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The wildest moments from Marvel's WCW comic
In 1992, Marvel Comics released the first issue of WCW: World Championship Wrestling — a comic book featuring the Atlanta-based organization’s biggest stars including Sting, Lex Luger, Ron Simmons, The Steiner Brothers and Paul E. Dangerously’s Dangerous Alliance.
Comics have always been associated with bright-color-clad superheroes battling evil villains in an attempt to save their city and/or the world. Marvel did not reimagine WCW competitors as mutants or masked avengers, however. The house that Stan Lee built took a more serious approach to this particular series with an emphasis on matches, rivalries and situations that were believable — most of the time. As with any comic — especially in the 1990s — there were certainly some equally awesome and wacky moments and that is why this book is so much fun.
WWE.com thumbed through the first four issues of the series and narrowed down 10 of our favorite moments from the comic. ’Nuff said!
*All images scanned from WWE.com archived collection
WCW’s stars rumble in a battle royal
In 1992, the comics industry was in the midst of a major change. WCW comics hit shelves shortly before the debut of Spawn and Image Comics, and at a time when it was difficult to compete with familiar heroes such as The X-Men, Spider-Man, Superman and Batman.
WCW comics were unique, though. The creators of the comic did not want to stray far from reality and instead followed the lead of WCW programming, simply bringing the action to a new, fun medium. Kicking off the first issue with a battle royal was the perfect way to introduce readers and non-wrestling fans to the competitors of WCW. It was clear who the fans loved and who they loathed and the allegiances of stars like Arn Anderson, Ron Simmons and The Steiner Brothers were defined and identifiable by their actions. Even overweight rapping wrestler PN News looked like a million bucks thanks to the sharp lines and bright colors of this chaotic scene.
Everyone throws flying superkicks
One of the more ridiculous things about the first issue’s battle royal was the exorbitant amount of flying superkicks delivered in the contest. The first kick is thrown by Johnny B. Badd — not particularly jarring considering how athletic Badd was. It was eyebrow-raising, though, to see a powerhouse like WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons busting out the maneuver. At one point, Simmons’ flying superkick is so powerful that he manages to knock over three competitors, including Big Van Vader!
The flying superkicks were not limited to the first issue’s battle royal. The very first page of issue three features Sting leaping into the panel to kick a burly competitor named Yukon Pete.
Jim Ross and Paul Heyman make their comic book debut
The WCW comic featured play-by-play commentary similar to what was seen on WCW programming. Specifically, the main announcers were WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross who, at the time of the book’s publication, was the voice of WCW. Joining J.R. in the WCW comic was Paul Heyman — then known as Paul E. Dangerously — and Missy Hyatt who often sat alongside the WWE Hall of Famer in WCW. As Paul E.’s role as the leader of The Dangerous Alliance was revealed in the comic to coincide with reality, Jim Ross received new partners in Terry Taylor and the flamboyant Johnny B. Badd.
The addition of the commentary team brought an extra level of depth and realism to the printed page in an effort to capture the true action and excitement of WCW.
Snack vendors strike!
The second installment of WCW comics features The Steiner Brothers defeating the fictitious duo of Big Barney and Feral Fred. Afterward, the comic shows an interview with Dangerous Alliance members “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and Arn Anderson who threaten Rick & Scott while expressing their general distaste for the duo.
Later, when Missy Hyatt prepares to interview The Steiners, two apparent snack vendors prepare to strike from the behind. Using their snack carriers, the vendors attack the brothers and are revealed to be Anderson and Eaton. Although, The Steiners quickly fought off the onslaught, the imagery of the attack and its unexpected nature truly highlighted what the comic was all about.
Johnny B. Badd acts like Johnny B. Badd
Donning way too much makeup and looking like Little Richard with a bodybuilder’s physique, Johnny B. Badd was one of WCW’s most eccentric personalities and an unexpected star of the comic’s early issues. While the personas of many WCW competitors featured in the comic were altered or exaggerated for dramatic effect, Johnny B. Badd’s outlandish character in real-life was perfect for the paneled page. He offered a bit of comic relief and eventually made his way to the commentary booth alongside the comic book version of Jim Ross.
The best use of the three-time WCW TV Champion in the comic series actually comes on the cover of the fourth issue. One of the most crucial issues of the series, the comic book incarnation of The Dangerous Alliance is formed and things look dire for Sting. In the corner of the issue’s cover, though, placed right underneath the classic Marvel Comics logo, is Johnny B. Badd with his purple boa draped around his neck and a big grin on his face. For what is supposed to be a serious issue, it’s hard not to laugh when looking at this cover.
