Written By Travis Yoesting on Aug 23, 2019, Posted in Neymar Jr. Comics
How the team at Fan The Flame Comics partnered with one of football’s biggest stars to transform his love of comics into an entire comic universe at Neymar Jr. Comics.
Neymar Jr.’s tattoos sit on the surface, symbols of the inner thoughts of one of the biggest football stars in the world.
For the outside world, the tattoos are the only insight into the mind of someone who has reached the top of his game.
Within the universe of Neymar Jr. Comics and its first digital series, “Inked,” they are so much more.
Neymar Jr. is one of the top footballers in the world, a Brazilian whose name can be whispered alongside modern-day legends such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and heroes of decades past like Romário, Ronaldo and Pelé.
Covered from head to toe in tattoos, Neymar Jr.’s body art has captured the imagination of fans around the world. From a lion on his hand to his sister on his shoulder, the prolific forward quite literally wears his heart on his sleeve for all to witness.
But his tattoos have taken a new meaning, a new significance. His tattoos are giving him superpowers in our landmark comic book series “Inked.”
Two of the most common dreams of youngsters around the world are to become a famous athlete or a superhero.
Neymar Jr. was no different. In addition to the Romários, Rivaldos and Ronaldos that Neymar Jr. grew up idolizing was a hero of another kind: Batman.
With Neymar Jr. Comics, a collaborative effort with Fan the Flame Comics, Neymar Jr. has joined the ranks of the masked crusaders, caped wonders who are superheroes because of a priceless inheritance or a privilege bequeathed upon them — be that from an accident or a lab experiment gone wrong.
In our comic series “Inked,” Neymar Jr. — or rather his alter ego, “Junior” — gains superpowers, not through the bite of a radioactive spider or having been born into immense wealth, but by the very ink with which he is tattooed, albeit a special ink, after landing in the hospital trying to protect his sister.
“Inked” is just the beginning for us here at Neymar Jr. Comics, a digital platform created just for the football star. It’s also a bit of a dream come true for a man who thrills fans with his creativity and skill on the pitch while hanging out with some of the world’s biggest celebrities off the pitch.
“I had two dreams growing up, like many kids, to be a professional footballer and a superhero,” Neymar Jr. said. “I've always been in love with comics, always liked them and getting involved with it, having my name, my face, my tattoos, the story ... I'm absolutely thrilled.”
Comic Book Guy
When Neymar Jr. signed his contract to become the richest transfer in the history of the sport in 2017, he was wearing a Batman T-shirt. A couple Halloweens ago, he dressed up as the Joker, comics are a part of who Neymar Jr. is, just as much as the tattoos on his body. Neymar Jr. even has a Batman and Spiderman tattoo on his back.
Neymar Jr.’s love of comics brought him to Chris Flannery, now the president of Neymar Jr. Comics, and the team at Fan The Flame Concepts, along with Jason Burns, a New York Times best-selling author and the editor in chief for Neymar Jr. Comics. Flannery and Burns developed the concept for “Inked,” in which Junior, a character created in Neymar Jr.’s likeness, is tattooed with mystical ink that brings the tattoos to life.
“As far as the core concept — the idea of a mystical ink that brings tattoos to life — that had been percolating in my head for years, but it wasn’t until the partnership with Neymar Jr. that it all came together from a storytelling standpoint,” Burns said.
“Because of his own interest in body art, one that continues to grow as he adds new pieces, it was a seamless and natural fit for a character in Neymar Jr.’s likeness to be married to the concept itself.”
Neymar Jr., for one, loved the idea, and the series took off.
But it wasn’t just a matter of throwing Neymar Jr. into a comic book series and making him into a superhero. Neymar Jr. Comics wants to be about more than just a famous athlete selling his image rights. It’s about gritty, modern storytelling, relating to his audiences and their interests in the world of comics or tattoos and building a global community — all the while attempting to bring attention to Neymar Jr.’s charitable work with the Neymar Jr. Institute (INJR).
“As a kid who grew up with Batman as a hero, I hope that these stories and characters can inspire and entertain people around the world,” Neymar Jr. said. “The studio will be creating original content and stories that in some cases are influenced by my life and character and in other cases stories that I’ve helped develop.”
Jason Burns, the story creator for “Inked,” knows the importance of tattoos, both in world culture and in his own life, with countless tattoos covering his body. Indeed, he makes it clear in the first episode of the comic — which, like all episodes of “Inked,” is free for readers.
