Last month we pieced together the news that Papercutz had signed a deal with wrestling company WWE to produce some comics, and today ROBOT 6 the exclusive scoop direct from the publisher: Papercutz will be publishing not one but two WWE-related comic series.
The first title is a ongoing monthly comic series starting in December simply titled WWE, which is essentially the wrestling world come to life. WWE Hall of Fame wrestler (and New York Times bestselling author) Mick Foley will write stories set in the actual continuity of WWE storylines, complete with matches, backstage segments and of course the company’s superstars — both past and present.
“WWE’s Superstars are truly larger-than-life, with the kind of personality and raw power that makes a comics page crackle with excitement,” said Papercutz Editor-In-Chief Jim Salicrup in a press release. “It’s the kind of action and drama that’s just perfect for comics, and Mick Foley is just the WWE Legend we need to make it happen.”
Foley is no stranger to comics: He’s written a miniseries for 12 Gauge Comics, partnered with Jill Thompson on several kids books, and was even a childhood friend of the son of comics legend John Buscema. This WWE comic series is described by the publisher as “Teen+”, and will be part of a full line of titles for that age group to be revealed later this year.
What a maneuver!
WWE, and the wrestling industry in general, has a long and complicated history in the comics medium, with WWE itself having a string of comic books produced over the years at Valiant, Chaos, Titan and even on its own. But this new partnership sees the publicly traded wrestling company go down a more all-ages route with fans.
Robot 6 has reached out to Papercutz for more on this story, but has not received comment.
WWE fans have been wondering all week who CM Punk would choose to fight at the WWE’s next pay-per-view event — his old nemesis John Cena or the as-yet-undefeated (at least under his current gimmick) Ryback. But here’s something else to wonder about: Was he Team Cyclops or Team Captain America?
No doubt we’ll find out in a few short weeks, as Punk drops one of his vintage “pipe bombs” on comics fans. The WWE Champion has been tapped to write the introduction to the Avengers vs. X-Men hardcover, due in stores Nov. 7.
“I worked really hard to get to where I’m at and it’s cool to be afforded opportunities like this. To me, it’s hard work paying off and I’m having a lot of fun right now,” Punk told USA Today’s Brian Truitt.
Proving once again that he’s the biggest comic fan in the WWE, Rey Mysterio appeared at tonight’s SummerSlan pay-per-view event dressed all in black, sporting a cape and bat ears. Wrestling’s equivalent of Batman wasn’t able to fully “rise” in his match against The Miz, but at least he looked good while doing it.
At past events, the high-flying Mysterio has worn outfits inspired by the Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Joker, Flash, Iron Man, Captain America and the movie Avatar.
Publishing | Four months in, the DC Comics relaunch seems to be a success. The most recent sales figures show Justice League #1 selling more than 360,000 copies since August, and Batman #1 and Action Comics #1 selling more than 250,000. By contrast, Marvel’s strongest seller was Ultimate Spider-Man #160, which was in the 160,000-copy neighborhood. These figures seem to reflect sales in the direct market only; it would be interesting to see how many digital copies have been sold. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Awards | Nominations are open for this year’s Eagle Awards. [Eagle Awards]
Retailing | San Francisco retailer Brian Hibbs shares the top-selling graphic novels in his store for 2011, by units and by dollars. [Savage Critics]
Retailing | Christopher Butcher looks back on the events of the past year in the comics store he manages, Toronto’s The Beguiling. [The Beguiling blog]
CM Punk is currently on top of the wrestling world; he’s not only the current WWE champion, but he’s also one of the WWE’s most popular and most talented performers, both on the microphone and in the ring. So where do you go when you’ve conquered the squared circle? Movies? TV? Disneyland? In Punk’s case, it might be comics.
Punk is no stranger to comics, as he talks about them on Twitter and was the subject of one of Marvel’s Fightin’ Fanboys segments. He also sometimes quotes the Thing’s “It’s clobberin’ time!” on his way to the ring. Earlier today a series of tweets took the idea of Punk actually writing comics right to the top of Marvel Comics, ending with Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso saying, “…let’s make it happen.”
Creators | Writer Peter David shares a “Fan/Pro Bill of Rights” related to proper behavior at conventions, starting with a “Prime Directive”: “Fans and Pros have the right to be treated by each other with the same courtesy that they themselves would expect to be treated. Fans and Pros who act like jerks abrogate the right to complain when they themselves are treated like jerks.” [Peter David]
Crime | A Denver judge sentenced Aaron Castro to 45 years in prison after Castro pleaded guilty to drug and extortion charges. Prosecutors say he ran a major methamphetamine distribution ring and laundered the profits by buying and selling valuable comics in the collector’s market. [KMGH Denver]
Digital | Robot 6 contributor Graeme McMillan catches an error in Marvel’s press release from last week: Marvel was not the first comics publisher to release an entire line of comics simultaneously in print and digital—Archie Comics was. [Blog@Newsarama]
Comics and wrestling are no stranger to one another, but a recent promotion by WWE shows just how deep comics run inside America’s premiere wrestling company. Today on WWE.com, the company posted a feature called “WWE Lanterns: Superstar Spectrum”. This unprecedented cross-over is something unique.
“”Everyone, especially the WWE universe, is going green these days with the blockbuster film reelease of “Green Lantern”, based on DC Comics’ iconic power ring slinging character,” says WWE.com. “But Green Lantern isn’t alone int he galaxy; Featuring different emotions that fuel their individual abilities, there are nine distinctly hued Lantern Corps in comics lore.”
