Editor's Note: The Portland Timbers and Thorns FC have partnered with iconic, local comic book publisher Dark Horse Comics to create player-specific superheroes in recognition of National Superhero Day. As part of the project, artist Ron Chan and comic book writer Paul Tobin created fictionalized origin stories for each player, detailing the genesis of their individual “super-powers.
Growing up in the Argentine city of Lomas de Zamora, seven year old Sebastián Blanco had his favorite soccer ball stolen by an evil soccer team known as the Emerald Anacondas. Most children his age would’ve only muttered curses and resigned themselves to fate, but Blanco has always been of a different temper.
“He never backs down,” one childhood friend says. “Even if those men had been a nest of actual anacondas, Sebastián would have charged in with his fiery attitude and chilling stare.”
Dark Horse Comics
And charge into the fray is exactly what Blanco did, but, on his way to the isolated camp where the Emerald Anacondas were playing a game with his soccer ball, making his way through a forest, the young Blanco stumbled upon an abandoned research facility.
“It was very strange,” Blanco says. “What were they developing there? There were strange instruments lining the dusty halls. Writings carved into the walls. A wedding of dark arts with modern machinery. The facility felt haunted. I saw footsteps appearing in the dust behind me. Fireworks that crawled across the floor like snakes. Menacing robots flickering in and out of reality, casting no shadows. And, of course it was there that I was burned.” Blanco then showed me the famous burn wounds on his foot, two small burn marks that have never quite healed, where he was seared by a radioactive bottle rocket.
“Since then, on the soccer field, I feel as if I am being fired across the pitch. And, of course, when I kick,” here a smiling Blanco points to his foot and says, “the fireworks.”
“I found the abandoned facility again, days later,” Blanco recounts. “But this time it was empty. As if it always had been. What wasn’t empty, however, was my blood, which seemed filled with fire.” It was a transformed Blanco who discovered the camp where the Emerald Anacondas were playing with his stolen soccer ball, bursting out from the forest and demanding a game. Him, against all others. One lone boy against an entire team. The men laughed, but their laughter soon faded as the young Blanco became a veritable monster and scored the winning goal with a lasered golazo so strong the net burst into flames.
“Since that day,” Blanco says, “on the soccer pitch, I sometimes feel as if I am another man, putting on a mask of sorts, chucking everything else away to become a whirling beast with intense eyes, wild hair and incredible strength, a man who brings terror to my opponents, because they know they cannot face my power and my ferocity. I transform into a man who cannot be broken.”
“Or perhaps,” he chuckles. “Perhaps I am not another man. Perhaps this is the man I have always been.”