LeBron James & DC Comics Team up for New Comic

Wed, August 18th, 2004 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer/Publisher

Cover by Damion Scott
LeBron James, the rookie phenom who plays for the Cleveland Cavalier basketball team, wowed fans with his high-flying skills in his debut season. Jumping directly from High School to the NBA as the #1 pick in the draft, the player was under close scrutiny and didn't disappoint. Next step for James is an all new sports drink, Powerade Flava23, which is coupled with a custom LeBron James comic book by DC Comics. Full details are printed below in the company press release with four of the ten covers set for publication.

Official Press Release

At 19 years old, LeBron James has already achieved many "firsts" - first "prep to pro" player to score 25 points in his pro debut, youngest player to score 40 points in a game, youngest player to score 1,000 career points, and now the first superstar athlete to create his own sports drink: POWERADE FLAVA23.

POWERADE has announced the rollout of the new flavor, which will be available nationally beginning September 1, along with a unique promotional program featuring a LeBron James comic created for POWERADE by DC Comics.

Cover by Jock
"This project was especially interesting to me, because I'm the first athlete ever to create a unique flavor, color, and packaging for a sports drink," said LeBron James. "POWERADE gave me the chance to put my spin on things, and I love the way it turned out. I think all my fans will enjoy it too."

James was involved in every aspect of the creation of POWERADE FLAVA23, from choosing its "sourberry" flavor profile, to selecting FLAVA23's signature burgundy color and developing the new flavor's unique package graphics, which feature a stylized comic version of James soaring through the air. POWERADE FLAVA23 will be available in the brand's proprietary 32-ounce bottles at retail locations throughout the United States.

"The POWERADE brand has always been on the cutting-edge of sports drink innovation, so collaborating on a new POWERADE with LeBron James is a natural step for us," said Javier Benito, president, Retail Division, and chief marketing officer, Coca-Cola North America. "Because LeBron was integrally involved in the development of POWERADE FLAVA23, it truly reflects his personality - bold, cutting-edge, and unique."

To commemorate the launch of POWERADE FLAVA23, POWERADE commissioned DC Comics, home to Superman, Batman, and other great comic heroes, to create a story about LeBron James that featured his superhero-caliber basketball skills. The comic, entitled "King James", will be available free with the purchase of three 32-ounce bottles of POWERADE at participating retail locations while supplies last. LeBron fans can also receive a comic via mail by sending three labels from 32-ounce POWERADE bottles to the address shown on the label. Redemption details can be found at www.POWERADE.com.

Cover by Ariel Olivetti
In "King James," LeBron must call on his considerable skills and determination as he competes in an underground tournament controlled by a mysterious, secret organization. LeBron confronts and defeats a series of colorful court challengers in exotic locales on his way to being crowned the King of Basketball.

"I've always enjoyed reading comics, so helping to create a comic of my own is really cool," said James. "I mean ripped muscles, impossible moves, scoring at will, and beating the 'bad guys' - who wouldn't want to be a heroic basketball player in a comic book?"

The "King James" comic book was written by Gary Phillips, penciled by Damion Scott and inked by Sandra Hope. To add to the excitement of the "King James" comic launch, ten different cover designs for the comic have been created by some of the comic industry's best artists (Damion Scott, James Jean, Udon, John VanFleet, Jock, and Ariel Olivetti), including:

  • Four covers available only by mail-in redemption

  • Four covers available only at Kroger Stores

  • One cover available only at military commissaries

  • One general market cover available at retail and via mail-in redemption

Cover by John Van Fleet
"DC assembled a talented team of comic book veterans and rising stars to create a universe of new villains, competitors and, of course, a new hero named King James that will appeal to athletes, sports fans and superhero fans," said David McKillips, Vice President, Advertising & Custom Publishing, DC Comics. "With ten different covers and three million copies in print, the 'King James' project is the largest sports-related custom comic book DC Comics has ever created."

The launch of POWERADE FLAVA23 and the DC Comics program will be supported by an extensive print and on-line marketing program and in-store displays. POWERADE's website has also been redesigned as part of the launch of FLAVA23. A special FLAVA23 web site can be accessed through POWERade.com which offers a behind-the-scenes look at the "King James" comic, art from all ten covers, screen savers, wallpaper, e-cards and more.

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