Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
“Arrow” star Stephen Amell makes the leap — and based on the moves he showed last week, “leap” is exactly the right word — from actor and pro wrestling fan to WWE Superstar for one night this Sunday at “WWE SummerSlam,” teaming up with Neville against Stardust (who he’s sparred with over social media for weeks) and Wade Barrett.
Amell is far from the first celebrity to participate in a pro wrestling match — Jay Leno, of all people, did so back in 1998 — but the overlap between wrestling fans, genre TV fans and comic book fans have generated keen interest in the affair (along with the fact that the parkour-training Amell probably will be able to do some pretty impressive things inside the ring). With that type of interest, of course, comes a ton of fan art.
Stardust may have lost his match last night on Monday Night Raw, but that didn’t keep the WWE’s resident supervillain from continuing his recent Twitter war with television superhero and longtime WWE fan Stephen Amell.
After kicking off his pre-match ritual by leaning over the guardrail and hissing in the face of the Arrow star, Stardust (aka Cody Rhodes) was unsuccessful in his bid to defeat the high-flying Neville. Of course, if you take commentator JBL’s word for it, Stardust’s poor showing was due to being embarrassed “right out here in front of his nemesis, the Arrow.”
The tagline for one1990s wrestling promotion was “Where the Big Boys Play!” Wonder what they’d think of Archie Andrews?
Following a recent uptick in pro-wrestling appreciation by the comics industry, Archie Comics has released a digital collection of its wrestling-themed stories. Given the cover image and title, Archie & Friends Wrestle Maniacs, Archie gives a bit of a nod to WWE’s Wrestlemania and Hulk Hogan (whose fans are “Hulkamaniacs”).
DC Comics and Marvel are gearing up for all-out wars next summer involving various versions of their most popular heroes and villains, but the WWE is beating them to the punch.
In the current arc of Papercutz’s WWE Superstars, wrestler-turned-writer Mick Foley is heading up a clash of the champions with modern-day superstars going up against their predecessors in the primes. Hulk Hogan versus John Cena, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin versus Daniel Bryan, the Big Show versus Vader, and the Legion of Doom versus, well … everyone.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
It’s been some time since WWE Superstar Darren Young came out publicly as WWE’s first openly gay superstar, a huge accomplishment considering how the company had depicted gay characters in the past. With the divide between public acceptance and macho stereotypes, former superstar Brodus Clay was asked during an interview with Kayfabe Commentaries about the real behind-the-scenes reaction and concerns surrounding Young’s announcement, and what I learned may shock you.
“In terms of the locker room, it wasn’t a big deal. … We weren’t like, “oh my what?” We’re past that. Our locker room is very accepting of that. Honestly, we’re probably more angry if someone’s not reading comic books than whether they’re gay or straight.”
You never know what to expect when Hugh Jackman appears on WWE’s Monday Night Raw.
A couple of years ago he helped Zack Ryder win a match by clocking Dolph Ziggler when the referee’s back was turned. Last night, Jackman returned to Raw to promote the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, bury the hatchet with Ziggler and battle Magneto — or at least wrestler Damian Sandow, who was cosplaying as the Master of Magnetism.
On a night that included announcer JBL making references to Asteroid M, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, Sandow tried to use his magnetic powers to take Jackman’s microphone, which — SPOILERS! — didn’t end well for Sandow. Check out the video below.
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.