Michael Kingston is the writer and creator of the comic book series Headlocked. The series is about a college theater major who attends a wrestling show and is captivated by the pageantry and psychology of the business, and sees it as a higher level of performance art. He becomes obsessed with learning the craft and thus starts his journey in the world of pro wrestling. The comic book features art by Randy Valiente, and the covers are done by WWE Hall of Famer Jerry ” The King” Lawler. Michael will be touring the comic conventions this Summer and Fall promoting Headlocked, and has agreed to be interviewed for the Guys Nation website.

GuysNation: Let’s start with getting to know you and a little bit about your love of the sport of Pro Wrestling. When did you first become a fan of wrestling, and who were some of your favorites when you first started watching?

Michael Kingston: The first wrestling match I ever saw was a Saturday Night’s Main Event. The match that did it for me was a six man with Barry Windham, Mike Rotundo, and Rick Steamboat vs. Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, and George Steele. The Animal did his turnbuckle schtick and I was hooked right then!

My early favorites were Windham, Rotundo, “Quick Draw” Rick McGraw, and Tito Santana.

GN: How has your taste in wrestling evolved as you have gotten older?

Michael Kingston: Growing up, like most kids I was strictly a WWE kid. Eventually I discovered NWA/WCW and I watched that too. Back in 2003, I discovered the indies and Puro and it really took my love of wrestling to another level! These days I can watch anything….the smallest indy to the biggest feds and find something I enjoy about it.

GN: Do you still read the same comic series that you enjoyed when you were younger, if not how have your tastes in comics changed over the years.

Michael Kingston: When I started with comics, I was pretty much an X-Men person and that was it. Occasionally, I’d pick up Spider-man or Hulk but for the most part it was just Marvel’s Merry Mutants. Much like the indies sort of reawakened my love of wrestling…discovering Vertigo reawakened my love for comics. More specifically Preacher. These days I tend to read a lot of Vertigo and indies but I also enjoy some stand alone characters. I really try to avoid crossovers and tentpole franchises because they’re just too expensive to keep up with.

GN:What was your inspiration for the Headlocked series?

Michael Kingston: If you’ve been a wrestling fan long enough, you get tired of defending it. Headlocked, when its all said and done, will be my defense of the craft of professional wrestling as a full-on performance art. My goal is to have someone who doesn’t really care about wrestling or maybe sees it as a road runner stunt show to be able to see all the wonderful nuances that sometimes get overshadowed by the bluster or bad booking.

GN: For those not familiar with the series, can you tell us a little bit about the plot of the first mini-series?

Michael Kingston: The first mini-series is entitled “The Tryout” and it follows up our introductory one-shot “Work of Art” When we left Work of Art, Mike Hartmann had signed up for a tryout at a wrestling school of a legendary tough guy. The Tryout is how that all works out for him and the aftermath.

GN: This series seems right up the alley of a wrestling fans like myself, but tell us a little bit about why the casual comic fan who may not watch wrestling on a regular basis if at all should be reading this series.

Michael Kingston: At it’s core, the story is about a kid who strikes out on his own to follow his dreams. Who can’t relate to that? I’ve had a ton of non-wrestling fans come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed the series and how much heart the books have.

GN: Legendary wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler does the cover art for this series. How did you decide to contact him about the project, and what was his original feelings about Headlocked?

Michael Kingston: Jerry may have made his name in wrestling but I can tell you that art is his first love. I knew he was an artist so I approached him about the series. He asked to take a look at some books and he liked what I was doing and wanted to be a part of it.

GN: Headlocked has gotten good buzz in the wrestling world with stars like RVD, Hurricane Helms, and Samoa Joe giving it praise. Normally there is an upside and a downside to everything has the comic been met with any resistance or negativity from anyone in the business?

