Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Rasslin' with Comics: Tinieblas Jr. #1

Giant tongued monster babies, lion headed gatekeepers, and martial arts practicing Yeti's?  Yep, you guessed it, we are headed back to the Masked Republic Luchaverse this week with Tinieblas Jr. #1!

Masked Republic's Luchaverse from Chido Comics is a series of one shots featuring some of the biggest stars in Lucha Libre.  Tinieblas Jr. is the second of the Luchaverse one shots I've covered and both have been an absolute blast to read.  Check out my previous review of Rey Mysterio number one here.

Tinieblas Jr. is the son of legendary Luchadore Tinieblas (obviously).  Tinieblas Sr. was a huge star in the 70's who was featured in his own comic book series and films like the lucha star studded '"Los Campeones Justicieros"' so it's very fitting that Junior receive his own comic book.  

Tinieblas Jr., in the comic, not only inherited the mask, but the position of Monster Hunter.   The tale sees him on a quest to discover a map that will aid Rey Mysterio in his quest for the mask of the first Mysterio.  So, technically I read these out of order, but it didn't take away from the story at all.  Another legend, Konnan has a brief cameo and it seems like he and his group "The Ambassadors will play a big role in the Luchaverse.

During the quest, which starts in Las Vegas and takes him from ancient  to Nepal  Tinieblas Jr. have confrontations with giant tongued demon babies, and run ins with both a lion headed gatekeeper with ties to Tinieblas Sr., and a horned man trained in Lucha Libre. The last panel sets up some craziness with martial arts trained Yeti.  I will forever love this series because it lets me type the words "martial arts trained Yeti"

He's swinging the monster by it's tongue!!!

The art and pace are great in this series, the scenes drawn by artist Diego Simone are too much fun, and the monster designs are very cool.  I personally want a print of Tinieblas Jr. swinging the baby monster by it's tongue.

I cannot recommend this series enough, especially if you like Lucha Libre, monster comics, or are a fun of fun old sci-fi movie craziness.

You can purchase the comics at the  Masked Republic Luchaverse  website.  

Tinieblas Jr. #1 $3.99
Chido Comics/Masked Republic
Story and Script: Mario Lopez & Ivan Plaza
Art and cover: Diego Simone

Monday, May 18, 2020

Rasslin' with Comics: The Comic Book Encyclopedia of Pro Wrestling

Howdy friends, A brand new Kickstarter campaign is underway for a comic book that I'm very anxious to get a hold of, The Comic Book Encyclopedia of Pro Wrestling! I'm pretty excited about this book, so I've decided to do a series of posts, following the path of the Kickstarter and ending with an extensive review of the book, once it's fully funded and delivered into my hot little hands.

The book, from the Squared Circle Comics imprint of Inverse Press is a collection of entries using information they gathered from interviews that writer and pro wrestling historian John Crowther did with the actual wrestlers, all of whom were featured in different comics from Squared Circle.  So far the information they've released as a part of the campaign looks great and I love what I see.  This should be a fun book for fans, especially fans of old school pro wrestling.

I first discovered Squared Circle when I came across their Nikolai Volkoff issues one and two, those comics inspired the idea for the "Rasslin' with Comics" reviews. You can check those out here

Stretch goals for the book include up to 20 more pages of entries, with the possibility of entries on Hulk Hogan, Miss Elizabeth and more.  If you're unfamiliar, Stretch goals are incentives and additions to the book for going above and beyond the needed funds for publishing a book. 
Here is some official text from the Kickstarter page.  You should definitely head there to see sample pages, art work and incentives for the project.  Click the link to see the page.

Pro Wrestling Encyclopedia on Kickstarter

The Comic Book Encyclopedia of Pro Wrestling is a soft-cover, perfect-bound, full-color book in standard comic book dimensions (6.625" x 10.25"). While the base version is 280 pages, there are opportunities to expand the page count up to 300 with Stretch Goals and certain rewards.

 Volume 1 of The Comic Book Encyclopedia of Pro Wrestling includes full-length comic stories (20-32 pages each) from:
Bruno Sammartino
Nikolai Volkoff
The Genius Lanny Poffo
Hacksaw Jim Duggan
B. Brian Blair of The Killer Bees
Jumpin' Jim Brunzell of The Killer Bees
Ricky Morton of The Rock 'n' Roll Express
Bobby Fulton of The Fantastics
Sunny the California Girl from G.L.O.W.
Jake Hager (a.k.a. Jack Swagger)

Monday, May 11, 2020

Rasslin' with Comics: Rey Mysterio!

He's the most famous masked wrestler of the modern era, and one of the most famous Luchadores of all time, he's Rey Mysterio and it's very appropriate that he now has his own comic book!

Rey Mysterio #1 is a part of Masked Republic's series of "Luchaverse" comics.  The line is a shared universe featuring many legendary Luchadores including Konnan, the Lucha Brothers and of course Rey.  I picked up the first four comics in the series, at the time of purchase the Konan comic hadn't released yet.  I will be picking that book up soon so I can review the whole series. Currently you can purchase all five titles as well as very cool collected issues of the original one shots.  As a much appreciated bonus, Masked Republic upgraded my Lucha Bros. comic to the variant addition as a thank you for purchasing all four.

