Markosia Enterprises, in association with Visionary Comics Studio, announced today its release of Headlocked, a dramatic series based on the world of professional wrestling. The series focuses on Mike Hartmann, a skinny theater major and his unlikely journey to become a pro wrestler. “Basically he gets dragged to a WWE-style wrestling match and he gets caught up in the show,” explains series creator Michael Kingston. “A lot of wrestlers start out as fans. At some point they’ve all had that moment where they see something amazing in the ring and in their head they say, “I want to do this”. Well that happens to Hartmann in a big way.
But before he can perform under the bright lights of big time televised wrestling, he will have to negotiate the seedy underbelly of a business that in some ways hasn’t progressed much from its carnival roots. It’s a journey filled with con men, racism, drugs, money, sex, and violence–both scripted and unscripted. “I purposely based the story around a character with very limited knowledge of the wrestling business so that the story is accessible to anyone. The only thing Hartmann knows about wrestling is what he’s seen on TV and some research he’s done on the internet. He thinks that because he knows a few insider trade secrets that he’s ready which leads to him getting in over his head very quickly.”
But the story isn’t just about wrestling, Kingston stresses. “The series deals a lot with the concept of identity. One of the underlying themes of Headlocked is how people define themselves and why they choose to define themselves in certain ways. Hartmann has spent his whole life being a certain type of person and now after one night he’s decided to scrap all that and become something completely different.”
According to Kingston, one of his big motivations for writing Headlocked was to challenge a lot of popular misconceptions about professional wrestling itself. “I’ve been a fan of wrestling and its history for almost 20 years and there is so much more to it than just two guys pretending to hit each other. For the most part, the general public has no idea how much talent and skill it takes to become a good professional wrestler. I’m hoping that people who follow the series will come away with a little more appreciation and respect for what these guys do.
Headlocked joins an impressive roster of titles from Markosia including licensed heavyweights Starship Troopers, Heretic, The Lexian Chronicles, and the upcoming Kong: King of Skull Island! “Markosia has published a lot of cool titles and they have some really exciting things lined up for the future and I am thrilled to be a part of it. They have really given me the freedom to tell the story that I want to tell and as a creator you can’t ask for much more than that!” The book also represents the first full length title from Visionary Comics Studio. Kingston credits VCS for being the first people to really “get” the series. “Really without VCS, there wouldn’t be a Headlocked. (VCS Creative Director) Chuck Sellner and Charlie Hall were the first people who understood what I was trying to do with the concept. From there, they’ve helped me every step of the way from production to publication.”
The series formally launches this October with Headlocked: The Work of Art, a 48-Page One-Shot Special priced at a great value of only $3.99! The Special has pencils by Randy Valiente, colors by Jessika Gravel, letters by Jason Arthur and features a painted cover by Colton Worley.
However, to celebrate the upcoming full special release, Markosia and Visionary are releasing an extremely limited collector’s Convention Exclusive Preview Edition. However, this Preview Edition will not just be a book with sketches, pinups and preview pages of the main book. It will be 20 pages of 100% original content created exclusively for this preview edition for only $2.00! It will include an original short story introducing the world to Mike Hartmann. It will also setup one of the interweaving storylines following the mysterious disappearance of a pro wrestler known as the Ultimate Soldier. In addition there will be a poster pinup of the superstar wrestlers of Headlocked and other special features giving a glimpse into this rich world. The book will boast a variant cover and will only be available at select summer conventions. It will make its debut this coming weekend at the Wizard Con in Philadelphia. From there, it will also be available at Wizard World Chicago August 9-12, the Toronto Fan Expo Aug. 24th-26th and the Orlando Comic Con September 21-23. It will also be the centerpiece of the Visionary Booth at their home con, the Baltimore Comic Con September 8-9.
VCS Creative Director C. Edward Sellner added, “we’re celebrating Headlocked in a big way because its going to be a big book! We know there are tons of fans out there who have been asking, pleading, and just about threatening to put US in a headlock if this book didn’t come out soon. We have a strong promotional presence in the wrestling media market which will ensure that the literally millions of fans of pro-wrestling will know about and be looking for this book! We’ve had folks offering interviews and reviews to get word out since late last year! We also are pretty confident that a lot of comic retailers are going to see the natural crossover market of comic fans who are into wrestling and wrestling fans into comics. So, you’re going to want to be early in line to get your copies!”
So if you have ever been a fan of professional wrestling, check out Headlocked: The Work of Art in October. “The series is my love letter to the sport- yes I said sport- of professional wrestling. If you’re one of those people who get hung up on the fact that it’s not “real”, you should definitely give the book a try. I can guarantee that you’ll never look at professional wrestling the same way again”!
Headlocked: Work of Art will be solicited in the July Previews and can be pre-ordered at your local comic store or mail order service, be sure and reserve your copy! For complete up to date information on conventions where the Preview book will be on sale, as well as complete information on ordering Headlocked: Work of Art, be sure and check in at www.visionarycomics.com often!