ComicsAlliance: Titan’s WWE Comics Will Most Likely Be Terrible

 

 

Most long-time ISB readers–say, anyone who reads the site on Fridays or those unfortunate enough to follow my twitter feed on Monday nights–know that along with comics and video games, pro wrestling has been one of the key interests of my increasingly misspent life, so when Titan Publishing announced they were putting out comics based on the WWE, I started getting emails wondering if I’d heard the news. I had, and today at ComicsAlliance, you can read my reaction to the news, though to be honest, you can probably get the gist of it from the title of this post.

Admittedly, this is a pretty strong example of judging a book by its cover–well, its cover and four interior pages that were provided specifically for the purposes of judging–and while it’s true that that cover does in fact feature the Undertaker fighting zombies, knights and leopardmen, there’s a good reason why I think this is going to be terrible:

Because with exactly one exception, every comic about professional wrestling is terrible.

For the sticklers among you, I’m referring specifically to American pro wrestling, as opposed to luchadores, which generally make comics way more awesome, and the Thing’s tenure in the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation doesn’t really count either.

Generally, as I say in the article, the problem is that stories of pro wrestling tend to be saddled with other things–eternal battles between Heaven and Hell that must, for some reason, be settled at the Royal Rumble or Kevin Nash’s post-apocalyptic sex face–that detract from the existing over-the-top characters that make pro wrestling fun. It’s clearly an attempt at making up for the difficulty in translating the entertaining physicality of pro wrestling to the comics page by substituting something that’s equally exaggerated. But while it’s easy to say that pro wrestling already has its own characters and bizarre mythology, it’s important to note that a comic came out based strictly on those, and that was terrible, too.

Of course, Marvel’s short-lived World Championship Wrestling was less terrible for its premise than for the fact that it was a bad comic, as evidenced by the fact that it was a comic where a man looked in a mirror…

 

 

…and saw a reflection that was wearing a completely different expression.

Admittedly, there was a strip slated for WWE Kids magazine by John Byrne about the Hardy Boyz going to space and fighting aliens on a starship called The Hammerlock that is ridiculously awesome

 

 

…but as it never actually ran (WWE Kids dropped their comics section and fired editor Paul Kupperberg after Byrne had completed two strips because “kids don’t read comics,” a position they seem to have flipped on in the meantime), I’m sticking with my statement that there is only one exception to the rule.

And that is this:

 

 

There are a few things that set this one apart from the other wrestling comics. For one, instead of focusing on the characters, this one takes a look at the business side of things, which–with its carnival roots, ingrained violence and a tradition of outright lying to the audience–is frequently seedy and often fascinating. And for another, it’s actually written by someone with an intimate knowledge of the subject: Brian Azzarello cowrote the story with Scott Levy, better known to wrestling fans as Raven, who no doubt drew on his own experiences in ECW to tell the story of a fledgling independent promotion that was slowly being strangled out of existence by a hated, but far more successful company.

It’s the diametric opposite of something like Hardys in Space or Big Apple Takedown–the hilarious novel about Triple-H, Chavo Guererro and John Cena being undercover NSA operatives that might as well have been called Vince’s Angels–but it’s also an amazingly solid comic that ranks as the best issue of Tangled Web not done by Darwyn Cooke.

WWE Heroes, however, doesn’t seem quite as promising, as a look through the article on ComicsAlliance ought to tell you. But hey, there’s an outside chance that I could be wrong–and I’ll admit I’m curious to see if leopardmen can, in fact, see John Cena–and if nothing else, we know one thing:

It’ll be nowhere near as bad as Warrior.

34 thoughts on “ComicsAlliance: Titan’s WWE Comics Will Most Likely Be Terrible

  1. My only question for this comic is, if Triple H take a boot to the head, will we get a panel of him frantically taking out a straight razor from his bracer to cut his forehead while no one is looking?

  2. Wondering if you’ve ever read the comic Holy Terror. Came out several years ago from…Image, I think. Wasn’t bad.

  3. I don’t use the word “destiny” often, but I think it might be your destiny, Chris Sims, to write the world’s second good comic book about pro wrestling. There may be one or two other people with the “smark” qualifications (is “smark” the right word? For a fan who follows the behind-the-scenes parts of wrestling?), but I doubt there’s anyone with the passion, as evidenced by the fact that a lot of these titles are pretty obviously just paychecks to people, whereas you seriously talk about wrestling ALL THE TIME (which is awesome)!

    I agree 10,000% about that Tangled Web issue. When they got to the last panel that paid off the whole story, I literally squealed with joy.

  4. A friend gave me all 4 issues of Warrior for my birthday last year. It’s by far one of the most amazingly terrible things I’ve ever read, but due to that is actually pretty funny until you try to really dig in and actually read it.

  5. Not only is the expression in the mirror different but shouldn’t the “C” (or whatever it is) on his forehead be reversed? Since y’know, it’s a mirror and all.

