It’s been a helluva a year for Mike Kingston and his wrestling comic passion project, Headlocked. From meager beginnings to a panel at last year’s New York Comic Con, the remastered Headlocked: A Single Step has since had a successful Kickstarter campaign, and Kingston has appeared on WWE Network’s Culture Shock and even won the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship.
AiPT! caught up with Kingston at this year’s New York Comic Con to see what’s next for Headlocked, where Mike dropped an announcement we weren’t expecting!
AiPT!: So here we are again, Mike, Comic Con 2016, in New York. Bigger and better every year, don’t you think?
Kingston: Yeah, when I started this whole thing, I was just a kid who wanted to write a wrestling comic because there weren’t any good ones, and now I’m sharing a booth with Ric Flair and Jerry Lawler and Mick Foley. It’s a wrestling fan’s dream come true. It’s a wrestling comic writer’s dream come true. It’s exceeded every expectation I possibly could have had.
AiPT!: So what you’re telling me is, you never expected to be a former professional wrestling champion?
Kingston: No, no — it’s funny to me how many people come up to me, and they’ll be like, “Oh, man, I saw your DDT Pro title reign.” Wrestlers are like, “Ah, I was so jealous that you won that.” Just a random thing. It’s super fun, and I’ve been really blessed. Business has been good to me.
AiPT!: What else has been going on in the world of Headlocked this year?
Kingston: We’re getting the remastered book done. We’re about three weeks out from that; it looks gorgeous. We’ve got awesome content coming, added — Jerry just turned out another amazing [Norman] Rockwell [inspired] cover, and I’m overwhelmed with names who want to do stories for the book, to the point where I’m considering doing an anthology just of wrestler stories. It’s been unreal. The response from the wrestlers, the wrestling fans — it’s been great.
AiPT!: And it’s spreading outward, too, because you had the Headlocked panel here last year, but now we’ve got BOOM! Studios doing the WWE comics; they have their panel. Lucha Underground is here — I know you’re a fan of them.
Kingston: Sure, and a little secret — I’m going to be doing some of the backup stories in those WWE comics, with some of my famous friends. We’re going to be co-writing some stuff. AJ [Styles] and Finn [Bálor] and [Samoa] Joe, just doing a couple of fun, little things. We’re pretty excited about that, too.
AiPT!: Do you think wrestling is finally working its way into geek culture, or what’s going on here?
Kingston: I do. I think you’ve got a lot of guys who grew up in the Attitude Era — we’re 10, 15 years out from that — and now they’re in positions of influence. They’re sort of able to influence the marketplace.
AiPT!: So what’s next in Mike Hartman’s journey?
Kingston: We’ve got some really crazy stuff coming up. We’re going to reveal his big sort of, unfortunate moment that put him where he is today. The story after that is amazing. I’m so excited for it, I can’t even wait. I’m very excited to write it. If we could get some more hours in the day, I’d be doing something.
Headlocked: The Last Territory Volumes 1 and 2 are available now.