Michael Kingston: Honestly, I have yet to meet anyone who has had anything bad to say about the books. I think people realize the respect I have for the business….they know I’m a legit fan and that I’m not out to disparage anyone. In all honesty, I’ve only had one negative comment about the series from anyone….and that guy was complaining about the finishers I had chosen for the WFW guys. And really, if that’s your big issue….you aren’t getting the point of the series.

GN: At your convention appearances your selling a limited edition trade paperback that collect the entire story to date. This comes with an introduction from Christopher Daniels, and a pin up poster by PWG’s Scott Lost. Can you let us in on any other surprises in the works? Personally I’d love to see some sort of interaction with my favorite wrestler/comic geek Gregory Helms.

Michael Kingston: Right now we have a bunch of stuff on the table with some really huge and unexpected names. I was hoping to have more signed and sealed for Comic Con but sometimes these things take time. But rest assured you haven’t seen the end of wrestler involvement with Headlocked.

GN: Any word on when the fans can expect to see the next chapter of Mike Hartmann’s journey?

Michael Kingston: We’re in negotiations with several publishers and depending on how that all shakes out….I’ll be able to better answer your question. There will definitely be some new content hitting the web much sooner than later though….

GN: With the trend of comic book movies lately, if Hollywood offered you the big budget movie or tv series for Headlock and you had a choice in the cast who would you put in the lead role?

Michael Kingston: Probably an unknown for Hartmann and surround him with names. It’s funny because when I’m writing the scripts, I generally have an actor in mind to play a character but I don’t when I write for Hartmann.

GN: If you had become a professional wrestler what would your name and gimmick have been?

Michael Kingston: Never really given it much thought. Given the way my mind works, I’d probably have some sort of sexual innuendo type name…

GN: Who do you think will be the next break out star on the Indy wrestling scene?

Michael Kingston: While he’s already been around….I think Brodie Lee is the most television ready wrestler on the indies. I’ve seen this guy literally steal some indy shows up here in the northeast with his crazy wild redneck act. It’s a shame that so many people book him like Diesel when they should be booking him like Stan Hansen or Brody.

GN: Who wins in a fight between John Cena and Superman? HHH and Batman? Who gets the main event on that show?

Michael Kingston: Like any fight between fictional characters, it depends on who is paying for it. I think Bats gets the main right now only because his movies are way hotter than Supes.

GN: One last question, Who would you like to see headline Wrestlemania 27?

Michael Kingston: I’m really not sure. I’m not sure there’s a real “Wrestlemania” worthy match that I can see right now. I’m sure they’ll come up with something but most of the top guys all have a pretty long history with each other. I’m sure they’ll pull something out….they always do.

GN: Thanks for your time and good luck on your future efforts with the Headlocked series and hopefully the GuysNation readers will take the opportunity to stop by and meet you at the upcoming conventions.

Michael Kingston: Thanks for having me. If anyone is interested in keeping up with the happenings on Headlocked, follow my Twitter @headlockedcomic or email me at headlockedcomic@yahoo.com!

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You can meet Michael Kingston (along with Jerry “The King” Lawler) at various Comic Conventions through the Summer and Fall:

San Diego Comic Con July 22nd-25th
New York Comic Con October 8th-10th
Austin Comic Con November 12th-14th

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If you can’t make it to the convention and still want to check out the series, here is how.

Digitally download Headlocked at Drive Thru Comics!

Issue #0 (sold out in print) 1.00
Work of Art #1 (sold out in print) 2.00
The Tryout Issues 1-3 1.00 each

http://comics.drivethrustuff.com/

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Order Headlocked online @ headlockedcomic@yahoo.com

Package #1
Entire run of Headlocked books (4 issues, 120 pages) for 15 dollars

Package #2
The Tryout mini-series (3 issues, 72 pages) and Headlocked T-shirt (M, L, XL) for 20 dollars

Package #3
Entire run of Headlocked books (4 issues, 120 pages) and Headlocked T-shirt (M, L, XL ) for 25 dollars.

Free shipping!!!! Paypal, MO, Check accepted!!!!