Tim Duncan to Appear on Marvel Comic Cover
Photo Courtesy of Michael Choi/Marvel Comics
Tim Duncan’s passion for comics and automobiles will come together this October when Duncan will appear on the front cover of Marvel's The Punisher. The front cover of the comic was drawn by Michael Choi, a San Antonio-native and self-proclaimed “bigger basketball nerd than comic book nerd.” Choi, who has been illustrating comics for Marvel for almost a decade, shared details with Spurs.com on how the front cover came to be:
“None of this would have happened if Tim wasn't a huge Marvel fan and The Punisher specifically. I really love that he's proud of the fact that he's a big comic book fan, and I always got a kick out of reading about him dressing up as The Punisher for Halloween, and incorporating the Punisher's logo on his knee brace. Everyone who knows about Tim Duncan beyond what he does on the court knows that about him, and as a comic book guy myself, I think that's awesome.
Basically he and the guys at his BlackJack Speed Shop, along with the guys at the comic store Heroes and Fantasies, got together to put forth the idea of custom making a car that the Punisher might drive, kind of like the Batmobile is for Batman, but more gritty and realistic. The Punisher, whose real name is Frank Castle, is a grizzled, old-school vigilante dispensing justice, and while sometimes he has to remain incognito while staking out bad guys, when it comes to the actual "punishment" so to speak, he likes to make a big show to instill fear in his targets. Hence the big skull on his chest, and now his car.
When the idea was presented to Marvel to see if they could have the car be an actual part of the Marvel universe, what basically started off as fan-fiction or basically "car-cosplay" (cars-play?) now became a part of official Punisher lore after Marvel said yes. The idea was to depict this on the cover of an official issue of "The Punisher" with Castle being given the car by Tim himself, after having had it built by San Antonio's own BlackJack Speed Shop.
Marvel then asked me to draw it after the guys at Heroes and Fantasies recommended me. I've drawn comics for Marvel for almost a decade now, having spent years on books like X-Men, Thor, and Fantastic Four, and now drawing covers for the new Superior Iron Man title, but I'd never drawn the Punisher before. So even before I knew the specifics of the projects I would have loved to have taken it on, but as a huge San Antonio Spurs fan, having grown up in San Antonio, and with my parents still living in San Antonio and running two local Japanese restaurants off NW Loop 410, after having watched the Memorial Day Miracle live from the nosebleed section to suffering through Ray Allen's dagger, to the Spurs coming back to dominate this year's Finals for our fifth NBA Championship, I jumped on the chance to draw Tim Duncan in a real-life Marvel book! Also, the Heroes and Fantasies store on Pat Booker in Universal City was my first regular comic book store, so it really felt like I'd come full circle.
I loved drawing this cover. It took about three days, beginning to end. It was important to me to get Tim's face and demeanor right, it was really hard to try and capture his look without being able to put him in a #21 jersey! But I'm really happy with the final product, and I'm really proud that although Marvel asked me if I could put a prominent Punisher skull on the car keys, I chose to sacrifice that in order to draw big fat championship ring on Tim's hand instead, and put that in the center instead!"
BlackJack Speed Shop announced via Facebook that the shop is building a replica of the car featured on the cover. The car will be auctioned off and all proceeds will be donated to a local San Antonio charity.