Exclusive: Headlocked Comics' Michael Kingston on working with WOW & more
As shown on Sportskeeda, WOW -- short for "Women Of Wrestling" -- premiered earlier this year via Mark Cuban's AXS TV network. Co-owned by the Los Angeles Lakers' Jeanie Buss and GLOW founder Dave McClane, WOW is helping to bring women's wrestling to the forefront with WOW Season 2 premiering on September 7th.
To celebrate WOW's second season, Headlocked Comics teamed with WOW owners Jeanie Buss and Dave McClane to bring their WOW Superheroes to the Headlocked Comics booth at San Diego Comic Con earlier this month. In turn, among the talent on-site at Headlocked's booth were Tessa Blanchard and The Beast.
Michael Kingston is notably the writer and creator of Headlocked Comics. Headlocked has worked with a variety of wrestling legends over the years including AJ Styles, Booker T, Jerry "The King" Lawler, Christopher Daniels, Rob Van Dam, Ric Flair, Kenny Omega, Mick Foley, Samoa Joe, MVP, John Morrison, Hurricane Helms, Tony Atla, and The Young Bucks. Kingston himself also notably did work for WWE’s comic from BOOM Studios.
I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Michael Kingston about working with WOW and what's coming up for Headlocked Comics. More on Kingston and team can be found online by visiting the company's official website at www.headlockedcomic.com.
How did this partnership with WOW come about?
Michael Kingston: WOW was interested in having a presence at Comic Con and someone from AXS TV reached out to me to see if we could make something happen. Now, I really like WOW's presentation and approach to wrestling. It's not something that anyone else is really doing and I have so much respect for David McLane as a promoter, so it was a no-brainer to have them appear at the booth.
Any highlights from you from this month's event?
Michael Kingston: The WOW signings were incredible. We had the aisles jammed up for both signings. Jeanie Buss was so happy to be there and so fan-friendly, and I can't say enough about The Beast -- she was amazing. Tessa Blanchard is probably one of the two or three most popular women in all of wrestling, so she also drew a huge crowd by herself!
Are there plans to work together beyond Comic Con?
Michael Kingston: We've definitely talked and while there's nothing specific yet, I wouldn't be surprised to see future collaborations. There's lots of synergy in what we both do.
What was your entry into being a wrestling fan? A particular era?
Michael Kingston: There always needs to be the guy that makes you stop flipping channels and take notice of what you're watching. For me, that was George "The Animal Steele" on the first Saturday Night's Main Event. He was so crazy and outrageous -- I'd never seen anything like him. And I've been watching wrestling in some form ever since.
Who are some of your favorites within WOW?
Michael Kingston: I mentioned Tessa and The Beast but also I really like Fire and Faith The Lioness, which is why we chose to feature them in our SDCC Exclusive art print.
What was the last live wrestling event you attended?
Michael Kingston: One of the cool things about Headlocked is that I can also sell it at wrestling shows! I regularly attend indies in the Northeast and also events that are happening when I'm in town for a convention. The last event I attended was a Northeast Wrestling show in Danbury, CT featuring SCU vs Lucha Brothers. I regularly attend NEW, ROH, GCW, Beyond Wrestling, and Capitol Wrestling Events that are within 4-5 hours drive from my house.
WOW aside, what is coming up for Headlocked Comics?
Michael Kingston: We have Volume 4 dropping in October along with some fun pop culture/wrestling mashup shirts and prints. I'm also continuing our Tales From The Road spin-off featuring stories co-created by wrestlers in December.
When not busy with Headlocked, how do you like to spend your free time?
Michael Kingston: I literally don't have free time. I'm the writer, creative director, art wrangler, accountant, agent, and merch designer for Headlocked. I currently have 9 different projects outside of Headlocked in various stages of development including other comics and a film project. And I'm on the road between 35-45 weekends a year at cons and wrestling shows to bring Headlocked to the masses.
I also work a full-time job to make money to maintain my convention presence because that is not a small expense. The closest thing I have to free time is playing fetch with my dog when I'm on a call with an agent or a printer or something.
I don't mean to make it sound like I'm complaining. It's exhausting but super-fulfilling. It's not a life for everyone but it's 100% the life for me.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Michael Kingston: It's cliched as it comes but don't give up on your dreams. When I pitched Headlocked to comic book companies, there were people who straight-up laughed at the idea of wrestling comics. Once we published the book, I was told "no" by so many comic-cons that didn't want wrestling at their shows.
And in the last 10 years, not only have I published wrestling comic books, I've collaborated with some of the biggest stars in wrestling. I've also opened up at least 20 comic-cons to wrestling and I've done and seen more cool stuff than you could ever imagine.
Just make it happen.