Welcome to Heroes and Villains, a place where we look back at the Premier League action and try to figure out where our favorite footballers would fit in the storytelling universe. It would be super boring to just list a bunch of people under those two categories, so for this, we will be incorporating more than just the protagonist/antagonist labels.
During the international break, I stumbled upon one of the nerdiest books ever created. This is no small feat especially when you are geeky like me. I mean, I have bookends of Thor’s hammer Mjolner and Captain America’s vibranium shield holding up a five collection series of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, leather-bound versions of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and David Goldblatt’s absurdly unnecessarily long The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football, a tome in which I have never been able to get past page 100.
So when I opened the lid to this amazing text, The League of Regrettable Superheroes, a look at the worst creations in comic book history, I was surprised how many of the entries reminded me of other things. Specifically of Premier League players and teams from Matchday 6. Shocking, right? If only there were a column designed specifically to talk about that very thing…
My eyes were glued to the television set, waiting for the moment it would all go wrong. There was a part of me that thought it wouldn’t happen, that Arsenal would come up short once again, especially after watching such a pathetic performance from the other North London team the day before. But with only ten men, the Gunners somehow found a way to come back from a two-goal deficit against Aston Villa. The immense pressure forced upon the Birmingham Boys backline seemed to come out of nowhere and eventually wore them down as Pierre Emrick Aubameyang’s 84th-minute goal sealed the 3 points.
All Aston Villa had to do was keep the ball out of their net twice for 40 minutes against 9 position players. There is really no excuse for losing this football game. The only logical reason to explain Arsenal’s dramatic comeback is that they had hired a new team physician at halftime. A medic that hooked them up with the good stuff. A man by the name of Doctor Hormone.
Wait, you didn’t hear about the promotion of Mr. Horomone, M.D.? Perhaps, it’s because he was a 90-year-old man who was suddenly rejuvenated upon his deathbed by a “youth hormone” which turns him into a fit 25-year old man. He now brings the mighty powers of hormones to benefit the good people of Earth. According to the book, the good doctor’s formula does a ton for humanity “Old women are made young again! Babies are grown into men! Boy Scout troops are transformed into super soldiers, and an entire nation is transformed into half-animal human hybrids to repel an invading army.”
Sadly, though Doctor Hormone had so much promise and brought so much hope to the world, he ultimately disappointed in his biggest battle and was let go by Dell Comics after six issues, never to be heard from again.
Sounds a lot like Unai Emery’s future.
The first few weeks of the season certainly presented the public with tons of ammunition to torch Frank Lampard and this Chelsea project. But after Sunday’s gutsy performance in their 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, I’m starting to think we may have underestimated this side. It’s not like this squad is going to finish top 4, they currently sit at 11th with 8 points, but the experience for Abraham, Mount, Zouma, Tomori is going to help for years to come. With the return of Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek, this team of young children could really grow into a formidable side by the end of the season and beyond.
Growing. Well, that just happened to be the superpower of one of the heroes covered in that aforementioned book – Doll Man. Created in 1939, Darrel “Doll Man” Dane’s superpower was, and yes this is real, to grow and shrink from a regular size man into a 6-inch doll. This was an actual published idea. Surprisingly, people bought it. Doll Man became the flagship superhero for it’s published Quality Comics for almost 30 issues. Despite the introduction of a love interest, Doll Girl obviously, and a combination pet/transportation vehicle in Elmo the Wonder Dog, Doll Man didn’t last very long in the spotlight, even with his early success.
Can you imagine if they somehow find a way to get that 64 million American waste of space to positively contribute? Currently, Chelsea is looking like a lock for Champions League qualifications for years to come. But we all know that the second that transfer ban opens up Abramovich will can Lampard and spend buckets of money on the dying carcasses of Jamie Vardy and Zlatan Ibrahimović.
If only Doll Man could have been given a chance to develop to the true star he was meant to be. Alas, the world may never get to see his true potential, much like this Chelsea team.
Everton football club seems like it should be good. They have a manager who is supposed to be smart. They have a squad that should be able to compete. They had a solid transfer window. And still, they suck. Maybe, Everton just need a bit of rebranding. A new name, perhaps?
This whole situation is reminiscent of the debut of the potential superhero star of Spotlight Comics in 1944. Take a listen to these qualities and tell me this doesn’t sound like an entertaining character: a five-foot-tall former All-American American football start wears a gaucho hat, black robes, and twin automatic pistols to stop crime while shouting catchphrases like “ixnay on the horseplay, my noble knave” or “I’ll pop lead pellets into your gizzard”. (These narrowly beat out “you can’t play blind man’s bluff when your shoes squeak, chum!” and “take a bite of knuckle pie!”)
Except, just like Everton, this hero has all the tools and history but a terrible and embarrassing name in contemporary times: The Black Dwarf.
If there is one other thing you should know about The Black Dwarf’s non-illustrious crime-fighting career is that he didn’t mind killing his enemies, unlike other comic heroes of the time. “The Black Dwarf has no qualms about leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake”.
Hey! That’s what Marco Silva does with Everton fans’ hopes and dreams each week! What a match made in heaven!
I want you to all close your eyes and picture a time when Manchester United was good. Oh, you pictured that time last year when they strung together a bunch of pretty weak results after sacking Jose Mourinho? Ok, I was thinking about like 2012 but if you think that stretch of 14 wins in 19 games was the most glorious time in years, who am I to argue?
It all seemed like a great plan. Dismissing a two-time Champions League winning, two-time Europa winning, three-time Premier League winning, eleven-time domestic cup winning manager for a former baby-faced United player with a 30% win percentage in England seemed like a solid idea on the surface, but I’m thinking that as 2020 approaches, United fans might begin to see this wasn’t the best long-term scheme after all. It just seems like destiny that this whole thing won’t work out.
Ya know, this seems a whole heck of a lot like the plot of 1941’s Police Comics, starring Attorney Daniel Dyce, a.k.a. 711. Dyce is such a great guy that he decides to help out his totally guilty client by confessing to all of his crimes, so the guy can attend the birth of his child. After a few days, the client will admit he was guilty, freeing Dyce and ensuring he is known within the criminal community as an A-plus, swell guy.
Except, uh-oh, his client dies in a sudden car accident, leaving Dyce behind bars during the day while feeling compelled to tunnel out of prison each night to clean up the streets under the heroic name of 711, America’s 2nd favorite convenience store. Man, that plan really backfired. At least he is a nice guy.
Sadly, 711 didn’t have much of a life-span in the comic scene. He hasn’t been heard of since he was fatally shot during a fight with his arch-nemesis, Oscar Jones. The only witness to his death? A psychic named Destiny!
I swear I’m not making this up!
Until next week, just remember that we can all be a hero. Except for you, Colchester United. You would never be able to compete against a top 6……oh sh*t.