Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Paying Homage or Ripping Off, the Similarities Within the Comics Universe

Almost since Superman first lifted that car up competing comic companies have been borrowing ideas from each other. I don't think that this was always done intentionally though in some cases with a doubt it was done that way. Various writers have felt the need to use and borrow ideas from other companies and characters throughout the ages. Rather this is done as a way to pay homage, parody, or just the lack of ideas out there is left up to debate.

Like any business rivals, comic book publishers have routinely "borrowed" popular characters and concepts from their competitors.  However, there were a handful of times when publishers created characters that were so similar, yet appeared so close together, that one publisher copying the concept from the other was a virtually impossibility.

With as many characters that have been created throughout the years its almost undoubtedly that any new character is going to have a similar power to one that has already been created in the past. There are only so many different powers that can be created before some other character undoubtedly will have a similar one.

Shapeshifters? I can name about a dozen without even thinking. Heroes born on another planet? Might as well have their own company. Billionaire with expensive gadgets? Been done over and over again.

The point is that as brilliant of an idea a writer might think they have for a character, chances are that at least part of the character has been done before in the 70+ years of superheroes. Sometimes just like the movie industries, the companies see a hot idea of fad and want to capitalize on it while they can. Think about the horrid outfits of the 90's and all of those useless pouches.

To drive the point home I am going to show you 15 different instances in comics where the companies seem to have been copying each other. Some of these are subtle similarities, others are flat out obvious. Its up to you really to determine if it was done on purpose, accidental, or just a homage to the original.

Death and Return of Captain America and Batman

The first one is actually fairly recent. The original Batman and Captain America were both “killed off” around the same, then had eerily similar return stories. I'll start with the explanation of Batman's death and return. Batman's character was killed off around March of 2009 and his return started in May 2010.

Basically after the whole Batman: RIP storyline was complete, Bruce Wayne somehow survived a helicopter crash, only to return to his batcave and get a distress call about the going-ons of Final Crisis. In the story Bruce Wayne figured out how to kill the gods and goes to confront the main baddie Darkseid. As Darkseid taunts him, Batman proceeds to just show how much of a bad ass he really is and tells Darkseid how he's going to kill him. The two both simultaneously unleash their weapons on each other, Batman with a gun and radion bullet to fatally wound Darkseid. Darkseid hit Batman with his Omega Beams seemingly killing Batman in the process.

In the end of Final Crisis it was reveled that Batman was not dead at all, just lost in time. Throughout the Storyline called Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne we were treated to the resurrection of the character and his return to the regular time line of DC comics. Bruce Wayne has lost his memory and jumps through time in each issue. He deals first with cave people, next he appears in the ages of witch hunts, then the 18th century as a pirate during which he regains his memory. Next he awakens in the old west where he is shot by Jonah Hex. Next he jumps forward to the 1930's. Next he arrive at the Vanishing point, Batman was really a weapon that Darkseid had wanted to use to destroy the universe. Batman eventually managed to return to present day and foil his plans using clues he had left himself through time.

Captain America would die in 2007 and make his return in July of 2009. Following the Civil War event Steve Rogers turns himself in. The Red Skull arranges to have Crossbones snipe Rogers while a brainwashed Sharon Carter delivered the killing blow to him. Much like how Batman's former protege Richard Grayson took over as Batman upon his death, Bucky Barnes takes over as the new Captain America.

In Captain America Reborn it is reveled that the gun that Sharon Carter used was not in fact a gun but technology developed by Dr. Doom. The gun instead of killing Rogers froze him in time and space. The Red Skull had used a machine to unstick Rogers in time, but Carter damaged the machine and Captain America was lost in time. While various events play out, Cap is transferred to various points in his life. Cap manages to leave a message for Vision who in present day remembers and tells Mister Fantastic who figures out he is lost in time and deduces that Carter is part of the key to bringing him back. While the Red Skull had hoped to use Rogers body, Cap is able to regain control of his body and returns.

Similarly both heroes decide to let their former proteges continue on as the Batman and Captain America while both would go on to lead larger world wide organizations. Steve Rogers took over SHEILD and Bruce Wayne started Batman Inc.

SUPERMAN, The JLA, LOS and Their Marvel Counterparts

Superman who many consider to be the first superhero has often been imitated in one way or another by comic companies. DC themselves own one of these in Captain Marvel of Fawcett Comics. Marvel over the years has had their share of Superman counterparts. Two of the most obvious are Gladiator and Hyperion. But replicating Superman wasn't enough the used homages to some of his close associates as well.

