a part of it so I weaseled my way into drawing it.

Josh Frankel: It’s true, I am an NBA nerd. I play fantasy basketball which requires total information gathering — stats, injury reports, local dispatches about coach moods — and it leads to long NBA rants in emails to friends. If I’m already doing all of that work I might as well try to get a comic out of it. Of my comics friends Mark is the guy I’ve always talked hoops with. It all fell into place.

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