Spooktoberfest Special: Halloween Havoc!

There’s no denying that some things just go great together. Chocolate and peanut butter, Lennon and McCartney, Power Man and Iron Fist; these are all things that came together to form something way more awesome than they were separately, and when I was a kid, I figured that the two great passions of my misspent youth–comic books and pro wrestling–would be a similar pairing.

Needless to say, I was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong.

And it didn’t take the late-90s movement that brought us Nash and Chaos Comics Presents the Undertaker to show me the error of my ways either, because it’s a lesson I learned back in 1993 thanks to Marvel Comics and World Championship Wrestling:

 

 

And in a bit of personal history that just goes to prove that I grew up a wrestling fan in South Carolina, I actually picked my few issues of this thing up off the magazine rack of an honest-to-God bait shop on a family fishing trip to Lake Marion.

Anyway, if there was one thing you’d think comics could get right, it’s be dudes in spandex punching each other, but I’ll be honest: this thing sucks hard. Then again, that’s oddly appropriate, considering that it’s a tie-in to WCW’s Halloween Havoc, which was generally considered around my house to be the worst Pay-Per-View event of the year, every year.

This was, after all, the showcase of the awesomely terrible Chamber of Horrors match from 1991, wherein poor Mick Foley had to stand around the switch for an ersatz “electric chair” for like five minutes until Abdullah the Butcher finally got in the chair and did the best pretend-electrocution ever captured on Sports-Entertainment Television.

Oh well, coulda been worse, I guess. At least RoboCop didn’t show up for that one.

But like I was saying: Despite the fact that it was released in December (complete with a February cover date and a Yuletide greeting from then-EIC Tom DeFalco on the Bullpen page), it’s actually a Halloween tie-in, but even with the promise of Sting finally throwing down with his comic book nemesis, The Ghoul, the only thing even remotely spooky about this thing is how horrifyingly awful it is.

There is, however, one redeeming quality:

 

 

Yep: It opens with a double-page kick to the face. Admittedly, it’s a horribly drawn kick to the face on the late “Flyin’” Brian Pillman courtesy of artists Ron Wilson and Steve Montano, but at least Ron Simmons was involved. So you take what you can get, I guess.

But seriously: The art in this thing is awful, and considering that Wilson was the penciller on John Byrne’s The Thing not ten years before, it’s pretty shocking that it’s this bad. How bad, you ask?

 

 

So bad that the expression on his face doesn’t match up with the mirror.

 

Look, I’m not saying WCW #11 should stand out as the highlight of anyone’s artistic career or anything, but man.

Probably best to move on. After all, it’s not all about the horrible art! There’s also the horrible story to consider, a gripping tale of horror and intrigue by Mike Lackey that is undeniably terrible, but still better than at least half of Vince Russo’s work in the ’90s.

See, at this point in the comics, perennial good guy (and de facto star) Sting had been stricken with amnesia and brainwashed into becoming an evil version of himself (“The Black Stinger”) by none other than Terror, Inc.!

 

 

Whoops, sorry. Got my notes mixed up.

That’s actually The Ghoul, who claimed to be Sting’s trainer, who–after being cast to the wayside when his student rose to fame–exacted his amazingly complicated revenge scheme to turn everyone against Sting with the help of a flunky who looked suspiciously like Vince McMahon:

 

 

You know, I hate it when I miss the money shot.

Still, no man is an island, but with the entirety of the WCW locker room–here represented by luminaries like Van Hammer and Johnny B. Badd–turned against him, who could possibly show up to help Our (alleged) Hero?

For the answer, what I want right now is for all you fat, outta shape comics blog reading wannabes to sit down and shut up while I show you what a terrible drawing of a real man looks like!

 

 

Yes, the only man to ever appear on Nitro and Raw on the same night during the height of the Monday Night Wars, seen here making his comic book appearance as a deus ex machina in pink spandex. God bless you, Rick Rude.

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late!), Rude and Sting eventually punch the Ghoul hard enough that Sting gets his title back and everything works out okay…

 

 

…and then they promptly move on to worrying about their next big threat: A man so tough that he doesn’t shy away from wearing targets on his knees. It would’ve been an immensely satisfying ending to the whole shebang, if only I hadn’t realized even at eleven years old that it was without a doubt one of the worst comics I have ever read.