Superman as many are aware is DC's flagship character. He is the last of his species sent away in the dying moments of Krypton to Earth. Where under the yellow son his Kryptonian DNA allows him the powers of Super-strength, Super-speed, Flight, near invulnerability, heat vision, freeze breath, as well as a host of other small abilities.

In Hyperion's case he was part of the Squadron Sinister and later Squadron Supreme. One version of Hyperion in the comics has a degree in journalism and goes by the alias Mr. Kant. In every case of Hyperion due to his alien DNA he posses superhuman strength, speed, and durability. He also posses the ability of flight, flight, and various vision powers. Hyperion even has a weakness when exposed to argonite radiation his powers diminish.

Gladiator is known as Kallark (a mixture of Superman's real name Kal-el and his alter ego Clark Kent). Gladiator is a member of the Imperial guard of the Shi'ar. Gladiator like Superman has Superhuman strength, speed, and durability. He can also fly, have frost breathe and heat vision. And similar to Superman he has a weakness to a rare form of radiation.

Both Hyperion and Gladiator belonged to groups that had similar members to Superman's Legion of Superheroes and Justice League team members.

The Squadron Supreme:
Doctor Spectrum due to his possession of an alien gem called the Power Prism he had powers similar to the Green Lantern, he could project energy and manipulate into various shapes and forms

Nighthawk is a counterpart to Batman. He has Olympic level strength and conditioning. As well as superior reflexes and agility.

Power Princess is the Squadron's very own Wonder Woman. She comes from a warrior race of women from the small island of Utopia. She has superhuman strength, the ability to fly, durability and is a thinly disguised version of Wonder Woman as she even physically resembles her some.

The Whizzer is similar to the Flash. He poses Superspeed.

The Squadron has other counterparts such as Blue Eagle-Hawkman, Golden Archer-Green Arrow, Amphipian-Aquaman, Lady Lark-Black Canary, Nuke-Captain Atom, Tom Thumb-the Atom.

While the Imperial guard is too numerous for me to post here they have many members that were homages to the original Legion of Superheroes. Mentor-Braniac 5, Earthquak-Blok, Fang-Timber Wolf, Nightside-Shadow Lass, Hobgoblin-Chameloen Boy, Oracle-Saturn Girl, Smasher-Ultra Boy, Manta-Lightning Lass, Scintilla-Shrinking Violet, Electron-Cosmic Boy, Titan-Colossal Boy, Astra -Phantom Girl, and Pulsa-Wildfire.

Deadpool/Deathstroke

One of the more popular discussed similarities is those of the mercenaries Deadpool and Deathstroke. Not only are their names similar, but Deadpool's real name is Wade Wilson and Deathstroke's is Slade Wilson. Both have spent a significant part of their early years as an antagonist for teen superhero teams. Deathstroke with the Teen Titans. And Deadpool targeted the New Mutants. Both have healing factors and both are expert assassins. They have similar outfits though not entirely the same nor the same color scheme. Deadpool was obviously originally started as a parody of Deathstroke but over the years managed to take on a life of his own.

Deathstroke= Methodical mercenary who has a strict code of honor.

Deadpool= Completely nuts mercenary who is definitely not honorable.

Aquaman/Namor

One of the earliest examples of borrowed ideas seems to be the mythology that went behind the two characters Aquaman and Namor. Both of them are the king of the seas in their respective worlds. Both are prime examples of the stereotypical alpha male.

Namor was created about two years prior to Aquaman. Way back in 1939. Aquaman wouldn't see his debut to November of 1941. Both of them are said to be Atlantians that do not look like their fellow Atlantians. One of the main difference between the two though is that while Namor spent time as a villain, Aquaman has been a hero his entire career (ignoring the whole Blackest Night thing). Aquaman and Namor have a few differences in powers sets, such as Aquaman can talk to sea life and Namor just eats them. Aquaman also cannot fly like Namor can.

Namor and Aquaman will continue to draw comparision to each other. The similarities are almost uncanny between the two sea dwellers, but we do not know for sure if Paul Norris and Mort Weinstein actually based the character on his marvel counterpart or not.

