A fresh face is joining the Avengers in Marvel Comics … well, sorta.
Popular Philadelphia Flyers hockey mascot-turned-meme Gritty is taking center stage on a special Marvel Super Hero Day promotional poster drawn by JL Giles which pays homage to the legendary George Pérez‘s cover of the first issue of the legendary 1991 Marvel Comics story Infinity Gauntlet (#1 on Newsarama’s list of the best Marvel stories of all time), going so far as to place Gritty himself in the role of Thanos, possessor of the eponymous Gauntlet.
The images themselves, seen here, were shared on Twitter by Philadelphia Enquirer reporter Stephanie Farr:
The @NHLFlyers are hosting a Marvel Day next month and the poster giveaway is epic. “That’s my secret, Captain. I’m always angry.” pic.twitter.com/2NrKgFUb1SFebruary 23, 2022
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One might go so far as to say Marvel Comics cover tributes are recently getting out of hand (get it? Out of hand? Gauntlet?), with the Infin-Gritty Gauntlet poster (we really couldn’t help ourselves) representing just the latest in a trend that has included DC variant cover tributes to Spider-Man #1, X-Men #151, and even Spider-Man #1 cover artist Todd McFarlane himself creating a variant cover for his upcoming Scorched #3 which pays homage to his fellow former Marvel Comics artist and Image Comics co-founder Jim Lee’s own 1991 X-Men #1 cover.
At the same time, the first 5000 fans to attend the Flyers’ Marvel Super Hero Day home game against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks, taking place on March 5 at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, will receive a variant edition of February 9’s Avengers #53 (opens in new tab) with a variant cover featuring Gritty teaming up with Iron Man drawn by Ron Lim, an image that is also available on t-shirts as part of a special edition ticket package (opens in new tab).
Gritty’s cult popularity, which goes well beyond NHL fandom, is proof that he’s one of Earth’s Mightiest Mascots – but does he have what it takes to join Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers? Well, Iron Man seems to think so.
This rare Gritty variant cover for Avengers #53 is only available at the Flyers’ Marvel Super Hero Night, but your local comic shop is usually the best place to shop for variant covers, special edition releases, and more.