Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tony Twist Autograph Card

With the rash of injuries the St. Louis Blues have suffered (even forcing them to sign free agents Martin Havlat and Dainius Zubrus to PTOs), perhaps they will think of turning to familiar old faces.

No, not Brett Hull. Tony Twist, who is still around the team as a hockey radio analyst. With 1121 penalty minutes and merely 28 total points (and a minus-23 in +/-) in 445 NHL games, Twist's role was pretty much solely as an enforcer, but he gave it his all and was usually a crowd favourite, in both his stints with the Blues and with the Québec Nordiques in between.

That role inspired many, including hockey fan, former Calgary Flames co-owner, Edmonton Oilers third-jersey designer and comic book creator Todd McFarlane, who named a Spawn character after him (Antonio ''Tony  Twist'' Twistelli) in a tribute that ended up costing McFarlane $5M dolalrs and bankrupted his company.

It's not like the bruising left winger was about to get Nike, Wheaties and Care Bears endorsements and the character was ruining his chances, nor that the adult-themed comic would get kids to think badly of the ''real'' Tony Twist; it was a hurt ego taking an opportunistic shot at someone five years after his NHL career had been cut short by an injury, and killing an art-producing independent company along with it. It was a bit selfish and juvenile.

What he should have done is ask for a likeness-usage rights deal that paid him per comic sold, and for subsequent movie/TV deals, and cash in in the long run instead, and acknowledge that McFarlane, a true hockey fan, had acted in misguided good faith.

I miss Spawn. I stopped reading the books when I bought the HBO series on DVD - which I still binge-watch once a year. Maybe I'll start reading it again; the storytelling was getting better every year, the drawings were spectacular, and the pacing was perfect.

Unlike, say, the Blues' mid-1990s uniform (which I'm weirdly a tad nostalgic for despite red being all kinds of wrong for the team's palette):
It's weird to think such great players as Wayne Gretzky, Hull, Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger donned that jersey. This is the signed insert version (on card in blue sharpie) of card #63 of Panini's 2012-13 Classic Signatures set.

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