From Suspicious Behaviour Productions…weighing in at thirty two full colour pages…the original story of spandex themed conquest…introducing…Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia!
When the television signal of a professional wrestler’s pre-match trash-talking interview is picked up on a distant alien world, its braggadocios claims of “galactic championship” are perceived as a challenge, kicking off a bizarre conflict.
It’s easy to make fun of large men in trunks, playing characters and fighting each other for money. But the creators of Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia show real respect for the industry and the lives it encompasses and sometimes destroys, whilst clearly being aware of the ridiculousness of the whole endeavour.
Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia shows an intimate knowledge of the quirks of the sports entertainment industry. There’s real humour in the details of this world and the clash between the theatricality and the real life concerns of big men with bad knees – such as the wrestling interviewer who plays to role as an English aristocrat, the bantering commentator duo, or the radio operator wrestler who identifies himself not just with a simple call sign, but with a whole pre-fight announcer’s introduction.
This opening issue effectively introduces the over the top premise, before grounding us in the very human reality of the business. We get to know the flawed wrestler “Rock ‘n’ Roll“ Rory Landell and his familiar tale as he balances performance with real life insecurities. But at the same time, we’re teased with the world just beyond what we know, and the promise that the action will only get bigger, more over the top and more satisfying.
Wrestletopia plays with the wrestling industry’s constant need for grander shows, for the boundaries of entertainment to be pushed back to satisfy the audience’s desire for bigger, more outrageous spectacle. It’s strangely rational that what begins with men hitting each other with chairs might escalate into a man fighting a bear, and ultimately into an intergalactic cage match.
We get some chunky and well defined characters from artist Dan Schkade and colourist Marissa Louise, with clear action and equally impressive quiet and emotive moments. Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia is full of interesting details – such as the signs outside wrestling venues which immediately give us more information than they might want to – and is full of well composed images and impressive panel design. For example, the subtle shift away from regular panel shapes during some scenes, or the way that expressive characters aren’t constrained by borders. The colouring, so subtle it’s easy to take for granted, adds depth to each page. Every element points to a creative team at the top of their game.
The attention to detail expands to the entire production, from the wrestling personas and bios provided for the creative team, to the wrestling related bible verse that kicks off the story. The comic is beautifully produced with care and attention.
Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia might pull you in with its outlandish title and colourful production, but that stuff is easy. There’s also substance to this story. Its characters are sympathetic and familiar, the dialogue sharp. The story is well constructed and told in a compelling way, with every element pulling together to create an amazing whole.
Preview it here on Tumblr.