With Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #1, writers Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin put us on the street to an interplanetary wrestling conflict. A wrestler referred to as Manifest Future, the obvious ruler of planet Wrestletopia, seeks to defend his title of champion of the galaxy towards the self-proclaimed champion of the galaxy Rory “Rock ‘n’ Roll” Landell, of Earth. That is the stuff comedian e-book occasions like Disaster on Infinite Earths, or another DC disaster for that matter, are manufactured from. Then once more, no Disaster has ever had its champions duke it out in a planetary cage match.
Wrestling could be a deceptively complicated medium to translate into comics. As a creator, you could have to concentrate on the tradition behind it and know of its legends and its giants simply as a lot as its guidelines and its idioms. In different phrases, making a wrestling comedian is a real labor of affection. It requires an understanding of sports activities leisure and its distinctive strategy to spectacle to completely recognize its wealthy storytelling prospects. Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia ticks all these packing containers. After which some.
I acquired to the evaluation the collection’ first concern and by the top of it I had turn out to be a Wrestletopian maniac (you’ll find the evaluation right here). The ebook proves that sci-fi and wrestling make sense collectively, particularly when the wrestling half features as its main voice. It permits for the event of some deeply conflicted characters that wrestle with the private prices of turning into a legend of wrestling, which is a title that already has a cosmic really feel to it.
That Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia achieves this with its characters ought to come as no shock to those that know of Kuehnel and Entin’s earlier work, particularly on the planet of video video games. The writers collaborated, together with Gerard Barnaud, on the indie hit Valiant Hearts: The Nice Struggle (2014). The sport follows a gaggle of characters making an attempt to outlive the First World Warfare in a collection of puzzle-based situations structured round a really emotional character-driven narrative. There’s some Valiant Hearts current in Planet Wrestletopia. Because the comedian exhibits, wrestling is as a lot a narrative of violence as it’s about coronary heart, which isn’t too distant to what conflict tales are. When you haven’t performed Valiant Hearts but, I extremely advocate it.
I had an opportunity to take a seat down and speak wrestling and comics with Kuehnel and Entin and on what sort of intergalactic championship matches we will anticipate within the coming points. The interview follows under.
Ricardo Serrano: The primary query is likely one of the most blatant ones simply because once I learn your e-book I keep in mind considering “or course wrestling and sci-fi match collectively. Why wouldn’t they?” I additionally keep in mind considering that it takes a real wrestling thoughts to make any such story work. How did you arrive at that pairing of wrestling and sci-fi?
Ed Kuehnel: I feel it began with the thought of what if there was this planet on which wrestling was very actual they usually invaded Earth. And what if our solely hope was this washed up, alcoholic skilled wrestler slumming it in casinos. What if your complete destiny of the world was in his arms. There needed to be a broadcast that might exit into area and attain that wrestling planet. There can be a promo with our wrestler proclaiming himself the champion of the galaxy, which might piss off the champion of Wrestletopia and spark an invasion. That was the elevator pitch. We got here up with the thought some 10 years in the past after which we simply determined to place it out within the comedian ebook world.
Matt Entin: The decisive picture for me, and this was an Ed invention, was a metal cage round Earth. That’s what actually bought me that this idea had benefit.
Serrano: Yeah, that picture sticks with you and guarantees by no means to let go. Seeing it, although, gave the comedian a way of wrestling historical past, of how sure elements of it are fixed and anticipated from wrestling followers. How did you strategy the historical past of wrestling within the comedian?
Kuehnel: Properly, the precise historical past of professional wrestling is sort of murky. It comes from the circus so far as individuals can inform. It’s arduous to pin down however it gave us plenty of room to maneuver. It received me considering of Killer Clowns from Outer Area, the place you’re considering perhaps that is how we acquired on to clowns, they got here from area. It’s a bit like Wrestletopia, the place perhaps we received into this wrestling factor as a result of…aliens.
Entin: Or vice versa!
Serrano: So how did you guys get into wrestling? Did come from an early age or was it one thing you got here into later after which stated “why didn’t we get into this sooner?”
Entin: So there’s some seven years between Ed and I so we grew up in several wrestling eras. I used to be a child of the eighties, the place Hulk Hogan was as huge as Coca-Cola and the WWF (earlier than it was the WWE) was utterly dominant. I used to be initially uncovered to it by way of the Hulk Hogan Rock n’ Wrestling cartoon. I watched no matter was obtainable, Saturday Night time important occasions and prime time community TV wrestling occasions. Highschool and school for me was through the Angle period, and that’s what sealed the deal for me. It made me a life-long fan.
Kuehnel: I found wrestling within the seventies. I used to be born and raised in Portland and we had this NWA territory, Pacific Northwest Wrestling and we watched that each Saturday. As a child I used to be a hundred percent satisfied it was actual and was fascinated by it.
After which, not a lot later, we obtained this primitive cable TV that had Superstation WTBS from Atlanta, which had Georgia Championship Wrestling. That was the epicenter of the NWA wrestling scene. It had Ric Aptitude, Dusty Rhodes, and all these different guys. It was three hours each Saturday. Even ESPN was displaying AWA as a part of its common programing when it began out. I used to be obsessive about it. WWF got here later and I spent a variety of time satisfied it was actual. Dove into magazines and every part. It made me pleased and I’ve a variety of nostalgia for it. I did drift away afterward and don’t actively watch wrestling immediately, however all that wrestling historical past continues to be there in my head and it’s an enormous a part of me.
Serrano: To the educated wrestling eye, Wrestletopia dives deep into the 1980’s period of spectacle and extra, the place wrestlers have been superhero-like and even real-life motion figures. What made you gravitate in the direction of that decade in your story?
