You know what’s fun? Football. You know what else is fun? Comic books. You know what’s not fun? These Marvel covers for the first week of college football.

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I don’t think there’s a better example of the odd bedfellows made by corporate synergy than these covers, which are supposed to market ESPN to Marvel readers, for the benefit of their parent company, the House of Our Grand Overlord and Owner of All He Surveys, Mickey Mouse.

I am particularly put off by these covers because I have a life-long fear of foam mascot costumes—especially the ones which are human beings. It’s just so creepy to see a human stuffed inside another human being’s foam shell. And then these covers pit them against animals with human bodies and I want to run screaming into the hills.

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This might be the most terrifying image I’ve ever seen:

Image by Rags Morales and Chris Sotomayor

And this one doesn’t even have a mascot, it’s the personification of Florida State’s colors fighting an actual football player. I’d like to add that this one was especially confusing for my British co-worker, James Whitbrook. The idea that a university was called “Ole Miss” really threw him for a loop.

Image by Sean Chen and Chris Sotomayor

This is the least scary, as it’s just two kitties fighting. Awwwww.

Image: Craig Rousseau and Chris Sotomayor

AHHHHHHHHH What is happening to the faces of these animals?! OH MY GOD SOMEONE PUT THEM DOWN BEFORE WE ALL GET RABIES:

Image: Admira Wijaya

Look at this horse’s muscles and human arms and tell me that there is a god in the universe:

Image: Tom Raney Rachelle Rosenberg

And finally, the one that James said, absent the context that it’s meant to be a take on Jack Kirby’s Journey Into Mystery #126, is “just... a centurion and an elephant fighting over a football.” Despite the fact that it’s a Trojan and not a Roman centurion, he is largely correct.

Image: Tom Grummett, Wayne Faucher and Chris Sotomayor

Although a man in a helmet and armor fighting an elephant is a very Roman thing. If only it were a home USC game, then they’d be in a Coliseum.

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[via Comic Book Resources]