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