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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Champion Sports 1 - Champion Sports begins with stories about baseball, soap box derby racing, and track and field


Feeling that there was a huge untapped market for comic books about sports, DC launched Champion Sports (also known as Not-Strange Sports Stories) with the Oct/Nov 73 issue. OK, to be honest, I am not sure that anyone other than me calls this Not-Strange Sports Stories. But they should.


There are three stories in each issue, and the covers of each issue feature all three tales. All three stories are by Joe Simon, Jerry Grandenetti and Craig Flessel. The first one deals with a boy who wants to be a writer. His stories suck, and his teacher asks him what he is interested in. He mentions sports, so the teacher advises him to join a sports team and write about it. The kid is not very good at any sports, but tries out for a baseball team. While batting, he throws out his shoulder.


This dislocates it, and as a result he becomes an amazing pitcher, so good that he goes pro and becomes widely known for his fastball. He becomes a big star, but gets into a car accident, and his shoulder gets put back into place by the doctors. Then he is back to just sucking again, and retires.


As the story ends he catches a football, which throws his shoulder out again, giving him back his super arm. But he does not go back into playing sports. Nor does he desire to write. Yay, he becomes a slacker! Triumph!


The second story is even less exciting. It centres on a boy who aims to win a soap box derby race. Other kids spend far more money on their cars, which all look much better than his.


A street gang take an interest in the kid, and begin stealing bits of cars to help him out, but they get caught. The kid returns all the stolen things.


But in the end he wins anyway, because his car is lighter than the others, actually being built out of soap boxes. How exciting!


The third story actually has something to it, as it deals with racism, though never really vocalizes it. College track and field is the playing field, and the story deals with two roommates, a black guy and an Irish guy. 


The Irish one never actually comes out and says anything offensive, but his attitude permeates the tale. He is so clearly resentful of his roommate, and desperate to beat him in a race to prove that he is superior.


Of course the black guy wins. The Irish guy sulks off, but does congratulate him, even though it clearly pains him to do so. Avoiding the elephant in the room actually works to make the story more powerful and effective.

As always, with no host or continuing characters I will jump to the end of the run.

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