Sunday, July 9, 2017

Nolan Ryan: The Comic Book

The comic book medium has never been shy about branching out from superheroes to other genres.  That frequently includes biographies and as we saw with the Tom Landry comic, Texas sports heroes tend to have interesting lives.  So with that, we take a look at the Personality Comics issue from 1991 that chronicled the life of baseball legend Nolan Ryan.

As biographies tend to do, this one starts with Ryan's birth in Refugio, TX and his childhood in Alvin, TX as well as his time as a student athlete playing basketball and his love of baseball.  As a young man his talent was clear and the book covers his recruitment by the Met's farm team:

I couldn't tell you why that scout looks so sinister.  Maybe because he's from New York?  Like all ball players, Ryan had to pay his dues in the minor leagues.  The comic chronicles his struggles working his way up to get to the Mets.

The struggle was only beginning once he made it to the majors.  He had to work through injuries to survive and attempt to thrive in the big leagues.  But the book also features personal highlights during the time.

Once he got to California his career really started to thrive.  Batters started to fear facing him on the mound and he got his famous nickname:

The no hitters started and Ryan's reputation as an incredible talent was solidified.  It was time for his triumphant return to the Lone Star State with a position with the Houston Astros (which apparently came with large, cartoonish bags of cash!).

Soon came his 3,000th strikeout and then his 4,000th strikeout.  Records were breaking and stats were racking up.  Nolan's next move was closer to home as he joined the Texas Rangers, which he apparently celebrated by standing atop a mountain and posing:

A quick mention is made of the Nolan Ryan Foundation Museum in Alvin but since the comic was published in the early 90's it was unable to include Ryan's time as the Ranger's CEO or as a beef pitchman.  Let's hope someone picks up where the now defunct comics company left off and we get a sequel!

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