Sunday, 16 December 2007

"Mucha Lucha!" in "JPA"

I BOUGHT Jam-Packed Action back in 2004 and have only just got around to reading it...there's probably a good reason for that.

This DC-produced comic digest features four short stories adapted from WB animated series Teen Titans, Scooby-Doo!, Xiaolin Showdown and Mucha Lucha! (the reason I bought it).

All the images are taken from the original animated episodes and unimaginatively laid out on the page. Despite the lack of creativity on display, the Mucha Lucha! story's kinda interesting: Richochet enters a tag team tournament to win a reproduction mask of his hero El Rey. Along the way, he goes to the gym and has his head shrunk to help him win his matches (don't ask). It's the pick of the four tales in this book, but that's faint praise.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Detective Comics #550

IT'S another tenuous link, but here we go. Detective Comics #549-550 (April-May 1985) features a two-parter - "Night Olympics" - starring Green Arrow and Black Canary, written by Alan Moore and drawn by Klaus Janson.

The above two panels appear in Detective #550. A crazed bowman has injured Black Canary and is being stalked by Green Arrow when he makes this odd little rant.

Naturally, Arrow later hands the psycho his arse.

The short yarn has been reprinted in the trade paperback DC Universe: The Stories Of Alan Moore.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Two new graphic novels to keep an eye on...

'Whoa Nellie!' by Jaime Hernandez

COURTESY of my newest best friend Bob (including his comments):
Love And Rockets Volume 16: Whoa Nellie!: "Again, I have the original issues, but in this case I might buy it anyway just to have probably the best wrestling comic ever produced in English on a prominent bookshelf. This story dates to the early to mid-90s, too, so if it isn't a reprint the collection is long overdue."

Holy Terror: "Trying to cash in on my desire to see a conclusion to this cancelled series, they tacked it onto a reprint of the two issues I've already bought. Damn. I want to support wrestling comics but I hate being forced to buy a trade just to see the last 16 to 20 pages of a fairly weak story. I'm undecided. Not a bad deal if I didn't have the first two already, though." https://www.mailordercomics.com/prodDetail.asp?PID=218330

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #7. My question: why?

THE Archie Adventure Series was one of the most pointless comic companies of all time. An offshoot of the eternal (and eternally boring) Archie Comics line, the imprint had been called Red Circle from the early 70s to mid-80s and used to publish non-humour titles, including some excruciatingly bad comics featuring old 1940s superheroes (who'd been briefly and ingloriously revived in the 60s) such as the Mighty Crusaders, The Fly, The Shield and The Jaguar. A few good artists (like Gray Morrow and Rudy Nebres) got on board, but most of these comics were shit, pure and simple. Red Circle was rebranded as Archie Adventure in 1984.

The superheroes were gone by 1989 but Archie Adventure still put out titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, a kid-friendly version of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's indy hit TMNT. It was designed to cash in on the animated TV series (and, later, the movies). Amazingly, TMNTA ran from August 1988 to October 1995.

I walked into Kings Comics in Sydney last Thursday evening and was immediately captivated by TMNTA #7 sitting on the front counter. The wrestling-themed cover (and the $2.95 cover price) grabbed my attention and I immediately bought it.

Now, I wish I hadn't. This is beyond awful. Despite the surreal subject matter, Dean Clarrain and Ryan Brown's script is so threadbare and sketchy it feels like there's no script at all. There's certainly no suspense or entertainment value. Jim Lawson and Gary Fields' "art" is perfunctory at best.

The plot sounds promising: the turtles are transported to another galaxy (by a disembodied giant cow's head) and forced to wrestle for Intergalactic Wrestling. They must wrestle Cryin' Hound while, in another ring, Ace Duck faces an old Turtles nemesis called Leatherhead.

The two matches are shown simultaneously, split over several pages, in what should be an innovative artistic concept. Pity the "artists" are so crap as it just looks confusing.

The wrestlers are given no personality - they're not even parodies of recognisable real grapplers, which I would've thought might be the obvious joke to do.

Instead, we get several filler pages that seem designed to purely get us to the end of the issue. There's no action and certainly no humour.

