Michael Kingston is a champion of pro wrestling outside the ring.
Kingston has developed a high standing in the wrestling community for his comic books, which present wrestlers in a new light on the colorfully illustrated pages of his Headlocked series.
The newest project is Headlocked: Tales From The Road Volume 2, a collection of short stories cocreated with a slate of talented performers that includes Rob Van Dam, Penta, Thunder Rosa and Jeff Cobb. The finished project is shaping up to be extremely fun to read, particularly the Toy Story–inspired comic book starring famed wrestling figure collectors Matt Cardona and Brian Myers.
“One of my inspirations behind Headlocked is getting to collaborate with these renowned storytellers,” Kingston says. “The wrestlers lending their voice to my project has helped it come to life.”
Kingston first created Headlocked in 2008 but found obstructions each time he attempted to gain entry for his wrestling stories in comic book stores. Instead, he went a different route to publish his work and connect with an audience on Kickstarter. He has continued to find success on the platform, already surpassing his original $14,500 fundraising goal for current Kickstarter and generating more than $26,000. The different pledge tiers even allow people the option of having their likeness used to create a character that will exist in the Headlocked universe.
“The supporters bring this to life,” Kingston says. “And it’s so cool to reward the people that help.”
In addition to his writing, Kingston works a full-time job. Due to costs involved with artists, printing and shipping, Kingston notes that he does not make a profit off Headlocked. But the stories are a valuable entity, also giving back to the wrestling community.
“We have three special covers for the Volume 2 book, and one of them is a Danhausen cover that is based off the first Creepshow movie poster,” he says. “Danhausen got hurt and broke his leg at a show, and we’re donating all the profits from the Danhausen cover to him to help cover his medical bills.”
Comic books are a natural evolution and extension of the larger-than-life characters in wrestling, and there is so much more Kingston plans to do with combining the two worlds. He just wrote a script for a horror movie that he plans to adapt into a comic book, and there is a plethora of new projects coming soon to readers.
“We have a ton of stuff lined up,” Kingston says. “There is a collaboration with The IInspiration that has a Nightmare on Elm Street vibe where Freddy Krueger is played by hateful internet comments. We have a Christmas story lined up with a very unlikely guest, one that is really going to surprise people. There is so much coming up, and I can’t wait for everyone to find out more.”
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Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.