Wednesday, July 22, 2015


"If it's to the store where they sell leather bikinis with gloves and boots, they're all sold out."

Professional wrestlers are often referred to as "comic book characters," which is a comparison that does a disservice to both the wrestlers and the medium. At the very least, it implies that a professional wrestler's physical feats are fairly effortless - that Adrian Neville's high-flying leaps are no more complicated than Superman's gentle arcs over tall buildings, made in a single bound. It also does a disservice to comics, implying the simplicity of the contents of any given comic, but mostly it sells wrestlers short. It's a performance art which claims years of people's lives, and pays out in blood, sweat, tears, broken bones and tragically short lives - it's anything but effortless.

Wrestlers are, however, larger than life, and that makes them pretty good subjects for comic books, which they have been repeatedly over the years. That bombastic profile is apparently what inspired Chaos Comics to partner with the then-WWF to produce a series of heavy-violence, bloodbaths and beatdowns comics series starring some of the federation's then-most popular stars.

Murders and girders.
Resembling the current slate of WWE-produced action movies more than any in-ring storyline, the oddest pick out of the books was probably the statuesque Chyna, Ninth Wonder of the World and, at the very least, probably the most high-profile female wrestler on the roster.

A striking figure in the ring, Chyna wasnt all-that-frequently given a shot on the mic. Part of that had to do with her persona - she was an enforcer, an intimidating giant whose role was to stand in the back and stare daggers at the crowd while someone with more refined mic skills - or, for that matter, Triple H - handled the script.

Her comic book equivalent makes up for it in the two issues produced in 2000 and 2001, wherein Chyna quips kill lines and snide asides like a champ. "This is a social event, boys," she says, beating the tar out of gun-wielding goons at a fancy ball, "Now would you call guns social?" I mean, I didn't say they were winners, but at least she finally gets some lines.

The books posit a world where Chyna is a professional bodyguard-for-hire, decked out in her in-ring attire of a leather sports bra and two vinyl squares sewn over her bathing suit area with shoelaces. Dress for the job you want, I guess. On casual Friday she wears the same outfit, but in denim.

The first book is probably the more interesting of the two, if only because it's slightly more insane. Chyna is hired to play bodyguard to the only daughter of a successful - but shady - businessman who's been targeted by a sinister cultist named Kassandra and her all-male and largely incompetent Death Cult. "More like WIMP cult" quips Chyna as she makes short work of three of its husky members during a daylight kidnapping attempt. I'm sure that burned for weeks.

Yeah, because a cop might beat the shit out of you.
Her client, Elliot Banks, is only so concerned with the danger to his daughter, seeing as he's a super-sneery Nineties-style businessman and he's got to make money to pay for his expensive goatee. Plus he's saving up for a ponytail.

Oblivious to the threat to his own life, he fails to notice that his daughter has actually been brainwashed by the cult to straight-up stab him when he isn't looking. He might be distracted because he's busy trying to get inside whatever that is covering Chyna's nethers, although that only gets him hucked around the room a little.

The second volume has Chyna protecting the life of a mobster's wife, discovering only at the last second that the beleaguered bride and her felonious fella are actually working together to get a shot at the state's attorney. I swear there must be easier ways than trying to pull a fast one on a giant wrestler who can crush your skull with one hand, but it's their plan and they didn't ask me.

The plot in both issues is only a bit of service, though, as the appeal of the stories resides in Chyna performing improbable feats of strength and endurance. In the course of two issues, she disarms and beats the living hey-ho out of endless musclemen with guns, flies a glider onto a motorcycle, beats a helicopter to death, literally slugs a hill of heavily-armed bodybuilders into unconsciousness with a single shrug, rips a revolver in half, and shoulders about fifty steel girders into a hole with as much effort as a college freshman might use to shove a futon into a dorm room.

What's most rewarding about the books - at least for longtime wresting fans - is seeing the first storyline in Chyna's history where she had an opportunity to stand on her own. As a television character, she had always been paired with another more mic-savvy performer. Even if these comic book adventures starred only a representation of Chyna rather than the actual person, it was refreshing to see her have a chance to star in her own story instead of merely being an appendage to someone else's.

She's super-good at murdering dudes.

1 comment:

neofishboy said...

... and then she went on to lose an exceptionally sloppy boxing match against Joey Buttafuoco. At least it was better than the Tonya Harding/Paula Jones fight.

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