Headlocked was created by writer Mike Kingston, in
conjunction with Visionary Comics Studio, as a response to a long
history of wrestling comic books that were insulting to wrestling
fans. After years of being fed books featuring wrestlers fighting
demons, wandering post-Apocalyptic futures, or masquerading as secret
agents, Kingston decided on a novel concept….a wrestling story
that actual highlighted wrestling.
Headlocked, a coming-of-age story featuring Mike Hartmann, a young theater major that drops out of school to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler, debuted in 2008. The story almost immediately garnered near unanimous praise from both wrestling and comic fans alike for its universal themes and realistic portrayal of the wrestling business.
In 2009, impressed by the concept, WWE Hall of Famer, Jerry "The King" Lawler signed on to be the permanent cover artist on the book. His fully painted cover to Headlocked: The Tryout #1 was his first published comic book work.
The first collected edition, Headlocked: A Single Step was produced for SDCC in 2010. It featured a fully painted cover by Jerry "The King" Lawler and an introduction by Christopher Daniels. The book was very well received.
After a chance meeting at SDCC '12, New Zealand wrestler/artist Michel Mulipola signed on to become the interior artist going forward. This meant that from cover to cover, the art in Headlocked would be almost entirely produced by actual professional wrestlers.
In 2013, Headlocked launched a wildly successful Kickstarter to fund Headlocked: The Last Territory featuring art and stories from Jerry "The King" Lawler, Rob Van Dam, Hurricane Helms, Ken Anderson, Christopher Daniels, Sam Shaw, and Sinn Bodhi. It also featured an introduction from 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander. The book, along with Lawler's Norman Rockwell inspired cover has drawn rave reviews.
The following year, they launched their second successful Kickstarter to fund the next volume of The Last Territory featuring art and stories from Jerry Lawler, Booker T, John Morrison, Frankie Kazarian, AJ Styles, Tony Atlas, and Caylen Croft. It also features an introduction by comedian Ron Funches. The book is currently in production slated for a fall 2015 release.
And with each passing day, even more wrestlers are lining up to contribute to the series. Who? Stayed tuned....