Anyway, the Turtles win and get returned to earth. The end.

Why was this comic even produced? What was the point?

Horrible. Simply horrible.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Fuck me! It's the Holy fuckin' Grail!!!

COURTESY of top bloke - and loyal blog reader - Bob, comes this very exciting entry. As Bob himself wrote a week or so back:
"Here are some small scans of the first few pages of The Saga Of The Von Erich Warriors.
It's pretty far out, but wrestling IS involved. Kevin, Kerry and Fritz kick some outer-space alien butt. If you have the space and bandwidth I can scan the whole book to post on your blog."

And he bloody well did. Below is the whole damn comic. Enjoy!

But before you do, here's another update from Bob: "This book popped up at a large comic shop in Arlington, Texas recently. Probably very few copies ever left the state, and this one is only just next door now in Oklahoma. It looks to be the product of a gang of industrious teenagers, and as such it's not too bad. All the portraits are photo referenced, so you can tell who's who, and it's got that cheesy sci-fi serial vibe going."

All I can say is, THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU, Bob!









More from Bob...

"IF YOU'RE watching for rarities, there are some others I know of that probably never made it far outside my geographic area.
Back in 1991 or so there was a short-live confederation of friends in Oklahoma City who got together and published a bunch of comics under the name Rough Cut Press (might've been spelt with a K).
Wrestling was a theme of several of their anthology entries - I particularly remember a noir detective/masked wrestler series, similar to the back-up story in Steel Pulse.
I met those guys at a comic-convention back then and bought just about every copy of everything they had, but my collection (and I) saw hard times in the following years and I lost all but one unrelated pin-up issue.
I've been watching auctions and online shops in recent years, but they haven't popped up.

I'll send you scans if I do come upon any of those. But knowing they're out there, you might find it first."

Or maybe one of my readers can help me out here........?

Mistico hits 50 (issues, not years)


COURTESY of top bloke Bob comes these scans of talented luchador Mistico's CMLL-licensed comic. It's about to hit issue #50. I assume it must be a weekly or fortnightly comic as Mistico hasn't been around that long. I'd love to see an ish if someone wants to send me a copy (hint, hint).

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Weekend wrap-up

IMPERCEPTILY, without even realising it, I’ve collected stacks of wrestling-related comix over the past few weeks. Let’s quickly cover what’s new in my ever-expanding collection:

Big Daddy Annual 1984: I had no idea bloated UK TV wrestler Big Daddy had more than one annual, but I was wrong. After 1983’s book, Fleetway decided to strike while the iron was hot and put out this collection filled with “photo features” and reprints of Big Daddy’s rather dull adventures in Buster and Tiger comics (although at least here he teams with longtime Tiger regular Johnny Cougar, above). Big Daddy may have been a household name, but the fat cunt helped kill the British wrestling scene so I don’t have much respect for him. This annual’s as lumbering and stupid as the man himself.

Lucha Libre (Image): As I talked about several months ago, Image has launched a new series featuring strips based on the wonderful wacky world of Mexican wrestling including Bill & Jerry Frissen’s The Luchadores 5 (who were first seen in Metal Hurlant), Tequila (Gobi & Jerry Frissen), Profesor Furia (Witko & Inès Vargas), The Tikitis (Fabien M.) and Los Luchadoritos (Tanquerelle & Jerry Frissen). The comic’s oversized and overpriced but I kinda like it, so take Doc Riot’s professional advice and check it out now.

The Umbrella Academy #1 (Dark Horse): I can’t believe I bought this mag. Gerard Way is the namby-pamby lead singer of emo band My Chemical Romance – personally, I’d rather listen to wrestling rockers Beauregarde, Michael Hayes and Jimmy Valiant. Hell, even Freddie Blassie had more singing balls than Gerard. Now, the fella’s turned his hand to comics writing and teamed up with artist Gabriel Bá to do this superhero nonsense. But I picked up the first ish anyway – why? ’Cos the first two pages features pro-wrestling. “Tusslin’ Tom” Gurney hits a space squid with a flying elbow and bizarre, angsty stuff then happens. Sigh. The things I do for this blog…
Rabid #1: I spoke about this 1998 British comic zine some months ago, but it’s taken till now to finally get my hands on it (thanks, Mr Postman). Passable (occasionally confusing) superhero art in a style reminiscent of The Tick and a perfunctory plot, but at least it features some rasslin’ in it, so yay for writer Scott Claringbold and artist Marc Olivent. I don’t think there was a second ish.