Imperiex/Galactus

Though Galactus did make an appearance once in DC in a crossover with Marvel, DC found the need to have their very own Galactus in the comics. Prior to the creation of Imperiex, DC saw Galactus and his herald come to the planet Apokolips and take on resident baddie Darkseid. The story in DC writers opened up many possibilities for them. But Galactus could not be used again because he was a Marvel comic character. So DC made an almost carbon copy of the big guy. Imperiex much like Galactus posses cosmic powers, his coming from the big bang itself and Galactus's coming from the power cosmic.

While Galactus was the devourer of worlds, DC felt the need to one up him and make Imperiex the destroyer of galaxies. Galactus is a mainstay villain in the Marvel comics, Imperiex does not seem like he will be used often if even again.

Thanos/Darkseid
Darkseid made his first appearance in 1970, Thanos would not appear till 1973. Darkseid was one of legendary comic creators Jack Kirby's creations. He was originally set to be just a part of the New Gods. Jim Starlin has said in the past that Thanos was created as a homage of sorts to Kirby's work.

Ironically enough the character development with the two would see both obsessing over more or less death. Thanos outright admits it, while Darkseid's obsession is hidden as the Anti-Life Equation.

Thanos and Darkseid would both go on to play important roles in their respective universes. Often times effecting things on a cosmic level.

Blackest Night/Necrosha

Blackest Night was a Green Lantern crossover even in DC comics. It sure the embodiment of death Nekron return to attempt to silence the entire universes and bring them all to the sweet sweet sleep called death. As part of his plan he enlisted the aid of several deceased heroes and villains who would return from the grave as part of his Black Lantern Corps. They were more or less evil monstrous versions of their prior selves. One could argue that Blackest Night almost borrowed ideas from the Marvel Zombies though with a better story telling.

While the Blackest Night event was going, in the X-Men comics Selene the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club used a virus known as the Technarch Transmode virus to resurrect several deceased mutants. Like the Black Lanterns they returned with more sinister personalities.

The argument can be made about when Craig Kyle came up with the idea for Necrosha. Geoff Johns had laid the ground work for his storyline several years in advance, even showing hints of it following the Sinestro Corps Wars. Many still call the Necrosha event Blackest Night: X-Men.

New Gods/Eternals

The Eternals and the New Gods one of the few examples of where the copy was actually created by the creator of the original. Back when Jack Kirby had left Marvel after a dispute. While with DC Kirby created the New Gods as part of his Fourth World. The New Gods were actually a race of beings that used technology to create the impression that they were in fact gods and were the inspiration for many of the stories of gods.
When Kirby finally returned to Marvel, he was upset that he never got to complete his story of the New Gods. His story was meant to have a definite end and Kirby was a little upset that his series had been canceled before he could tell that story. Kirby then decided to create a similar concept for Marvel called the Eternals who much like the New Gods were a race of beings that used technology to create the illusion of being actual gods.

Much like the Fourth World characters they were never meant to actually interact with the mainstream universe. Unfortunately like the New Gods they too were canceled before Kirby had the opportunity to complete his story.

Lord Havok and the extremists and their marvel villains counterparts.
In 1990 DC created a team of super villains known as the Extremists. They were created with the intention of resembling various Marvel villains. They even went so far in their creation of the character to have them come from another alternate universe thus implying that they may in fact be alternate versions of their Marvel counterparts.

The characters and they were suppose to be were as follows:

Lord Havok = Dr. Doom
Dreamslayer = Dormammu
Doctor Diehard = Magneto (even runs a school with his Zen Men a reference to Charles Xavier and his X-Men)
Tracer = Sabretooth (an Earth-8 version however has many similarities to Wolverine)
Gorgon = Doctor Octopus
Barracuda=Tiger Shark

Doom Patrol/X-men

The Next one is a bit controversial, as it would appear that the original would never sustain near the popularity of the original one. Debuting in June 1963, the Doom Patrol was a super powered team of misfits whose “gifts” caused them much alienation and personal trauma. The world at large called them freaks and didn't accept them. But the Doom Patrol wouldn't let that get to them and they would choose to protect the world anyways. Leading them was a wheelchair bound character called Doctor Niles Caulder. Doctor Caulder would use his mental abilities as a master manipulator to aid the team.

I am sure at this point many of you are noticing the similarities in the back story to the popular X-Men. The X-men would go on to debut the same year only in September. The basic back story for these characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby would be that a wheelchair bound professor created a school for gifted youngsters to protect them from the increasingly hostile world that hated them for being different. There they would be sworn to protect a world that hated them.

