Cartoonist Ron Wimberly Creates Calvin Johnson And P. Diddy Comics For Nike
Ron Wimberly is in pretty high demand these days. His 2012 graphic novel Prince Of Cats was met with near-universal critical praise, he was recently brought on as a contributing artist on Adult Swim series Black Dynamite, and his work has been featured in various art shows and galleries. Now the cartoonist has a new client: Nike.
The sneaker and sports apparel giant hired Wimberly to produce a series of cartoons called “Calvin & Johnson,” starring Detroit Lions All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.
If you’ve been watching any television in recent weeks, there’s a decent chance you’ve caught the “Calvin & Johnson” commercial, part of the latest big ad campaign from Nike. The ad features Johnson training nearly non-stop, while his alter ego, played by Combs, goes out and deals with all the media related events that come with being one of the more gifted and recognizable athletes in the world. To follow up on the commercials, Wimberly was brought on by Nike and advertising agency Weiden & Kennedy to produce a series of cartoons starring the duo. It’s not a traditional comic, but Wimberly told Robot 6 that’s exactly why he chose the job: “What’s cool about this job is that it’s a comic that you won’t find in a comic book store. It’s not about superheroes. Hell, it’s kind of in the style of yonkoma manga. It stars people of color, made by a person of color.”
Regarding producing work for an ad agency, the artist described it as a positive experience. “I feel like Don Draper from Mad Men except I’m black and I don’t hate women,” said Wimberly.
You can check out the first installment below, and the rest can be seen on the Nike Football Facebook page.