Entin: I feel we naturally gravitated in the direction of the 80s as a result of it was an period we have been each conversant in and in addition simply the colorfulness of the characters undoubtedly lends itself fairly properly to the comedian e-book medium. I imply, our characters are drawn extra broadly and excessive, we thought there was a compelling distinction between who they play on TV and who they’re of their actual lives. The rest of the collection takes place in 1999, which is firmly the Angle period. Rory, our essential character, is introduced as a person forward of his time. He performed the heel in a time the place heels weren’t promoted as extensively as they might be within the 90s, in full Angle period. He sort of missed his shot. He was born ten years too late. He’s a jilted relic of a special period who was a pioneer however missed his shot by a decade.
Kuehnel: It’s additionally a enjoyable couple of many years to work with. Within the 90s you get to play with anti-heroes being the faces of wrestling. On this context, Rory has to determine the right way to save the planet, how to do that heel to face flip (going from dangerous man to good man) in actual life. The timing works out rather well.
Serrano: We’ve seen some new wrestling comics arising up to now few years and I’ve observed that they’ve needed to decide when it comes to find out how to strategy the precise wrestling matches within the comics web page. BOOM’s WWE collection, as an example, performs with narration and motion in its struggle sequences. Then once more, some manga wrestling books go for extra of a mixture, with an emphasis on motion somewhat than narration. How did you strategy the precise matches in your story?
Kuehnel: One factor I’ll say, and this got here organically, when individuals are preventing, they typically don’t speak. Monologuing whereas punching undoubtedly has its place in comics, for positive. However for me it’s extra of an in-the-moment occasion the place you let the motion do extra of the speaking. In Wrestletopia we now have that matches can occur anyplace. In a single problem we’ve got a struggle escape in a waterpark, which is tremendous enjoyable and permits us to create struggle sequences which are fascinating and recent.
Matt: The wrestling scenes additionally develop organically out of the story. In WWE comics every part is construct as much as a match, whereas we have been in search of matches that broke out spontaneously. In our setting, that has undoubtedly given us a bonus. It’s simpler to weave these motion scenes in our comedian. If we have been writing a WWE comedian then our strategy can be totally different.
Serrano: As I stated earlier than, it takes a wrestling thoughts to place one thing like this collectively. When you’re a fan, then studying Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia may also be an train in figuring out these wrestlers and personalities who served as inspiration for the comedian’s personal characters. I keep in mind wrestlers like Jake the Snake, Razor Ramon, and even Imply Gene Okerlund within the promo scenes have been being echoed within the story. What wrestlers did you bear in mind when creating your characters?
Kuehnel: We did a number of analysis and skim numerous behind the scenes books concerning the business and kayfabe magazines that furthered the phantasm it was all actual. So our characters turned an amalgam of personalities that then take a lifetime of their very own. Nonetheless, I’ve heard some individuals say they learn Rory in Macho Man Randy Savage’s voice, some learn it in Hulk Hogan’s voice. We’ve heard Jake the Snake too. Who I feel no one’s talked about earlier than is Celebrity Billy Graham.
Entin: Rory’s private life was very a lot modeled on Jake the Snake’s, however his in-ring persona was impressed by Celebrity Billy Graham. Billy Graham was very a lot of forward of time as properly. I imply, Hogan’s been accused of plagiarizing his persona. You realize, 24-inch pythons was Celebrity Billy Graham and the schtick that Hulk Hogan took to the subsequent degree and bought to the plenty was actually pioneered by him. Then once more, Celebrity will inform you that he borrowed his stuff from Muhammed Ali, and Ali might say he borrowed stuff from Beautiful George. It’s a type of lineage.
Serrano: You guys have illustrious careers in online game writing, with Valiant Hearts: The Nice Struggle amongst considered one of your greatest works. Did your online game expertise made the transition to comics smoother or is it one other factor completely?
Entin: The large distinction is that with video video games we’re typically working for anyone. Typically we’re working with mental properties with little leeway as to enjoying round with the IP. Wrestletopia was the primary time we had full artistic freedom and full management of our artistic imaginative and prescient.
Online game writing could be very totally different because of the interactive component. It’s truthfully a aid to not need to account for participant selection, however I might say that when you get right down to writing 23 comedian ebook pages, you have got so much much less area than you assume. Writing for video video games, it’s all about brevity. You need to say all the things you need to say in, often, 30 to 45 seconds in case you’re writing cutscenes. The most important lesson I acquired from video video games is brevity and it helped once we have been making an attempt to cram a lot story in 23 pages.
Kuehnel: It’s a lot nicer to work on a linear story and never fear about one million totally different situations which may occur as a result of branching narratives and branching dialogues. However being temporary and letting the visuals assist carry the story was one thing I obtained from video video games. Online game writing was nice coaching for lots of the comedian manufacturing stuff, although. Managing all of the shifting elements was an fascinating course of due to it. Our group, artist Dan Schkade, colours by Marissa Louise, letters by Dave Lanphear, Fred Chao designed the primary three points, all of them made that course of work so nicely. I feel our expertise in online game manufacturing helped us maintain the undertaking shifting whereas permitting everybody to have the area to do their greatest with the story.
Serrano: Thanks, guys!
Kuehnel: Good speaking to you!
Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia is launched each two weeks on ComiXology by way of SBI Press. You possibly can comply with the creators on Twitter @EdKuehnel and @themattentin, or sustain with the writer @SBI_Press.
Ricardo Serrano is a Social Research instructor with a Grasp’s Diploma in Comedian Books from the College of Dundee in Scotland. He’s additionally the co-creator of Se Habla Comics, a Puerto Rican podcast geared in the direction of Spanish-speaking comedian ebook readers.