(San Diego, CA)Â For one generation of fans, he is “The King of Memphis” and the guy who slapped Andy Kaufman on Late Night with David Letterman. For another generation of fans, he is the diva-obsessed voice of WWE Monday Night Raw. Now this Hall of Famer looks to add another title to his already impressive resumeâ€¦.
Comic Book Artist.
“The King” has signed on to provide a cover for the critically acclaimed comic book series, Headlocked: The Tryout from AAM/Markosia and Visionary Comics Studio. Lawler’s fully painted cover will grace the first issue of the new mini-series, available now for pre-order in Diamond’s Previews and shipping in October. For Lawler, an accomplished artist, the combination of wrestling and comics was a no-brainer. “I’m a huge comic book fan and I’ve wanted to do some comic book work for a while now and what better way to get my start than with a wrestling comic? So when (Headlocked writer/creator) Mike Kingston asked me if I would be interested in doing a cover, I jumped at the chance.”
VCS Creative Director, C.Edward Sellner is delighted that “The King” chose to lend his artistic talents and star power to their debut comic series. “The man’s been on television, in movies, and he’s a household name to three generations of wrestling fans, so we’re obviously very pleased to be publishing Jerry Lawler’s first comic book work.”
For Kingston, a lifelong wrestling fan, the chance to collaborate with one of his favorite wrestlers was definitely a dream come true. “I’ve always been a huge Lawler fan. I used to trade for tapes of Memphis wrestling back before you could find everything on the internet. Getting to work with him and actually getting to watch him physically paint the cover has easily been my career highlight thus far.”
Headlocked debuted late last year with the acclaimed one-shot Headlocked: Work of Art, now available on Wowio, drawing praise from both wrestling and comic book fans alike including WWE/ECW superstar Rob Van Dam, TNA Champion Samoa Joe, reality TV star Jonny Fairplay. TNA star Daivari, and ECW original Blue Meanie. The story features Mike Hartmann, a skinny theater major, and his unlikely journey to become a professional wrestler.
“It’s a little peek behind the curtain,” according to series creator Mike Kingston. “It’s a story about all the crazy stuff that goes into what you see on television. When a guy shows up on a WWE show, he most likely already has four to seven years in the wrestling business but you rarely hear anything about that. Headlocked is the chronicle of that journey for Mike Hartmann.”
But because of his unusual perspective, Hartmann tends to take a different approach to things. “He approaches wrestling the same way he did acting. He bulks up just like an actor preparing for an action movie and he moves to Philadelphia, which is essentially Hollywood for aspiring wrestlers. Because of his background, we’re able to put a little more focus on the craft of professional wrestling and examine its place as a true performance art.”
While the book obviously deals quite a bit with wrestling, Kingston cautions against just seeing it as just a wrestling comic. “There are a lot of coming of age themes in Headlocked. The story is just as much about Hartmann becoming a man as it is about him becoming a wrestler. He’s a nineteen-year old college kid who has given up his relatively safe existence to chase this crazy dream and at the same time he’s almost totally reinventing who he is from the ground up. And he’s doing this while navigating through the darker underbelly of the wrestling business as a total outsider.”
According to Kingston, the upcoming mini-series Headlocked: The Tryout picks up right where Headlocked: Work of Art finished up. “Hartmann has just moved to Philadelphia having secured a tryout with the legendary Leo “The Legbreaker” London for admission into his wrestling school. For the most part, things up until this point have been fairly effortless for Hartmann. This is where he starts to get the idea that he might just be in over his head.”
Headlocked: The Tryout #1 is available for pre-order in the August Edition of Previews: Diamond Order Code: AUG083662.