Rather the idea was borrowed from the Doom Patrol or not is sort of iffy. The two debuted so close to each other that it begs to wonder if Lee and Kirby would have had time to actually copy the idea from DC. It may have just been a strange similarity but one that no one is ascertain about.

Swamp Thing/ Man-Thing

Much like the Doom Patrol and X-men, the creation of two similar characters in Swamp Thing and Man-thing. The two would debut within months of each other. Man-Thing would debut in May of 1971 and Swamp Thing in July of the same year. Besides the similarities in their names, there appearance is strikingly similar. Both were scientists who accidentally transformed themselves into the living plant like creatures.

The problem lies in the fact that it takes roughly three months to create a comic book. The idea that DC would copy Marvel's idea in just two months without even knowing if the comic was going to be a success is at best laughable.

This is most likely one of the many strange coincidences of similar characters debuting at the same time.

Green Lantern Corps/Nova Corps

While very different, the comparisons between the Nova Corps and the long established Green Lantern Corps can be seen as striking. Often times this comparison seems to come by who is writing the character Nova at the time.

The main comparison came from later writer of Nova. They would depict the Nova Corps at varying levels of activity from a large dead organization to a galaxy spanning police force very similar to that of the Green Lantern Corps. Rather than consistency writing the corps in the same way, it would end depending mostly on what the creative teams wished to do with Nova at the time.

Vision and the Red Tornado

Another example of just a mere two months separating the debuts of these characters. They both however had very similar aspects. In August of '68 the Red Tornado would make his debut, a mere two months later the Vision appeared in the Avengers.

The similarities in their debuts are outstanding though. Both would appear on their debut cover a large looming red figures. Both were androids created by supervilliains. Red Tornado by T.O. Morrow and vision by Ultron. Both were on a mission to destroy a superhero team. Vision was set on ending the Avengers, while the Red Tornado had his sights set on the Justice Society of America. Both had taken their names from obscure Golden Age superheroes. At the end of the comic both would betray their creators and go on to join the team they were sent to destroy. Both also had red skin.

Following their debuts they would go on to have even more similarities. Both would fall in love with human women. Kathy Sutton for the Red Tornado and the Scarlet Witch for Vision. Both would have separate entities hidden within them. The Vision had imprinted brain patterns of Wonder Man. While Red Tornado had an entity called the Tornado Champion hidden within him.

Were they somehow stolen ideas or another example of just mere coincidence?

The Watcher / Metron

These two characters would have very different back stories, but eventually would play similar roles in their respective universes.

Debuting in 1963, Uatu the Watcher was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Watcher is a member of a species that are committed to observing and compiling knowledge on all aspects of the universe. They have a policy of total non-interference with what they observe.

Metron meanwhile was also a creation of Jack Kirby as a part of his Fourth World making his debut in 1971. Although he posses powers of a god, Metron prefers to be a passive observer. Sitting upon his Mobius Chair he can traverse both time and space. Much like the Watcher, Metron is the seeker of knowledge and will not share what he has learned with others.

The two are very different characters but in ways share the same responsibilities of their universe.

Superhuman registration acts

Many have been led to believe that this is a recent thing that was done in Marvel Comics during the entire Civil War storyline. This is in fact not something new to comics. The plot was used in the X-men during the 80's where the government tried to have all mutants register their powers.

This was also a plot point in the Watchmen which had caused almost all of the vigilantes to retire.

However the plot is actually older then that. The idea started with the JSA in the 70's. In the story, the government had found out their secret identities and was trying to get them to work for them. The JSA would go on to refuse. In retaliation the government exploited them. DC had also used this in the comics in the 50's as well. During this time the government required superheroes to hand over their identities.

Portions of the Civil War storyline also seems to borrow from DC”s Kingdom Come. In this story the superhero community are divided up into three separate groups. One led by Superman, another by Batman, and a third the younger more violent age of heroes. During the storyline those that opposed Superman's morally righteous group were rounded up and placed in a superhero containment prison.



The comic community will continue to borrow and “steal” ideas from each other. Its something that is just never going to change. Both companies are guilty of rehashing old storylines from both their own vaults and those of their opposing company. Characters will continue to strike similarities to others. In most cases this is just something that can't be avoided due to the limited number of power sets their could be. Eventually somebody will have to have a similar power. All you need to do though is focus on the differences and enjoy the character for those rather then focus on the similarities.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pop Culture Week in Review: April 17-April 23

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Scream 4 under performs at the Box Office and Rio takes the top spot.

