In 1992, an unlikely trifecta of giant corporations combined forces to produce a short lived series entitled Tony’s Sports Comics.
DC Comics, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, and Sports Illustrated produced three comic books under this moniker. Each of the comics focuses on Tony the Tiger hanging out with an elite athlete and inspiring a child to go after their dreams in sports. Fans could obtain a copy of the comic by mailing a single proof of purchase into Kellogg’s.
The books are full color, 16 page stories without ads. The inside cover features a note from the cover athlete and the back inside cover has a game to play. On the back outer cover is a cutout “stand up picture” with the comic version of the athlete on one side and their stats on the other.
The three comics issued feature Nolan Ryan, Ozzie Smith, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. At the time of publication, Ryan was nearing the end of a 27 year playing career with his fourth season as a Texas Ranger. Smith had his 12th consecutive All Star Year (he’d go on to have three more over his 19 year career) and was 11 years into his tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals. Joyner-Kersee, who won two gold medals at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul would win another gold as well as a bronze medal that year during the Barcelona games.
Titles for the books are as follows (click a title to purchase on eBay):
Nolan Ryan in The Winning Pitch
Ozzie Smith in The Kid Who Could
Jackie Joyner-Kersee in High Hurdles
There isn’t much information available in terms of artist credits because no official credits are listed within Tony’s Sports Comics issues. The Ozzie Smith issue was drawn by Joe Staton and Mad Magazine’s Angelo Torres. Torres was only used to draw Ozzie Smith while Staton did the rest of the penciling. The comic was inked by Mike DeCarlo. At the time of this writing, no other information is known but it may be safe to assume the same team was tasked with all three issues.
Copies of these books are fairly easy to find on eBay and their relative obscurity doesn’t seem to be driving prices to unreasonable points. Collectors should be cautious before buying, though, as the back cover’s combination writing game and cutout feature may make finding a mint copy slightly more difficult.
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