Headlocked Comics Creator Michael Kingston Talks Working with Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, “Hurricane” Helms, His Kickstarter Fundraiser & More

The Rack radio with Michael Kingston

Hosted by Lindsey Ward and Sir Rockin

Audio interview available at Wildtalkradio.com

What has it been like going to comic conventions with Shane Helms and Jerry Lawler:

“It was a lot of fun. We’ve done a bunch of shows with Shane (Helms) and with Jerry (Lawler) because they’ve both contributed to the book. Jerry and I have been doing shows for a couple of years and they’re both, it’s kind of funny you know for what people know them as, they’re both really big nerds. So, something it’s hard to keep them at the table; they just want to run around, take pictures and look at stuff, so they’re just as big of fans as anyone else in the room. It’s fun.”

About the Kickstarter for ‘Headlocked’ Volume two:

“It’s the second installment and cover about 5 comics worth of material with some bonus stuff. We’re in this particular storyline called ‘The Last Territory’; we just released our first volume, with was 155 pages, and this is the next chapter.”

How did ‘Headlocked’ get started:

“I’ve been a wrestling fan my whole life, since I was 8 years old. George ‘The Animal’ Steele turned me into a wrestling fan and I’ve been a comic book fan just as long. Whenever wrestling comic books would come out, I’d run to the store, buy them and get all excited and they’d all suck. Invariably, they’d be wrestling doing everything but wrestling: they’d be fighting demons, wrestlers in post-apocalyptic universes and whatever else. I never liked any of them, so I decided I was going to write a comic book wrestling fans would like, was actually about wrestling and wasn’t just a thinly veiled attempt to cash-in when wrestling was hot. It would be something that should the art of wrestling and passion of wrestling. So, that’s how I came up with ‘Headlocked’.”

The reaction the book has been getting from fans:

“It’s been unbelievable, the response has been great when people have discovered it; the biggest drawback is awareness because we’re not supported by a major comic book pusher or wrestling promotion. But when people discover it, they tend to like it and usually get a lot of e-mails after shows from people who have picked up the book and saying they like it. It’s been very gratifying.”

On what the goal of the series is:

“If you’re a wrestling fan for any length of time, you know you have to defend your fandom to at least 50 percent of the people you know, so ultimately, when it’s all said and done, the idea of ‘Headlocked’ is starting at zero with a character who is a theater major in college who falls in love with wrestling and decides he wants to becomes a wrestler. He goes on this journey, from learning the craft of wrestling through the eyes of a performance artist and at the same time, navigating the underbelly of the business, which sort of drives the story. Ultimately, I want, when it’s all said and done, for people to be able to look at that and say ‘Wow, I never really thought of wrestling that way.’ And maybe change a few minds.”

How did people like Jerry Lawler, Kazarian, and Christopher Daniels get involved with the project:

“Well, when I first started doing it, it was just me and my book; a preview book and I’d set up at different conventions and Shane (Helms) and Rob Van Dam came and bought copies of the book. They were just walking around Comic Con as a fan and they came across my stuff and bought a copy of my book. They reached out to me later and said they really liked it and said if there was ever anything they could do to help. We put out our first few books to stores, and it’s really hard to get retail shelf space; you can’t get anything really as an independent. It’s like trying to sell ketchup and trying to get shelf space from Heinz; you’re selling comics and trying to get space from Marvel and DC. So, I knew Jerry (Lawler) had done art and it was the craziest thing, I sent him an e-mail through his website; it was such a long shot but one day he e-mailed me back. He said ‘Send me some books’ and so I sent him some books and he called me and told me ‘Oh, I’d totally do it’ and now he’s done three covers, we do conventions all the time; I’m proud to call him a friend.” What is Kingston a fan of in today’s product: “I love everything; I’m a big fan of stuff on the independents, I think that’s how my tastes tend to run anyway. I mean, I watch WWE and have a lot of friends in TNA and Ring of Honor but I really like CHIKARA, I like Hoodslam in Oakland and thing they’re doing some really cool stuff and Beyond Wrestling. There’s people everywhere advancing the art form, doing different things and pushing things in different places; I think that kind of stuff is fascinating. I like watching New Japan stuff. I like it all. Kind of like music, sometimes you’re in the mood for different stuff and I like the fact that if you really look for it, you can find all these different types of wrestling if you know where to look.”

You can follow Mike on Twitter at @TheMikeKingston, or on Facebook at facebook.com/headlockedcomic for all the latest on his news and notes.