  6. I always sort of liked the issues of Love & Rockets that dealt with Rena and the other lady wrestlers.

  7. Am I the only one who’d be disappointed if this comic WASN’T terrible? I saw the leopard men, zombies, and the Monty Python knights and I pretty much decided there and then I was buying this motherfucker, disappearing tattoos or not.

  8. Mexican Chris Sims from Planet X, in all the times American Chris Sims from The ISB has posted that panel (which, if I remember correctly, has been a lot of times), this is the first time I noticed exactly that.

    But since it’s clearly an Alternate Universe Sting being stunned that he found a portal through which he can view the real Sting (I can’t explain the changed expression any other way), I think the C makes more sense.

  9. they are really struggling to get a demographic that they easily owned in the 80′s (children), with no major characters like Hogan to really bridge the gap, they think this will work…little do they know that the same idiots (me included) that were 80′s wrestling fans are the ones reading and writing about comics now, therefore no kid will like this…kids don’t read comics, they play pokemon

  10. that one image I’m taking it to mean

    An Asian clone gave the guy a haircut to match his, and he’s yelling at him through a window.

  11. Sir Jorge: that no-one reads comics because they’re too busy with Pokemon/Xbox/mobile phones is an anecdotal view at best given comics’ niche distribution network of an ever-shrinking number of comic book stores. We shouldn’t confuse lack of availability with a lack of interest.

  12. I am surprised to see you didn’t reference ‘The Wrestler’ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1125849/ in this post. I am curious as to whether you’ve seen it or not, and if so, what you thought of it? I for one loved every bit of it and even though I knew a lot of what it was saying, it still made me respect and feel sympathetic towards wrestlers even more. I was a big wrestling fan back in school, now not so much.

  13. Dude, the WCW eventually used the mismatched reflections ON THE SHOW. During the whole NWO/OWN debacle, Hollywood Hogan went backstage and looked in the mirror. . . ONLY TO SEE WARRIOR STARING BACK. This was, to my knowledge, the only time “Hogan’sdeepestinnerfears-cam” was used.

    Also, I liked the Queen Rena/Vicki Glori stories in Love and Rockets but “Whoa, Nellie!” was probably Jaime Hernandez’s best work on the subject. Oh, and that bit from way earlier in the series where Beto talked about Adrian Adonis.

  14. This was, to my knowledge, the only time “Hogan’sdeepestinnerfears-cam” was used.

    I would actually pay the WWE to let me write a comic about the YAPAPAI INDIAN STRAP MATCH JACK MATCH.

  15. I actually would like to see a comic or cartoon that fits the NASCAR Heroes mold you described for WWE wrestling.

    I mean, the only way to make wrestling fiction work is to take the characters to extreme over the top places, where what they do in the ring is just something they do on the side, but otherwise they’re ridiculous cheesy super powered demon hunters.

    I always think this when I see Undertaker’s ring entrance. It’s just such an ominous well-done thing that, were it detached from pro-wrestling, could have a lot of story around it.

    Comic looks like poop.

  16. [QUOTE/]and I’ll admit I’m curious to see if leopardmen can, in fact, see John Cena [/UNQUOTE]

    Well they say a cat may look at a queen…

  17. Speaking as someone who has every comic you mentioned today, spends his time writing about comics and wrestling in about equal measures, and loves truly awful comic books- I think I just had a nerdgasm.

  18. Shoot! Why did I never notice Scotty the Body’s name on that cover? Now I have to check to see if it’s still in the dollar bin.

    Speaking of dollar bins, I had the chance to pick up the Undertaker Hallowe’en special for fifty cents this weekend, and still passed it up. Although it would’ve made a great Christmas gift for my girlfriend… (Hi sweetie!)

  19. hey just passed by consedince while for some articles :) anyway nice blog Will check it out Later on ,hope you accept me as a friend blogger. thanks ^^

  20. I’m sort of stalking this story across the interwebs, but am I the only one who thinks that a sport manga style book that shows in-ring and backstage “action” could be awesome? I’m thinking of a “Slam Dunk”/”Iron Wok Jan” kind of vibe. Dunno, I’d read it. Or write it.

  21. From the article over at Comics Alliance:

    “We’re awfully fond of the 2006 adventure novel ‘Big Apple Takedown,’ which operated on the premise that Vince McMahon had teamed with the CIA to create ‘a new covert black-ops group using the Superstars of World Wrestling Entertainment.’”

    I’m not sure about the novel, but I’m kind of fond of the cover.

    And quite the coincidence, this topic, as I just got through reading a story with Deadpool teaming up with a couple of guys who look like luchadores.

  22. The Raven-penned Spidey issue is quite literally my favourite Spider-Man issue of the last decade.

    As I’ve said millions of times, if you want to understand how to develop characters and storylines in comics, you need to develop an intimate understanding of what works in the world of wrestling, since it’s essentially a petri dish experiment in audience reactions and character development every week.

    Raven, as one of the smartest guys in the business, as well as a certified comic geek, understood that, which is why the issue was so good.

  23. Mexican Chris Sims from Planet X…

    I like that guy much better than Bizarro Chris Sims. (“Me am Anita Blake’s best friend.”)