It goes on to classify some of WWE’s top wrestlers superstars in the nine branches of the color-coded Lantern Corps. The most popular Green Lantern Corps of the WWE is comprised of top star John Cena along with the Miz, Big Show, Kofi Kingson, Beth Phoenix and Hornswoggle. Take your time to click through all the links to see where each character ends up; pay specific attention to the Black Lanterns, lead by the Undertaker but also featuring hilarious black-eyed superstars surrounding him.
No sign of former WWE superstar Shane “Hurricane” Helms on the chart, despite him having a Green Lantern tattoo.
The WWE’s annual Wrestlemania event brings a lot of questions every year. Who will win the title? Will the Undertaker’s streak be broken? Will Mean Gene appear in another inane sketch? But my favorite in recent years has become … what superhero will Rey Mysterio dress as this year?
And he didn’t let me down. In the past, the masked luchador has worn outfits inspired by the Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Joker, Flash, Iron Man and the movie Avatar. This year he put on the red, white and blue in an outfit that paid tribute to Captain America. Announcer Michael Cole even made reference to the fact that he could have used a shield in his match against Cody Rhodes. (Note: spoilers at the link for Wrestlemania).
And speaking of Rhodes, his recent storyline is very reminiscent of a super villain: “Once chosen as the most handsome Superstar by the Divas, the vain egoist underwent a jarring personality change when Rey Mysterio busted his perfect features with his knee brace while performing the 619. Now hating the disfigured freak he saw in the mirror, the second-generation competitor donned a mask to hide his shame and went on a brutal warpath, destroying opponents and viciously attacking Mysterio on multiple occasions.” You can see more pictures of the duo on the WWE home page.
The new two-issue series, which kicks off in November, features the Undertaker and Rey Mysterio fighting zombies in Mexico. Like the previous miniseries, it’s written by Keith Champagne, who is joined by Tom Nguyen on art.
A short press release and the book’s second cover can be found after the jump.
Titan sent over the cover to a new version of their WWE Heroes comic by wrestling hall-of-famer Jerry Lawler that they’re selling on the WWE website. “The King” of course is the wrestler turned announcer who can be heard every Monay on Raw, as well as an artist in his own right. In 2007, Lawler provided a cover for the comic book Headlocked and he’s also drawn a cover for Dynamite’s Green Hornet comic.
For the second fall in our best-of-three contest today, I reached out to several comics pros and bloggers to see what they thought about tomorrow’s big Wrestlemania card. Will the Deadman retire Mr. Wrestlemania? Will Jericho get speared? Will the Straight Edge Society get a new phone number in the 619 area code? And does anyone care about Sheamus? Our panel shared their thoughts, opinions, hopes and dreams for tomorrow’s big pay-per-view event.
Our panelists include:
Steven Grant: Comics writer and wrestling fan Steven Grant’s resume includes the Punisher, Avengers, Whisper, American Flagg!, Badlands and numerous other comics titles since the 1980s. Back around the turn of the century, he wrote comics featuring wrestling legends The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin for Chaos! Comics, and he recently wrapped up his long-running Permanent Damage column on Comic Book Resources.
Vito Delsante: In addition to being manager of Jim Hanley’s Universe in New York, Vito Delsante has also written comics featuring Batman, Wolverine and Scooby Doo, as well as the webcomic FCHS and the upcoming Stray.
Chad Nevett: Chad Nevett regularly writes reviews for Comic Book Resources and talks about comics on Comics Should Be Good, and on his own blog, GraphiContent. He’s also writes about wrestling for 411mania.
Carla and Lance Hoffman: Carla Hoffman shares her joy and frustrations with Marvel every week right here on Robot 6 in her Fifth Color column. Meanwhile Lance, her husband, is biggest Undertaker fan I know.
And of course, myself. Read on to see what we think about tomorrow’s card …
World Wrestling Entertainment presents Wrestlemania 26, their huge sports entertainment extravaganza, tomorrow in Phoenix (and, of course, on pay per view). With this being a big wrestling weekend, I thought it might be fun to do a trio of posts that show the intersection of wrestling and the world of comics.
To kick things off, I spoke to Keith Champagne, the writer of Titan’s licensed WWE Heroes comic, which hit shops last Wednesday. Along with artist Andy Smith, Champagne is taking the larger-than-life roster of WWE superstars and turning them in comic book heroes. In addition to being available in comic shops, the book is also available directly from the WWE’s website. And you can find a free prequel comic available for the iPhone.
My thanks to Keith for answering my quetsions and to Titan Publishing for setting it up.
JK: When did you first become a wrestling fan, and who were some of your favorite wrestlers back in the day?
Keith: It was a glorious, late-spring day back in May of 81, I remember it well. Killer Khan leaped off the top rope, driving both of his knees into Andre the Giant’s ankle. A giant red ‘X’ flashed across the screen, censoring the Giant’s agony from my young eyes and I was hooked from there.
The day Andre got his revenge against Khan in a stretcher match was the greatest day of my 11 year old life. It might still be.
I know several of the folks over at Marvel.com are wrestling fans, especially editor Ryan Penagos, so it’s not surprising to see that they’re counting down the days until Wrestlemania 25 on Sunday. Today they have an article up on the high-flying Rey Mysterio, who regularly pays tribute to characters like Spider-Man, Daredevil, Silver Surfer and the Flash on his mask and outfits. I guess we’ll have to wait for Sunday to see if another Marvel homage is in the works.