For this week’s COC Spotlight we will be taking a look at Ringside #1 from Image Comics.
This issue and series was created by writer Joe Keatinge and artist Nick Barber. Simon Gouge provided the coloring while Ariana Maher is on letters.
As an 80’s child I grew up with a healthy dose of WWF and WCW(yes I said WWF and I meant it). I grew up in the heyday of Rowdy Roddy Piper(RIP), Hulk Hogan, Macho Man(RIP), and Jake the Snake(still love you Jake). And if you’re like me then I think Ringside is for you.
Here’s the deal. This book doesn’t really show a ton of the in ring stuff, but it will show you all of the ins and outs of the wrestling business, and the reality that our favorite stars went through. And it is damn enjoyable and pretty to look at.
The first issue introduces us readers to an assortment of characters like a retired former wrestling star that is distancing himself from his old persona while living in a world of shit, his old marine buddy packing an arsenal, as well as a young up and coming wrestler and his older veteran wrestling mentor.
All of this is illustrated by Barber’s gritty lines that show a harsh world that doesn’t show on the screen during major wrestling events. He captures all of the real world life that we have seen as we lose our heroes or see what they have suffered to bring their characters to life.
The art and writing respectfully show the world behind the curtain of an entertainment industry that is often criticized for being fake. However, as many fans know and what non-wrestling fans may find out is that these ring heroes put themselves through physical abuse and hell often to wind up broke yet forever tied to the business.
Danny Knossos, the Minotaur, can’t escape his larger than life character even though he wants nothing to do with it. Reynolds is trying to make his name and wrestling career, but last minute changes are screwing him over. The reality is hard when all the glitz and glimmer is stripped away, but characters like Reynolds shows the love of the entertainment.
This was a fantastic issue and ideally enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed Keatinge’s writing on Glory, Hell Yeah!, and Shutter and this looks to be anptjernfine addition to his resumé. The art team of Barber and Gough provide visuals that are a bit darker than the over the top visuals of wrestling. Finally, the letters by Mayer allow readers to easily follow the story.
On top of the story is some wonderful supplemental material in the form of an interview with Keatinge and Barber from wrestling correspondent, Danielle Matheson. Here, readers are able to see that this series comes from a place of love that many an 80’s wrestling fan can relate to. I mean, if they creators are like me, I’m sure they can still gyrate like Ravishing Rick Rude.
This interview is one of my favorite parts as it shows how and why this series came about and what readers can look forward to. Just as there are many colorful, larger than life varieties of characters, there will be many other characters showcased in this series. And the overall goal will be to show the life inside and outside the ring, which our wrestling heroes live. It’s and interesting angle and I’m all in.
This series can be loved by people who are fans and those that are not fans of professional wrestling. This comic like professional wrestling is about the business of entertainment and parallels can be drawn between this and any other entertainment industry.
Bottom line pick this series up. The creative team is putting out an outstanding series that will entertain all people like the glory days of professional wrestling. So seriously pick this up. Cause Comic Book Oddball says so! Can you smell-el-el-el-el what this book’s got cookin!