“Inked” takes place in a gritty, fictionalized Brazil where cartels fight for power and tattoos come to life to do the bidding of their masters. Junior, Neymar Jr.’s alter ego, is pressed into action through tragic circumstances and becomes a reluctant hero for the powerless. Junior’s first tattoo he learns to bring to life is Baysan, a lion tattooed on his left hand.
Mais uma no craque @neymarjr Muito obrigado pela confiança meu brother!!! E obrigado a todos que estão acompanhando essa viagem e amanhã partindo para @nauticatattooroma #neymar #nj #paris #psg #france #grupoamazon #viperink #nauticatattoosantos #nauticatattoosp #nauticatattooroma
A post shared by Thieres Paim (@thierespaimtattoo) on
The tattoo is a fairly recent one, with Brazilian tattoo artist Thieres Paim creating the skin art in October of 2017. We decided to make him the centerpiece of our early issues. The lion inspired his Diesel fragrance “Spirit of the Brave,” which launched in May of 2019.
Thieres and Adão Rosa have combined to do most of Neymar Jr.’s tattoos, Adão himself responsible for more than two dozen. Adão, of Nautica Tattoos, has such a following that one father of a hopeful Brazilian athlete seeking stardom sought out the tattoo artist believing him to have mystical powers capable of taking the youngster to the next level — not unlike the Junior character in the comic.
Tattoos are a huge part of Neymar Jr.’s life. He’s got tattoos honoring his son, his father, his sister and his god, plus one that says “Life is a joke” to remind him not to take life too seriously and to enjoy every moment. Recently, Thieres inked a tattoo that says “Gigante por Natureza” (Gigantic by Nature), with an eagle flying over a football pitch.
Art director Dustin Evans and the rest of our team at Fan the Flame have studied Neymar Jr.’s body more than opposing coaches and players to find the perfect translation onto the pages of Neymar Jr. Comics.
That said, even with the extensive number of tattoos on Neymar Jr.’s body, we aren’t necessarily going to limit ourselves to tattoos Neymar Jr. currently has.
“As Junior gets deeper and deeper into the thick of things, … he’ll realize that he doesn’t need weapons because his body actually is the weapon,” Burns said. “Think it. Tattoo it. Use it. That’s kind of the mantra he’ll fall back on because when the odds seem stacked against him, all he has to do to even those odds is imagine what tool he’d like to pull from his toolbox … his toolbox being his skin.”
Fanning The Flame
While the tattoos represent the basis for the story — and a link to Neymar Jr. himself — what we hope keeps you interested in “Inked” is the story. Neymar Jr. has had no hesitation accepting the studio’s comics expertise, giving him the freedom to create a world that will appeal to a widespread audience, not just fans of Neymar Jr.’s goal-scoring exploits.
The story in "Inked" is not your typical athlete crossover like Shaq Fu. The world of “Inked” is not for the faint of heart; people get hurt. The studio will also be releasing in the coming season new stories for all ages, ones that are family oriented to ensure that all of Neymar Jr.’s fans will have stories that appeal to them and are appropriate.
Our innovative digital platform makes it easy for everyone to access and digest. And it’s accessible to fans around the world, no matter where they live or what backgrounds they come from, translated into half a dozen languages. Plus, all of our comic content is free for fans – although if you want the ability to download the content for an ad-free experience, as well as to collect physical graphic novels with the content, we offer those for sale as well.
Football Hero In An Expanding Universe
Neymar Jr. is a football player first and foremost.
He’s won league titles, Champions League trophies, international cups, Puskás Awards and Player of the Year awards. At 27, he’s got 60 international goals, and Neymar Jr. is on pace to shatter Pelé’s all-time record for Brazil.
Neymar Jr. is nowhere near finished on the pitch. Off the pitch, we’re just getting started.
Whether it will be as a superhero fighting crime in Brazil or any of the other iterations yet to come from us, Neymar Jr. is already a real hero to many through his charitable contributions and regular tithing.
But we hope to bring the footballer to a new audience of digital comic fans all while providing additional fan service to his already devoted followers.
“I think with any fictional work, the originality or the interest and relevance of the story is what draws people in,” Flannery said. “I think given his great popularity and following, people will be intrigued. This is beyond the normal arc of the hero type stories.
“However, we’ve worked really hard to develop something that is authentically linked to his life, that is important to him and will reveal and give insight into that side of his life that maybe people don’t know too much about.”
Keep an eye out for future series in different universes with new casts of characters – all built around the life and persona of our star, Neymar Jr.
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