From Kurtis Wiebe, Stjepan Sejic, Image Comics.
I have been very late to the Rat Queens bandwagon. When the comic book started my life was a bit chaotic with a new baby. As Kurtis himself can relate too (beautiful kid BTW). So how easy is it to jump in to this new acclaimed series nine issues in?
Very easy and very fun.
This comic takes you to the beach and then puts you on a 20 foot high slide that tosses you all the way out where the water is over your head and its freezing but you’re so far out the only option is to go along for the ride and wow what a rush.
I don’t remember the names of any of the Rat Queens nor other characters in the book but you know something? It doesn’t matter overall. No one remembers all the characters names after the first episode of a TV show but if its a good enough show you’ll come back week after week and learn along the way. Rat Queens gets a season pass.
In an early review someone called this book an all female Dungeons and Dragons group and after reading it I couldn’t agree more. Every ridiculous over the top person who has been working on his/her character for years that you have encountered is here in one of these women. But better. Violent, loud mouthed, sexual, strong, sexy, fuck you I’m whatever I want to be. Its all here.
While I had no clue what was going on, I was still entranced. Damn right I’ll be picking up all previous issues. However, this is Empire Strikes Back level in issue nine. The bad guy has the upper hand. The Rat Queens and crew are beat down and separated. They all must overcome something to get back into the fight and it not only makes the book stronger but also makes every character matter.
Kurtis is writing this book like a great wrestling booker. The hero is only as strong as the villain. By seeing the Rat Queens beat down like this it means the villain is bigger and his eventual defeat will have that much bigger impact. I know it seems like a no brainer for comic writing (and wrestling) but there’s a reason Stilt-Man is considered a joke and Green Goblin is a terror. There is a reason Rat Queens is growing with every issue and titles not to be named are wallowing in quarter bins.
Disclaimer (probably the first of many): I’m white so chances are I might say something stupid here but I don’t mean for it to be stupid.
I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. This week wrestling fans have been trying to get the Divas more attention. Longer matches, more respect. I agree with all of this and then some. Wrestling has long loved the blonde champions. But any other option seems few, far between, and a struggle to come by.
Recently there was a rumor that WWE is looking for a new Hispanic star to appeal to that community. Rey Mysterio is most likely gone, Alberto Del Rio is definitely out and Sin Cara never caught on. WWF and WWE has appealed to the Italians, Irish, Hispanic, but where are the great Black world champions?
I’m talking about the classic long running WWE title. The winged eagle. The spinner belt. All of that. That classic belt has never been won by a black man. (I know what you’re thinking, and I’ll get there in a minute.)
Booker T and Mark Henry held the World title in WWE. The absorbed WCW/Ric Flair belt. The WWE-ECW title was never a world title. If anything it was equivalent to the Intercontinental or US title. However, it is within these titles that the glass ceiling for black wrestlers emerges. Many of the black wrestlers with unlimited potential reach these mid card titles and are never given another chance. Whether they’re not good enough, or the fans don’t get behind them, or a hundred other reasons – none of these men have stepped up to that WWE title level. Kofi Kingston, Big E, Ezekiel Jackson, D-Lo Brown, Ahmed Johnson, Marc Mero, Bobby Lashley, The Godfather, Shelton Benjamin, MVP, R-Truth and I’m sure I’m forgetting people. I’m fans of many of these guys. I’m sure you’re a fan of lots of them too. We could both argue at least a name or two that should have been given at least a try at the top. But alas, no.
Which brings us to the Rock. I am not counting the Rock as a Black world champion for two reasons. One, I remember the whole “is Tiger Woods black” argument from a few years back and I just don’t feel like dealing with it. Two, if WWE is going to build up Roman Reigns’s Samoan heritage and drag out the Rock because he is family (and thus also Samoan) then that is putting Samoan first, not his father’s genetics.
So where are the Black world champions Vince?
Personally I think Titus O’Neil is one piece away from becoming a major star in WWE and the next potential man to step up.
This mystery is much longer than 25 years old, but I’m going to pretend I still knew what something was 25 years ago and have forgotten since.
In 1988 I was 10 years old and that fall about to start 4th grade. (I’m pretty sure. I’m doing some rusty math here and guessing that’s what grade I was in that year. If not then I’m one off but its not the point of this story. Which we shall now get back to.) My mom took me out shopping for new school supplies. Due to attending a Catholic school with uniforms there wasn’t the same craziness to buy a ton of new clothes. Kinda going to wear the same thing most days. That means my Mom was very generous and let me pick out new folders, pens, pencils, crayons, binders, and much more things I didn’t need. Including a new lunchbox.