Prince Harry of Wales was promoted to Captain in the British Army.

Brooke Muller enters rehab for addiction issues.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Professional Wrestler Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart was arrested for driving with a suspended license.

Nicki Minaj continued her one NBA player at time goal of getting lap dances out to ballers, by giving a lap dance to Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash on stage during a concenrt.

16 & Pregnant star Jennifer del Rio claims that she didn't assualt her baby's daddy, rather that the guy punched himself in the face to frame her.

Charlie Sheen was denied full custody of his children by a judge because the judge was worried about how Charlie Sheen not only admitted to past drug usuage, btu seemed to brag about it as well.

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony members go on an internet rampage after Krayzie Bone announces that he is leaving the group.  The group says they felt betrayed and he that Krayzie was disgracing Easy-E's memory.

WWE comes under fire from anti-smoking advocates after wrestler R-Truth was seen smoking a cigarette on screen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wait, I'm getting arrested?  A very confused Jalen Rose was arrested for a DUI

Oscar nominated Documentary filmmaker Tim Hetherington along with fellow journalist was killed in Libya.

Lady Gaga denies that she led Weird Al on and then refused to let him parody her song, Perform This Way.

4-19-2011 came and past and Skynet did not become self aware and launch a war against mankind.

Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard  and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will play Miranda Tate and John Blake in the Dark Knight Rises.

Petra Němcová is eliminated on Dancing with the Stars.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lady Gaga fell again while on stage during a concert.

After the IRS announce that it is investigating LA Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt, MLB moved to temporarily relieve them of their ownership duties and took charge of the team.

Lindsay Lohan lost and regained the role of Kim Gotti, after the studio alleged she was too demanding. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Screenwriter Kevin Jarre died of sudden heart failure.  Jarre was famous for writing Glory and Tombstone.

The Weinsteins file a lawsuit against Relativity Studios over the distribution rights for the Crow franchise. 

Marvel Studios announce that there will be sequels to both Thor and Captain America that have not yet been released at movie theaters.

Former MLB player Brian McRae was arrested for his third DUI.

Jerry Seinfeld cancles apperance for Donald Trump charity after teh recent comments he has made about President Barrack Obama.

Stefano loses and is sent packing on American Idol. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lindsay Lohan got the charges reduced from a felony and then was sentenced to 120 days for violating her parole.  Lohan would go on to appeal and post bail while she awaits her day in court.

Miami Dolphins wide reciever Brandon Marshall was stabbed by his wife.

Water for Elephants opens at the box office.

Jeremy Renner cast to star in Bourne Legacy


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Antoine Dodson was arrested for marijuna possession.  Perhaps he should have added hiding your weed to his list.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Social Networking the Society Changer

Over my lifetime I have seen many advancement in society. Many technologies that seemingly have changed how we live. When I was in my early teens the internet was beginning to become a big thing and people were beginning to wonder just how much it was going to change us. At the time I don't think anyone could have properly predicted just how much a phenomenon in the late 00's would change our world and our culture.

Social networking has becoming such a large parts of our lives that I don't think people even realize how much it impacts everything. In the past there were various sites that tried with mixed results to corner the social networking portion of the internet. Anyone remember Migente or Blackplanet? How about the times when people would actually be upset that they were not in your top ten on Myspace?  All of them turned out to be no more then passing fads.

Those days seem like ages ago now. Today the world seems to revolve around Facebook and Twitter. How much you may ask. Well with the younger kids that might as well be called the Social Networking Generation live and breathe their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

I've found myself a part of this. I can not think of a recent day when I have not checked into my Facebook at least once to see what is going on with my various friends. Facebook has changed the way we live our lives.

I go out with my friends and somebody takes a picture you can hear the various different comments being made. This is going on my Facebook. This is so going to be a new profile pic. Or the random friend that yells in the background you better not put that on Facebook or tag me.

Relationships? Now days they aren't official unless you put it on Facebook. Until your status changes to in a relationship with so and so, its not a real thing.

High school reunion? Forget about it? I see random posts from people that I haven't talked to in person in 15-20 years on my Facebook everyday. Forget about lying what you do too. One quick look at one of their page not only can I see where thy work at, where they went to college. I can see who they married, pictures from their wedding days, and drunken weekend nights out with their friends. Facebook has essentially robbed people of the experience of going to reunions. On Facebook everyday is a high school reunion and I know what all of my old friends are up to and what they have done with their lives since then.