And yet, I still have a lot of nostalgic affection for it, for reasons that can probably be best be summed up by Sting himself:

 

 

Icing on the cake indeed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bash myself in the head with a steel chair until this thing starts to make sense.

21 thoughts on “Spooktoberfest Special: Halloween Havoc!

  1. Yeah, I don’t know what was up with that. But now that it’s back up, here’s parts one, two and three of the look at this monstrosity. As a bonus, click the “Wrestlecomics” tag for the Steve Ditko WWF series from the same time.

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to catch the fact that Sting and his mirror don’t match up. Notice that his face paint doesn’t match up either. And that same issue has a couple panels where Rick Rude has white hair and no mustache.

    I love the WCW comic. It’s awful on so many levels. Where else can you see humanitarian Mick Foley threatening cancer patients?

  2. (Holds up left hand) Comics = mostly good.
    (Holds up right hand) Pro wrestling = mostly good

    (Smacks hands together) Comics + Pro wrestling = godawful unholy union that should never see light of day again.

    Cheers,
    Mal

  3. If everybody has their shirts off, why doesn’t anyone have nipples? Does the WCW cut them off in some kind of hazing ritual?

  4. You know, I could almost forgive the fact that the expression of his face in the mirror doesn’t match his actual expression — as if, you know, it was some kind of externalization of his inner turmoil or something.

    But then I noticed that the angular C-shape on his forehead isn’t reversed in the mirror at all. And now I think we’re dealing with two guys here, and the yellow-and-brown one is yelling silently on the other side of security glass, like a teller at a check-cashing place.

    That’s totally two different guys.

  5. Perhaps that’s the mirror that the Ultimate Warrior would use many years later to freak the hell out of the NWO-era Hulk Hogan.

  6. Was there a sequence in the book where the Black Stinger went back in time and haunted himself in the past by turning people into wildcats and cutting promos with bad voice modulation?

  7. Sad thing is…Ron Wilson can actually… y’know… DRAW (usually).

    However, this was produced during the 90′s when EVERY artist, no matter HOW much of a veteran they were, was under guidelines to draw like Rob Leifeld.

    I STILL feel badly for HERB TRIMPE, who was forced to make craptastic Leifeld-like artwork for a paycheck.

    Oh. And the 2-expressions panel.
    THAT is GENIUS!
    Now you have the before and after reaction shots in ONE panel.
    On the left “before”…then as you pan over to the right in the mirror we see the IMMEDIATE “reaction shot”.

    In the comics of today, that change of expression ALONE would be about 2 pages of “decompressed” storytelling.

    ~P~
    P-TOR

  8. A random thought:

    This whole thing reminds me of “Barton Fink.”

    Recap: Prize-winning 1940s playwright Barton Fink is hired by a Hollywood studio to be a writer for the movin’ pitchers. He writes political kitchen-sink dramas. His first assignment from the studio head: a wrestling picture.

    (Other nonsense follows, involving a severed head and John Goodman running down a flaming hallway while brandishing a shotgun and yelling “I’ll show you the life of the mind!” Good movie.)

    Marvel should have done the “Barton Fink” thang: hire Alan Moore to write a pro wrestling comic.

    Succeed or fail (probably fail), it would have been a damned interesting comic.

  9. I agree with the Barton Fink theory, but I think we should all admit that had this could have a helluva lot better had it starred Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

  10. “Ravishing Rick Rude.”

    I’ve spent the last ten minutes trying to come up with a bon mot about this truly dazzling choice of monikor, but all I an come up with is: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHH.

    There. I feel better.

  11. And then they made up for it years later w/ the Chyna comic book. *sigh* Chyna . . .

  12. This is pretty much a throw back for me. But back in those days, wrestling seem so much more like fun and truly entertaining. Nowadays the stories are just nothing but recycle ideas of plots.

    As to the comic…well, I drop Marvel two years after that comic was publish. I remenber seeing the series but didn’t bother to pick it up.

    It’s been almost 8 years since I’ve watch any TV wrestling. Guess, that’s two things I left behind in the 90′s. Marvel and Wrestling.