Behind The ScenesStarting 5

Cartoonist pays homage to ESPN the Mag Body Issue with American Pharoah “cover”

Cartoonist Jim Thompson's ESPN Mag Body Issue spoof.
Cartoonist Jim Thompson’s ESPN Mag Body Issue spoof – the alleged “seventh cover.”
Marvel Comics & ESPN the Magazine Release Exclusive Body Issue Insert: The Body Issue: Super Heroes Edition

What is it they say about imitation?

“[ESPN the Magazine’s] annual ‘Body Issue’ is immensely popular, so it seemed an ideal thing to spoof,” said attorney/cartoonist Jim Thompson. “Sorta like pop culture events, and SNL (Saturday Night Live), I suppose. And American Pharoah is quite the athlete and constantly naked – or partially clothed – so it seemed he was a perfect choice.”

Thompson’s creation (above) came to light on his Facebook page with the caption: “The Seventh Cover of 2015 The Body Issue. . . #ESPN #ESPNBodyIssue #AmericanPharaoh”

“Memes like this are flattering. American Pharoah is a great athlete for the ‘Body Issue’. It’s inviting him to the release party that I’d worry about. . .”
Neely Lohmann, ESPN the Magazine senior deputy editor

In a week when Washington Nationals start Bryce Harper admitted to having three goals when growing up – “I want to be on the front of a Wheaties box; I want to be on the front of a Topps card; I want to be on the Body Issue.” – there is no doubt that “Body” and its six different covers is buzzing.

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.'s Body Issue cover.
New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s real Body Issue cover (one of six released).

A former Editorial Sports Cartoonist for the Los Angeles Daily News for over two decades, Thompson, 58, lives in Westlake Village, Calif. and is also a sculptor. He finished the “Body Issue” cartoon in about an hour.

“Being an artist I tend to look at the ‘Body Issue’ photos for the sake of art and how awesome the human body is,” said Thompson, an avid golfer. “And the photos are really well done.”

Also well done? Some of the other tributes to “Body” that inevitably pop up each year. This year Cleveland’s @SliderTheMascot got into the action as did New York’s WNBC-TV.

“Memes like this are flattering,” said ESPN the Magazine senior deputy editor Neely Lohman. “American Pharoah is a great athlete for the ‘Body Issue’. It’s inviting him to the release party that I’d worry about. . .”

“Having just won the Triple Crown, American Pharaoh was the ideal choice. . . and he has sultry eyes (at least Thompson’s version does),” Thompson joked. “Second choice was Animal from Sesame Street.”

Carrie Kreiswirth contributed to this post