My grade school self could probably remember every lunchbox I had and which year or years they lasted. By the time high school came around I was brown bagging or cooler bagging it and cherished information like lunchbox characters went out my head to make room for what can I pretend to have interest in in order to get this girl to talk to me. (Answer, 90210.)
Once I discovered the geek community online and started writing about such topics I began to reminisce on the geeky items from my past. It took a while to hunt for some things that I only had basic memories of. Things like what was that movie with the hair growing and the peanut butter? (Answer, The Peanut Butter Solution.)
So when I’m trying to remember a lunchbox that had baseball cards all over it that were kind of like Garbage Pail Kids but not, well, that’s a pretty vague search. I have tried off an on for years to find out something about this lunchbox. Checking lunchbox sites, eBay, Etsy. Giving up and looking up thermos in hopes to find out something new. Garbage Pail baseball cards. Nope. Wacky Packages lunchbox. Not even close. I even looked through old Mad magazines to see if someone’s art looked similar to my decades old memories.
Then, randomly today I tried something new. I typed in “GPK Knock Offs”. There in a Google Image search was the answer. The moment I saw it I knew this was the answer.
Except it was not.
I still have not found the lunchbox but thanks to my buddy Shawn at Branded in the 80s who wrote this post before I started reading his site I have my answer.
Awesome All Stars and Baseball’s Greatest Gross Outs cards from Donruss/Leaf. Printed in 1988 and with art from B.K. Taylor.
Shawn’s article is here: http://brandedinthe80s.com/6373/peel-here-109-in-monster-baseball-you-use-grave-markers-as-the-bases
I still cant find any mention or image of the lunchbox. But now I have at least narrowed it down. I know what to look for. I know what to search and ask people about. Worst of all though, I now have a new collection. I have to get my hands on these cards. Maybe once life gets normal again. Or if some fall in my lap during yard sale season.
I cant express how happy I am to discover this. Here are some card images to make you fall in love with these strange things as well. Maybe rekindle some of your own memories.
(Photo from Branded)
As a child of the 80s I watched wrestling every chance I could. The glory days of Hulkamania when we all still believed. The excitement when cartoons were over on Saturday mornings because Saturday afternoons meant WWF Superstars. It took a lot to convince Mom/Dad to spend the money on a pay per view. But that was where important things happened. If you wanted to see name talent vs name talent it had to be on PPV. Except for those weeks when there was no Saturday Night Live. On those weeks we got the equivilent of a PPV, we got Saturday Night’s Main Event.
There were many memorable story lines and matches from these shows. So many that WWE put out a DVD set of them. That’s not why we’re here today. See, the then WWF knew that there would be non wrestling fans turning in. People who expected SNL. These people might take a minute to figure out what’s going on and if all went well maybe enjoy the show and become fans. That means they need to get caught up right away. Who is who, who will be wrestling tonight, and a little something about the characters. The easiest and fastest way to do this was with character logos!
Look at that! It tells you everything you need to know.
The Bushwhackers are obviously from some untamed wilderness. Not only because of the name but because there is foliage growing out of that name! Its so overgrown that the plants cover everything about them. Then there are the Nasty Boys. Ugly purple with a blue that doesn’t really fit the color wheel. The letters are at crazy angles and look like graphitti. They must be bad guys. Against the rules. Against society’s order. Who will be the victor tonight? Those who are against society or those who aren’t from it? This will be a barn burner!
Then there is the star of the show:
First the heels. The Genius. What a great unsung gimmick. If you doubt his intelligence there’s the cap and tassel right there to bring home the point. He’ll be teaming with Mr Perfect. Look at that golden intricate logo. This man must be descended from royalty. The only way that logo could look more regal would be purple accents.
Then there are the wrestling gods of the day. The Ultimate Warrior has not only his name but face on this graphic. Eyes starring right into your soul. Blazing war paint. Colors that match the flames of burning energy inside of him. Only bested by the red and yellow of Hulkamania.
Hulkamania appears huge and vibrant. While the Nasty Boys logo is chaotic the Hulkster is an explosion. The confines of the alphabet are not enough to contain the 24 inch pythons. Each letter crackles with so much energy you would think the legend of Hulk Hogan came from the mind of Jack Kirby himself.
There are many many more logos from this era that I would like to show off. If anyone has good stills of them send them my way.
In the mean time take a look at this image collage of logos I would love to see individually.