In a sign of growing acceptance of comics as a way to deliver narrative support for consumer products, Adidas has produced three comics, by artists Jae Lee, JG Jones, and Ryan Benjamin, telling the stories of some of its top soccer stars (Emmanuel Adebayor, Steven Garrard, and Ricardo Kaka, respectively). The comics are being released online and in physical form in Adidas markets around the world.
The initial release is on Adidas.com, which offers all three stories (each eight pages plus cover). The company plans to also make the works available free on e-publishing sites lulu.com and issuu.com, and as an iPhone app.
A hardcover collection of all three comics is planned, to be distributed in Adidas stores around the globe, and perhaps in Adidas retail partner stores in some markets.
The use of comics as a promotional tool by a shoe company is nearly as old as the comics medium. The lead character from one of the first comic strips, Buster Brown (by Yellow Kid creator Richard Outcault), was used to promote shoes from the Brown Shoe company beginning in 1904.
Preview Ricardo Kaka -- art by Ryan Bengamin