Thursday, February 12, 2009

Prog 2 - Harlem Heroes

The Heroes have been decimated after the road liner crash. Only three remain to carry on. (Four, if you count Louis Mayers brain!) Giant , Slim and Hairy are working out in the stadium when their game is interrupted by an old man. After an insult by Slim, the old man won't give the ball back until he shows this young punk some moves. And show him he does...
But that ain't no old man! Giant recognizes the old guys aeroball moves...thats retired veteran Harlem Heroes player Conrad King!

Conrad has heard out the Heroes troubles and has come out of retirement to help the team.
Giant needs three more players to complete the roster for their next game. So, the Heroes go to the Sky Slums of Harlem (where the current crop of Heroes where discovered) to see if there are any players good enough to compete.

We're informed that there are more than nine street levels to this futurisitc Harlem. That's a lot of slum!!! How depressing! The only hope for youth there is probably playing aeroball...then again, they can't be all that poor if they've all got their own jet-packs.
At the make shift stadium they encounter a young punk called Zack Harper who gatecrashes on the game that the Heroes are watching...
But there's a problem. Harper is using an illegal homemade jet pack. The jet pack has a blow out and it's Giants quick reaction that saves Harper from falling to certain death!
After saving him, Giant calms down the crowd that Harper gatecrashed on. Giant gives them his word that the kid won't bother them anymore. Harper thinks that Giant is going to turn him over to the cops but Giant has other plans. He sees a lot of potential in Harper and decides to give him a try out back at the Harlem Heroes Stadium..

The kid is a natural. Slim voices concern over the kids track record with street gangs and that Harpers old man is in jail for armed robbery. I guess Slims theory is that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Giant is willing to give the kid a break though and Zack Harper becomes a Harlem Hero.

Another turn of good fortune for the team is two players, Chico and Sammy, who were loaned out to another team, after hearing about the crash, are coming back to help out.

Now Giant has a full squad of seven players they can continue their pursuit of glory in the World Aeroball Championship...but first they must get by The Baltimore Bulls. We end this chapter with the Heroes forming their trademark 'H'.

Tom Tully is a master writer of sports stories. He's included every cliche possible and it's all summed up in the last panel... a rookie, two reserves, a forty year old veteran and opposition fans heckling the Heroes.

What's not to love!


Bluemeanie said...

This strip is probably top of the list of reprints Im waiting for from 2000AD, used to love it.

Remember being a kid and my dad telling me about the Rollerball movie and thinking it was exactly like this.

Stephen Reid said...

Yeah. Gibbons art is so polished compared to the rest of the artists the these early issues. His art just pops off the page.

Funny you should mention Rollerball...that was the main inspiration for strips like 'SpinBall' in Action and 'Harlem Heroes','Inferno' in 2000ad.

Ian Hewitt said...

Did anyone else ever play Speedball 2 on the good old Sega Megadrive? It was strikingly similiar to Harlem Heroes...