|Publication date||1991 - 1992|
|No. of issues||12 + 1 Special|
|Main character(s)||Phil Grayfield|
|Written by||Fabian Nicieza|
NFL SuperPro was a short-lived comic book series published by Marvel Comics, centered on Phil Grayfield, an ex National Football League (NFL) player who survives a freak accident and wears a near-indestructible football uniform. Produced in collaboration with the NFL and written by Fabian Nicieza and artist Jose Delbo, the series started publication in 1991 and ended after 12 issues.
Nicieza wrote a story centering on Phil Grayfield, once an aspiring football player. His career ended when he saved a child from falling and suffered a horrific knee injury. He became a sports reporter and interviewed an eccentric football superfan, who also happened to be a scientist. This scientist designed a new, almost indestructible football uniform, which has to be molded on an "individual basis" and costs five million dollars to construct — so it is "worth a fortune".
Suddenly interrupting the interview, thieves raid the eccentric's house, overwhelm the two of them, steal a van load of NFL merchandise (but not the uniform), and torch the building. Grayfield, who is tied up, knocks over experimental chemicals, which — in combination with the fire and diverse ultra-rare football souvenirs going up in flames — do not incinerate him, but turn him into a near-invincible superhero.
Grayfield puts on the eccentric's football uniform and brings the villains to justice, dedicating his life to fighting crime and dubbing himself "SuperPro".
The first issue starring NFL SuperPro was "NFL SuperPro Special Edition # 1", cover-dated March 1991. The series began with issue "NFL SuperPro # 1" (cover-date October 1991) and ended with "NFL SuperPro # 12" (cover-date September 1992). On two occasions, NFL SuperPro featured a crossover, a common practice in comic books to boost sales; Spider-Man (in issue # 1) and Captain America (in issue # 8).
The character NFL SuperPro has not been seen since the demise of the series. Writer Robert Kirkman reportedly wanted to use SuperPro in an issue of Marvel Team-Up but could not, due to copyright concerns. The closest he came was Marvel Team-Up #9, in which the character Stilt-Man says, "I beat up a guy called SuperPro last week. Silliest looking guy...".
NFL SuperPro has been called one of the worst comics in recent Marvel Comics history, becoming a cult object. Often cited in this claim are issues with the plot and the characters. For example, in the first issue a group of thieves incinerate valuable NFL merchandise but it is never explained why they burn it instead of selling it off. Writer Fabian Nicieza has admitted he wrote the story to gain free NFL tickets. He stated that he still receives flak for the comic.
Nicieza left Superpro after four issues, and was replaced with Buzz Dixon; one of Dixon's issues, which featured Hopi villains who used kachina-themed costumes and weapons, drew substantial complaints from Hopi representatives, leading Marvel to officially recall the comic. Dixon left Superpro after three issues.
- Ken Reid - Ken Reid is a cameraman who accompanies SuperPro's alter ego, Phil Grayfield, to his interviews, and is therefore always present to film NFL SuperPro in action. Over time he becomes Phil's confidant.
- Jane Dixon - SuperPro's former girlfriend and only other person to know his secret identity.
- Protectors of the Forest - Defenders of the Brazilian rainforest.
- Repulsor - an armor-wielding ex football player
- Felicita Oliveri
- Sanction - Crime boss Marco Sanzionare, whose dealings are constantly thwarted by SuperPro
- Quick Kick - A field-goal kicker turned evil ninja, who appears in #2 of the series
- Instant Replay - An assassin with the ability to travel short distances through time
- "NFL SuperPro". atomicavenue.com. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- Twenty-Five Years Ago, the NFL and Marvel Created 'NFL SuperPro'—and It Sucked, by Alex Wong, at Vice; published September 21, 2016; retrieved May 11, 2017
- Happy Thanksgiving From NFL Superpro, the Football Superhero, by Chris Sims, at ComicsAlliance; published November 25, 2009; retrieved May 11, 2017
- 10 ridiculous superheroes who are their jobs, by Cyriaque Lamar, at Io9; published November 16, 2010; retrieved May 11, 2017
- Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #89, by Brian Cronin, at Comic Book Resources; published February 8, 2007; retrieved May 11, 20127
- The Top 10 Sports/Comic Book Crossovers, at Chicago Sports Review (via archive.org); published February 3, 2005; retrieved May 11, 2017