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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Champion Sports 3 - Champion Sports ends with stories about horse racing, shot put and basketball

Champion Sports came to an end with issue 3 (Feb/March 1974), which can hardly be considered a surprise.

As before, all three stories in the issue are by Simon, Grandenetti and Flessel. The lead story, in title and opening panel, is, disturbingly, based on the movie "Love Story." That is not obvious nowadays, but would have been blatant at the time this comic came out. The posture of the main character matches that of Ryan O'Neal in the opening shot of the film. The line "What can you say about a three year old stallion that had to die?" is creepily close to the opening line of narration in the movie, "What can you say about a twenty-five year old girl that died?" One is left expecting some full on bestiality here. And no, in the movie Ryan O'Neal does not shoot a wounded Ali MacGraw in the head.

But the story is much less perverse than the first page implies. It deals with a boy who buys a horse cheaply, and trains it to race. No one can ride it except him. It wins the race, but then falls and breaks its leg. So the guy has to shoot it.

Except it turns out that he doesn't. The leg can be repaired after all! If only things had worked out so well for Ali MacGraw.

Sadly, Horse Story is the best of the lot in this final volume. The second story is about a fat kid who is bad at all sports, until he tries shot put.

Not only does he win at shot put, he gets into shape to do so.

And the final story is a basketball one. A poor boy has to practice with a cruddy ball and a really small hoop.

When he gets onto his high school team he is kept to the side all the time, because he is not as tall as most players.

But at the critical moment in a big game he gets the ball and sinks a shot, winning it for them. The hoop was so much larger than the one he had been practicing with he had no trouble hitting the target and taking out the Death Star. Oh, I think my mind wandered there for a minute.

Champion Sports has never been revived. And I doubt it ever will be.

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