Since we interviewed Mike Kingston, creator of the pro wrestling comic Headlocked, at 2013’s New York Comic Con, protagonist Mike Hartmann has looked to avoid prying eyes while still chasing his grappling dream in The Last Territory. We caught up with Kingston this year for Round 2!
Adventures in Poor Taste: So, Mike this is the second time we’re doing this, the second year in a row, I guess it’s getting to be a bit of a tradition, I suppose.
Mike Kingston: Yeah, I like that, it’s like a national holiday. Don’t go to school today, kids!
AiPT: Last time we talked, you were doing a Kickstarter for the first installment of Headlocked: The Last Territory. How did that go?
Kingston: Good. The Kickstarter was strong; we ended up getting $27,000, which I think is pretty good for an indie book. We made the book, we put it out, it looks gorgeous. Everybody sort of really knocked it out of the park. So I couldn’t be happier with how that all played out.
AiPT: Headlocked is kind of the continuing journey of aspiring wrestler Mike Hartmann. For people who aren’t familiar with [Headlocked], tell us a little bit about where he’s been and where he might be going.
Kingston: In the first installment, as we find him, he’s in Texas, in a place called “The Last Territory,” that’s based around a very hyper-regional star, a guy in Texas who won a town in Texas their only high school football championship, and he’s been a legend ever since, and they built a wrestling company around him.
So [Hartmann’s] down there, hiding his identity. We don’t necessarily know why, but that’s something we can reveal in time. We’ve got a mashup of sort of old territory-style with sort of current wrestling politics mixed in. It’s a lot of fun, I think.
AiPT: And you’ve got a Kickstarter right now for the second installment of The Last Territory, right?
Kingston: Yes, Jerry [Lawler]’s on the covers again, Booker T and Tony Atlas and Caylen Croft of the Dudebusters are doing art for it. John Morrison, Frankie Kazarian and AJ Styles are doing stories. We’ve got some people we’re trying to line up to do the introduction. We’ve got some cool stuff. The people who pledge on the Kickstarter get a better version of the book than people who buy it at shows. We try to reward people for helping out when we need ‘em to.
AiPT: What do you like in wrestling right now? Is there any one guy you really like to see on TV, or anywhere else?
Kingston: I like a lot of the independent stuff. There’s a lot of guys doing really cool stuff on the independents. I like Chikara, I’ve always been a fan. There’s a group out in Oakland called Hoodslam that’s sort of like a stoner Chikara, that I think is awesome. I really like what they’re doing. I enjoy a little of everything, really. I think some of the creativity and stuff on the independents is great, and who doesn’t like Dean Ambrose?
AiPT: Have you been to any shows lately?
Kingston: I was at [Chikara’s] King of Trios. I’ve got a bunch of shows lined up in November, once the Kickstarter’s done. I’ve been, pretty much, having to hit the con circuit all summer. I’m going to 2CW in November for the [Young] Bucks and the Dudleys, which I’m pretty excited about … That should be a pretty awesome match.
AiPT: The older volumes of Headlocked, I’m sure, you can get on your website.
Kingston: Yep. headlockedcomic.com or, if you’re interested in pledging through the Kickstarter, you can get everything through there, depending on the size of your pledge. We have various packages and such.
The Kickstarter for Headlocked: The Last Territory, Volume 2, ends on November 4, and is the only way to get the wrestler-created content along with Mike Hartmann’s story. Both volumes of The Last Territory can be bundled together, if you missed the first print run of the initial edition.