As we stand on the cusp of another NFL season, the Cowboys may need a miracle to land their first Super Bowl victory since 1995. Most pundits currently feel that teams such as the Chargers, Dolphins, and even the Titans have a better chance of heading to the SoFi Stadium for Super Bowl LVI. Any charge through the NFC East to the playoffs would be an achievement, but to go further would be the stuff of comic books if the pundits are to be believed.
Even hardened Cowboys fans know it could be a big ask for Mike McCarthy to guide the team to a repeat of his victory at Super Bowl XLV as the Packers’ head coach. Still, there will be plenty of endeavors as they look to write a little slice of history, no matter how fanciful.
If they were to write a story stranger than fiction and head to Inglewood next February, it would not be the first time the Cowboys had been involved in a rather fanciful tale. In fact, on two occasions, they have been featured in comic books, one of which even saw them win the Super Bowl. Foreshadowing? Perhaps not, but for younger Cowboys fans those comic books are certainly worth finding and collecting.
One occasion in which the Cowboys featured in a comic book was in a free five-part series given away with the Dallas Times Herald. In one edition, Spider-Man and Hulk visited Dallas, went to the ballet, and crucially, met the Cowboys. This was 1981, only a couple of years after back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. In 1978 the Cowboys defeated the Broncos at Super Bowl XII, then in early 1979 lost in a tight 35-31 outcome to the Steelers.
To be featured in a Marvel story certainly seems huge these days, with the success of the franchise. Back in 1981, there were few big films featuring Marvel characters, it was DC and Superman headlining at the cinema. The Incredible Hulk was limited to TV, without the Marvel branding. That might seem odd to pop culture fans today, who can find Marvel everywhere, on Netflix, at the cinema, and even on their home consoles. Marvel's Avengers is due to drop on the PlayStation 5 very soon, and that is just one example of them featuring in video games. Marvel characters and themes have also acted as inspiration for some online slots on Foxy Bingo, such as Thor’s Vengeance and Wonder Woman, whilst there are numerous apps and puzzlers out there using the same branding. Sadly, for the Cowboys at least, their fame has not risen at the same trajectory as Hulk and Spider-Man.
Hope can be gleaned from the 1971 comic Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys, published by Spire Christian Comics. It leans heavily on the 24-3 victory against the Dolphins from 1971 and tells the story of Tom Landry’s secret to success. It is a little heavy on some motivational elements, but nonetheless, it is a lovely collector’s piece for Cowboys fans and can be picked up for around $10.
It does seem that the current Cowboys need something straight from the pages of a comic book to reach Super Bowl LVI, but who knows, right? If the players all have a read of the 1971 comic, then show the strength and guile of Spider-Man and Hulk from the early eighties, perhaps Dallas can revel in NFL glory once again.