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.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Wrestling with literature: "Black Dossier"

IT'S an obscure reference to be sure, but there's a wrestling scene near the end of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier - the intriguing but ultimately unsatisfying new graphic novel by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill.
Heroes Mina Murray and Allan Quatermain travel to the Blazing World, a strange fourth-dimensional place filled with famous literary characters.
In one two-page spread (sample panel above), the pair - accompanied by the immortal Orlando - see a small muscular man wrestling with a bizarre creature covered in writing.
Allan asks, "I-isn't that Engelbrecht? What's that he's wrestling with?"
Mina replies, "I-I think it's poetry."
Like I said, very literary.......very wanky.........very Alan Moore.
Still, I admire Moore for making James Bond a villainous cunt in Black Dossier.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Japanese wrestling manga

I'VE talked previously about a few of these Japanese wrestling comics from the early-to-mid-80s. However, recently, an eBay dealer has been auctioning off a shitload of 'em. And they look amazing!
They're the typical manga-style, thick B&W digests, between 180-300 pages long, and all about the rasslin'.

Famous stars featured in the comics include Ric Flair, The Road Warriors, Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen, Mil Mascaras, Andre The Giant, The Funks, Kamala, Abdullah The Butcher, Hulk Hogan, Giant Baba, Antonio Inoki and many more.
I love the art in these manga. I just wish I could justify the expense in buying all of them...but I can't.

However, if you're interested, the bloke's still selling many of these as I write this. Just head to eBay and check out seller Coloradorocket.