Writer Ron Marz and Chicago Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije stopped by the CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Con 2012 and spoke about their upcoming digital collaboration, “The Protectors,” a comic that brings sports and superheroes together. Marz and Idonije spoke about the inception of the project, the general concept of the story and Idonije’s love of comics. Plus, stick around in the credits for a special kazoo performance of a familiar theme song by Israel Idonije.
Idonije on his love of comics: “When I was a kid, my father ran a shelter where people gave us gifts and one of those boxes were some ‘Green Hornet’ comics. So that was my first introduction and from there I got into Spider-Man and X-Men, Iron Man and the love was born.”
On the inception of “The Protectors”: “You know how whenever sports shows up in comics, it sucks?” said Marz. “We’re not doing that part. We’re doing the part where it’s actually going to be really cool. The sports aspect of the story is the seed from which everything else is going to grow and this is a story Israel’s had for years.”
“Since 2007,” said Idonije. “It was a rough training camp and I said rather than just football, sleep, practice, meetings, I’m going to try to come up with a concept to tell and make that connection between sports and comics and that’s when ‘The Protectors’ was born.”
Marz on the plot of “The Protectors”: “We’re doing a story in which the main characters are professional athletes. We’re going to look into their lives as professional athletes, but that’s just the base of the story. It’s a superhero cosmic epic that grows out of that storyline. We want to bring you in with doing sports in comics right, maybe for the first time — making it convincing, making it realistic. We’ve got Bart Sears on board because he’s just about the best guy out there in terms of showing that action, that physicality. The story grows from there into a cosmic epic with super heroic overtones. To me, it’s trying to bridge the gap between sports and comics. Frankly, they’re kind of the same strain of geekery, just a little bit of a different flavor.”
Idonije on dressing up as a superhero as a kid: “I did. I have a picture as a child dressed up as my rendition of Spider-Man. I used to run around doing the Spider-Man sounds, like a lot of kids did. That was kind of my childhood superhero that I always wanted to be. I had red stuff and a little mask that I cut the eyes out of. It was a tuque [knit-cap] I cut the eyes out of and that was it.”