Lex Luger beats everyone and leaves
The real life drama of Lex Luger’s career had a major impact on his comic book alter ego. Introduced as WCW Champion in the first issue, Luger battles Ron Simmons, Sting and “Z-Man” Tom Zenk in the second installment.
Luger makes quick work of Z-Man, but resorts to nefarious tactics to defeat Sting. An assist from the mysterious trenchcoat-wearing individuals from the first issue eventually allow Luger to defeat Simmons as well. After The Total Package’s questionable victories, El Gigante makes his way to the ring to teach Luger a lesson. Undaunted by the giant, Lex uses a chair and the title to dispose of the monstrous competitor.
Following the intense 13 pages of WCW action in panel form, Missy Hyatt interviews the champion who says he is leaving WCW. By issue four, the title is vacated and Luger is no longer featured in the comic — in real life, Luger had left WCW for WWE in the months before the comic was released in May 1992.
Sting battles Cactus Jack on a cruise ship
The entire third issue of WCW’s comic series is pretty awesome — mostly because it takes place completely on a cruise ship. The issue opens with Sting battling fictional grappler Yukon Pete and then dancing the night away with Missy Hyatt in the ship’s nightclub. What unfolds next could only be described as a true comic book–worthy plot. As Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong attempt to injure Sting, Cactus Jack threatens to sink the ship with a bundle of dynamite.
The comic book incarnation of The Hardcore Legend was certainly more deranged than the real Mankind and believed that, even though the ship would sink, he would survive. After climbing the ship’s exhaust port, the two grapplers battled, eventually tumbling into a ring conveniently placed below them. In the end, The Stinger thwarted Cactus Jack’s plan, ultimately saving WCW’s Bruise Cruise before hitting the dance floor with Missy Hyatt.
Steve Austin & The Diamond Studd tangle with Jersey Jerry & Mangy Matt
The fourth issue of WCW’s comic was an important milestone for the series’ major storyline. The Dangerous Alliance was forming and the nefarious Ghoul was revealed. The opening bout featured in the first pages of the fourth issue is really neat for a few reasons, though. First, it features the comic book incarnations of “Stunning” Steve Austin and The Diamond Studd — better known today as “Stone Cold” and Scott Hall.
The duo battles fictitious grapplers Jersey Jerry and Mangy Matt. The match is completely one-sided as Austin and Studd defeat their opponents with ease. Throughout the entire bout, The Diamond Studd does not remove his sunglasses and at one point, Austin yanks off Jersey Jerry’s boot and uses it as a foreign object. The match was didn’t last long, but expertly displayed the teamwork between Austin and Studd before the full revelation of The Dangerous Alliance at the end of the issue.
The best part of the first four issues of the WCW comic is not the slow build toward the formation of The Dangerous Alliance, but the imposing presence of The Ghoul. First introduced in the second issue, the masked mystery man is later revealed as the mastermind behind Cactus Jack’s plot to sink The Bruise Cruise — and ultimately The Stinger — in the third issue.
With the WCW Championship vacated, the fourth issue features the in-ring debut of The Ghoul against his nemesis, Sting. Over the course of the next eight pages, The Ghoul physically dominates Sting and even disposes of Ron Simmons who comes to The Stinger’s aid. The masked grappler accidentally takes out the referee with a steel chair — ending his title opportunity. Nevertheless, The Ghoul takes the title for himself and The Dangerous Alliance joins The Ghoul.
The ultimate cliffhanger occurs on the last page of issue four, though, when The Ghoul reveals himself to be “Ravishing” Rick Rude! Of course, the events in this issue echo Rude’s real-life WCW debut as the Halloween Phantom at Halloween Havoc 1991.
The Dangerous Alliance
The major storyline throughout the first issues of the WCW comic was the formation of The Dangerous Alliance. Already established in real-life, the faction’s comic book formation began during the battle royal in the first issue as two mysterious individuals wearing trenchcoats taunt eliminated competitors. The shady characters appeared again in the second issue, after Dangerous Alliance members Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton attacked The Steiner Brothers.
The comic’s fourth issue — aptly titled “Dangerous Alliances” — is when the faction is finally revealed. Cell-phone-wielding loudmouth Paul E. Dangerously announces the formation of his Dangerous Alliance, which includes “Stunning” Steve Austin, The Diamond Studd, Bobby Eaton and Arn Anderson. Rounding out the comic book Dangerous Alliance is The Ghoul, who defeats Sting to capture the WCW Title in issue four and reveals his true identity!