The Bears on Friday announced the "Monsters of the Midway" project in partnership with ATHLiTACOMiCS, which was founded by former Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije to meld the worlds of comics and sports.
Through the partnership, the Bears and Idonije's team created an alternate universe where Bears players are depicted as superheroes collectively known as the "Monsters of the Midway." Each "Monster" has his own unique powers, which play off his natural skill set as a football player.
The vision was to create an alternate world where the "Monsters of the Midway" defend the City of Chicago from a weekly nemesis, drawn from the Bears' 2018 schedule. The storyline will take fans up to the point of conflict each week where the characters transition from the comic world into reality as the outcome is played out on the field each game day.
The custom-designed visuals include artwork and animation for the 2018 schedule release and game introduction video, along with player illustrations, opponent illustrations, a weekly comic strip during the regular season and a variety of other assets including a bear that provides the essence of the "Monsters of the Midway" universe.
Thursday, fans were introduced to the team's 2018 opposition forces. Now, meet the Monsters of the Midway, a superhero force that leads the Bears as they face the next challenge.
"As a lifelong comic fan, blending sports action with superhero adventure comes naturally because each season is filled with intense battles and epic figures. ATHLiTACOMiCS began during a Bears training camp when I decided I wanted to do something creative during my down time, so I began writing a story about athletes and the source of their elite athletic abilities," said Idonije. "Fast forward several years and projects, to now be working with my Bears family in a new capacity, bringing this next generation of players to life as comic heroes, has been a very special experience."
"Re-imagining where we could extend the Bears brand and our players' unique, larger-than-life athletic abilities through the lens of this alternate universe has been an amazing process made even more incredible by our opportunity to work with Israel," said Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Scott Hagel. "We are so proud to partner with Israel and his team to create another way for fans of all ages to engage with their favorite team and players."
A limited amount of related merchandise will be available for purchase at the Chicago Bears Pro Shop starting at the 2018 Miller Lite Chicago Bears Draft Party on Thursday, April 26. The "Monsters of the Midway" project began last summer and is expected to continue throughout the season. Idonije is the Creative Director for this project and his team includes: Andy Smith (lead illustrator), James Lyle (storyboarder and illustrator), Ron Marz (writer), Cam Gordon (animation team) and Phil Guthrie (animation team).
ATHLiTACOMiCS, started by former Chicago Bear Israel Idonije, develops custom-designed comic content, comic properties and related merchandise in the merged niche market of comics and sports. Its current creator-owned properties include The Protectors, Sports Heroes and DreamKidz Adventures. Idonije started ATHLiTACOMiCS to appeal to sports fans and comic enthusiasts alike. It is the first company to offer a high-level blend of professional athletics and super-heroic mythology. ATHLiTACOMiCS' mission is to inspire, unite, and entertain the world with incredible art and stories. For more information, please visit http://athlitacomics.com.