The crossover between comic fans and wrestling aficionados should come as no surprise: spandex-clad fights, soap-opera drama and over-the-top characters abound in both realms. Writer Aubrey Sitterson has long sat at that nexus, with stints behind the scenes at Marvel, working for WWE, scripting G.I. Joecomics and hosting his popular wrestling podcast. This fall, Sitterson’s passions collide in The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling with artist Chris Moreno. As the cover proudly proclaims, The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling is a “hardcore, high-flying, no-holds-barred history of the one true sport,” as rendered in Moreno’s chiseled cartooning.
“I’ve spent years writing comics, years working at WWE and years hosting my wrestling podcast STRAIGHT SHOOT…but it’s all been leading up to this: The synthesis of my two great pop culture loves, comics and wrestling,” Sitterson, always the carnival barker, told Paste over email. “Wrestling is a bright, dynamic art-form with a heavy focus on aesthetics, so it’s only natural that we explore The One True Sport through the medium of comics. And fortunately, I have the ideal tag team partner for the job, Chris Moreno, who possesses an uncanny ability to imbue his pages with humor and life, while nailing likenesses, period accurate clothing and even complicated wrestling holds.”
“I’d been an off-and-on wrestling fan over the years, but Aubrey eats, breathes and sleeps the stuff, so I knew I at least had a great foundation to bring these characters and events to life,” Moreno said. “On my end, I just had to try and translate at least some of the dynamic action onto the page. Though, wrestling is so similar to superhero comics—with its heroes and villains, epic battles and long-form, serialized drama—that the combination of the two art forms was pretty compatible.”
Moreno also credited the extended team for bringing The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling to life. “My colorists, Len O’Grady, Brad Simpson [and] Allen Passalaqua, and I have tried our best to be as accurate as possible to the time periods, characters, their gear and moves, while also heightening everything in the way that only comics can.”
The book comes courtesy of Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House that publishes cookbooks, self-help titles and comic collections like Fran Krause’s Deep Dark Fears. “The extended timetable compared with regular comics publishing, and the close involvement of their production team and ours, is a testament to the care they take with every book they do to deliver the highest quality presentation of the material, and gives me plenty of runway to take off from, creatively,” Moreno added.
Paste readers can take an exclusive, first-round look at Moreno’s cover for The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling, out October 9th, below.
The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling Cover Art by Chris Moreno