Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wrestling? REALLY?

I've probably mentioned before that I grew up loving professional wrestling. This is similar to the way that I grew up playing D & D, which is to say, I did it well into my twenties. While a Southern male watching wrestling his whole life isn't all that shocking, it has always seemed to act as a sort of humorous black mark against me as regards my more scholarly friends. I suppose a casual observance of such over the top and, at times puerile, entertainment would be deemed socially acceptable in an "ironic hipster" sort of way, but casual was never how I observed pro wrestling.

Over the years I've justified it as a combination of nostalgia (for the American wrestling of my youth) and admiration for the more skilled performers most often seen wrestling in Japan, Mexican and smaller scale promotions in the United States. But a few years back a wrestler named Chris Benoit (at the time my second favorite wrestler ever) did a terribly tragic thing to his family and to himself and I checked out. I wasn't paying a lot of attention to wrestling at the time honestly, but the Benoit tragedy put me out of it completely. Until recently.

You can blame Chris Haley, illustrator for the fantastic webcomic Let's Be Friends Again, for igniting my interest in wrestling once again. Always something I did with friends, having someone who actually watches wrestling currently with whom to discuss it has helped ease me back in. It also helps that current storylines are pretty decent and that for the first time in years, the WWE seems to be highlighting some very talented young wrestlers. I won't bore you with details, I just needed to illustrate that I've sort of rekindled my interest again.

If you read this blog then you know the other thing I grew up loving was comic books. I've thought for a while that I'd love to combine comics and wrestling. I mean come on, the two seem like a match made in heaven, right? Same black and white ideas of good and evil, same affinity for anti-heroes, same exaggerated physiques; comics and wrestling share more than a few similarities. Over the years there have been some combinations of the two to limited success and there are definitely a few guys keeping the torch of wrestling comics alive in the webcomic realm, but there really hasn't been an ongoing comic book about wrestling that I can recall.

I think about this a lot and I think I'd love to do one myself. There could be the over-the-top sci-fi/horror, let's wrestle a bunch of monsters and keep the world safe from danger angle, much like all those old Santo movies so popular with the cult film crowd. At the other end of the spectrum is something like The Wrestler, a deep and at times dark exploration of the seedy underbelly that truly defines professional wrestling for most observers. Well, both those things have been done. So what do I do? Any suggestions? Give it up?

But it keeps gnawing at me.

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