If You Loved WrestleMania, Read These Comics Next
WrestleMania was this past weekend, and outside of perhaps the infamous “Attitude Era” of the late-’90s, it’s never been more socially acceptable to proudly admit that you love the King of Sports, professional wrestling. The Rock is the biggest star in Hollywood, the Total Divas are taking over E, and John Cena is viral meme superstar; wrestling has officially broken through to the mainstream again.
It’s also never been a better time for comics about professional wrestling, a far cry from the days of the old WCW comic or the weird one where Chyna is a bodyguard in her spare time. We’ve assembled a list of five of the best independent comics about wrestling, if you’re still in the mood for some pro-graps after watching The Granddaddy of Them All.
The Legend of Ricky Thunder
Ricky Thunder is on top of the world and on top of his territory as World Champ, but Ricky doesn’t know that professional wrestling is staged. Upon discovering his life is a lie, his world is turned upside-down and his confidence rocked; but can he turn it all around and save the world with the art of catch-as-catch-can?
Super Pro K.O.!
Super Pro K.O. follows Joe Somiano as he rises through the ranks of his promotion and fends off the backstage politics that often occur in the life of a professional wrestler.
Energetic and reminiscent of the very best of sports manga with a touch of Scott Pilgrim, Super Pro K.O. is a larger-than-life look at a larger-than-life sport.
Headlocked is a true underdog success story in classic wrestling tradition. Self-published via Kickstarter, Mike Kingston and company have created a compelling story about a rookie wrestler trying to break in, which has garnered a devoted fanbase of readers and wrestlers alike.
Featuring covers by WWE Hall of Famer, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and guest stories from the likes of Booker T, Rob Van Dam and Johnny Mundo, Headlocked is a wrestling fan’s dream comic.
La Mano del Destino
If you’re more of a fan of the intricate world-building of Lucha Underground, you have to check out La Mano del Destino, which is every bit as bonkers and amazing as the luchadores that inspired it. Following the humiliation of being unmasked, the world champion returns under a new identity to reclaim his former glory.
To get there, he enters a Faustian pact to defeat the evil boss and reclaim what was his. La Mano del Destino is lucha libre through a Jack Kirby lens, and I can’t think of a better sentence than that in human history.
Ringside is as much a comic about professional wrestlers as it is a comic about professional wrestling, as washed-up star The Minotaur returns from Japan to rescue his ex-boyfriend from gangsters
Ringside also follows other characters at different stages in their careers and gives an insight into the carny world of professional wrestling. With clear analogues to the likes of Vince McMahon, Ringside might be the comic that gets closest to the truth of pro-wrestling, which as a fan is kind of depressing.