SCAD sequential art professor Shawn Crystal has collaborated with ESPN The Magazine and Marvel Comics for their NBA preview issue that hit newsstands Friday, Oct. 22. The magazine features characters and iconography from the Marvel universe, including promotional images for all 30 NBA teams created by 31 different Marvel artists. Other artists working on the project include Marvel Comics CEO Joe Quesada, Greg Horn, Olivier Coipel, Leinil Francis Yu, J. Scott Campbell, Greg Land, Terry Dodson and Kaare Andrews.
Each of the NBA's 30 teams is featured in their own art-laden preview, celebrating and paying tribute to classic characters and storylines while also prognosticating about what the 2010-2011 season will bring.
Marvel Comics Vice President and Executive Editor Axel Alonso and Marvel Manager of Talent Relations George Beliard worked together to line up Marvel's top artistic talent to work on the project and found little resistance among a basketball-loving pool of creators. Crystal, who earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from SCAD in 2001, was the perfect choice to create the illustration for his hometown team, the Atlanta Hawks.
"As a Marvel exclusive artist I am constantly producing comics, but this opportunity was something different, new and exciting," said Crystal. "My work is now being exposed to a whole new audience. The Marvel artists who participated in this are some of the industry's top creators, to be included in that company was an honor. The comics community seems to really enjoy the image and I'm curious to see if the Atlanta Hawks will feel the same way, particularly Joe Johnson."