Sometimes our postings on Living Between Wednesdays are a bit, well, sporadic. Other stuff is always popping up to keep us from posting new reviews and articles regularly, like Rachelle’s new baby or Tiina’s new job. The only one who seems immune to this particular phenomenon is Johnathan, who I’m beginning to suspect has no need for sleep or sustenance. My biggest excuse—other than just the usual divide between my full-time job and the need for social activity and general day-off lazening—is the completion of my online comic, Slam-A-Rama. At this point, you may be thinking, “Hey, wait a minute! This guy drew me into what I thought was an apologetic post about his lack of blog contributions, but now it’s morphing into a plug for his comic!”. If that is indeed what you are thinking…congratulations, that’s exactly correct. Sorry ‘bout that, but I’ve been working super hard on it and I really want people to check it out, and this seemed like a good way to introduce the comic to a bunch of new readers. Plus, LBW founder Rachelle urged me to do it, and who am I to argue?
Slam-A-Rama is a (projected) 120-page story that takes place on one night, during a superstar Pro Wrestling extravaganza in 1987. Over the course of this evening, a variety of dramas play out, both in the ring and backstage, amongst a diverse group of characters at various stages in their careers. Some of the protagonists, like Terry “The Tarantula” Purvis, Kreegah the Jungle Lord, or Jack Jordan, AKA the U.S. Male, are at the top of their game, and others, like Andy Reddick or the Crockett-and-Tubbs-inspired tag team Miami Heat, are on their last legs. The business end of the Unlimited Wrestling Federation is in turmoil as well, the victim of a bitter power struggle between UWF owner and founder Burt MacKinley and his ambitious son and heir apparent, Val. The marketing revenue brought in by promotional tie-ins like wrestling-themed record albums and Saturday morning cartoons promise to make millionaires out of some performers, while drug abuse and health issues threaten the livelihood of others.
This comic was inspired by my own love of ridiculous WWF extravaganzas like Wrestlemania III during the height of Reagan-era excess when I was a kid, so I wanted to play with the stereotypes of the time while peeling back the curtain to examine what forces might have driven people prone to wearing unitards and subjecting themselves to crazy gimmicks and codenames. Just as importantly, however, I was inspired by Robert Altman’s 1975 film Nashville—if you haven’t seen it, I strongly urge you to check it our right away. It follows a group of country music performers, utilizing an ensemble cast of about 24 main characters, to examine a country still struggling with the disillusionment of Vietnam and Watergate. The rambling, 2 and ½ hour story alternates between dramatic interludes and terrific musical performances (mostly written and performed by the actors themselves—Keith Carradine’s Oscar-winning ballad I’m Easy is a show-stopper). Although I’m not a country music fan, I loved the idea of mixing the dramatic elements with the performance elements, and that more than anything inspired me to combine character drama with (hopefully) action-packed wrestling matches in Slam-A-Rama, while using a very specific entertainment medium to examine a period in American history the way Nashville does. So hopefully, even if you don’t like wrestling, you’ll find something to appreciate in Slam-A-Rama, just like I, a non-country music fan, did with Nashville.
All right, enough of that. If any of this interests you, please check out Slam-A-Rama here, where you’ll find the first 25 pages and some bonus artwork, as well as new pages being added every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.