by R.C. Samo
There are a few things that when originally conceptualized people thought, “How does that work?” For instance, chocolate and peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, sweet and sour, professional wrestling and comic books.
The influence that professional wrestling aka sports entertainment and comics have had on each other might surprise you. Characters like The Road Warriors, Demolition and the Missing Link, could have easily transitioned into super powered villains trying to take over the world. You cannot look at the character Lobo and not think of The Road Warriors. Hell, Road Warrior Animal confessed that the name “Legion of Doom” was lifted from the Superfriends cartoons of the late-70s/early-80s. Or what about current WWE Superstar, CM Punk screaming just prior to every match, The Thing’s war cry, “It’s Clobberin’ Time!”
So, how do you get that crossover appeal between sports entertainment fans and the comic crowds? It’s easy when you have New York Times best selling author and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hardcore Legend Mick Foley to write the new WWE Superstars (issue two releases January 29th) graphic novel published by Super Genius Comics.
“I was a huge comic fan growing up. Last I checked I had an uninterrupted run of 10 straight years of The Incredible Hulk comics. I was an avid reader and it’s probably where I got intrigued with pro wrestling, the good guys and bad guys and dressing up. For me being able to participate in something like this was a no brainer,” said Foley, who first appeared as his alter ego, Cactus Jack in a WCW comic distributed by Marvel Comics back in 1991.
Foley made a conscious decision to take the current WWE roster out of the ring and place them in a realistic setting. A concept that he had to convince the brass at WWE would be a great idea.
“We take them out of the wrestling universe but wanted to maintain their personalities, part of the ways we do that is the use of catch phrases. We just did not want people to open up the pages and say this is what I see every Monday and Friday. That was just my main point. When Shane (Riches, co-author of WWE Superstars) and I sat down, I was adamant about it not being backstage or in the ring. To take these characters who are known and loved and place them in an entirely new world,” said the former Hardcore and World Heavyweight Champion.
In February, WWE will launch the WWE Network, a 24-hour online wrestling channel, with original content, that Foley feels the WWE Superstars comics would transition into a great animated series. And with what the artistic team consisting of Foley, Riches, and artist Alitha E. Martinez have created for Super Genius Comics, it would definitely be an easy transition.
The current story arc with WWE Superstars is titled, Money in the Bank. The plot is simple, $10 million has been stolen from the Titan City treasury and former police officer, John Cena has been wrongly incarcerated for a crime he did not commit.
While Cena must clear his name, Randy Orton and Albert Del Rio are competing for position of District Attorney and nothing would clinch the victory for either candidate like solving this mystery.
When asked if any of Foley’s alter egos would make an appearance in future story arcs, the WWE Hall of Famer quipped, “I intend to star in the next three issues. The truth is, by taking them out of that universe, we think that readers will accept the superstars in anyway we portray them. Say if Jimmy Snuka comes back, it would be his younger self and other guys in their prime in the fantasy match ups, like Bruno Sammartino vs Cena or Hulk Hogan vs myself (a dream match that never happened).”
The former champion is genuinely excited about his transition from traditional author to comic creator. He confessed that he digs himself wholeheartedly into projects he believes in and Foley has done just that with Super Genius Comics.
On top of being a WWE Legend, best selling author and comic creator, Foley is also a stand-up comedian. His Detroit shows were sold out and next year, he might take a part in a Christmas play written by Twisted Sister front man, Dee Snider.
“We have a total of four issues taking us through Titan City and leaving it (WWE Superstars) open for huge surprise,” said Foley.