Forgetful of birthdays?  Not anymore, not with Facebook.  Facebook let's you know when everyone's birthday is as a friendly reminder.  Last year I got birthday wishes from a crush I had back in second grade, all because of Facebook.

And if all of this wasn't enough, Facebook even suggests you people that you may know based off common friends. Sometimes it suggest people that I have purposely left off of my friends list over and over again.

If want to know what's going on in the world I don't need to log onto cnn or go to kansascity.com.  Just log onto my Facebook and I can know it all.  Who won the big game?  What celebrity died? What day of the week is it?  Is it T-shirt time?  What's the weather?  A quick glance at your Facebook wall can answer all of these questions for you.

But it doesn't just stop there. No, you can not watch a television add anymore without seeing the familiar Facebook and Twitter icon at the end reminding you to like and follow them on those sites. I've randomly added all of these companies and to be honest I don't really know why. Its not to let all my friends know that I love Vanilla Coke or that I like NFL football. No its all so I can further help the marketing researchers use my information to help determine how to better target their audience. Most of them probably already know this. Its just gotten to a point actually where it seems that we just see something we identify with and can't help but like it on our Facebook.

Facebook especially has ways of keeping you from wanting to leave the site. Long gone are the days when many of us might actually thinking about growing a garden in our backyard. But there are large percentage of my friends that take care of their farms on Farmville far better then they ever would have took care of house plant. Mobwars allows us to engage in organized crime with our various friends, and there are countless other games all designed to keep you on longer.

All of us have that one friend that has like 1000+ friends on their page and you have to question rather they really know all of these people or if they have just started randomly adding people that they may have made eye contact with once before.

We can even find out the random things that people are doing during the day. When we go out with friends we can check in our location on Facebook just to let others either be jealous or see who we were out with and didn't invite you to join.

Facebook has even become such a huge thing that some people have used it to overthrow evil dictatorships in their country.  So why you sit there and update your status and tag your photos contemplate that.  They used Facebook to completely overthrow a government in Egypt.

Once upon a time these social networks were a young people's game. Now days it seems that the majority of people adding me are either aunts, uncles, or older cousins and friends that I would not have imagined in a million years joining the social networking world.

Twitter has started a whole new world for people. We can follow friends or as most of the people I know follow our favorite celebrities. We are treated with the fascinating aspects of their lives, finding out where they are going to eat lunch and what shoe do you think I should buy with my millions of dollars. Fascinating things that ten years ago we would never have found ourselves wondering about.

Just by following the celebrities on Twitter you can feel like you know them almost as well as you know a close friend. Sometimes I can't but help but wonder what it would have been like if celebrities had access to Twitter in the golden days of Hollywood. Would Desi Arnaz have twitted a picture of Lucy in her underwear like Ashton Kutcher

In nothing else though Twittering is a marketing genius. The fans become so engrossed in their lives and have grown to identify with them more, that their attachment ensures that people will storm to see their movies and buy their music.

The Social Networking is not a trend and its not going away anytime soon. No I have a feeling that we are just beginning to see how big this thing is going to get. Perhaps someday they are going to have support groups for those addicted to facebooking and twittering.

Pro Wrestling Hall of Respect

As a huge fan of wrestling I have always been disappointed that there were no real Pro Wrestling Hall of Fames. The WWE's is more or less a joke with politics and rating playing a big part into who actually makes it. The inclusion of celebrities are a joke and slap in the face to the countless legends who have not been inducted. Here I hope to at least show some respect to the legends that deserve to be shown it for all they have done for their fans over the years.

I've created a separate blog to chronicle some of these legends  Check it out if you are a fan, hopefully you will enjoy it and feel free to comment and let me know who I should feature.


Pro Wrestling Hall of Respect

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Draft Bust In the Making

The upcoming draft has gotten me thinking about all the potential draft busts there could be. In recent years there have teams that have done well in scouting and drafter future stars. Others have wasted the pick on people that within a few years were sent packing. What makes a person a bust? Was it bad scouting? Bad team chemistry? In the inability to adapt to the pros? Injury? Lack of motivation or real talent? Or just plain bad luck?

The NFL and the NBA are the only two sports leagues that have an almost cult like following when it comes to their drafts. This is why the term draft bust stirs up images of notoriously bad basketball and football players. In a way to prepare for this year's upcoming draft I am going to take a look at eight of the most notorious draft busts of the NFL and some of the more recent ones to see if there really is a common reason or cause for being a bust.



