Sixers Superfan Celebrates Philly Wins By Creating Custom Comic Book Covers


The rabid fandom that surrounds Philadelphia sports is as developed and extensive as anything you would expect from the legions of people devoted to Harry Potter, Star Wars or “Game of Thrones”.

As difficult as it may be for some athletes to endure the scrutiny of this city, the flip side is that the love and creativity around supporting fans is simply unmatched in the world of sport.

One of those fans is Dhwani Saraiya, a 22-year-old illustrator from Edison, New Jersey.

Since the start of the NBA season in December, Saraiya has quickly become a legend among Philadelphia sports fans with his plan to draw a new comic book cover for every Sixers victory this year.

“It’s kinda crazy how much it blew up,” said Saraiya, who shares his work on her. Instagram and Twitter pages, as well as on the Subtitle Sixers.

Saraiya started drawing in high school, drawing inspiration from her collection of old comics to develop her talent.

“I guess I started drawing superheroes,” Saraiya told PhillyVoice. “I would draw Spider-Man or Iron Man from old comics that I collected. I have a bunch of comics from the 60s and 70s. I like the way they look. They have these halftone patterns and specific fonts and colors. “

Around her sophomore year of college, Saraiya fell in love with the Sixers, drawing particular attention to Ben Simmons and later Matisse Thybulle. His drawings of athletes, both in pencil and digital art, date back to late 2019.

But as Saraiya honed her technique in the digital realm, she began to think more broadly about something she could do to interact with the Sixers community.

“I thought it would be a really interesting way to introduce the players,” said Saraiya. “A lot of people are making flagship videos and trendy videos. They will do some really cool graphics. I was like, ‘This could be something different, so let me give it a try.'”

After every Sixers win, Saraiya will post a photo from Getty Images, or something the team tweets, to use as a reference.

“I usually try to find an image that reflects the biggest moment in the game,” Saraiya said, adding that now fans often send her requests and suggestions.

Each cover is like a colorful digital thesis statement, encapsulating that specific game. It could be a role player leaping into action at a key moment or a legend – think Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue, Dr J diving from the free throw line or Joel Embiid shimmy afterwards. having sunk a circus shot while being fouled.

From a technical standpoint, Saraiya uploads her reference photo to Photoshop, using gridlines to help her recreate them to perfection. The designs are done on his iPad using Procreate, which allows him to create models for some of the comic book elements.

Even so, most blankets take him two to four days.

And for a winning team that aspires to the championship, that means Saraiya is going to be busy.

Saraiya graduated from Rutgers University last year – in the midst of a pandemic. In a difficult job market, she decided to look into this Sixers project.

“I really want to get into creative content for a sports team,” Saraiya said. “I think that’s the direction I really want to go.”

In the meantime, Saraiya has opened a Etsy store and Redbubble Store where she sells her illustrations. She recently asked her followers what kind of demand there might be for a coffee table book that compiles her work on the Sixers with other inspiring sketches and designs. The response has been positive.

“It’s definitely something I’m thinking about,” Saraiya said. “I think it would be really cool to see them all in one compilation.”

With Sadie Smith, the 15-year-old Sixers Piano Girl playing “Here Come the Sixers” to celebrate the victories, Saraiya has helped create a community around the new-look Sixers under the guidance of coach Doc Rivers. The heroism of comic book style art only adds to the tradition of their quest for a title.

Saraiya’s most recent art, based on Tuesday’s overtime win over the Miami Heat, riffs on MVP candidate Joel Embiid’s tagline “They Hate The Process”, a reference to the shenanigans of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver , who plagued the Sixers through an episode of COVID-19 exposure.

You can support Saraiya’s work at home Etsy store and Redbubble Store.


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