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Chicago Bears Idonije To Self-Publish Comic Book


MARCH 4, 2013 -- Chicago Bears defensive player Israel Idonije knows something about heroics on the football field. Now he's bringing that sense of heroism to his first comic project, titled The Protectors, and he's bringing the acclaimed creative team of writer Ron Marz and artist Bart Sears with him.

Athleta Comics, the publishing imprint Idonije created to appeal to both sports fans and comic book fans alike, will introduce the story of The Protectors through a 20-day web rollout where the website will feature a new comic panel each day. Athleta Comics will bring The Protectors and future projects to life.

A fan of comic books since childhood, Idonije began creating The Protectors at Bears training camp in 2007, and went on to create his own Athleta Comics publishing imprint to appeal to sports fans and comic book fans alike. Announced at the 2012 New York Comic Con, The Protectors comic will debut at Chicago's C2E2 convention in April.

This is a project of love and one of the most exciting things in which Ive been involved, Idonije said. To hold the actual graphic novel in my hands has been my dream since 2007 when I literally sat down with the concept in my head and began writing it on my notepad.

The Protectors combines sports and super-heroics, a combination that has not always been successful in comics. But Marz believes this is the right creative team to make it work.

"Before I wrote comics, my first 'real' job was a sportswriter, so I'm familiar with both of these worlds," said Marz, whose long list of comics credits includes lengthy runs on Green Lantern, Silver Surfer and Witchblade. "Sports in comics usually don't look or read very well, which is a weird thing to say about an industry that makes people flying or running at super-speed look realistic. But it's a challenge we gladly accept. The audience will embrace these characters, and believe the sports action just as much as the superhero action."

Artist Sears had turned much of his artistic attention toward video games and commercial art, but was lured back to comics for The Protectors.

"When you think about the statement, pro athletes as superheroes that makes a whole lot of sense. The athleticism of the superstars in every sport is unbelievable, human beings with powers far above and beyond normal man. Every single time a pro athlete takes to the playing field he or she is in it to win it, exactly like every hero who stands up to evil. We call our athletes gladiators and warriors; its not a stretch to think of them as superheroes. Its very exciting to be involved in a project like this," said Sears.

The first volume of The Protectors will introduce a unique cast of characters, including professional athletes who discover they possess abilities far beyond those that help them succeed on the playing field. The story will grow into an epic of cosmic proportions, with the world at stake.

In addition to Marz and Sears, Idonije has worked with an impressive team in order to bring The Protectors to life. That kind of teamwork is inherent in Idonije's ventures both on and off the field. His Israel Idonije Foundation, the charitable organization he started in 2007, offers several programs to help children in underserved communities in Chicago, Winnipeg and Africa. Idonije's business endeavors include Athleta Comics, Blessed Communion, and other enterprises created to achieve his goals of making the world a better place and giving back to the community.

I know the messages contained in The Protectors will really connect with people, as well as entertain them, said Idonije. I also hope this project will be an inspiration to anyone who desires to achieve something. Regardless of who you are, if you have an idea, you can achieve it.

Source: Athleta Comics Media


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