Bernard Pierce: Temple Owls Would be Wise to Revisit Comic Book Idea

Mike GibsonCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2010

Time being as fleeting as it is, I didn't realize that 1986 was so long ago until I tried to find the Paul Palmer Comic book I lost.

The old comic book is somewhere, tattered I fear, in the middle of a whole bunch of Temple-related junk that I never really had a chance to categorize.

In those days, I was in the middle of apartment-hopping in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and just threw most of my stuff into my storage room.

It might be still there, but I can't find it. On a recent trip, all I did found was a pretty well intact media guide from that year.

Well, the Paul Palmer comic book story is relevant today because the campaign for the Heisman WITH POTENTIAL HEISMAN VOTERS is something, I believe, the university should be doing today, in July, not August or September.

Scott  Walcoff, from the school's promotion department, is handling the back end of this campaign (for potential ticket-buyers) rather brilliantly with a Hunt of the Heisman billboard strategically placed at locations within a mile of Lincoln Financial Field.

The billboard states simply "Hunt for the Heisman" with the words below "you are 1 mile from history" and directs folks to for ticket information.

Heady, smart, stuff.

Not enough, though, is being done from the front end, which, to me, is targeting the voters themselves.

That's where the comic book, or something like it, comes into play.

Back in 1986, Temple football information director Mike Kaine, working under SID Al Shrier, came up with the idea of mailing the comics with Paul Palmer on the cover and 16-pages of illustrated Paul Palmer information to the 1,050 voters.

"How much did it cost?" Kaine told a newspaper reporter back then. "I have no idea.
"It cost a lot, but the promotions department covered all the costs. We came up with the idea, wrote it, paid an illustrator and made the mailings. It was a significant investment."

It was critically acclaimed, too.

Last year, a Spokane (Wash.) newspaper called it one of the top five Heisman campaigns of all time. They lumped it with a Vanderbilt quarterback's video that came with a bag of popcorn. Also, Notre Dame's changing of the pronunciation of Joe "Theesman's" name to Joe Theisman (he spells it that way, but pronounces it the other) to rhyme with Heisman.

I could find only one negative comment on the campaign and that was a writer from the Los Angeles Times.

"What is Temple trying to do?" he wrote. "Insult our intelligence? We're writers. We can read."

He missed the point of the whole thing, which was to get Paul Palmer's name out there to the people who mattered the most, the Heisman voters.

Would that writer even mentioned Palmer's name if Temple didn't do something so eye-catching?


It doesn't have to be another comic book, but that wouldn't be a bad idea.

Scott Walcoff started this ball rolling with a terrific billboard campaign. Make modified bumper stickers out of those billboards and mail one to each of the 1,050 Heisman voters.

If cost is an issue, have the Owl Club raise the money.

Do something innovative.

Bernard Pierce deserves a Heisman launch that targets both fans and voters.