The comic establishes Rey as the current in a long line of legendary Mysterios who are champions of the people, trained to battle a great evil that is set to return.  To prepare for this, Rey and a group known as "The Ambassadors are on a quest to find the mask of the first Mysterio, a mythical object that is needed to battle the returning evil.  Along the way we get a glimpse at Mysterio's training, battles with undead killer cat people, and quite possibly the coolest priest of all time, a priest who happens to be  well versed in submission wrestling. 

I loved the world set up in this book, there is a craziness that hearkens back to the classic Lucha movies featuring the likes of Santo and Blue Demon.  I'd LOVE to see the Luchaverse turned into a movie.  And let's face it, Rey Mysterio should've already had a series of Lucha movies. I can't be the only one who wants to see Rey give a 619 to some Alien Vampires.

This comic book came out before Rey returned to the WWE in 2018, so I hope that doesn't ruin plans for future stories.  That would be a shame, because there is a fun world set up here and I'd love to see Rey play a big part in it.

Being part of a shared universe, there are references to the other heroes in the line, as well as the undertones of a bigger story we have yet to uncover.  All of this adds to the fun of the book.  I'm looking forward to the others in the series.

If you like Rey Mysterio, Lucha Libre or Lucha movies, pick up this book, it's worth the read for sure.

You can purchase the comics at the Masked Republic Luchaverse  website.  

Rey Mysterio #1 $3.99
Chido Comics/Masked Republic
Story and Script: Mario Lopez & Ivan Plaza
Art: Ben Harvey

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Rasslin' With Comics: Jim Cornette's Behind The Curtain

Howdy friends,
I'll admit, I could listen to Jim Cornette tell old wrestling stories all day, and sometimes lately I do just that, but they say reading is fundamental so having a chance to have Cornette tell these stories in another medium is a fun change of pace.  And love him or hate him, you have to admit, no one probably knows more about the history of the wrestling business than James E.  

Behind the Curtain is a fascinating graphic novel that well, peels back the curtain on several of pro wrestling's most legendary stories. Some you've probably heard of, like the Montreal Screwjob and the Andy Kaufman/Jerry Lawler feud.  In some cases, like the story of the plane crash that broke Ric Flair's back, Corney includes details you've probably never heard and make the stories so much more interesting than you ever dreamed. 

This graphic novel started as a Kickstarter campaign, and it was funded in 24 hours, and has since sold out of it's hardcover and first prints! Hopefully that means there is consideration for a second book.

Brandon Easton wrote the comic based on Cornette's stories, and I bet Brandon probably could write a comic about the Cornette telling him the stories.  The art is by Denis Medri who also did the art on another book I will be reviewing down the road.   

Seasoned throughout the book are newspaper clippings, no doubt from Cornette's unbelievable personal collection, adding validity to each story. Also included are some fun touches like "Dream  Supercards", illustrated pinups and a glossary of pro wrestling terms that make this a fun treat for any fan of the history of pro wrestling.

I'd love to go into details on many of the stories in this book, however I feel that would rob you of the "experience" (pun intended).  My only disappointment is that I ordered this off of Amazon when it popped up in my suggestions, and didn't know you could get an autographed copy from Cornette himself off of his website.  Truth is, I may order another copy anyway.

Jim Cornette Presents: Behind The Curtain
IDW Publishing
Stories by Jim Cornette
Written by Brandon Easton
Illustrated by Denis Medri
80 pages $14.99 cover price
(note: Autographed copy may have a different price)

Comic is available on Amazon, Jim Cornette's website (link is above) and possibly still orderable at your local comic shop... You'll have to check on that.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Rasslin' with Comics: Nikolai Volkoff!

Nikolai Volkoff (Turnbuckle Titans)
I recently came across issues 1 and 2 of the Nikolai Volkoff authorized biography from Antarctic Presses new Turnbuckle Titans imprint.  I assume it's new because I haven't seen any other books.  Since Nikolai is one of my favorite villains from the "Rock and Wrestling" era, I had to pick them up.

Issue one covers Nikolai's early life, focusing on his time as a three time Yugoslavian Jr. National champion weightlifter and his plan to defect from Yugoslavia to Canada.  Much of which I hadn't heard before so I found it fascinating.

Issue two recaps his early wrestling career, training at the dungeon with Stu Hart, his time as a part of the tag team the Mongols and the creation of his Nikolai Volkoff persona.

The art and story are good, you can tell who pretty much everyone is supposed to be, which is tricky in books about real life people.    Nikolai Volkoff has had an amazing life, and Antarctic Press choosing him for this biography is pretty brilliant, I learned a lot and gained a new respect for a champion I already admired. 

I'm anxious to see if I can find issue three, which will obviously cover Volkoff in the 80's, when I first came to know him.  I imagine there will be a lot of fun appearances of 80's wrestling icons in that comic for sure.

I love the idea of this Turnbuckle Titan series, and hope it continues. There is endless potential for stories here, and I can't wait for more. Both issues are out now, and I believe three was released as well.

Nikolai Volkoff Issues 1 & 2
$3.99 Antarctic Press
Story: John Crowther  Art: Dell Barras