If you know me – or even if you’re a regular reader of my blog – you’ll know that I’m a big fan of wrestling.

It started when I was a kid; apparently my parents took me to see live wrestling shows when I was a toddler, but my love for larger than life, character-based grappling was fuelled by my Grandad’s passion for it.

Every Saturday afternoon at my grandparents house, we’d watch the wrestling on World of Sport; it was something we really bonded over.

An ex-amateur boxer himself, I never felt like I had much in common with my much-missed Grandad, but we had wrestling.

When my Dad got satellite TV installed in the late 80s, we suddenly had access to American wrestling; WWF (now WWE) specifically – and that kickstarted my interest in the even more OTT antics of US wrestling, which persists to this day.

Over the last decade or so, there seems to have been a quiet explosion in wrestling themed comics too.

Gritty crime drama Ringside, sci-fi themed Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia and Galaxy Grappling Alliance, the grim Shakespeare/wrestling mashup The Crimson Cage and the phenomenal fantasy Do A Powerbomb – all these and many more have brought the action of the squared circle to the comic page.

Each of them adds something new to the action – and the latest new series to feature wrestling as a backdrop is The Gimmick, from AHOY Comics.

Written by Joanne Starer, illustrated by Elena Gogou and coloured by Andy Troy, The Gimmick’s first issue sees wrestling champ Shane Bryant facing down a racist bully in a match – with shocking results.

Shane inadvertently reveals a surprising secret about himself to the world – and with the police, as well as his family, looking for him, he goes into hiding.

There’s a lot to like about this first issue, though I felt that some of the dialogue – particularly the conversation that happens on the way to the ring prior to the first match – came across as somewhat clunky.

The story itself – and Gogou’s excellent art, not to mention Troy’s colour work – does carry the reader through to the climax, however.

Despite the issues with its dialogue at times, The Gimmick #1 does get us on board with the characters and their fairly naturalistic world – albeit a world which is heightened with subtle fantasy elements, some of which occur off screen; perhaps a wise decision to keep the story a little more grounded at this stage.

It’s a really good read – and it’s a comic that I’ll definitely be continuing with as new issues emerge. It’s not an undisputed champ, but it does have it where it counts in the wrestling world: it has a lot of heart.

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