Michael Kingston’s Headlocked—a wrestling comic that follows the rise of wrestler Mike Hartmann in the industry as chairs, betrayals, and power bombs try to deter him—has been one of those rare crowdfunding success stories that’s kept steady even as its catalogue of books continues to grow.
The main story has already kicked the doors open for a living, breathing wrestling-verse that includes stories co-written by big name wrestlers along with Kingston. The series already has a collection of these stories titled Headlocked: Tales from the Road vol 1, featuring stories by Rob Van Dam, Taya Valkyrie, Dolph Ziggler, Gangrel, and The Young Bucks, among others.
Volume two of the anthology book is currently in the process of being crowdfunded, via Kickstarter, and the list of wrestling talent behind the self-contained stories continues to both grow and impress.
Tales from the Road vol 2 features stories by Thunder Rosa, Jeff Cobb, AJ Styles, Effy, Frankie Kazarian, Penta el OM, and more, all in collaboration with Kingston as well along with a slew of veteran artists that capture the art of wrestling quite faithfully on the comics page.
Thunder Rosa’s story, titled Popcorn Match, is a highlight among the already strong selection of stories. It puts Rosa in the tough but all too common spot of being assigned matches that don’t make sense or go against storylines due to promoters not knowing or caring about female wrestling programming. In this case, Rosa is forced to face her tag team partner, and the consequences will have a lasting effect.
While the story’s tone comes off as serious, the story ends up being a multifaceted affair that also tackles the subject of inspiring young women to take up the sport, a thing that can only happen if female wrestlers are allowed to share in the same spotlight as the male wrestlers’.
Matt Cardona and Brian Myers, from the Major Wrestling Figure podcast, go in an entirely different direction to tell a Toy Story-inspired story, called Fig Story, about wrestling figures and whether boxing or unboxing collectibles should even be up for debate at this point. It’s a heartfelt story that indulges in the duo’s love of wrestling figures and how they were always destined to be played with.
Tales from the Road vol 2 is looking like another strong entry in the Headlocked universe and it’s well worth the price of admission. New readers interested in the series can also jump in with this anthology as its self-contained nature allows for anyone to pick up and read. Once you start, you’ll definitely want more, which will inevitably lead new fans to the main series chronicling the journey of Mike Hartmann. This is as close to wrestling as you’ll get other than going to a show or watching it on TV.