Rob Schamberger is a graphic artist whose love for and knowledge of the history of professional wrestling come clear in his new comic The Promotion, first issue published last month. The Missouri Wrestling Revival website compares the graphic novel, set in a fictional Kansas City wrestling promotion in the 1970s, to the Mad Men TV series.
I liked the first chapter, available here for fifty cents. The first chapter introduces us to the major characters and the opening crisis, a controversial match which forces the firing of a champ and sends the promotion scurrying for a way to hold on to a rapidly diminishing fan base. I should add that the comic takes a passing swipe at the homophobia of the business and yet also acknowledges, rather drily, the homoeroticism of two half-naked men groping each other under hot lights.
Schamberger has a bold expressionistic style that well suits the subject matter. Given my love of old-school wrestling and its storied past, it's no surprise that I'd love this work, even though the number of graphic novels I've read can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Right now, the complete first issue is available only in shops in Kansas and Missouri, so I don't know whether I will ever get my hands on the whole book here in North Carolina. But my interest has definitely been piqued.
Randy Orton, by Rob Schamberger