Better Dredd than well-read

TWO momentous things can be found in the anthology series Judge Dredd Megazine #52 (April 29, 1994). 1. In Judge Dredd, the title character’s robot servant Walter The Wobot is revealed to be a robot revolutionary, AND 2. The Anderson, PSI strip features a wrestling yarn.

In “Postcards From The Edge”, ex-psi judge Cassandra Anderson finds herself on Blassey’s Planet (a nice touch) where she watches the Superstars Of Galactic Wrestling in action, putting her last creds on Zygy The Force to win in his match with Warrior Of The Black Sun.

The Warrior cheats by using a psychic in the crowd to put “the whammy on Zygy”, so Anderson helps even the odds.

It’s a cute little tale written by Alan Grant and drawn by Charles Gillespie – pure fluff but fun all the same.

As for Walter The Wobot, he got 30 years’ jail…creep.

What else I’ve seen on eBay lately

LOTSA comics with wrestling storylines or covers have been sold on eBay in recent months. Here are just a few covers I downloaded:

Action Comics #372 (c.1969): Superman gets amnesia and becomes The Masked Superman, a psychotic masked wrestler if this cover’s anything to go by. Of course, what’s the point of wearing a mask to protect your identity when you’re still wearing your freakin’ Superman costume?!! Ah, the illogical joy of 60s DC comics…
Giggle Comics #68 (c.1949): I betcha there isn’t a genuine giggle to be found in this “funny” book.

MAD #49 (July 2007): This appears to be the Mexican version of MAD and features a cool lucha libre cover (Alfred E. Neuman holding Mistico’s mask is brilliance). I’d love to get my hands on this issue as I assume there’s a lucha libre article in the mag as well.
Patsy And Hedy #11 (c.1953): This Atlas romance comic has a nice wrestling-themed cover. Not sure if there was a linked story inside, but I assume there was. Comic buffs will know that in the mid-70s Patsy Walker was revived by Atlas’s successor Marvel and became Hellcat, one of my favourite superheroes.
Peter Porkchops #14 (c.1952): This Porky Pig rip-off at least had this one ultra-nice cover in its favour.

More Japanese wrestling manga

A NICE fella in Japan recently sent me some wrestling manga, which appears to be a reprint of some old manga from the early 80s. There’s a bunch of articles on Antonio Inoki and Riki Choshu, plus two B&W comics.

The first story details an epic encounter between Andre The Giant and Stan “The Lariat Hansen.

The second tale’s about Inoki himself.

I don’t understand a word of it, but the artwork’s pretty nifty.

Not that there's anything wrong with that

CONFIRMING the connection between rasslin’ and homo-eroticism comes Pinned Vol. 1, which I discovered on eBay.

The graphic novel, published by Yaoi Press LLC, is Japanese manga, which is pretty gay at the best of times, I reckon.

Here’s the storyline according to the eBay auction: “Cruiserweight wrestler Synn learns he was only recruited by a top wrestling promotion because the reigning champion Renegade desires him. If the ambitious Synn wants his career to be successful he has to submit to Renegade. Will he give in? Or will he be blacklisted with every wrestling promotion stateside?”

Okaaaaaaay…don’t think I’ll bid for that one, somehow.

FURTHERING the link between sweaty man-on-man action and homosexuality comes Pro Wrestling Is Not Gay. Steev Gillies’ A5 comic zine uses clip art from a lucha libre instruction booklet to explain, definitively, why pro wrestling ISN’T gay. Yeah, right.

He follows that up with Pro Wrestling Was Never Gay, using more clip art (some historical) to show why the grap game has always been a manly, heterosexual pastime and never, ever gay.

It’s funny stuff, so if you wanna check it out, e-mail Steev at steev.gillies@gmail.com or steev@fakecomics.com.