Look at him.
He is the embodiment of jubilation. He is hilarity incarnate. You could hog tie him, drive hundreds of miles in the desert, and leave him for dead. In three weeks, instead of a faded green, dried-out carcass the size of a taun-taun, you’d find a stadium with a division-champion team inside it, playing in front of a berserk fanbase, that had been somehow constructed around him.
This is a town of costumed heroes. There’s Swoop, and Hip-Hop, and the new mini-Hip-Hop, who kind of looks like he was at one point a growth that fell off Regular Hip-Hop and, over the course of an afternoon, morphed into a smaller version of him. We even had a guy named Slapshot hanging around with the Flyers for a while in 1976. An entire season went by before anyone noticed that he was terrible.
The Philadelphia Union, our representative MLS team–that’s Major League Soccer, which yes; we have that in the United States–have been around for three years now, and it’s time to stop pretending we haven’t all been forced to swallow their garish absence of a ridiculous person in a costume.
That’s when the phone rang.
“Hello?” I mumbled, realizing I had slept most of the Wednesday out of Wednesday.
“Ryan!” a voice yelled. “Listen, we got your portfolio, and we’d love to see more of your ideas for the Philadelphia Union mascot. We’ll give you $50.”
“What? Of course I’m Brian,” I replied, sitting up in bed, as no one named Brian was nearby.
“Great. We’ll just need those illustrations today by five o’clock.”
“You won’t regret this, sir or madam.”
I hung up the phone and wondered if “natural ability” is something that can be learned in an afternoon. Brian clearly had what it takes, but I’m no Brian. I’m just a guy trying to steal 50 bucks from an illustrator. And I had four hours to do it.
Three hours and fifty-seven minutes later, I woke up, had a panic attack, started drawing, had two more panic attacks, and then emailed $50 worth of brilliant Philadelphia Union mascot ideas to some guy who thought I was someone else. If they look like someone drew them while breathing into a paper bag in under three minutes, sorry. But that was unavoidable.
Buzz, the Very Depressed Lightning Bolt
So what I was going for here was that the Union plays in PPL Park, with PPL being an electric company. Therefore, this lightning bolt aspect of this makes sense. His name being “Buzz” makes sense. I can’t explain why he’s so depressed. I also decided not to look up how to spell “chronicley.”
Buzz, the Light Bulb Grappling with his Own Mortality
So the deal here was that I had already drawn the light bulb, again inspired by PPL Park, when I realized that people are using those more sustainable bulbs these days. Thus, this character is at once an enthusiastic advocate for Philadelphia Union soccer, but also dealing with the gradual elimination of his people from society (thus the facial expression of anguish). I figured “Buzz” would work for a name here, too, since the… idea… didn’t really change. The black leather murderer’s gloves and pistol are because I forgot what I was drawing about halfway through.
Whispers, the Snake with the Heart Full of Revenge
There’s a snake on the Union emblem, and I’m not totally sure what it’s doing there, but I sort of ran with it here. The two things he’s about to swallow with his hideously detached jaw is the eagle from the D.C. United’s logo and a can of Red Bull because apparently New York’s entry into MLS is a team actually called the New York Red Bulls, Brought To You By Red Bull. “Whispers” is just a cool name for anybody.
Huey, the Union U
This is Huey the Union U, because “Union” is a word that starts with “U.” He’s riding a unicycle because it also starts with “U.” He’s winking because there’s not anything more enticing a guy in a giant letter costume could do.
Buzz, the Killer Robot with a Chain Saw for an Arm
At this point, I realized the paper bag I was breathing into was full of spray paint, so the fact that my hand was still doing the things my brain was telling it to was pretty incredible. “Buzz,” I decided as I was rushing to label these, is a very versatile name. That’s a satellite dish-shaped weapon on his other arm, forming some sort of dangerous, electrified energy ball to scorch the masses. This has to do with soccer and/or Philadelphia because
FUN FACT: His soccer ball was originally a unicycle.