1. The first player we will look at is Todd Marinovich. The Raiders have made a history of making some “interesting” choice with their draft picks. In 1991 Marinovich was selected 24th over all in the first round by the then Los Angeles Raiders. The “Bred To Be A Superstar” Todd Marinovich was coming out of USC and had been picked ahead of Brett Favre during the draft.

There were already mounting signs that perhaps Marinovich had some issues. In high school his rumored marijuana usage had earned him the nickname “Marijuana-vich” by opposing teams. In college despite his success he had yelled at his coach on national television. In just prior to his entering of the draft he had been arrested for cocaine possession.

Marinovich played sparingly his rookie year, including an impressive game during a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. After an 0-2 start the following year the Raiders would name Marinovich the starter. Marinovich had mixed results going 3-3 over the next six games. During the game against the Eagles, Marinovich saw 3 of his first 10 passes picked off by the Philadelphia defense. Jay Schroder would regain the starting job and Marinovich would never play in the league again. Throughout his brief NFL career Marinovich struggled with drug usage. Because of his pre draft drug bust he was subjected to frequent random drug tests. Marinovich used friends urine to pass the tests. His plan would backfire when he used the urine of a friend that had been heavily drinking the prior night. Marinovich would go on to enter rehab twice and fail another two drug tests before the Raiders released him.


2. Picked second overall by the San Diego Chargers in 1998, Ryan Leaf is almost the poster child for draft busts. How bad was he? In 18 games with the Chargers he completed just 48% of his passes with a career 18 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.

Coming out of Washington State Leaf was projected to have a lengthy and successful NFL career. Ryan Leaf begin winning his first two games. Then in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Leaf would go on to complete just 1 pass out of 15 for a total of four yards and fumbling the ball three times. Following this he would go on a streak of throwing just two touchdowns to his 13 interceptions. The Chargers would go on to bench him in favor of Craig Whelihan.

While Leaf's poor performance mounted he lashed out at the media and fans. Leaf would also go so far as to blame his teammates for his poor play. The following season Leaf injured his shoulder and would go on to miss the entire season. But not without incident. He was recorded in a shouting match with a coach and would fake an injury so he could skip out on practice to play golf.

Leaf's third season would continued to be marred by poor play and injuries. Leaf would go onto lose his starting job after two games. Leaf then would injure his wrist during an interception after be giving another chance at starting. Leaf would be released at the end of the year by the Chargers. The Buccaneers, Seahawks and Cowboys would both take chances on him, but Leaf would continue to be plagued by various injuries. His career would come to an end in 2002 with Leaf citing injuries as the reason for his retirement.


3. JaMarcus Russell was picked first over all in the 2007 draft by the Oakland Raiders. Coming out of LSU Russell held out for the first few of the games to ensure himself a big dollar contract. Russell would go on to post a 7-18 record as Raiders owner Al Davis was fond of the player for some unknown reason.

Many would cite Russell sitting at and missing all of training camp as part of his initial struggles as a rookie. Russell would not make his first career appearance until December of his rookie year. He would struggle throughout with two touchdowns, four interceptions, and four fumbles.

Then Raider head coach, Lance Kiffen would name Russell as his starter for the next year at the end of his rookie year. Russell started out his second year playing well. But would go onto struggle losing three straight games with poor performances. Russell would go on to play inconsistently over the rest of the season with mixed results.

The '09 season would see Russell benched indefinitely for poor play after a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Bruce Gradowski would become the Raiders starter. When he went down with an injury the Russel would get a shot and perform badly. The following game rather then start Russell in place of the injured Gradowski coach Cable would go in favor of third string QB Charlie Frye. A move that essentially moved Russell down to the number three spot on the depth chart. Frye would be injured and Russell would come in playing in his final game for the Raiders.

After ballooning to a weight of almost 300lbs, the Raiders would make a trade with the Washington Redskins for QB Jason Campbell. On May 6, 2009 the Raiders released Russell seemingly ending his career.


4. While the verdict is still out on the next pick, nobody can argue that up this point his career has been a flop. Picked 10th overall by the Arizona Cardinals, QB Matt Leinart was looked at as the future of the franchise. Coming out of Southern Cal with a Heisman trophy and the winner of the previous BCS championship Leinart entered the league with lots of expectations.

