Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce stars in new comic book, then wins Super Bowl

Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce stars in new comic book, then wins Super Bowl

It seems like Travis Kelce is everywhere, but Springfield, Mo., author Michael Frizell and TidalWave Comics found one more pre-Super Bowl outlet for the Kansas City Chiefs star’s fame. He’s the subject of a new comic book, released Feb. 7 as part of TidalWave’s “FAME” series, which highlights influential personalities.

Publisher Darren Davis, based in Portland, Ore., says the biographical “FAME” comic book series has been featured in Rolling Stone, Time magazine and People magazine and has spotlighted artists in multiple genres, among them (you guessed it) Taylor Swift. The company also publishes more traditional fictional comic books like “10th Muse.”

Frizell, whose day job is as director of Student Learning Services at Missouri State University in Springfield, says he has written more than 100 comics based on famous people, including biographies of Dolly Parton, Billie Eilish, Selena, Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams, and was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” for his comic book biography of basketball player Brittney Griner.

“As a child, I learned to read earlier than most, spurred by my fascination with ‘Star Trek,’ monster movies, and comic books,” Frizell says. “My father, a Navy Vietnam veteran, understood the power of education and encouraged my voracious appetite for words by purchasing any paperback that caught my eye, even though many were never meant for my age group!

“Then ‘Star Wars’ premiered. [My father] brought home a copy of Marvel Comics’ adaptation of ‘Star Wars,’ and I was hooked.”

Originally from East Brunswick, N.J., Frizell moved to the Midwest when he was in grade school, growing up in Cherryvale, Kan., where he says he was terrified that “there were cows next to my school. Cows. Walking around freely doing whatever cows do.” Clearly intended to tell stories, he “worked as a professional actor for almost a decade, doing stand-up, performing in shows on and off the [Branson] strip, and filming commercials and bad movies,” he says. “I eventually got a master’s degree in theater and another in creative writing at Missouri State University and my MFA at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.”

Writing for Marvel or DC Comics — which he calls “the Big Two” — isn’t as easy as collecting their publications was for Frizell. It’s “by invitation only, an exclusive club reserved for those considered at the top of their field,” he describes. So Frizell “started by contacting publishers, pitching a book or two, and riding the wave. That was almost 10 years ago, and I keep getting work. I’ll keep doing it until they lose interest in me or it stops being fun!”

Occasionally controversial, biographical comic books don’t require the blessing of the subjects, publisher Davis admits, but most of the time, the stars depicted have been contacted, he says by phone, and are happy with the results. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to keep publishing.”

Frizell admits there was a debate over whether to feature Kelce, the Chiefs’ tight end, or quarterback Patrick Mahomes, “but on the heels of the bestselling ‘Female Force: Taylor Swift,’ we decided that exploring Kelce’s life made the most sense. He’s not just an athlete,” Frizell says. “He’s a television personality, philanthropist, and the world’s most well-known boyfriend. There was so much there that I could barely contain the story to 22 pages!”

Brought to life by artist Martin Gimenez, “FAME: Travis Kelce” isn’t “a fanciful comic book where Kelce is bitten by a radioactive football and fights crime,” Frizell hastens to add. “Think of this comic as a short biography of his life.”

As for football, Frizell says, “I suppose you can call me a ‘fair weather’ fan. My wife and I [have] watched an occasional Super Bowl, mainly for the commercials.” However, he appends, “as a citizen of Missouri, I think I’m obligated to be a Chiefs fan or be deported to New Jersey.”



‘FAME: Travis Kelce’

Published by TidalWave Comics, the biographical comic book is available in both digital and print formats on various platforms, including Amazon. An exclusive edition will be unveiled at Planet Comicon March 8-10 in Kansas City, Mo.

Categories: Cover Story