From the host of the critically acclaimed pro wrestling podcast Straight Shoot, this graphic novel history of wrestling features the key grapplers, matches, and promotions that shaped this beloved sport and form of entertainment.
As a pop culture phenomenon, professional wrestling--with its heroic babyfaces and villainous heels performing suplexes and powerbombs in pursuit of championship gold--has conquered audiences in the United States and around the world. Now, writer/podcaster Aubrey Sitterson and illustrator Chris Moreno form a graphic novel tag team to present wrestling's complete illustrated history. Featuring legendary wrestlers like Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, and The Rock, and modern-day favorites like John Cena, Kenny Omega, and Sasha Banks, the book covers wrestling's progress from the carnival days of the Gold Dust Trio to the dominance of the WWF/WWE to today's diverse independent wrestling scene, and it spotlights wrestling's reach into Mexico/Puerto Rico (lucha libre), the U.K. (all-in), and Japan (puroresu).
This fact-crammed survey of an enormous subject covers the decades after wrestling had been transformed "from a sport that acted like a show to a show that acted like a sport." It's impossible to discuss "the one true sport" without tongue in cheek, but author Sitterson, host of the podcast Straight Shoot, does an excellent job of describing both the experiential aspects of the "show" and the background of the "biz." Dozens of wrestlers featured deserve a mention, from historical giants like Bruno Sammartino to modern stars like Hulk Hogan and John Cena, to regional favorites like Dick the Bruiser (Indianapolis, Ind.) and El Santo (Mexico City). Aided by Moreno's drawings of small heads atop statuesque bodies, the text also explains how Mexican, British, and Japanese styles have influenced American wrestling performances. The guide also explains the industry side, by tracing the deals by which rival promoters divided their territories while giving fans just enough show to keep them buying tickets. Like pro wrestling itself, all the wild history may not be morally uplifting, but it's certainly entertaining.