Leinart's holding out for a contract brought the ire of head coach Denis Green. Kurt Warner would start the season as the starter for the Cardinals. Leinart would eventually win the starting position after poor play by Warner. Leinart would have a phenomenal game setting NFL rookie records with 405 passing yards. Leinart though would struggle posting just a 4-7 record before sub cumming to a shoulder injury.

Leinart's second season would see him getting only five starts with him giving poor performances. Leinart would struggle with an injury that limited his play that year.

During his following season, he would lose his starting Warner. Warner would go on to have a resurgence of his career, taking the team to the Super Bowl while Leinart would ride the bench. Following Warner's retirement many assumed that Leinart would be the new starter of the team. But the Cardinals would go on to acquire a range of new QB's for the team. The Cardinals would ultimately release Leinart in favor of the other QB's on the team. Leinart signed up in a backup role with the Houston Texans but saw no action the entire season. Where things go for Leinart from here is anyone's guess at this point, but the future sadly does not look bright for the former first round pick.


5. QB Tim Couch was picked first overall by the Cleveland Browns in 1999. Couch was picked in the draft before Donovan McNabb, Edgerrin James, and Tory Holt. Couch would last five years in the league before ultimately washing out.

Coming out of Kentucky, Couch was a highly sought after QB in the draft. Couch would take over the starting position from Ty Detmer of the all new all expansion Cleveland Browns. Along with the rest of the poorly put together team Couch would struggle with the expansion Browns. Couch's tenure with the Browns would be marred by injuries and inconsistent play.

Many of Couch's injuries could be blamed on the inexperience team he played with. Particularly the young offensive line. The various injuries included a shoulder injury that caused him 9 games in the 2000 season.

Unlike some of the other busts on this list Couch did manager to have one entirely good season. In 2002 when Couch and the Browns posted a 9-7 record and made the playoffs. Unfortunately for Couch he suffered a broken leg in the season finale and was forced to sit on the sidelines during that playoff game.

His replacement in that game Kelly Holcomb would put up 400 yards and begin a QB controversy that would plague the team for the remainder of Coach's tenure with the team. Following his release after the 03 season Couch would try to catch on with various other teams including Packers and Jaguars.


  1. and 7. the next two are the first non-quarterbacks on this list. But they have become synonymous together with draft busts in Kansas City lore. Offensive tackle Trezelle Jenkins and defensive tackle Ryan Sims were both draft busts of the Carl Peterson era in Kansas City. Jenkins was the 31st overall pick by the Chiefs in 1995. Sims was the 6th overall pick in 2002 by Kansas City and King Carl.

Jenkins would go on to play just 9 games in 3 seasons for the Chiefs. The team finally released him after the '97 season. He would go on to attempt to play for the Saints and Vikings but never making it beyond the practice squad. Jenkins was so bad that in 2000 the San Francisco Demons of the XFL cut him before the season even started.

Ryan Sims would play in 74 games with the Chiefs. During that run he recorded 54 tackles, 5 sacks and just 1 interception.

In 2006 when Herm Edwards took over as head coach of the Chiefs, Simms would see his playing time drastically cut. Eventually he was traded from the team to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 6 games with Tampa he would record just 4 tackles. The Buccaneers opted to release him in November of 2010.


8. the next man on the list is the charismatic Brian “the Boz” Bosworth. Bosworth was a linebacker coming out of Oklahoman. He was drafted in the first round by the Seattle Seahawks. Even before entering the league Bosworth's career was marred with controversy. First saying that he would not play for a team unless he personally sent them a letter stating that they were on his list of teams to play. Bosworth then sued the NFL unsuccessfully to wear his #44 in the league.

Following all of this Bosworth then signed the largest rookie contract in the league history. In his rookie year he put up decent numbers was known more for his outrageous hairstyle and and outspoken personality. In a Monday Night Football game that year, the Seahawks were facing off against the Raiders.

Prior to the game, Bosworth had stated that fellow rookie Bo Jackson would be shut down by him and he would contain the running back breakout star. Jackson would go onto run 221 yards and score 3 touchdowns in the game as the Seahawks and Bosworth were simply unable to contain him.

The following year after playing in just two games, a shoulder injury would force Bosworth to retire.


Looking at the list their really isn't one thing that has made all of these players busts. Some had personal demons, others were just injury prone, others just had poor work ethics that led to them performing on a sub par level for a majority of their careers. All we can do as sports fans is hope that come draft time this year our team drafts a Peyton Manning and not another Ryan Leaf.