Work on Workers: Wrestling in Comics

Superheroes and professional wrestlers share common ground and, believe it or not, it isn’t performance-enhancing drugs. The larger-than-life art-of-the-gimmick is significant in setting them apart from the everyman, contributing to both their image and ability. A wrestler named “Mark,” whose go-to move is the punch seems boring, but give him the nickname “The Eunuch,” and a finisher called “Cracker Jack” (which includes taking the jaws of life to someone’s balls) and suddenly you’re buying every Pay-Per-View from now until the apocalypse. If writers are able to exaggerate the personalities and eccentricities of professional wrestlers, then wrestling based comic Nash is a heavyweight contender.

Published by Image Comics, best known for The Walking Dead and Spawn series, Nash is a lesser-known book based on WWE superstar Kevin Nash. Between bouts, tag teams, and company changes, Nash has managed to win 21 championships throughout his career and in the 90s he was the longest-reigning WWE Champion. The scene is set in 2023. The world is a wasteland where food is a rare commodity and the planet is left in shambles. A group called the Citadel, led by Cyrus Storm, releases a deadly virus into the atmosphere that starts wiping out the desperate and poor people of earth, leaving the protected upper class to thrive on what is left of the world’s resources. Now it is up to one man to fight and fornicate his way to justice. The man, the legend, Kevin Nash.

Kevin Nash

This unfinished two-issue series is reminiscent of 1980s exploitation with so many guns, explosions, and tits that it could have been mistaken for an Andy Sidaris movie. Readers should note that 75 percent of the content involves Nash’s X-rated debauchery; if there was one more scene with Kevin’s naked ass and some wasteland floozy knockin’ boots, this comic could have been called “Nash: Part-Time Face Puncher, Full-Time Lover.” This book is highly recommended for readers who love cheesy exploitation. For everyone else, it is one of those infamous classics you never read but nonetheless has a special place on your dork shelf.

Chaos! Comics is responsible for churning out the most content that showcases wrestlers including The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Mankind and Chyna. Wrestling fans should take note that the character adaptations of these performers do not translate well onto the page. The Rock can layeth the smack down on as many Jabronis as he wants, but it doesn’t come close to having the same effect as watching it on TV. For many adult-wrestling fans the appeal lies in the backstage antics and private lives of their favorite superstars, therefore watching the misadventures of these caricatures in a comic book may not be as thrilling. I can see younger fans wanting to collect these issues, but they don’t have the same timelessness that you see in Batman or Superman. Eventually in every wrestlers life, it is time to throw in the towel, something someone should let Ric Flair know about.

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ChynaThese books are notorious for repeating the pattern of interchangeable heroes. Almost all of the issues start the exact same way: big, strong, street toughs are beating on the meek, when out of the shadows pops… your favorite wrestling star! And Chyna. When deciding which wrestlers makes the cut, how does Chyna make it out on top? Is she anyone’s first choice? The Rock is The People’s Champ, Mankind is a masochist with devilish sidekick Mr. Socko, The Undertaker easily tops most favorites lists, but if you were listing these comics from bad to worse, Chyna’s would definitely be at the bottom. In every single panel she is wearing the same leather bra and panties; she doesn’t even have the common courtesy of changing when putting a rescued little girl to bed. If this isn’t enough reason to not make a wrestling comic, I don’t know what is.

Some things should be left alone, and wrestling cameos in comics is one of them. Excluding the accidental entertainment in Nash, there is not one memorable thing about any of the books. These issues put wrestlers in situations no one ever thought or cared about, while also not including the real life drama that wrestling fans pine over. Maybe the authors of these books should have stayed true to the sport by including gimmicks WITHIN the book. Remember when x-ray specs and sea-monkey ads filled the pages of our favorite reads? How about including a single dose of steroids with every issue, or a small razor blade with instructions on how to juice written by Terry Funk? Not only would the publishers see profits, their demographic would literally stick out like a sore thumb: trolling the streets with mangled foreheads and chests like Brock Lesnar.

No roids here!

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